"In 1964 we also introduced Skipper, Barbie's little sister. While little girls tended to perceive Barbie as being six or seven years older than themselves, they saw Skipper as close to their own age. What made Skipper so special... was her connection to Barbie and the beauty of the doll and her accessories Ruth Handler, Dreamdoll
Her name was Skipper Madison Roberts and what a doll she was! She really had allure and, as much as other eras Skippers are more or less beautiful, in my opinion, this one plays in another division, a 9,25 inches dainty preteen yet to develop to calm the voices of those parents who thought that Barbie was too sexual and those children who wanted a baby for Barbie.
As if Barbie's clothes weren't tiny enough, Skipper's were even tinier and made with the same exquisite taste. They succeeded dressing the most difficult age, not a little child and not yet a woman with a strong 50s influence since children's fashion didn't change that fast, sometimes even coordinated with her big sis.
We can't help but wonder if Sandra Dee's Gidget influenced Mattel inspirations because the resemblance between Gidget's Rose Marie Reid swimsuits and the first Skipper one is uncanny.
As for the name... "Incidentally, we gave Skipper (and her soon-to-be-introduced friend Skooter) their names because cute nicknames were in vogue in the mid-1960, thanks to television shows like 'Gidget', which starred Sally Field" Ruth Handler, Dreamdoll And Skipper means captain of a ship... watching her face she seems a sweet girl but she has somewhat a strong gaze that reflect quite a character so in a way I think the nickname suits her. Apparently Martha Armstrong Hand could have a say on that in her time as a face designer
"I designed, that is painted, the faces of Midge, Skipper, Tutti and Todd, Francie, and of course my own Rickie as well as Ken's friend Alan and Skipper's friend Skooter" Martha Armstrong-Hand Doll Reader February 1998
The years passed and Skipper kept accompanying his sister through the decades in lines such as the Malibu or in times like the Superstar to the present day, many times taking care of babies or animals as a recurring theme and evolving with different molds, sometimes not exempt from controversy such as Skipper Growing Up whose torso lengthened and her breasts grew and that, despite the fact that Ruth who at that time was already more outside than inside Mattel, thought that it could be the future of the dolls, ended up being a black chapter in Skipper's history in the face of the pre-adolescent's complaints of hypersexualization.
At the end maybe Ruth was right, Skipper reflect that girls want to play to pretend to be older girls and therefore Skipper is one of the most underestimated dolls.