In 1995 Mattel remade the most celebrated Barbie models from the 60s for the public to enjoy and the quintessential symbol of sophistication, the Solo in The Spotlight...
A black lamé strapless siren dress with a tulle ruffle on the hem and a Red Rose on the side. A dress like this sure had to be complemented with long Black opera gloves and a choker, a micro to sing and a pink handkerchief. A step beyond? A Barbie Solo in The Spotlight reproduction in porcelain and a Hallmark keepsake for the Christmas Tree.
Solo in the Spotlight is one of the outfits Fumiko mentions in her book Barbie and I in which she participated but whether if it was as assistant of Charlotte Johnson in the year she lived in Tokyo or if she participated on it after when she was the head of the fashions production in Japan isn't specified. The thing is that this outfit wasn't included in the first Barbie wardrobe and was launched the following year, 1960.
In MG Lord's book Forever Barbie says that Charlotte Johnson was inspired for Solo in a nightclub singer named Hildegarde. I haven't find further information on this Hildegarde topic but it would be lovely if this story was true and that would justify the name of the outfit. Sure is this model is a little too close to the vamps like Marlene Dietrich and far from the teen image Mattel wanted Barbie to give but... oh so lovely!
Nonetheless to present Barbie with these kind of sexy outfits generated polemics and the most conservative mouths critisized the doll to be too exhuberant, agressive and even vulgar what eventually led to soften Barbie's image and create characters like Midge and Skipper. We can't forget that a little bit more than two decades ago Jean Louis strapless dress for "Gilda" raised the fury of the most conservative sectors of the society that accused the garment of being a garment from Hell in a scene that was considered one of the ten best film fashion moments.
What song Barbie may had sung in that spotlight? From Jazz to Opera, the possibilities were endless on a child's imagination.