In 1993 and 1994 I participated in Bayshore Mall's Jean Jacket Auction which benefited the Milwaukee Aids Project - back when Bayshore was still a mall and not a "Town Center." Anyway, they distributed 40 or so jean jackets, donated by the Gap, to area "designers, artists, celebrities and craftspeople" to creatively "modify." There were some amazing entries painted on and embellished in unusual ways by art galleries, design students, local news anchors like Marty Burns Wolfe (whatever happened to her?) and Nancy Chandler, Bo Black from Summerfest and even Laurencia Bembenek. Run Bambi Run.
The first year I embellished my jacket with a cherry theme using vintage cherry buttons, cherry appliques, and a 1950s cherry tablecloth.
The second year was 1994 and that year I remember a lot of buzz that Barbie was turning 35, so I decided to employ a Barbie theme. Specifically, I wanted to show how Barbie's style had changed over the decades. On the front yokes I embroidered, "The evolution of Barbie - from June Cleaver to Peg Bundy." It was the 90s, remember...
I searched for outfits that represented the 50s (Barbie debuted in 1959), 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s and applique them on the front right, around the back, and ending on the front left. Imagine my shock one day when I tuned into the morning news and there was Gus Gnorski from channel six doing a story on the Jean Jacket Auction and he was holding up MY jacket and explaining the Barbie details.
The first outfit was the June Cleaver shirtwaist dress complete with pearl necklace and cat eye glasses. Various Barbie accessories such as boots, purses, curlers, and of course, high heeled shoes were attached to dangle within the vintage chenille bedspread fringe. Opposite June was a 90s outfit - synthetic, skin tight, spaghetti strapped, purple mini dress with ankle boots and elbow length black gloves.
Let's not forget the three decades on the back. First up was the pink 60s Jackie Kennedy jacket dress with clutch - oh how I looked for a pillbox hat! The 70s was represented by a pair of bell-bottomed overalls and the 80s with lime green leggings, silver metallic shirt and jeweled belt.
The auction was a hit and I was honored to do my part to contribute... but what about Barbie? She turned 50 this year. I don't feel like I'm hearing so much about her anymore. What's she wearing these days?