Monday, April 5, 2021

Club-Exclusive Dress for Maya

2021 WLBDA-Exclusive Maya Angelou Barbie Dress

An elegant dress made exclusively for the We Love Black Dolls Anew Facebook group by Misha Yarbrough for the Maya Angelou Barbie is shown above.

The inspiration for the style of the club dress came from the red dress Maya Angelou wears in these combined pictures.

Inspired by an actual dress that Dr. Angelou wore (shown immediately above), Misha designed the dress and created a pattern for it. To match the doll's strappy high heels, white was chosen for the color of the dress.

The Maya Angelou Barbie wears white strappy shoes like the ones shown in this photo.

The ensemble includes a two-piece dress with a metallic-gold-embellished top, a full-length white satiny skirt, a white clutch that is personalized with the initials of the group, WLBDA; a white and gold chain necklace, and a gold elasticized headband. The exclusive fashion was presented on gold-bordered cardstock enclosed in a plastic sleeve. 

The satiny skirt, metallic-gold-embellished top, gold headband, personalized clutch, and gold and white necklace are attached to metallic-gold bordered cardstock inside a plastic sleeve.

The top has a V-shaped hemline.

This closeup illustrates the personalized clutch, the headband (below the clutch), and the white and gold chain necklace that has a lobster-claw closure.

Because I knew my doll would wear this lovely fashion, I ordered a duplicate Maya Angelou Barbie during one of the short periods Amazon offered preorders at the retail price.

After the fashion arrived, I deboxed the original doll to redress it. The doll from Amazon arrived in the Mattel shipping box and I'd like to preserve that one in its NRFB state. Initial photos were taken with the doll removed from the box before redressing took place.

First Deboxed Photos

The original dashiki-style dress is made of thin cotton-like material.

The color and pattern of the headwrap match the color and pattern of the dashiki dress, but knit fabric was used for the headwrap.

Closeup of the face

In this closeup, Maya Angelou's mock autobiography, the goldtone bracelet, ring, and wristwatch are also captured.

After undressing the doll, I made a note of the doll's body markings and added that information to my museum installation of the Maya Angelou Barbie, which was published in January after the first doll arrived. 

The doll's natural-textured hair is very uneven. This caused me to spend considerable time styling it after the headband was in place. I guess Mattel didn't expect anyone to remove the doll's headwrap and just haphazardly rooted the hair. I fluffed and tucked and stretched it after placing the gold headband around the head until I made it look somewhat decent. If more of the hair is pulled back and up into an Afro puff, a better look will result. I'd like to keep the hair as close to a style that Dr. Angelou would have worn.

The Redressed Doll

A closeup of the gold headband and white and gold necklace

The dress fits perfectly and does make the doll look a bit curvier than it actually is, which is good because Dr. Angelou "was not built to suit a fashion model's size."*

Next, are several photos from different angles and positions of the articulated doll.

The doll looks quite elegant in the club dress.

From the fire in her eyes, the flash of her teeth, the swing in her waist, and the joy in her feet, I believe she thinks she looks elegant, too. 


From any angle, she looks phenomenal!

The clutch is the perfect complement to this exclusive fashion. It is designed to be held by sliding the doll's hand underneath the personalized ribbon strip as illustrated.

A view from the back

The original dress, headwrap, and mock book are now attached to the cardstock Misha used for the club dress. They are enclosed in the original plastic sleeve and will be placed in the doll's original box, which I plan to keep.

The redressed doll and the original dress are back in the original box.

I returned the doll to the box along with the original fashion. I can and will display the doll outside the box when desired.


Born April 4, 1928, Dr. Angelou might have celebrated her birthday this year if she had resumed celebrating it before her death. After Dr. King's assassination on April 4, 1968, for many years she stopped celebrating her birthday. I, however, will celebrate and remember her because she was an inspiring woman, phenomenally.

*Quoted and paraphrased text are from the poem "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou.


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