In the real world, the closest I got to a debutante ball was attending the Chicago Links annual cotillion in 1985. I spent that summer with my father’s cousin who was a mentor to me like the chaperones who steered the heroines of my favorite novels through the marriage mart. My Cousin Esther procured tickets to the cotillion for us and then bought me a dress and a fancy pair of designer shoes to wear that evening.
Today, only a few Links chapters are still hosting cotillions, but the organization as a whole is still preparing young women and men to take their places as community leaders. It therefore seemed natural to me to imagine the SIS girls as cotillionettes in the Links tradition since the SIS girls devote so much time to mentoring youth. So here they are dancing the Cotillionette Waltz.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough gloves to go around.
Kara is dancing with King Dominick from the Princess and the Pauper series.
Trichelle’s partner is a Brad doll from the early 80s.
Brad was introduced as the boyfriend of Barbie’s black friend, Christie in the late 1960s. While the first African American Barbie was introduced in 1980, black male dolls were very hard to find in the Reagan years. I was overjoyed when I purchased this fellow around 1982. I named him Yannick after the French tennis player, Yannick Noah.
I acquired Marissa’s handsome cavalier at a doll show.
I believe he is a Curtis (Brad’s successor).
His military-styled formal wear comes from the Princess Ariel and Prince Eric wedding set.
Marissa’s family could not afford a brand-name dress for her, but Curtis thinks she is the most fascinating woman in the ballroom.
Before the SIS line, Mattel created an earlier set of African American friends for Barbie – Shani, Asha, and Nichelle.
Jamal was Shani's boyfriend but since he is whispering sweet nothings in Chandra’s ear here, he seems to have moved on.
Grace partnered with Cali Girl Steven.
She is wearing Princess Belle’s gown from the Fairy Tale Wedding gift set while Steven is wearing Prince Charming’s ensemble.
My gown was on the Rapunzel doll in the Fairy Tale Wedding gift set.
My escort is very debonair in a Prince Charming ensemble from the late 90s.