All 1976 outfits were produced in Korea. There were some great ones this year, with an overall seaside-holiday theme. Four of them (#9696-9699) were exclusive to Sears.* Note Ken’s new logo on all the packaging.
BEST BUY FASHIONS
BEST BUY FASHIONS #8627
Ken’s Best Buy Fashions shoes were reissued in Europe with the new style logo. There was also a variation produced in Taiwan which was possibly a European exclusive. It contains several shoes which were not available with any other outfit or set.
BEST BUY FASHIONS #9127
BEST BUY FASHIONS #9128
BEST BUY FASHIONS #9129
BEST BUY FASHIONS #9130
BEST BUY FASHIONS #9131
BEST BUY FASHIONS #9132
SEARS STORE EXCLUSIVE BEST BUY FASHIONS
*Like all Best Buy Fashions sold between 1976-1978 these are dated 1975 on the packaging, so, without any printed reference such as a Sears store guide, I’m relying on the received wisdom of other collectors that these outfits are indeed Sears exclusives from this year.
BEST BUY FASHIONS #9696
BEST BUY FASHIONS #9697
BEST BUY FASHIONS #9698
BEST BUY FASHIONS #9699
GET-UPS ‘N GO / FASHION ORIGINALS
GET-UPS ‘N GO Casual plaid for business and pleasure / FASHION ORIGINALS #9167
GET-UPS ‘N GO Sporty duds play ball in style / FASHION ORIGINALS #9168
GET-UPS ‘N GO Classy tux for handsome groom! / FASHION ORIGINALS #9596
This tuxedo is very similar in design to the Donny Osmond outfit Starlight Night (see section 1977-1978 Donny & Jimmy Osmond).
REVERSE OF PACKAGING
The Get-Ups ‘N Go outfits from 1973-1978 and the Best Buy Fashions from 1974-1978 are all blank on reverse. The Fashion Originals for 1976 appear to have come in two different boxes. The earliest ones came in a pink box which still used the same graphic design as the previous year. The later ones came with a squarer window and the new Ken logo. The illustration on reverse of box was also modernized.
BOOKLETS & CATALOGUES
The Sears Wish Book offered an exclusive 2-outfit Wardrobe Set for Ken, which was possibly also sold in their department stores. It consisted of mix ‘n match versions of Best Buy Fashions #9127 and #9128.
I haven’t yet discovered any US Barbie booklet for 1976. In Europe the Get-Ups ‘N Go outfits were packaged as Fashion Originals, and note that the Best Buy Fashions were still given names.