The first fashion dolls were the French Fashion Dolls from the mid to late 1800s. These dolls had porcelain heads and either kid jointed bodies or bodies made of wood or other poseable materials. There were many shops in France at the time devoted to selling the clothing and intricate accessories for these dolls. The dolls were meant to teach young girls how to become ladies and so the dolls had all the appropriate clothing and other items available that the ladies of the time would need. The dolls also had trunks to store their clothing and accessories.
For the most part, the next historic period that had an abundance of fashion dolls available was the late 1950s. Madame Alexander introduced the large Cissy doll, and then many imitators followed, including some in smaller sizes, such as Miss Revlon, Little Miss Revlon (both Ideal), Cissette (Madame Alexander) and many others.
In 1959, the most famous fashion doll of all time, Barbie was created. She is still immensely popular today. She was joined by many other fashion dolls in the 1960s (including Tammy by Ideal), and fashion dolls have been a mainstay of children's dolls ever since. Popular fashion dolls today include Barbie and Bratz. American Girl dolls, although they have clothing, accessories, and trunks available, are child dolls and therefore not fashion dolls.
Fashion dolls have also been created for collectors since the 1990s, and have included popular dolls such as Gene, Tyler Wentworth, some of the Asian Ball-Jointed dolls, and many others.
Most collectors of fashion dolls don't only collect the dolls, but they also collect and display the outfits and accessories. A fashion doll without original clothing is generally worth much less than a fashion doll with original clothing, since so much of the collectibility and charm of these dolls lies with their wardrobes.