Smart Doll by Danny Choo

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Smart Doll is a Japanese doll created by a company called Culture Japan. She is constructed like a ball-jointed doll but is made of more durable vinyl rather than the resin that is typically used for bjds. Smart Doll is 60 cm tall, and is in the 1/3 doll scale. She comes in a variety of characters. I ordered the Smart Doll called Mirai Suenaga. Smart Dolls are the brainchild of Danny Choo, British by birth but who became so enamored of Japanese culture that he taught himself Japanese and moved to Japan. He started Culture Japan as a way to promote Japanese culture. Mirai Suenaga started out as an ambassador of sorts, the physical face of Culture Japan. Like other BJD dolls from Japan, Smart Dolls resemble anime and manga characters, but I find them more appealing than some of the more highly stylized faces of other bjds such as Super Dollfies.

I ordered my Smart Doll from Danny Choo’s website. Ordering is easy. You pick which character you would like. Other options are available, such as larger or smaller busts, separate hand packs, torsos, and wigs. Smart Dolls come in a standard camisole and undies set. I love how the panties are called pantsu – since I’m one of those people that have trouble saying the word “panties” in polite conversation. Yeah, I’m going to start referring to panties as pantsu from now on. For an extra $100 USD, you can order an ensemble consisting of jeans, a t-shirt, shoes, and socks. Smart Doll clothes look very realistic and are very fashionable. Do they make them in my size?! Smart Doll shoes are also fab, and Danny designed them with the help of his father, renowned shoe designer Jimmy Choo. These might be the only pair of Jimmy Choos I could ever afford.

Danny Choo offers an unboxing video for Smart Dolls. They are packed in a special way and for a Smart Doll newbie such as myself, it was very beneficial to watch it before I received my doll. While I didn’t make an unboxing video, I did take pictures of the unboxing step by step. So this review is going to look a little different, more informal, than our usual posts.

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This is the box that Smart Dolls come in. My Smart Doll arrived from Tokyo to New England in only 4 days! Which was great because I was chomping at the bit to receive her.

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This is what greets you when you first open the box.

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The Smart Doll and all of the accessories fit neatly into this adorable and reusable tote bag. And Danny Choo has a message for you:

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The accessories come packed in a box. Danny doesn’t tape the box shut so that it will be easier to open. The box is held shut by the tote bag. The Smart Doll is wrapped in bubble wrap, and placed in a bag in a kneeling position. This is such a clever way to pack such a tall doll, otherwise Smart Doll would arrive in huge boxes.

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The inside of my accessories box looks rather sparse because I didn’t order any extra clothes or accessories, but if I did, they would all be in here.  What I received was the wig, which you have to place on the doll yourself, and a telescoping doll stand.

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The bag with the doll stand also contained two business cards for Smart Doll, as well as a piece of vinyl. I wasn’t sure what this was until someone in a Smart Doll collector group on Facebook informed me that its used to test dark clothing before putting it on your Smart Doll, in case it stains the vinyl. That Danny Choo thinks of everything!

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As I mentioned previously, Smart Dolls arrive packed in bubble wrap, in a kneeling position to save space.

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Thankfully, both the outer bubble wrap and the inner plastic wrap are taped into tubes, so I was able to simply slip them off. I hate having to battle the excessive amount of tape some people use with bubble wrap when wrapping dolls. Don’t you?

Here’s my first look at Mirai Suenaga unwrapped. She sure is a tall drink of water.

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I love her anime face.

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Now for her wig. Danny’s unboxing video had tips on how to place her wig correctly, which I found helpful. The wig is of very good quality. I’m not sure if it’s Saran, but it feels very silky and luxurious.

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Much better! Isn’t she sweet?

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Now for the coolest thing about Smart Dolls. They come with that telescoping stand I mentioned earlier. Smart Dolls have a hole in their lower backs to accommodate the stands:

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The telescoping stand allows Smart Dolls to stand without a bulky stand gripping them around the waist, or with an obvious base. The telescoping stand can be positioned behind their legs so Smart Dolls look like they’re standing on their own.

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Smart Dolls come apart easily, which is necessary for dressing them, or for changing out their busts. You will need to take their arms and head off to put clothes on them. When removing the head and the mid-sized bust that is included with each Smart Doll, you can see the innovative inner skeleton of Smart Dolls.

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Smart Dolls are larger (and more expensive) than most of the fashion dolls I collect, but I like that their larger size means their clothing is more detailed and realistic  – closer to what people actually wear. While the clothing on the Smart Doll website may be expensive, they are hand-made by seamstresses who work for Smart Doll. But if Smart Doll clothes aren’t in your budget, places like eBay, Etsy, and Ali Express have plenty of fashions available for 1/3 BJD dolls. I have quite a few pieces of clothing coming my way from China as we speak!

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All in all, I really love my Smart Doll. I like her cute anime face. She’s really sweet. I also like that her size will allow me to have a lot of fun dressing her up in different outfits. Now I just need to figure out where I can put her to do some proper doll photography. I might have to take her outside and hope that the neighbors don’t see me playing with dolls!

What do you think of Smart Dolls? Would you collect a doll this size?

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 The Smart Doll boy’s t-shirt that I won from eBay arrived the same day as Mirai but I didn’t open it until after I wrote this post, so I’m adding this photo to show that at least she has one article of clothing. She still needs some pants, though.

Ma Petite Fleur Poppy Parker

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Ooh la la! The new season of Poppy Parker dolls has been released, and it’s looking distinctly French. Past lines of Poppy Parker have seen Poppy as a spy, a hippie, and a representative for the World’s Fair. For 2016, Poppy goes to Paris. The Bon Bon Collection sees Poppy taking in all that Paris has to offer, including going to the ballet, shopping, sightseeing, and of course, modeling. The W Club upgrade doll for 2016, in keeping with the Parisian theme, is called Ma Petite Fleur.

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Ma Petite Fleur sees Poppy channeling Brigitte Bardot. Poppy has the heavy black eyeliner and abundance of long blonde hair, worn in a pouf at the crown, that is associated with Bardot’s signature style. Except Poppy can’t keep her bangs out of her eyes!

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In addition to her hair, Ma Petite Fleur Poppy also evokes Brigitte Bardot through her dress – a pink gingham number that is strikingly similar to two dresses that Bardot wore. The first was her wedding dress for her second marriage in 1959, to French actor Jacques Charrier.

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Designed by Jacques Estrel, the pink Vichy (the French term for gingham) shirtwaist dress was delightfully simple for a wedding gown. It proved so popular that Estrel published the pattern for it so that other women could duplicate it.

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Pattern by Estrel, “Prominent Designer”!

The ready-to-wear industry also became infatuated with pink gingham.

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But while the gingham of Poppy’s dress is a nod to Bardot’s Vichy dress, the style is almost an exact duplicate of another dress Bardot wore. In this dress, the jumper is a solid color while the pleated bodice is made of gingham. It is another surprisingly innocent dress for a woman renowned world-wide as a sex symbol.

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Poppy’s dress has marvelous attention to detail. It has a real zipper down the back.

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It also has the same volume in the skirt as Bardot’s gingham wedding dress, courtesy of a full tulle petticoat.

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I love the dress, but one thing that slightly annoys me is that the shoulder straps won’t stay up. Clearly that annoyed Poppy, too.

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Poppy came with a certificate of authenticity that looks like a French postcard (no, not that kind of French postcard). It’s adorable.

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As with all Integrity dolls, Poppy comes with amazingly detailed accessories. I love how, with Integrity dolls,  the accessories come in a separate box inside the main doll box.

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It looks like a big box of bon-bons. At least Poppy thought it was. And, for scale to Poppy, it looks HUGE.

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What? There’s no candy in here?

The accessories include a pair of black faux leather pumps, simple black circle earrings, and a single black bangle bracelet.

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But the most exciting accessory of all is a Poppy-sized record album. Because you see, while she was in Paris, Poppy added another item to her resume – chanteuse.

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Poppy’s album drops next week – in stereo!

It’s amazingly detailed. It has both a front and a back cover, and comes with a tiny record with labels. The labels are stickers that came on a sheet that I peeled off and applied to the record.

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“Discover the delicate golden voice of America that everyone is talking about: Miss Poppy Parker!” (I took French in high school).

I am a huge fan of Poppy Parker, and while I haven’t been crazy about some of her past lines (Girl from I.N.T.E.G.R.I.T.Y., I’m looking in your direction), I love this year’s Parisian-themed collection. I have pre-ordered the Ooh La La W Club 2016 Exclusive Gift Set and will review that when it arrives, hopefully before autumn! I’m chomping at the bit to receive it.

Are you a Poppy Parker fan? Do you have any of the Bon Bon Collection dolls? If so, which ones?

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Poppy cranks up the ol’ hi-fi

Classic Camel Coat Barbie

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Classic Camel Coat Barbie is the second release of Mattel’s new Pivotal Silkstone Barbie dolls. Mattel’s announcement last December of a pivotal silkstone Barbie doll heralded an unexpected innovation: to create a doll featuring the heftier silkstone bodies but with greater articulation. It was exciting to think of the endless possibilities for play and photography. I purchased both the first pivotal silkstone, Classic Black Dress Barbie, as well as the Classic Camel Coat. Classic Black Dress retailed for $40, whereas Classic Camel Coat cost $75. But more on that later.

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Classic Camel Coat comes in the typical beautiful silkstone collector’s box. It also comes with a certificate of authenticity.  When I separated the tissue that protected the doll, I could see how beautiful she is in person.

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Classic Camel Coat comes with the coat, a fabulous black cross-body bag, gold hoop earrings, and sunglasses.  She also comes with a stand, which I left in the box. I like my dolls to look like they’re standing on their own. It makes them come to life more.

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I loved her outfit when I saw it in the promo pictures, but those photos didn’t show much of the complete outfit. When I removed her coat I was pleasantly surprised to see what she was wearing underneath.

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She wears a black short-sleeved turtleneck shirt and  a leopard-print skirt. Black tights and black ankle boots complete the look. For a $75 doll, it looks like Mattel recycled the black boots from the City Shopper 2013 doll. But the turtleneck and the skirt use snaps instead of velcro to fasten them, so I can overlook the recycled shoes.

Classic Camel Coat Barbie is only the second pivotal silkstone Barbie, and as I haven’t yet unboxed my Classic Black Dress Barbie, I was eager to examine the quality of the pivotal silkstone doll’s articulation. Her body resembles the articulated bodies of Integrity dolls. Her arms bend at the elbows and her legs bend at the knees. She also has articulated wrists and an articulated waist at the hips as well as under the bust.

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Sadly, that is where the similarities end.Compared to an Integrity doll, the articulation of Classic Camel Coat Barbie is just so-so. Her elbows and knees bend, but not very far. I didn’t want to bend her legs in a complete sitting position because I was afraid they would snap off and break. I can put her hands on her hips, and her wrists do bend, but I find that Integrity dolls have a wider range of articulation than the pivotal silkstone dolls. Even Monster High dolls have better articulation, despite the cheaper plastic bodies. My definitive doll articulation test is to make the doll put her hands over her mouth in mock surprise. I’m sorry to say that, for the price of this doll, Classic Camel Coat didn’t do as well as other articulated dolls, such as Tulabelle or  Monster High, both of which can put their hands much closer over their mouth than Classic Camel Coat.

 

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Gasp?

A disgruntled reviewer on The Barbie Collection shared my sentiments regarding the articulation when she wrote:

Unfortunately, … the new Silkie is NOT worth much more than $50.00. C’mon Mattel, for loyal collectors who’ve been with you for so long, please put some quality back into the manufacturing of the articulation of the doll and create a praise-worthy ensemble that can at least compete in the Integrity arena.

But take heart! At least pivotal silkstones have a greater range of articulation than the original silkstone dolls.

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Anything you can do, I can do better.

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No wonder Classic Silkstone looks so annoyed!

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Yet despite the mediocre articulation, I nonetheless fell in love with Classic Camel Barbie because of her beautiful face and hair, as well as her fabulous ensemble.

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I even envisioned her with my vintage Ken in his classic camel coat outfit, Play It Cool, from 1970. Don’t they look good together?

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I also thought she would look really super in some of my Barbie Best Buy halter dresses from the 70s. And this is when I had the most fun with her.

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Young Socialite of the Year 1975

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Pool party in the Hamptons!

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I’d like to accept this award on behalf of Warren Beatty, who couldn’t be here tonight.

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Do the Hustle!

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I use Clairol Herbal Essence shampoo

So my final thoughts on Classic Camel Coat Barbie? The first pivotal Barbie, Classic Black Dress, retailed for $40. I think a price of $40-50 would be more appropriate for Classic Camel Coat as well, instead of her retail price of $75. Which brings me to the controversy surrounding Classic Camel Coat Barbie!

I bought Classic Camel Coat online after I received an email from The Barbie Collection letting me know that it was in stock. I ordered it on the second day she was available for $75, but apparently, those who ordered her on the first day were able to buy her for $50, as that was the list price on the Barbie Collection website on that day. Mattel claimed this was an error, and quickly increased the price to $75. Of course, this did not sit well with collectors who saw the price on the first day but didn’t decide to order until afterwards, only to find that the price went up. Accusations of price gouging were made. One collector left this scathing review in the Comments section:

Liar, liar pants on fire. Sneaks and original price listed at $50.00. Sold them at that price all morning long, then jumped the price and will not honor what they say is a mistake on their part..not the customer.

I did read something online about Mattel refunding the difference to some customers who complained, but I can’t find it right now to link to it! Suffice to say, Mattel pissed off a lot of customers with this doll (which is currently selling for $50 on the Toys R Us website).

I bought Classic Camel Coat despite the higher price tag because I fell in love with her outfit. After receiving her, however I have to agree with other collectors that she is not worth the $75. There isn’t any difference between Classic Camel Coat and Classic Black Dress, so why the higher price tag? With the somewhat limited articulation, I’d rather pay a little more for an Integrity doll.  Even Monster High dolls have better articulation. But she looks great in other Barbie outfits, and I envision more photo sessions with my Barbie clothes from the Sixties and Seventies. The fun that I’m having dressing her up is almost worth the price of admission. Almost.

Do you have Classic Camel Coat Barbie, or Classic Black Dress Barbie? What do you think of the pivotal silkstones?

 

 

 

Barbie Fashionistas 2016

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There has been a lot of publicity surrounding Mattel’s new line of Barbie Fashionistas. For a doll that has often been criticized for portraying unrealistic body types, the new line of Fashionista Barbie for 2016 introduces three new body types: Curvy, Petite, and Tall, in addition to the Original body type. The new Barbie even made the cover of Time Magazine. The Mattel website added the new Barbie Fashionistas before they actually were in stock and staggered their releases. For each doll that I wanted, I had to pre-order it and then wait several weeks. The three that I most wanted were Fab Fringe, a Tall Barbie; Sweetheart Stripes, a Curvy Barbie; and Va Va Violet, an Original Barbie. They retail for $9.99 each – quite a bargain for a Barbie doll, especially ones so highly anticipated. However, there’s a reason why they’re on the cheaper side of the Barbie range, and it’s a pet peeve of mine concerning Mattel and Barbie.

The new line of Fashionista dolls are basic models, meaning they aren’t articulated. They have some articulation – their arms move at the shoulders and their legs move at the hips, but the arms don’t bend at the elbow and the legs don’t bend at the knees. When the Fashionista line was first launched, it was the articulated alternative to the established lines of Barbie dolls, which bent at the knee but not at the elbow. The Model Muse body, which has one straight arm and one bent arm, but no articulation in the elbows or the knees, had been increasingly used for the adult collector lines of Barbie doll. Now Mattel seems to be making all of their playline dolls with the basic body. If you want articulation, you’ll have to pay $30 for the Barbie Look dolls, which do feature articulated elbows and knees. This is my  one major gripe with Mattel. Mattel has made Barbie with bendable knees since 1965, so why can’t they at least offer playline dolls with bendable knees today?  Okay, I’ve gotten that out of my system. Now on to the dolls!

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Fab Fringe, Sweetheart Stripes, and Va Va Violet. Note the non-articulated bodies.

When I heard that Mattel was launching a curvy Barbie, I knew I wanted one. I particularly wanted Sweetheart Stripes because I love her blue and black  hair. Seeing her in person, I have to say she’s beautiful. Her hips are wider than the Original Barbie, and her arms and legs are thicker. I love her curvy body.4Despite my rant above about the limited articulation of the new Fashionista dolls, there is some improvement. The arms move at the shoulders, not just up and down, but outwards. The head also moves, as it can pivot back and forth, and side to side.  Still, bendable knees and elbows would be nice…

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The next Fashionista that I purchased was Va Va Violet. Again, I had to wait a couple of months for her to be in stock. Va Va Violet is an Original body Barbie. Va Va Violet uses the Model Muse body, with one straight arm and one bent arm.

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I really loved her violet bobbed hairstyle. That was the main reason why I bought her. But I don’t like the non-articulated body, so I purchased her with the intention of putting her head on a Made To Move Barbie body. And while the promo pictures showed off her violet bob to full advantage…

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Image courtesy of Mattel

…this is what mine looked like:13Her hair was glued down with so much gel that it was flat and stiff – and it wasn’t much better from the sides.

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Werk…turn to the left

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Werk…turn to the right

I shampooed Va Va Violet’s hair with dishwashing liquid and hot water to get out all of the gunk. When her hair was dry, I put her head on a Made to Move Barbie body (the one in the pink top) and redressed her. She looks much better now.2628

The third Fashionista Barbie that I purchased was Fab Fringe. Again, I had to wait a few months for her to come in. But as with the other Fashionistas, she was worth the wait.

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Fab Fringe uses the new Tall body. And she lives up to her name. Her legs and torso are longer than Original Barbie.

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As with Va Va Violet, I bought Fab Fringe so I could put her head on a Made To Move body. I loved her short curly bright red hair. She’s so pretty.

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Once I opened all three of my fashionistas, I had fun redressing them. I didn’t put Sweetheart Stripes on a Made to Move body because I really love her curvy body. I applaud Mattel for offering more body types, but I lament their lack of articulation. It’s like Mattel took one step forward and two steps back.

Some Original Barbie tops will fit Curvy Barbie, but mostly they’re ones that fasten in the back with velcro. Some oversized jackets will fit her too. The only pants I’ve found that fit her are the yoga pants from the Made to Move Barbies.

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Sweater from Tiny Frock Shop

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Fab Fringe on her way to work at the Modeling Agency

21But the doll that I enjoyed redressing the most was Va Va Violet. With her violet bob, she seems so punk to me. 

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Goodnight Boston!

What do you think of Mattel’s new line of Fashionistas? Do you own any? Do you want to own any?

Sevinyl by Julian Kalinowski

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Sevinyl is a vinyl fashion doll that launched late last year. She was created by British artist and doll designer Julian Kalinowski, who also created Severine. Like Anouk, who I featured in my last post, Sevinyl pays tribute to Caprice, the French fashion doll that was intended to be a doll of the actress Catherine Deneuve. While Anouk looks very similar to the Caprice doll, Sevinyl bears a striking resemblance to Deneuve herself. With her sultry stare, heavily lidded eyes, and long blonde hair, she looks like she’s ready to light a Gitane, pour herself a glass of wine, and dab herself with Chanel No. 5. Sevinyl is definitely edgier than Anouk.

 

Sevinyl is a limited edition of 500 dolls. She comes with either rooted blonde or brunette hair. Each Sevinyl comes in a one-of-a-kind designer outfit. My Sevinyl arrived in a faux leopard fur coat with matching hat and clutch purse designed by Tania Lawrence. Underneath the coat Sevinyl wears an orange short-sleeved body suit. Shocking pink gloves and black heels complete the look. The clothes are well-made and detailed. The coat has a separate belt with a little buckle that you can actually fasten. The coat is also lined with a light pink fabric.

 

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As gorgeous as her coat is, I had more fun when I removed it and discovered that Sevinyl was wearing an orange bodysuit underneath. Paired with the black shoes, this leggy blonde looks like a dancer at rehearsal for a 1960s cabaret act or variety show.

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Sevinyl is well-made of durable, creamy vinyl. Her limbs and head are strung on elastic, allowing for more mobility. Her arms open outwards as well as up or down, and her head can move up, down, and side-to-side. Her face is hand-painted by Mr. Kalinowski. Each one is a little different, but each one has plenty of attitude!

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Sevinyl’s proportions are unique. Her torso is very narrow and her waist is tiny, and she has slightly larger hips and a slightly smaller bust than Barbie. Her instep is also slightly higher than Barbie’s. I put some vintage Barbie boots on Sevinyl and they fit well enough, but I haven’t tried Barbie heels yet.  I also put some untagged vintage dresses on Sevinyl and they fit, but the one Barbie dress I’ve tried so far, the turquoise fashion pack sheath dress, was a little tight across the hips. Sevinyl could still zip it up, but she had to hold her breath, and she couldn’t sit down in it!

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Suck in that stomach!

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Canary yellow minidress from Hong Kong

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Sevinyl in a Mary Quant-ish dress

Sevinyl is like the younger sister to Mr. Kalinowski’s other creation, Severine.
Severine is made of hard plastic​
rather than vinyl (hence Sevinyl’s name).Severine looks great in early-Sixties haute couture outfits, while Sevinyl can wear the more youthful fashions of the ’60s and ’70s, such as Mod, flower child, and disco. I have a large collection of vintage doll fashions that I can’t wait to try out on Sevinyl.Each Sevinyl comes in a clear tube with a stand and a certificate of authenticity signed by Mr.Kalinowski. Sevinyl can be purchased from Mr. Kalinowski directly on eBay. He usually lists about three at a time, along with some Severine dolls. If you see one available, and you really want one, buy it! Sevinyl and Severine have been featured in Fashion Doll Quarterly, and Mr. Kalinowski’s dolls go fast.

Sevinyl in a little gold number


Sevinyl and Anouk

La Poupee Mannequin: Anouk

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There’s a new girl on the fashion doll scene. New, yet strangely familiar. With a vintage feel and a wardrobe to  match, Anouk may remind some seasoned collectors of a certain French fashion doll from the 1960s called Caprice. Caprice was based on the French actress Catherine Deneuve and was intended to be a Catherine Deneuve doll. However, when the actress didn’t give her permission to market it as a doll in her likeness, the doll was renamed Caprice. Caprice was, in effect, the French Barbie.

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Vintage ad for Caprice

Anouk was created by British artist and designer Navdeep Sikand as an homage to Caprice and other vintage fashion dolls. Mr. Sikand researched doll factories for one that was able to realize his vision for Anouk. He found one in Spain that uses the same equipment that it used in the 1960s – very fitting for Anouk! Anouk was prominently featured in the current issue of Fashion Doll Quarterly magazine, and when she launched earlier this month, I was able to order Anouk directly through Mr. Sikand. She was despatched from England in record time. Anouk comes packaged like Caprice, in a clear plastic tube.anouk7_5Her tube features an embossed label that was designed after the label on the original Caprice dolls. It’s very chic and gives the collector the feeling that Anouk is not your average fashion doll. It’s clear that Mr. Sikand paid attention to every detail with Anouk.

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Anouk arriving from her transatlantic flight

Even Anouk’s dress evokes vintage doll dresses, made from quality fabric, and with real snaps instead of velcro (*involuntary shudder*).

The dress also features a damask label, just the tagged fashions of Caprice and Barbie.

Anouk herself is made of weighty, durable vinyl. In keeping with the original Caprice doll, her arms and legs can move but her legs don’t bend at the knee. Anouk offers a great deal of variety for the doll collector. She comes in three skin tones: caucasian, African American, and Cote d’Azure – a sun-kissed tanned version. In addition, she comes in four hair colors (titian, brunette, ash blonde, and champagne blonde) and two rooted hairstyles: a page boy with bangs, or long hair tied at the top with a little bow.  There are six outfits to choose from with Anouk. I chose Printemps, a minidress with a colorful op-art geometric pattern. It’s well-made and constructed of quality fabric. It comes with a matching headscarf as well as a pair of green heels and pink sunglasses.

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Groovy, baby

Like Caprice and other fashion dolls of the 1960s and ’70s, Anouk comes with a brochure. Mr. Sikand designed it and created the artwork for it. It’s gorgeous and further adds to the feeling that, with Anouk, I possess a vintage doll that transports me back to another era.

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Front cover

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Choice of hair colors (ash blonde shown here)

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Choice of skin tones with the two different hairstyles and the champagne blonde color

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Choice of six stylish fashions

The first edition of Anouk is limited to 300 dolls. Mr. Sikand offered a set number of Anouk dolls for sale to members of his Facebook group La Poupee Mannequin: Anouk. He will sell the remainder of the dolls on eBay. Mr. Sikand has plans for future editions of Anouk. Dare we hope that more fashions will follow as well? You can follow the trials, tribulations, and developments of Anouk through Mr. Sikand’s blog.What do you think of Anouk? Do you like her vintage vibes? I do! I have been hoarding vintage Barbie fashion pack dresses from the ’60s and ’70s that I’ve been buying on eBay in anticipation of Anouk. I feel a major fashion photoshoot is in my Anouk’s immediate future.

Barbie’s In The News

From the national news media, to online media, from Allure magazine to the cover of Time magazine, Barbie’s making the headlines following a big announcement from Mattel yesterday.

Photo used s from Time magazine.

Photo used s from Time magazine.

If you love Barbie like we do, this is already old news to you. After days of teasing a major announcement was on its way, Mattel debuted its new, more diverse line of Fashionistas. The line has been expanded to include three never-before-seen body types for Barbie. In addition to Barbie’s “Original” body type, Mattel now offers Curvy, Petite and Tall body types. Along with the new bodies, there are several skin tones ranging from pale to black.  In addition, new hair shades such as dark blue, violet, and bright red have been introduced.

Photo is from Mattel.

Photo is from Mattel.

The dolls officially debuted yesterday, although not all of the models are available for purchase yet. Several are available on Mattel.com for pre-order.  The dolls will show up on store shelves starting in March, with new releases throughout the year. Most of the dolls retail for $9.99 each; a few come with extra fashions for $19.99

News sources are, of course, ruminating that this move is likely a response to slower sales and criticism over Barbies physical proportions and beauty ideals. Nevertheless, judging from the Facebook and Twitter comments, a lot of people are encouraged by, and excited for, the new dolls, applauding Mattel on dolls that “look like us.” Ghouliette and I are definitely among that chorus.

As soon as I saw the news I jumped onto the website and pre-ordered two dolls. I ordered “Sweetheart Stripes,” a curvy Barbie with long dark blue hair, and “Va-Va Violet,” an Original doll with a great light purple long bob with a side part. Ghouliette ordered the same two dolls. Sweetheart Stripes is scheduled to ship next week so hopefully it will be in my hands very soon!

As much as I’m looking forward to this line, I have to say I’m still disappointed that the Fashionista dolls are no longer articulated. (I know I speak for Ghouliette, as well.) The new dolls appear to have the same straight unbendable plastic legs as the current Fashionistas. I would love to be able to pose the new body types; as it is I’m planning on taking the Va-Va-Violet head off the doll and putting it on a Made to Move body. Too bad I can’t do that with the curvy doll.

Are you excited about the new Fashionistas? Have you pre-ordered any of them yet? Tell us what you think in the Comments.

in the meantime, enjoy this article from The New York Times.