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!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.Despite 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…
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.
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……this is what mine looked like:Her hair was glued down with so much gel that it was flat and stiff – and it wasn’t much better from the sides. 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.
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.
Fab Fringe uses the new Tall body. And she lives up to her name. Her legs and torso are longer than Original Barbie.
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.
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.I decided Fab Fringe could be a little fiercer with her wardrobe, so I dressed her in a dress I got off of eBay from Vogue Fashions, a doll clothing company in Hong Kong. Doesn’t it look like Bill Cunningham stopped her on the street to take a picture for his New York Times street fashion page?
But the doll that I enjoyed redressing the most was Va Va Violet. With her violet bob, she seems so punk to me.
What do you think of Mattel’s new line of Fashionistas? Do you own any? Do you want to own any?