Author Archives: ghouliette

LOL Surprise by MGA Entertainment

Image courtesy of MGA Entertainment


I was at Toys R Us today, buying some Tokidoki stuff, when I saw the LOL Surprise display at the checkout counter. I’ll admit I’m a little late to the ball regarding the LOL Surprise dolls. I’ve been seeing the displays at my local Target for several weeks now among all the other blind box displays, but the LOL Surprise display boxes were always empty. Apart from seeing the empty displays, I didn’t know anything about them, but my curiosity about these little blind boxes was further peaked one day at Target when a little girl went up to the boxes, saw they were empty, and said “Nobody has them!” So when I saw that there were a few left in the display box at Toys R Us today, I bought one – but only one, because Toys R Us limits LOL Surprises to one per customer. That’s how popular they are.

LOL Surprise promises seven layers of Surprise inside. I got a Series 2 LOL Surprise doll. The dolls come in a large round orb wrapped in plastic…

…and more plastic. So many layers of plastic. You have to unwrap each one, and are greeted with little hints and messages with each layer. Unwrapping the first layer reveals a hint as to which LOL Surprise you receive, along with layer 2.

Tea Party?

Layer 3 gives you stickers.

Layer 4:

Layer 4, opposite side. Angel and devil, get it?!

Layer 5. I see hard plastic. It finally looks like we’re getting somewhere!

After five outer layers of plastic, the inner orb is finally revealed. But the unwrapping still isn’t done.

Looks like the Death Star

The top of the orb hides the first piece of the toy, which, wait for it, you also have to unwrap.

Yay!

Two more surprises in the top half of the orb, and more surprises in the bottom half.


Finally, the package containing the doll:

The LOL Surprise dolls are broken down into “clubs,” such as the Glam Club, the Hip Hop Club, and the Athletic Club. After I dressed my doll, I checked the pamphlet that came tucked inside the orb to see which one she is. She is Heartbreaker, from the Storybook Club. All the Storybook Club dolls are characters from Alice in Wonderland. Heartbreaker is the Queen of Hearts. So the “tea party” hint makes sense now.

The orb comes with a handle so after you put it back together, it becomes a convenient carrying case for your LOL Surprise doll. 

Still looks like the Death Star

It also has holes at the top to accommodate the doll’s feet, so the orb is also a stand.

I’m on top of the world!


When it’s open, the orb serves as a little playpen for the doll. It has a space for her bottle, and you can turn the top piece of the orb over to serve as a food tray. It even has a slice of pizza on it.

The instruction pamphlet shows how you can fill her bottle with water and then pour it into her mouth.

 Then you can make her cry, 

and spit out water,


and urinate. (Yes, you read right).

Oops!


I didn’t put water into the doll to try it myself, so I’ll just take their word for it. The pamphlet also explains that you can dip the doll in ice water to make her hair color change. The water has to be about 32 degrees Fahrenheit for the color to change. When I dipped Heartbreaker into ice water, the white side of her hair turned red and a heart-shaped birthmark appeared over her right eye.

LOL Surprises are cute, but I bought mine more out of curiosity than with the intent to collect them. At $10.99 each, they’re a little expensive for such a tiny doll, especially when you can’t choose which one you get. But it was fun unwrapping five layers of plastic and opening five packets to reveal the Surprise. LOL Surprises are made by MGA Entertainment, the company best known for creating Bratz and Lalaloopsy dolls. Here’s a link to the official LOL Surprise page, where you can watch their commercial (I hope The Ramones don’t sue for copyright infringement 😂). LOL Surprise Lil Sister dolls are also available, featuring infant versions of the original dolls.

Have you been able to find LOL Surprise dolls? What do you think of them? Let us know.

WellieWishers by American Girl

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As much as I love dolls, I thought I would never get into American Girl dolls. I mostly collect 1:6 scale fashion dolls. There have been a few exceptions to my rule in the past, such as Makies, but mostly I prefer dolls that look like adults. American Girl dolls look like little girls because they’re intended for little girls, but their child-like appearance is too exaggerated.  Their faces are too chubby, their eyes are too round, and they have an overbite. I’m also not a fan of their stuffed bodies with vinyl limbs. They remind me too much of the baby dolls that I had as a child. But on a recent trip to Toys R Us, I casually browsed the American Girl section, mainly to see if they made any redheaded dolls. They do – one. Number 61, to be exact. But I still wasn’t enamored enough of them to buy one, especially with their $114 price tags. But when I saw the WellieWisher dolls, I was smitten. They instantly appealed to me for many reasons: their smaller size (14.5″ versus the 18″ American Girls), their lower price tag ($60), and their all-vinyl bodies. Their facial features are more realistic and well-proportioned than the American Girl line. But what I loved most about them was how outdoors-oriented the line is. With their cheery wardrobe and adorable rain boots (the name Welliewishers is a nod to their Wellington boots), these dolls look like they’re ready to go outside and jump over puddles or climb trees, and do other fun things that kids like me did back in the day before the invention of the Internet and smartphones.

1The WellieWishers debuted in June of 2016, and the line serves as an extremely well-edited version of American Girl dolls. It manages to sum up ethnic diversity in just five dolls. Camille has blonde hair and Willa has red hair. Kendall is African-American. Ashlyn is a brunette with tan skin who could appeal to Hispanic little girls, and Emerson is Asian. Of course I gravitated to Willa, who has red hair and freckles just like me. Where was she when I was eight years old? When the dolls debuted, they came in a box with only a flower-shaped window revealing the doll’s face, leaving the body hidden. Now the boxes have windows revealing the entire doll, so you can see the doll’s outfit as well as its face. The back of the box features appealing illustrations reminiscent of children’s books (the Welliewishers also includes a line of children’s books based on the characters).

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The doll came with two pieces of literature. I love doll literature! The first is a brochure that goes into more detail about the dolls.

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The second brochure contains tips for caring for your American Girls dolls, with information inside on how to join the American Girls club.

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Willa has red hair styled in large sausage-curled pigtails, with green eyes and freckles. She came out of the box with one curl intact and one that had lost much of its curl. As the back of her box tells us, she’s a nature-loving adventurer who loves animals. If the box didn’t tell us that, you could tell she loves animals just by her outfit. She wears bunny ears lined in the same fabric as her skirt, which features a mid-century-modern-esque print of stylized hedgehogs. Her shirt has an animal face with whiskers and ears. Is it a cat? Is it a bear? I can’t tell, but it’s adorable.

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skirt detail

What really appealed to me about Willa’s outfit were her ladybug boots. I couldn’t get a clear shot of them so I apologize for the blurry closeup photo.

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The quality of the clothing is good. It’s not cheap or flimsy, but like most dolls these days, uses Velcro fasteners. The only thing that annoys me a little is the giant tag at the back of the bunny ears, which wouldn’t stay down no matter how many times  I tried to tuck it under.

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Since Welliewishers love to play outside, I took Willa outside to photograph her. She can stand on her own but needs some adjustment to her feet because the weight of her body makes her fall forward. And when I tried to get her to bend over or sit, her legs would splay out – just like first-wave Tressy dolls.

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Next, I took Willa into the yard to play. She played on the rocks.

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She also climbed trees.

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As you can see, the outdoors really suits Willa. There are other outfits and accessories sold separately for WellieWishers, including a playhouse and an awesome-looking garden tent. Welliewishers are sold wherever American Girl dolls are sold, including Toys R Us and American Girl online. They’re also sold in the American Girl stores. I went to an American Girl store once. It was the one in the Natick Mall in Massachusetts, where I stopped out of curiosity during a road trip. I was amazed that it had a salon and a cafe.

An episode of Bob’s Burgers parodied the experience perfectly when Linda took Tina and Louise to the “Special Girl” store. Of course, the dolls freaked Tina out.  😂

Despite my previous reluctance to buy into the American Girl hype, I find myself smitten with WellieWishers. They’re adorable! Their faces, while emulating the same toothy grin as American Girls, seem better-proportioned. WellieWishers are everything American Girl dolls should be – more manageable, less creepy. At half the price of the larger dolls, maybe more little girls can own and love an American Girl doll with WellieWishers. I don’t see myself buying another WellieWisher doll, but I do plan on buying clothes and accessories for my Willa doll.

Do you own any WellieWisher dolls? Which one(s) do you have? What about them appealed to you?

Wonder Woman Dolls by Mattel

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Ghoulia13 and I saw the Wonder Woman movie yesterday, so now I’m on a Wonder Woman jag. Never mind I’ve been annoying the heck out of Ghoulia13 by singing the theme to the Wonder Woman 1970s television show all week in anticipation of seeing the movie. So after we saw the movie, we headed to Walmart and bought the dolls. Like, all the dolls. Well, almost all the dolls.

I bought Battle Ready Wonder Woman, Diana Prince in Evening Gown with Hidden Sword, and the Walmart-exclusive Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor 2-pack (I love how the Walmart website’s URL calls it the “WW-Steve-Trevor-Chris-Pine-2-Pack”), all by Mattel. To clarify any confusion about these dolls, the playline Wonder Woman dolls are not Barbie-as-Wonder-Woman dolls. The adult collector Barbie Wonder Woman Paradise Island Gift Set dolls offered on the Barbie Collector website (yes, I ordered them!) are on Barbie and Ken bodies.The playline dolls are on beefier bodies. They are fully articulated, but in a clumsier way than the adult collector bodies which, judging from the photos, use the Barbie Made to Move bodies. But the sturdier bodies would hold up better for play, and I hope little girls all across the country are reenacting battle scenes with their Wonder Woman dolls.

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Battle Ready Wonder Woman comes in her superhero outfit, complete with diadem, bullet-deflecting armbands, and trademark long boots.

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She also comes with her golden lasso that compels people to tell the truth. It would have been nice if she came with her sword and shield, but those accessories come with the Wonder Woman Shield Block doll. The outfit is kind of cheap. It’s just a thin one-piece dress with printed details, right down to the folds of her skirt.

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Wonder Woman is articulated at the knees and elbows but not at the wrists. The articulation is good but could be better. I tried to put Wonder Woman in her bullet-deflecting pose but I couldn’t cross her forearms high enough. This is as close as I could get:

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The Diana Prince in Evening Gown recreates the beautiful dress Wonder Woman wore when she went undercover to the Imperialist German officers’ gala, against Steve’s orders (because Wonder Woman doesn’t take orders from any man, see?!).

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It even comes with her superhero boots, which she wore to the gala under her gown – you know, just in case she needed to kick some enemy a**.

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The Wonder Woman dolls are pretty, but I think they only slightly capture the likeness of Gal Gadot. The adult collector doll, of better quality, looks more like Ms. Gadot. And just look at all the glue in the playline Diana’s hair!

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But the main attraction with this doll is that, unlike Battle Ready Wonder Woman, the Diana Prince doll does come with her God-killer sword. The dress has a loop inside to accommodate the sword. I know everyone who’s seen the movie and bought this doll has taken this same picture, but here you go:

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Because this doll didn’t come with armbands, it was on this doll that I realized something funny about the Wonder Woman playline dolls. Her arms are muscular, in that sinewy, Madonna kind of way. But it occurred to me that the Wonder Woman dolls use the same arms as the Monster High boy dolls! They look like they’re taken from the same mold as the first-wave boys such as Deuce Gorgon that didn’t have articulated wrists, and feature the same peg-in-joint construction at the elbows. It reminds me of that episode of Seinfeld where Jerry dated the woman with man hands.

The Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor 2-pack features Diana dressed in her warrior training outfit that she wore on the island of Themyscira, or as Steve Trevor called it, Paradise Island. Again, it’s a cheap dress with a printed design. Diana’s hair is pulled back into a long braid. Like Evening Gown Diana Prince, she also comes with a sword.

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It was on Themyscira that Diana met Steve when his plane crashed. But the Steve doll isn’t wearing the outfit Steve wore when he landed on the island. Rather, it’s wearing the outfit he wore when he and Diana went to Belgium later in the movie.

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The Steve Trevor doll comes with a revolver and a holster. He also has articulated arms and legs, but no wrist articulation. His hand isn’t shaped in a position to adequately hold his gun, unlike Wonder Woman, who has one hand shaped so that her fingers can close around the sword’s handle. The gun looks fine in this photo, but it was loose in Steve’s hand and is really just resting in it. His hand can’t grasp the gun if a child were playing with it and making the doll run around shooting at bad guys.

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For those who want the outfit Steve wore on Themyscira, the pricier adult collector Paradise Island set features it. I was a bit disappointed with the painted-on pants and boots on the Steve Trevor doll, which means options for redressing him are limited.

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And the hair color on the doll is too dark. The doll has black hair, (he could almost pass for Benedict Cumberbatch), whereas Chris Pine has brown hair. The marketing photo on the Walmart website shows the prototype with a more accurate hair color.

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photo courtesy of Walmart

The adult collector Paradise Island Steve Trevor doll has rooted brown hair and looks more like Chris Pine than the playline Steve Trevor doll does. However, the playline doll got the most important feature right – recreating Chris Pine’s piercing baby blue eyes.

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I had fun photographing my Wonder Woman dolls. As I was posing them in various action poses and reenacting scenes from the movie, I had flashbacks of myself as a child playing with my dolls outside on the walkway to my house. If I had these dolls when I was nine years old I would make Wonder Woman fight and kick butt! Since the playline Wonder Woman dolls don’t use Barbie bodies, I can’t dress them in Barbie fashions, but I wonder if some of the Mego fashions of the 70s, made for dolls like Cher and Farrah Fawcett, might.

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I hope the Wonder Woman movie is inspiring the imaginations of girls, big and small, everywhere. Judging from posts on Facebook and Instagram, I think it is.

 

And I think I have a thing for Chris Pine now. 😍😍😍

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

23I 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?
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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?