Category Archives: Barbie

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

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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?

The Barbie Look Sweet Tea Barbie

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Sweet Tea Barbie is one of three dolls that comprise the new The Barbie Look collection for Spring 2016. Each of the three dolls were inspired by looks that were featured on the Barbie Style account on Instagram , which, if you’re not following, you’re missing out on some amazing Barbie clothes and scenes.

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The Barbie Look dolls are part of the Barbie Collection Black Label series. The Barbie Look dolls retail for $29.95 each. I was immediately drawn to the collection because the dolls are fully articulated, yet are reasonably priced. Sweet Tea Barbie appealed to me the most because I loved her outfit, and I thought her face was very pretty. It’s more sophisticated than the sometimes-vapid, open-mouthed playline Barbie face. According to Sweet Tea Barbie‘s designer, Bill Greening, the face has “only been used on a few higher-priced collector dolls.” Her long brunette hair ends in a curly flip, and I love her bangs. She’s like a modern Audrey Hepburn.

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Sweet Tea Barbie wears a pink satiny sleeveless blouse with ruffles down the front, paired with a black floral skirt. She comes with a white purse, pink strappy peeptoe sandals, and rhinestone earrings and a bracelet. She also comes with a stand and, like all Barbie Collector dolls, a certificate of authenticity. The attention to detail is very good.

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Rhinestone earrings

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Rhinestone bracelet

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Designer-style handbag

I especially love how her fingernails are painted pink (see above photo), but her toenails are painted black. Maybe Sweet Tea Barbie has a little bit of edginess in her!

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Sweet Tea Barbie comes with tea-themed accessories, as you would imagine, including a plate with a non-removable scone, a cup and saucer, and a menu. The menu is written in gibberish. It would have been more fun if it had real words and read like a tea room menu. Oh well.

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The Barbie Look dolls are articulated at the neck, elbows, wrists, and knees. They can’t quite put their hands over their mouths like the Integrity dolls do, and they’re not articulated under the bust, but I’m happy to have an articulated Barbie again after the Barbie Fashionista line, which started out as the articulated alternative to the usual Barbie line, suddenly started using un-articulated bodies (bad move, Mattel).  Are there any playline Barbies that have an articulated body anymore?

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I can sweep my hair back, but I can’t cover my mouth

I have to admit, Sweet Tea Barbie isn’t the only Barbie Look doll I fell in love with. I also purchased the Urban Jungle Barbie. She’s equally sophisticated but edgier than Sweet Tea Barbie.  I want both their outfits in real sizes, please!

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For a reasonable price, Sweet Tea Barbie offers a more articulated version of the Barbie doll. Although intended for the adult collector, I think it would also be suitable for older children and teens. But with none of the playline dolls featuring full articulation anymore, would you justify spending $30 for articulation when we used to be able to spend around $20? Is this a harbinger of things to come with Mattel? It seems that with their playline sales dropping, perhaps getting rid of articulation wasn’t a good idea. What do you think?

Do you have any of the Barbie Look dolls? What do you think of them?

Holly Jolly Christmas: What We Found Under Our Tree

Happy New Year, everyone! We hope you had a wonderful holiday.  We wish we could say our Christmas was uneventful, but it had its ups and downs this year. Practically everyone in our family was under the weather, including Ghouliette, who has a nasty cold and cough. Ghoulia13 was perfectly fine until she fell flat on her face on the sidewalk on Christmas Eve while walking the dog. She spent a couple of hours in the ER. She ended up with four stitches and, thanks to two black eyes the next day, looked like she’d been hit by a bus. Luckily, nothing was broken. Thankfully, both of us are on the mend. Needless to say, we were both happy and relieved to return to our house after dinner on Christmas evening to open the pile of presents underneath our tree. Unfortunately, neither one of us was smart enough to take a picture of all the presents before we opened them, but it was a pretty sight to behold. We had a great time opening everything; both of us were impatient to receive certain favorites we knew were waiting for us this Christmas. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA There were old favorites like Monster High and Barbie, as well as new favorites such as Makies. Frozen and My Little Pony were also well represented. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Shopkins also made an appearance, but that was mainly out of curiosity. We’ll see how we feel about them in the long run… OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Introducing our Makies! We were looking forward to these most of all. And they were worth the wait–we love them! Here’s the roundup of Ghouliette’s gifts to Ghoulia13: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA JC Penny’s Frozen Coronation Anna and Elsa 2 pack, JC Penny Kristoff doll, Monster High Gloom ‘n Bloom Venus McFlytrap, Monster High Monster Exchange Lorna McNessie… OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Barbie and Midge 50th Anniversary reproduction set with a teaset, Monster High Pack of Trouble, My Little Pony Pop Pinkie Pie Sweete Shoppe, MLP Pop Bakery Decorator Kit, MLP Pop Zecora, Ever After High lip balms, and a Makie named Priscilla.

Ghouliette’s gifts from Ghoulia13 were the following: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Seasonal Sweets Princess Merida, Barbie Glam Washer and Dryer, Shopkins, Hello Kitty baked goods, Strawberry Shortcake Sweet Beats Plum Pudding and Raspberry Torte, a Makie named Jolene… OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Strawberry Shortcake Sweet Beats stage set, Frozen Friends, Ever After High Glass Slipper shoe store, and the Monster High Catacombs playset.

So yeah, that’s everything!  Lots of Christmas wishes came true: Ghoulia13 has been fruitlessly searching for the Pack Of Trouble since it came out. Ghouliette has been yearning for the Glass Slipper shoe store since she first heard it was coming out. Both of us were itching to get our hands on Makies.

Dolls under the tree are great, but being able to spend Christmas day warm and safe with those we love, eating our favorite foods together, was truly priceless. We love our toys and all, but we recognize the blessings we have in our lives.  We hope you all have lots of blessings in your lives, too. We hope 2015 is a happy and healthy year for you all. Stay tuned for our in-depth review of Makies, coming very soon. We can’t wait to start working on it!

Did you all get the dolls you wanted this year? What made you happy this holiday season? Share with us in the comments!

More Fun With Fake Food!

Yup, it’s time once again for our recurring theme: Fun With Fake Food.  Because Ghouliette and I cannot stop buying dolls and playsets that come with little plastic food.  Or stoves. Or kitchens. Today’s edition of Fun With Fake Food comes to you courtesy of Mattel and Barbie.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Wal-Mart’s toy aisle and I spotted this in the sea of pink and red that is the Barbie aisle:

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Barbie: Cake Baker? Oh, Mattel, you had me at Cake. The irony here is that, when I bought this, I had just put a Moxie Girlz Baker doll back on the shelf because I didn’t want to “waste money” on dolls that week. I was feeling like a responsible adult (which doesn’t happen often), and then I spied Barbie. What did I do? I grabbed the Barbie Cake Baker, of course…aaaaand…went back and picked up the Moxie Girlz Baker, too. In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

So let’s take a look. It’s not a full playset, but a doll with extras, which I love. Let’s call it a mini-playset. Barbie Cake Baker comes with a Barbie doll, an antique-inspired gas-top oven and attached counter, and a large four-tiered cake that separates into four single cakes. The cake sign attached to the oven suggests Barbie is working in a shop rather than a home kitchen. I love the little gas burners on the stovetop.

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Barbie is dressed in a cute polka-dot top and pink capris, and high heels. The apron is stitched onto the capris and does not have a tie-back in the back. Barbie wears a hard plastic chef’s hat (removable) and holds a piping bag for icing cakes. You gotta hand it to Mattel on how well  they handle the details.

But there’s more–this oven set is full of surprises…

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The drawer opens and closes. But that’s not all: The oven door opens and closes, too, and each time you open the oven door…

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The batter in the pan goes from raw…

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…to done! The oven rack and pan flip over each time the oven door is opened. Adorable, yes?!

The cake is a really neat feature. It’s four smaller cakes and two rings of outer piping that stack on top of each other. Barbie can serve one enormous cake, or four smaller ones.

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I like Barbie’s outfit in this playset. It’s adorable, and a huge step up from the outfit she wears in another kitchen playset I bought from Mattel. Remember the harsh words I had for the flimsy and unimaginative dress Barbie wears in the From Stovetop to Tabletop playset? Big improvement this time, Mattel!

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I’m very pleased with this doll and accessories. Mainly because I can never have enough toy ovens and cakes. But everything here is bright, appealing and nicely detailed. I loved playing with this and taking pictures. I have a lot more fun planned with this set for the holidays.

Barbie Cake Baker retails at a reasonable price for a doll and accessories. I paid $19.97 at Wal-Mart.

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Until next time!

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Blast from the Past: 1 Modern Circle Melody

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Happy New Year! Ghouliette here. I hope everyone had a very happy holiday season. I’ve been a bit remiss in my blogging duties of late (too busy playing with the dollies I got for Christmas), but I hope to rectify that today.  This past weekend I took out my Ikea Huset playset and had some fun. Since Ghoulia13 already reviewed it, I won’t go into details about it. but needless to say, I really wanted this playset. I bought two of them because I wanted a second Expedit bookcase. I added two end tables and lamps from the Barbie Loves Jonathan Adler doll, and a screen that I bought on eBay that was originally part of the Barbie Fashion Fever Velvet Crush furniture set, along with various odds and ends, mostly from Rement, and my doll apartment is complete. I like to imagine it’s a stylish little studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (because Brooklyn is hip these days, isn’t it?). Now for the doll.

The 1 Modern Circle gang

The 1 Modern Circle gang. Image courtesy of Mattel.

Out of all my dolls, I asked myself, which one looks most like she would live in a funky studio apartment in Williamsburg? The answer was obvious: 1 Modern Circle Melody. The 1 Modern Circle dolls were released in 2003. The set was comprised of four dolls, each one using a vintage face mold. But don’t let the vintage faces fool you. The 1 Modern Circle gang are the epitome of 21st century cosmopolitan hipsters. They all work for the Modern Circle Production Company. What do they produce, you ask? I’m not sure, it’s kind of vague. Commercials? Infomercials? Talk shows? For some reason I like to imagine that they produce soap operas. Barbie is the producer, and her face uses the original vintage Barbie face. Ken is the designer, and he features the original vintage Ken face sculpt. Simone is the makeup artist, and underneath her totally rad dreads you’ll find a vintage face mold (Mattel doesn’t mention which one, but it looks to me like the 1970s Barbie before they switched to the Superstar Barbie, perhaps the Malibu Barbie face? What do you think?). And then there’s Melody.

Melody is the production assistant for Modern Circle Productions. According to Mattel, Melody is “the most carefree and energetic spirit of the group, and her style is in step with what’s cool for work and play.” Her face uses the Twist ‘n Turn Barbie face mold (some online doll collectors report that Melody uses the Steffie face mold, but the official Mattel listing for this doll says it’s the Twist ‘n Turn Barbie face, and it seems the 1 Modern Circle girls all use a Barbie face mold of one type or another). Melody has freckles, and a cute little blue flip. She comes with a handbag and a cup of coffee – to go – because she’s got a very hectic schedule. She looks like she’s got to hop on the L train to get to her office in downtown Manhattan (I’m guessing. The 1 Modern Circle gang just look like the downtown types).

So with the Huset furniture set I imagined a typical evening at home for Melody. What do your dolls do when they’re at home?

Honey, I’m home. Oh, right, I live alone.

Melody relaxes with a magazine.

Melody relaxes with a magazine.

Even at home, Melody finds she's got to do some work.

Even at home, Melody finds she’s got to do some work.

Melody realizes her apartment could use some cleaning.

Melody realizes her apartment could use some cleaning.

Vacuuming is a chore, but somebody's gotta do it.

Vacuuming is a chore, but somebody’s gotta do it.

Now for some music.

Now for some music.

Vinyl is old school, and the hipsters dig it.

Vinyl is old school, and the hipsters dig it.

Now to put the headphones on and chill. That's right, I said "chill."

Now to put the headphones on and chill. That’s right, I said “chill.”

Chillin'

Chillin’

Barbie City Shopper 2013

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For the past several weeks when I went to WalMart for my regular Monster High runs, I kept noticing this little beauty. Yesterday when I saw her, I decided to finally buy her because, with my luck, the next time I go to WalMart specifically to buy her, she’ll be gone. The Barbie City Shopper is one of two new dolls in the City Shopper line for Fall 2013.

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Compared to Monster High dolls, City Shopper Barbie was very easy to unbox. I only needed scissors to cut the strings keeping her hair in place and to cut the two tiny ties in the back of her head. Everything else was held in place by plastic tabs that you “untie” and then slide out. (If you’ve ever unboxed a Monster High doll then you know what I’m talking about).

She features the Lara face on the Model Muse body. The Model Muse body, while perfect for this doll, does not offer very much in the way of poseability. Her arms are permanently bent, as is one leg. Her legs do not bend like the ball-jointed or click-knee Barbies, and her waist doesn’t twist. But her arms and legs are jointed at the sockets, and her head can move left and right, as well as limited up-and-down movement.

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cs10What really attracted me to the blonde City Shopper (there is also a brunette version) was her outfit. Her grey and black basket-weave-patterned-sweater mini-dress, paired with black opaque tights and high-heeled ankle-booties, makes the perfect Autumn ensemble for a day of shopping in the city. What else will she do while she’s in town? Perhaps she’ll have lunch in a quiet little restaurant, as yet-undiscovered by the masses of hipsters who inevitably ruin the atmospheres of such places once they become trendy. Then she can leisurely stroll down the street, her high-heeled boots crunching the crisp autumn leaves beneath them, as she sips on a pumpkin spice latte and ponders her next destination. Bendel’s? Bloomie’s? Bergdorf’s? Barney’s? Hey, how come all of the best department stores in New York begin with a B? Know what else begins with a B? Barbie!

City Shopper Barbie comes with a large red shopping bag emblazoned with her name. She also comes with a certificate of authenticity as part of the Barbie Collectors series.

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My thoughts on The City Shopper Barbie? I do wish I could pose her more, for photography and dioramas. But limited poseability aside, I think she’s a beautiful doll. I love her outfit (I can totally see myself wearing the exact same thing), and her face is very pretty. She has rooted eyelashes and white/silvery eye makeup. I found I couldn’t stop photographing her.

City Shopper Barbie retails for $24.95.

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