Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Escada Barbie

I remember admiring the Escada Barbie at Myer Melbourne when I first started collecting, but couldn’t afford the steep A$150 price tag on a uni student’s budget. This Barbie is magnificent and perfectly designed, so when I saw her on eBay a few years ago, I made a starting bid at A$50. Unfortunately I missed out by $1 (argh!), but the seller was kind to email me to say she had another Escada Barbie and I could have it for A$50! Yeah!

Barbie’s dark chocolate brown hair is perfectly coiffed in an elaborate chignon and she wears black crystal drop earrings and matching bracelet. She has a gorgeous sun kissed complexion, and her makeup is kept minimal, allowing one to admire her brown eyes, rooted eye lashes and pink open lip smile.

Barbie's gown is spectacular with a tight fitted black velvet bodice. The plastic strap holding the dress has disintegrated over the years, but Barbie has not had an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction (yet)! Her skirt of pink silk shantung layered ball gown is edged with black velvet, and perfectly complements her pink and black stole. I haven’t de-boxed this Barbie so I’m not sure what kind of shoes she wears, but given the quality and detail of the design, I’m sure her feet are adorned with perfect shoes!

Release date: 1 January 1996
Label: Limited Edition
Ebay price as at January 2013: US$35 - US$140

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Twilight Saga Collection: Twilght Bella and Edward Barbie & Ken

I’m rather embarrassed to admit this, but I’m a HUGE fan of the Twilight series! I bought the first book in 2009 after the release of the movie on DVD thinking that I should read it to find out what the fuss is about. I was instantly addicted to the book, and thought Edward Cullen was just smouldering on the page – literally smould-er-ing! I went to buy the remaining three books the very next day, and read the whole series in a week! Yes, all four books in one week , even though I was working long hours, but I just loved Edward*.

When the Bella Swan and Edward Cullen Barbie and Ken dolls were released, I just had to buy them. The Bella Barbie is pretty with her long brown hair swept back with a black hair band, brown eyes and pink close lip smile. She wears a denim jacket (ahem, with nothing underneath!) and jeans with sneakers – and looks like a typical teenager. I think the brass zip looks big and clumsy and out of proportion with the doll, the pockets on the jacket are poorly sewn and Mattel should have at least have dressed her in a t-shirt under her jacket.

The Edward doll is a huge disappointment because he looks nothing like Robert Pattinson – who is incredibly handsome in the first movie. His auburn hair is just a mess and looks nothing like it did in the film, and his facial sculpture is poorly chiseled and just looks odd. The doll’s complexion is pale with glitter, and I know you are wondering whether he glitters all over, the answer is no. The glitter is only on his face and torso, and his limbs are pasty white. Before you ask, the answer is "no", I did not undress Edward (I'm too much of a lady), I just peaked up his sleeves and pant cuffs! Edward wears a blue shirt under a thick wool coat teamed with black pants and black leather shoes.

It is a Pink Collection and the quality of the dolls and clothes is disappointing. Did anyone from Mattel read or watch the movie?

* The sensible side of me knows that the story is wrong on so many levels, but Edward was such gentleman. I know, I’m full of contradictions...

Release date: 1 October 2009
Mattel price: US$24.95 each
Label: Pink
Ebay price as at November 2012: US$19 - $30

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Barbie and Ken as Arwen and Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings

JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books (and films) have such a huge following, but it’s not a genre that I’m particularly keen on so I’ve only watched the first film of the trilogy. Barbie and Ken as Arwen and Aragorn is a popular set among Barbie collectors as well as fans of the books and film which have seen a prices on the secondary market reach up to US$250. Arwen gave up her immortality to marry mortal Aragorn so this set depicts their wedding.

Barbie as Arwen wears a pale green gown with long billowing sleeves which appears to be made of light velvet. The neckline and cuffs are embellished with silver braids, and a white chiffon stole is drapped around her. Like LivTyler who plays Arwen, Barbie has a beautiful face with brown eyes and red lips. She has long, wavy brown hair and wears a narrow crown with strands of green beads adorning the sides. What makes this Barbie unique are her elf ears and I’m pleased Mattel made the effort to include this detail even though they are covered by her hair.

Ken as Aragorn, played by Viggo Mortensen, appears very masculine, and unlike The Waltz Ken who I said looks sleazy with his pencil thin mustache, Aragorn’s goatee looks pretty hot. He wears a silver crown and has shoulder length brown hair. His body armour is well made and looks heavy over his steel mesh tunic. Ken wears a deep red cape (capes now make me laugh ever since Iron Man made a snide remark about Thor wearing his mother’s drapes in The Avengers). Ken carries a sword and wears sturdy looking boots.

I've always been tempted to sell this set, but on further reflection, the quality and detail of his set is superb and I don't think I can part with them. 

Date of release: 1 November  2003
Mattel price: US$59.97
Label: Collector Edition
Ebay price as at November 2012: US$200 - $250

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Model No. 05 — Collection 001

My Aunty Jenny took one look at this Model No. 05 and shook her head in disgust saying she looked like a vixen, which isn't a compliment if you are Chinese (see Huli Jing)!

Model No. 05 features the Kayla/Lea face sculpt and is made to look "ethnic" (cringe). She has long black hair, blown eyes with dramatic smokey eye makeup and full red lips. Her finger and toes nails are painted in the same shade of red.

Barbie wears a tight fitted strapless knee-length dress, and black open toe high heels. I wasn't a huge fan of the Basics Collection, but Mattel had so kindly modeled this Barbie after me, I couldn't resist buying her!

Date of Release: 19 November 2009
Mattel price: US$19.95
Label: Black
Ebay price as at November 2012: US$35 - US$80

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Waltz Barbie and Ken Giftset

This Waltz Barbie and Ken Giftset is still in the box because it is so beautifully presented, and de-boxing the dolls would mean that their waltz embrace would be lost. This set is wonderfully designed and produced, and the details are what makes collecting such a pleasure.

Barbie is beautiful, with her blonde hair neatly combed back and secured in a pink hairnet which sounds terribly old fashion but looks elegant. Her face is serene with blue eyes and deep pink lips. She wears a beaded choker and pink crystal stud earrings. Her pink chiffon and charmeuse gown has a hand beaded bodice, and is edged with pink marabou feathers which would flow and sway elegantly as she dances. A pair of pink opera length gloves and pink high heels completes her outfit.

I’m not sure I like Ken which is unfair because he does look dashing in his black tuxedo with tails. His crisp white shirt and matching bow tie and vest is teamed with a black jacket, pants and polish black dress shoes which is a handsome ensemble. His brown hair is slicked back, but what makes him look a bit sleazy is his thin moustache! Yes, a moustache! I know facial hair is the look du jour, but I don’t think it was needed in this case. Mattel also released a Barbie and Ken Tango Giftset where Ken has a goatee which makes him look a little sleazy too. Unless it’s Movember, clean shaven Ken is the way to go.  

Date of release: 1 June 2003
Mattel price: US$150.00
Label: Limited Edition
Ebay price as at October 2012: US$100 - $200

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Fair Lady - Ascot

This Barbie as Eliza Dolittle from the 1964 film My Fair Lady is beautifully recreated by Mattel. Professor Henry Higgins and Colonel Hugh Pickering had decided that Eliza was ready to venture into "society" and is talking about her dress for the races at Ascot:

~ I'll bet you that damned gown doesn't fit.
~ I warned you about these French designers. We should've gone to an English shop. They would've been on our side.

Barbie has brown eyes and rooted eyelashes. Barbie wears a slim fitted white lace gown (which I found a little coarse) with a lace train which flares elegantly at her feet. Her dress is embellished with black and white ribbons, and her neckline and cuffs are trimmed with white organza ruffles. She wears a dramatic black trimmed, white satin hat adorned with ribbons, flowers and marabou feathers. Her brown hair is tucked in a lace cap attached to her hat.  Barbie wears sheer wrist length gloves, carries a lace parasol and wears white high heels.

Despite having the countenance of a lady of fine breeding, Eliza loses herself in the excitement of the race by shouting: Come on, Dover! Move your bloomin' arse! Well, the woman was highly spirited and certainly was the life of the party!

Release date: 1 January 1996
Label: Collector Edition
Ebay price as at October 2012: US$40 - US$100

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dolls of the World: Thai Barbie

I bought this Thai Barbie with Polish Barbie when Uncle Charles and I were on the hunt for dolls in Kuala Lumpur in 1998. Like the Polish Barbie, Thai Barbie is beautifully designed and crafted and the quality and details are superb. I said to Uncle Charles that I didn’t like the face (I now think she's beautiful), and he replied that it is what Thai women look like.
I have seen this dance being performed in Phuket many years ago, and Mattel has done a fine job replicating the traditional Lakorn dance costume. Barbie’s short black hair is neatly tied back under a gold headdress which is embellished with an orange ribbon. She has a tan complexion with brown eyes and full red lips. Her cuffs are made of gold fabric, and she is the only Barbie I have without shoes! Barbie wears an emerald, ruby and gold top, which has an attached green cape edged with gold trimming. Barbie wears a gold brocade ankle length skirt.
Release date: 1 January 1998
Label: Collector Edition
Mattel price: US$24.99
Ebay price as at October 2012: US$15 - US$50

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dolls of the World: Polish

Part of the Dolls of the World series, this Polish Barbie is beautifully designed and well made. Uncle Charles (see Irish Barbie) and I found this doll at SOGO department store in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 along with Thai Barbie which are my favourites because of the fond memory it triggers when I see them.

Barbie’s blonde hair is worn in two thick braids fastened with red ribbons and a crown of flowers adorns her head. Her Polish folk costume consists of a white, long puff sleeved with a ruffled trim blouse with a rounded collar. Her floral embroidered black velvet vest is fastened with red ribbons, and she wears a strand of red breads and matching earrings. Barbie wears a calf length striped skirt, and I love her white lace apron tied with a white satin ribbon. She wears a pair of red knee high boots.

Release date: 1 January 1998
Mattel price: US$24.99
Label: Collector Edition
Ebay price as at October 2012: US$24 - US$65

Friday, October 5, 2012

Lady Camille

Lady Camille is the second Barbie released as part of the Portrait Collection (see Mademoiselle Isabelle) and I think her most striking feature is her amazing hair. Her side parted, auburn brown with blonde streaks is curled in ringlets and is enviously full and luscious. Her complexion however is deathly pale, and I think too pale for her hair and the gown she is wearing. This Barbie reminds me of Kristen Dunst’s character, Claudia in Interview with the Vampire. Claudia was pale (she was a vampire) and her hair is similar to the scene where she fiercely cuts off her locks, which magically regenerates seconds later. I think this is what Claudia would have looked like if she was turned into a vampire at adulthood.

Barbie wears a pair of gold filigree tear shaped pearl drop earrings, and a double stranded pearl choker. Her champagne coloured jacquard gown is stunning, with sheer chiffon draping elegantly around her shoulders and billowing around hips. The gown is embellished with strands of pearls, and pearls are also sewn to her dress. As this Barbie is stilled boxed, I can't see what kind of shoes she is wearing.

This Barbie is intended to remain in the box because it is packaged in a 19th century shadowbox style to resemble a framed three dimensional painting. Barbie appears to be standing in a drawing room before a grand mirror and fireplace. She has a reflection in the mirror, so she couldn't possibly be a vampire?

Date of release: 1 February 2003
Mattel price: US$79.00
Label: Limited Collection
Ebay price as at October 2012: US$110 - US$300

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mademoiselle Isabelle

My Mum thinks Mademoiselle Isabelle is ugly and is her least favourite in my collection. I suppose I’m not that taken by her and only bought her because she was on sale and would accompany Lady Camille who is also stuck immortalized in a painting. I suppose Isabelle, first in the Portraits Collection series is rather elaborate and is draped in too many layers of fabric but the details are delightful!

Barbie’s hair is elegantly fashioned in a chignon with fine braids circling her crown with pink and teal flowers pinned at the side. Her brown eyes are glancing sideways (who is she checking out?) and she wears pearl stud earrings and a double stand of pearls with a cameo brooch. Her gown consists of mauve satin bodice with elbow length ruffled sleeves which are embellished with lace. White chiffon is criss-crossed around her torso and waist, and a corsage of flowers shows off her tiny waist. Her full teal taffeta shirt features a mauve satin draping in the centre and white lace. She also has a white chiffon shawl edged with lace and her white gloved hands carries a fan. The outfit is trying to do so much and I admire the factory worker who put this elaborate ensemble together – just think of the tiny stitches!
Like Lady Camille, Mademoiselle Isabelle is packaged in a 19th century shadowbox. The backdrop is inspired by Rococco style of art which originated in 18th century France.

Date of release: 1 August 2002
Mattel price: US$79
Label: Limited Collection
Ebay price as at October 2012: US$140 - US$260

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Jude Deveraux The Raider Barbie and Ken Doll Giftset

I don’t remember where I bought this Jude Deveraux The Raider Barbie and Ken Doll Giftset, but it was on sale so you know I couldn’t walk away. Barbie (as Jessica Taggert) and Ken (as Alexander Montgomery/The Raider) are characters of Jude Deveraux’s The Raider romance novel, and it just makes me giggle when I look at them because it is so corny (in a good way). The display box resembles a cover of the book with the damsel (why are they always in distress?) looking like she is about to faint into the arms of an alpha male (why can’t these guys keep their shirt on? Well, I suppose with abs like that…). It’s hilarious – just look at them!

Barbie’s long blonde hair falls gently into waves, and she has a dreamy far away look in her eyes as she gazes at Ken. Her off-the-shoulder dress is trimmed with white lace and has short chiffon puff sleeves. Her violet blue taffeta bodice is laced up in ribbons accentuating her minuscule waist and ample bosom. Her full skirt consist of a violet blue floral jacquard under a sheer layer of periwinkle chiffon which is gathered at the left hip adorned with a posy of lilac and white flowers.

Ken looks very muscular indeed with his impressive abs and bulging biceps which are hidden under a puffy white shirt with full long sleeves. His shirt is unbutton (of course), and tucked into his tight black pants. He wears a thick black brass buckled belt and long black leather boots. Ken has tied back shoulder length brown hair, brown eyes and his five o’clock shadow supposedly adds to his manly good looks!

This set does not come with doll stands so Barbie and Ken will forever pose like this. This set is classified under the Fantasy category. 

Release date: 1 June 2003
Mattel price: US$79
Label: Limited Edition
Ebay price as at September 2012: US$50 - US$200

Friday, September 7, 2012

Scarlett O'Hara: Black & White Dress

The black and white gown Scarlett O'Hara wore during her New Orleans honeymoon is not my favourite, and I wished Mattel reproduce another ensemble from Gone with the Wind ~ like the white layered dress with the red belt in the opening scene, or the striking blue outfit worn when Scarlett visited Ashley Wilkes at the lumber mill.

I did like Rhett Butler's proposal, after all, what kind of girl wouldn't like to be spoilt rotten from the proceeds of racketeering?

Rhett: Say yes. Say yes.
Scarlett: Yes.
Rhett: Are you sure you meant it? You don't want to take it back?
Scarlett: No.
Rhett: Look at me and try to tell me the truth. Did you say yes because of my money?
Scarlett: Well yes. Partly.
Rhett: Partly?
Scarlett: Well, you know, Rhett, money does help, and of course I am fond of you.
Rhett: Fond of me?
Scarlett: If I said I was madly in love with you, you'd know I was lying but you always said we had a lot in common.
Rhett: Yes, you're right, my dear. I'm not in love with you any more than you are with me. Heaven help the man who ever really loves you. What kind of a ring would you like, my darling?
Scarlett: A diamond ring. And do buy a great big one, Rhett.
Rhett: You shall have the biggest and the most vulgar ring in Atlanta. We'll go to New Orleans for the most expensive honeymoon my ill-gotten gains can buy.
Scarlett: That would be just heavenly.

Barbie's brown hair is in ringlets and she has rooted eyelashes. She wears gold and coral drop earrings which matches her brooch securing her black lace scarf. Her white gown is sewn in panels with a horizontal grain and has a rounded colour and pearl buttons down the front. Barbie carries a faux fur muff and wears a white hat. Like the other Barbies in the series, Barbie wears a pair of pantelettes and a hoop skirt, but this Barbie's petticoat is edged with white lace (where as the Twelve Oaks barbecue dress had ruffled layers, and the green drapery dress had a single layer of tulle).

Release date: 1 January 1995
Label: Collector Edition
Ebay price as at September 2012: US$25 - US$50

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Trench Setter

Aside from Robert Best's gorgeous drawings printed on the trench coat, this Trench Setter Silktone Barbie is really boring! I simply cringed when I typed "trench setter"! Her side parted shoulder length blonde hair is curled at the ends, and she wears silver earrings. She has a beauty spot above her pale pink lips (which matches her painted finger nails) and has dramatically lined eyes with blue eyeshadow. She looks lifeless (yes, I know she is a doll) and a little forlorn. Perhaps she is sad because she could have worn any outfit, yet Mattel decided to dress her in this utterly dull ensemble.

Front view of the trench coat

Back view of the trench coat
Barbie wears a plain white cotton blouse teamed with a super tiny black skirt. She carries a black handbag and wears black court shoes. If Mattel releases dolls wearing the outfits printed on the coat, I will scrimp and save every cent to buy them!

Release date: 1 February 2003
Mattel price: US$69.99
Label: Limited Collection
Ebay price as at August 2012: US$65 - $US90