Friday, June 15, 2012

William and Catherine Royal Wedding Giftset

I didn't like the idea of a William and Catherine Royal Wedding Giftset as I thought the idea a little tacky. Ordinarily it is a complement to be immortalised as a Barbie and Ken doll (I wouldn't mind her figure), but they are royal (I sit on the fence with the republican-monarchy debate) and the dolls labeled under the "Pop Culture" category makes me cringe as I don't consider them "celebrities"! Then again, I suppose having their image on a commemorative plate or mug could be considered tasteless, but each to their own. I didn't intend to buy this set but it was on sale at Target, and I have trouble walking away from a bargain even if I'm a little conflicted! I'm full of contradictions, so now I own a tacky commemorative souvenir!

This is a Gold Label set limited to 22,500 units, and I think the high quantity resulted in poor quality dolls. If it is to be a Gold Label collection, then it should have a lower production run or at least be produced with finer quality materials (see Carolina Herrera and Monique Lhuillier, the later was limited to 8,500 units).

There is a likeness to Prince William (ah hem, minus the bald patch) and he looks somewhat dashing in his Colonel of the Irish Guards uniform. His red jacket is decorated with a blue sash, gold cummerbund with a gold fringe and medallions. He wears black pants and polished black shoes.

Designed by Sarah Burton, the creative director for the Alexander McQueen label, Catherine's ivory long sleeve lace and taffeta gown dress is simple and elegant. I was disappointed with the quality of the lace and taffeta used, and the coarseness of the tulle and lace veil. The doll resembles the Duchess of Cambridge with her dark brown hair, simple makeup (which she apparently did herself) and dimpled cheeks. She wears a tiara and diamond drop earrings which were a gift from her parents. She carries a bouquet of lilly of the valley, and wears the late Princess Diana's oval blue sapphire and diamond engagement ring to Prince Charles, which on doll size fingers looks a little clumsy. Despite my less than enthusiastic assessment of this set, it is any wonder why I bought it!

Release date: 14 February 2012
Mattel price: US$100
Label: Gold
Ebay price as at June 2012: US$120 - US$230

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's

I bought this Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's for a steal in 2010. I've pined for it for years but was always unsuccessful on eBay (thank goodness for broadband internet!) which usually sold for over A$200.

Though not officially a "Barbie" this doll is exquisite and a fine reproduction of the costume worn in the opening scene of the 1961 film. The doll's brown hair has curled fringed and up swept chignon. She wears a rhinestone tiara, pearl stud earrings and a triple strand pearl choker. Her accessories include black sunglasses, black handbag, a coffee cup, a bag containing her breakfast so she can eat and admire the jewels at Tiffany's. This doll is the epitome of style and elegance in her long, sleeveless black gown offset by a white stole and black opera gloves. Her ensemble is timeless and continues to be replicated today.

Although the film's story is a little different from the novel, it was a good adaptation despite the horrendous portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi by Mickey Rooney. This is not a personal attack against Mr Rooney, but having a Caucasian play an Asian character in such an offensive ethnic caricature was racist and offensive. I accept that it was the 1960s and we have come a long way, but we still have far to go as Hollywood now depicts most Asians in triad/gang societies who must resort to extreme violence to restore family honour! My life is pretty sedate in comparison...humm, unless someone outbids me on Ebay!

Release date: 1 January 1998
Label: Timeless Treasures
Mattel price: US$79.00
Ebay price as at June 2012: US$75 - US$230

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hollywood Premiere

This doll is always mistaken for Marilyn Monroe, but she is Hollywood Premiere Barbie from the Hollywood Movies Star Collection. Her platinum blonde hair is perfectly coiffed, and her makeup is dramatic with smokey eyes, full plum lips and a beauty mark under her left eye.

Barbie wears a pair of diamond stud earrings and a matching gold and diamond necklace. Her floor length, figure hugging shimmering white gown appears to be strapless but consist of a sheer, long sleeve top with a rounded neckline. I think Barbie could get away with wearing a strapless gown and Mattel could have ommitted the sheer top.The piece de resistance is her thick and luxurious faux fur stole making Barbie look like a star that she is.

Date of release: 1 January 2000

Mattel price: US$49.98
Label: Collector Edition
Ebay price as at June 2012: US$30 - US$100

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Scarlett O'Hara: Green Drapery Dress

I spent a long time looking for this Scarlett O'Hara Barbie dressed in green drapery to complete the Gone with the Wind series and finally found her at the Barbie Extravaganza in 2005. Every time I see curtains (umm... I must confess, even shower curtains), I envisage making a dress from it... but with my sewing skills, perhaps not! The following scene is a conversation between Scarlett O'Hara and Mammy:

Scarlett: I'm so thin and so pale, Mammy. And I haven't got any clothes!
Suddenly she straightens up as she catches a glimpse of the green portieres hanging at the windows. She swings around abruptly and with sudden brisk decision, walks to them.
Scarlett: (fingering the material and looking up) Scoot up to the attic and get Ma's old box of dress patterns, Mammy.
Mammy: Whut you up ter wid Miss Ellen's po'teers?
Scarlett: You're going to make me a new dress.
Mammy: Not outta Miss Ellen's po'teers! Not while Ah got bref in mah body!
Scarlett: (still staring at the portieres) Great balls of fire! They're my portieres now! (she jerks down the portieres, pole and all; drapes the material over her shoulder; turns back to Mammy)
Scarlett: I'm going to Atlanta for that three hundred dollars, and I've got to go looking like a queen.

Barbie's brown hair has more clearly defined ringlets compared to my other dolls in the series. She wears a green feathered hat which is trimmed with gold tassels. Her luscious green velvet gown has long sleeves and an open collar neckline, and is trimmed with gold braiding and tassels. Barbie wears white platelets and a white tulle petticoat hoop crinoline. Vivien Leigh who played Scarlette was beautiful, hence she would have looked stunning wearing anything, even a dress made of drapes!

Release date: 1 January 1994
Label: Collector Edition
Ebay price as at June 2012: US$40 - US$50

Friday, June 8, 2012


Third in the Classic Ballet series, Marzipan from the Nutcracker ballet reminds me of actress Dianna Agron (ok, I must confess that I'm a "Gleek" because I'm a fan of Glee!). Barbie’s blonde hair is in ringlets (waaay too much product, not a strand will dare be out of place!) and tied in a ponytail adorned with a pink ribbon rose, pale blue ribbons and pink braids. She wears pale pink stud earrings and has rooted eye lashes.

Barbie’s skirt consists of layers of glittering pale mint green tulle and her bodice is made of pink and turquoise fabric embellished with a ribbon rose. The dress was held up with clear plastic straps but it has disintegrated over the years so Barbie's ample "assets" ensures her dress stays on! She wears pink tights and cloth ballet slippers (I prefer the plastic pointe slippers like Sugar Plum Fairy and Swan Queen) with lace-up ribbons. This Barbie has specially sculpted legs to emulate "on-point" ballet positions.

Release date: 1 January 1999
Mattel price: US$29.99
Label: Collector Edition
Ebay price as at May 2012: US$20 - US$50

Thursday, June 7, 2012

In the Pink

I bought this In the Pink Barbie as a graduation present to myself in September 2002 after I completed my Masters. I had seen it during my trip to Singapore in 2000, but the price tag was way out of my range! Designed by Robert Best, this Barbie is exquisite and breathtakingly beautiful.

This Silktone Barbie has chin length curled hair with a nostalgic face sculpting. My only criticism of the doll is the severe hairline which makes her forehead blockish! Her pale pink taffeta and organza gown consists of layers of fine tulle adorned with hand beaded pink and clear Swarovski crystal beads and sequins. Barbie's bodice is also adorned with beads and accented with a bow around her waist. She wears a pale pink layered tulle petticoat, sheer pantyhose and strapped high heels. You can see her painted finger nails beneath her elbow length gloves and she carries a satin clutch. Her tulle stole makes this Barbie even more dramatic.

Release date: 2000
Mattel price: US$240
Label: Limited Edition
Ebay price as at June 2012: US$250 - US$500

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Swan Queen

Second in the Classic Ballet Series, Swan Queen Barbie is lovely but I think she is overwhelmed with too many feathers. An African American version of the doll was also available.

A strand of white pearl beads and feathers are interwoven into her middle parted brown hair with a “Heidi” style braided plat. She wears a silver crown and pearl stud earrings and I was pleased that Mattel made the effort to include rooted eyelashes.

Barbie’s tutu is white, her bodice is decorated with blue and white seed beads, sequins and feathers and she wears feathered armlets. She wears shimmering tights and white ballet pointe slippers.

Release date: 1 January 1998
Mattel price: US$29.99
Label: Collector Edition
Ebay price as at June 2012: US$20 - US$50

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Southern Belle

Not to be confused by the Great Era's Southern Belle Barbie, this Southern Belle Barbie is part of the Fashion Model Collection designed by Robert Best. I bought this doll in June 2009 at the Forever Barbie - Celebrating 50 Years of a Pop Culture Icon exhibition at Federation Square. I went the first weekend and it was filled with little girls hogging the area where you could personalise a Barbie, but there were lots of big girls there too who were transported back to their childhood. I don't think the organisers anticipated such a turn out as I heard that some of the outfits for the personalised dolls were already sold out!

This Barbie has a very pale complexion which I think is a little too pale for the dress she is wearing which I absolutely love. Barbie is dressed in a pale pink satin accented with white lace and a bow to accentuate her tiny waist. She has a delicate tulle lace trimmed petticoat beneath her dress and she wears white open toed sling back high heels. Barbie has auburn chin length bobbed hair and wears white choral-like drop earrings and necklace.

Release date: 5 March 2009
Mattel price: US$74.95
Label: Gold
Ebay price as at June 2012: US$120 - US$150

Monday, June 4, 2012

Wedding Day

Mum bought me this vintage reproduction Wedding Day Barbie in 1999. The doll is lovely but she is perhaps too blonde for my liking (it's almost fluorescent). A titian (a fancy way of saying redhead) was also released.

Barbie's hair with a curled fringe is tied up in the classic ponytail and a strand of pearls tops her head with a two layered tulle veil.

Barbie's dress is made of white flocked tulle sprinkled with glitter over a satin under skirt. The bodice has a sweetheart neckline with white netting. She wears a pair of pearl earrings, a strand of pearls, white wrist length gloves, a pair of white open toed high heels and a blue garter. Her bouquet is made of fabric flowers and tied with pink and white ribbons.

Release date: 1 January 1997
Label: Collector
Mattel price: $US34.99
Ebay price as at June 2012: US$20 - US$80

Friday, June 1, 2012

Scarlett O'Hara: Red Dress

The burgundy dress worn by Scarlett O'Hara to Ashley Wilkes' birthday party was rather risque compared to the conservative gowns worn by the other ladies. I love the following scene between Rhett and Scarlett from Gone with the Wind:

Rhett: You're not ready for Melanie's party?
Scarlett: I've got a headache, Rhett. You go without me and make my excuses to Melanie. 
Rhett: What a white-livered little coward you are. Get up. You're going to that party and you'll have to hurry.
Scarlett: Has India dared to...
Rhett: Yes. India has. Every woman and man in town knows the story!
Scarlett: You should kill them, spreading lies.
Rhett: I have a strange way of not killing people who tell the truth. There's no time to argue. Get up!
Scarlett: I won't go! I can't go till this misunderstanding is cleared up.
Rhett: Don't cheat Melly out of the satisfaction of publicly ordering you out of her house.
Scarlett: There was nothing wrong. India hates me so. I can't go, Rhett. I couldn't face it.
Rhett: If you don't go, you won't be able to show your face as long as you live. That wouldn't bother me, but you won't ruin Bonnie's chances. You're going to that party, if only for her sake. Now get dressed! Wear that! Nothing modest or matronly will do for this occasion. And put on plenty of rouge. I want you to look your part tonight.

This Scarlett O'Hara Barbie is beautifully reproduced and I love the richness of the fabric. Her curly brown hair is tied in a low chignon with ringlets. She has green eyes and rooted eyelashes, and wears a pair of gold and ruby earrings and matching bracelet. Barbie's burgundy velvet gown is dramatic with a low cut sweetheart bodice embellished with jewels and marabou feathers. I love how the train is elegantly draped around her which makes her outfit even more striking. She wears elbow length gloves and a tulle shawl. Nothing matronly about this ensemble!

Release date: 1 January 1994
Label: Collector Edition
Ebay price as at June 2012: US$20 - US$90