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