I’ve only bought five collector-level Barbies that I can think of in the last six months. Its not often something comes up which I really want AND I can afford; as you probably know (because I’m forever moaning about it) the routes of supply to the UK are notoriously fickle, so dolls freely available at knock-down prices to collectors in the US are often two or even three times the price over here. Its just not worth it to me a lot of the time, maybe it would be if I wasn’t so obsessed with playline, I don’t know.
Anyhoo. I struck lucky with J-Lo. I loved her from the first pictures I saw of her, and a doll friend actually pre-ordered her for me as I wasn’t sure how widely available she would be over here. Well, as it happens she is still on sale over here for the same price – £35, which is very reasonable for a current release doll of her type, even if she is black label. I am fond of celebrity dolls, and Red Carpet J-Lo is particularly beautiful. I’m really not sure how much the sculpt really looks like her – kind of, I suppose. I am old enough to remember “Jenni from the Block” and this is how I always think of her (a phase in her career where I think she looked more like Marisa from the So In Style range) but of course these days she is much more famous for being a red-carpet staple. Her dress, which is based on a gown designed by Zuhair Murad, is a great choice, classy, neutral but distinctive.
I must say, though, that whenever I think “red carpet J-Lo”, the first thing that always comes to mind is the controversy she caused by wearing this Versace dress:
Which is not quite so classy, but it would have made an interesting and fun choice for a doll outfit! Anyway, J-Lo’s Murad dress is very lovely and I can’t wait to try some of my other dolls in it at some point. The only problem I have is with the glitter – its hard to tell from the photos but its covered in that very fine glitter that ends up everywhere. Annoyingly, its particularly hard to clean off the plastic that Barbie’s body and head is made from.
J-Lo should consider herself honoured, as her doll sports a new head sculpt and also a new body sculpt. Its really nice to see a unique head sculpt on this doll. Although I am a big “sculptophile” and love a new Steffie or Kayla, for instance, its also refreshing to see something new. I prefer this Red Carpet sculpt to the smiling sculpt used for the World Tour doll who was released at the same time, but then I’m rarely attracted to smiling dolls. The painting on Red Carpet’s face is just perfect – her piercing eyes seem to actually have a little glitter in them, which makes them very lifelike. I also like the way her eyebrows fade in from the bridge of her nose, becoming stronger and darker as they reach the outer corners, its very subtle. As for J-Lo’s body, I’d read about the new body sculpt and seen a few comparison shots online before I got her and deboxed her, but of course I couldn’t just take it for granted, so I did my own comparison:
From the front there isn’t much difference between J-Lo and Hard Rock Lea, who was the first Model Muse doll I pulled out of the drawers (as you can see, unfortunately Lea’s clothes have left her quite badly stained, which is something I need to address another day). Are her thighs a smidge wider at the top? Maybe. However ….
The difference in the new body sculpt is most clearly visible from the side – she’s got that famous J-Lo bum going on. I know that this has wowed a lot of collectors, and I have noticed that the outfit is also designed to look pretty good from the back, presumably so that collectors can display her to show this attribute off:
However, I think its a slight improvement on the old-style body but I don’t think its very noticeable when the doll is dressed. Well, at least she has a straight-armed sculpt, which is the model muse pose I find most bearable, so I have no immediate plans to rebody her.
Finally – the biggest criticism I have of this doll is the way she has been rooted. I like her simple, elegant hairstyle, but its easy to see that the front has not been as closely rooted as it should be and the next row of hair behind the hairline row is quite visibly a way back. I know that black label dolls are not limited and therefore designed and manufactured in much higher numbers than their rarer silver, gold and platinum cousins, but of course, quality still matters to most people – its not a disastrous and glaring fault, but its there nevertheless, and it has bugged me.
Overall, I am delighted. The fact that I don’t often buy Collector makes them extra special to me when I do get them. Her relatively low price in this country suggests that she has been manufactured in quite high numbers but nevertheless, I think that because of her new head and body sculpt as well as because of her beauty and her celebrity status, she’ll be a popular doll for years to come. I’ll be holding on to her and if you haven’t got her already, I’d highly recommend that you consider it!