Life In The Dreamhouse Barbie – Additional

7 Apr

I’ve been thinking about this doll all morning and the more I’ve thought about it, the more annoyed I’ve got about her design. I’ve been wondering if the stylish looks are purposefully left for the dolls marketed towards collectors, the principle being no freebies – if you want stylish, you’re not going to sidestep collector level and pick it up in playline. But then I thought about the Barbie Style range, which retails for about the same price and features some pretty good clothes (some of them outstanding, actually) and the outfits on the other dolls from this line, which were generally pretty good too. I think it really must be that the designers were aiming for a doll who is recognisably Barbie the Icon – the problem being, as far as I’m concerned, that they have made her exactly the same Barbie we have been seeing everywhere for the last ten years. What’s more, they have given her some rather unimaginative outfits that seem out of pace with modern fashion and the more casual looks sported by the other dolls in her line, rather than iconic. I started googling for stuff I would have preferred to have seen her in, and I thought that I would share the results with you. I’m no fashion blogger so I might be pitching above my weight here, but here goes (I’ve taken pink as a given, which made it much harder, believe me!) –

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What do you think? Do you like the Barbie LITD dresses? Are they how you would have dressed this Barbie? What do you think of my picks? I know some of them have kind of been done already, but ha, you see, surely that makes them iconic, which is what I believe LITD was aiming for. Out of everything, I think that the little lace playsuit would have worked best, as its casual look would have gone well with the outfits of the other dolls in the range, and although it is classically pink and girly and Barbiesque, it would have given a nice modern twist to this doll. Which was, I think, sorely needed. Fashion dolls need to be fashionable, and many a doll has gone down the pan when her designers have forgotten this. People are already talking about Mattel “cannibalism” – Monster High consuming the Barbie Market – and much as I love the Monsters, I really hope it doesn’t come to that. Of course, the Collector dolls are mostly doing well, but playline Barbie is the meat and potatoes of the empire. Let’s hope that this is just a bum note and pretty soon, the Platinum one gets her edge back …

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12 Responses to “Life In The Dreamhouse Barbie – Additional”

  1. Taswegian1957 April 7, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    I liked some of your choices, numbers 2,3 & 4 particularly but I was thinking of them from the point of view of what I would like to see on a Barbie not what a child might like to see.

    • barbielea April 8, 2014 at 9:06 am #

      HI Taswegian! Ahh, now here’s where I wish I had a girl child to test some of these out! My theory is that “little girls want to be bigger girls” – that actually, the unpopularity of this doll has come about because Mattel has moved too far away from this principle in this instance. I admit it, some of these choices are kind of grown-up and Silkstoney – its a fair cop πŸ™‚ especially 2, 6, 10 and 12. But personally, I believe that you could make playline versions of all, and little girls would love it. Even a five year old can tell when you are basically selling them the same thing over and over and over … I just think that when it comes to selling dolls, the “safest” design choice is often the most risky, because it tends to be the least creative and children get bored so easily. Well, I don’t suppose it matters as Mattel obviously aren’t going to listen to me! I just want to see my favourite Blondie do well πŸ™‚

      • Taswegian1957 April 8, 2014 at 10:37 am #

        Yes, me too. And I agree. That’s what Mattel and Pedigree and Ideal too did with their original dolls in the 60s and look how popular they were.

  2. ThomasJ April 7, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    Admittedly, I’m partial to pink, so I love all the fashions and think Barbie would look
    lovely in them all πŸ™‚

  3. Blackkitty April 7, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    I love your picks! Especially 2 and 7. I’m not bothered by clothes dolls come in, if there’s something I don’t like I’m more motivated to make my own and I still have something to play with that I won’t miss too much if it gets damaged. But for the price you paid (if “quid” means pound), wow, I would have snatched her right away, if only for the body.

    • barbielea April 8, 2014 at 9:21 am #

      Hi Blackitty πŸ™‚ haha yes sorry quid does mean pound! You are all so good at English I forget sometimes that you won’t necessarily get my colloquialisms … as I explained on my last post, I don’t have a pound sign on my American keyboard and sometimes I get a bit lazy with it.

      I actually snatched quite a few Barbies for rebodying purposes, it was a great opportunity. You have a great “work ethic” with your dolls, Blackkitty πŸ™‚ I don’t make enough clothes any more, but I would love to make something different for this Barbie. I’ll put it on my “to do” list …

  4. Andrea April 7, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    I like 2 (as long as it would be a full dress, not a half on as most are right now), 3 and 11, though I doubt Mattel would use that material in the playline. Again I have to second Taswegian1957, these are our choices from an adult point of view. I showed this post to my granddaughter, 12, she likes 2 and 7, but I think younger kids would make different choices.

    Somehow I think Mattel cornered themselves with the design choices in the past years. Pink is their chosen iconic color and the more it sparkles, the more it will attract little girls, very little girls aged 3 – 5, girls older than 5 begin to have real interest in fashion, so the pink glitter princess phase runs out. Unfortunately there is next to nothing in the playline range to fill that desire, so they opt out of Barbie (I’ve been seeing a lot of Harumika Mannequins on the fleamarkets lately, as well as other creative kits for girls).

    They went for the younger target group, but they will lose interest soon. The older kids go for Monster High or Ever After High. I think the Style line might be a try to get the older girls interested again. I hope this works and we will see more of these dolls.

    I did like the outfit on the LITD Barbie from the double-doll-pack with Midge. It is still pink, but not that screaming hot pink. it looks like a normal tank top and skirt combo, something, that a real girl would wear.

    • barbielea April 8, 2014 at 10:10 am #

      Hi Andrea πŸ™‚ You may be right about the material, but that’s a shame … a bit of stretchy lace or pretend silk surely wouldn’t eat into the profit margin that much, and it would look so good! If they can do it with MH and EAH, who NEVER look like they are dressed in cheap fabrics, surely they can do it for good old Babs?

      RE: children’s choices – I don’t have a girl child and the only one in the family who is young enough for dolls lives hundreds of miles away, so we only see her every now and again. I remember when she was six, I showed her my doll collection. Out of the huge range of playline and collector that I own, she liked the Basic Collection Ones best, because “they have such pretty faces” … she liked the little black dresses too. I suspect that children are often more sophisticated in their tastes than Mattel sometimes gives them credit for, and they have great internal compasses for what’s fashionable and what isn’t … I take your point about the under fives, though. But if Mattel must market dolls to the under fives, surely they should clearly separate the fairies and Rockstar Princesses from the dolls marketed towards older children. With this range in particular, I think that the outfits and the dolls themselves were mostly designed to appeal to a range of ages, including collectors … all apart from Barbie. Its just such a missed opportunity, as Barbie style is referenced in human fashions all the time so I think it would be easy to make something up-to-the-minute, playful and fun that’s still very playline. For instance, number 7 (which I think would make a great Barbie outfit, attractive to kids of all ages and collectors too) is a “skater” style dress with a tight bodice and a higher waistline, these have been very popular for the last year or so and yet we still are seeing Barbie in a dropped waist dress with ruffles, or in other lines, a shift dress. It just makes her look dated, and there’s no need.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, you really made me work to think my reply though πŸ™‚ Like you, I hope that the Barbie Style range flies, and leads to better, more grown-up things in the future. Best wishes

  5. Diego Galvan April 10, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    I totally agree! The current fashions kinda suck. Midge has the best outfits in LITD. I have not bought any of those dolls though because I dislike the huge heads. I really like the outfits you picked. My favorites are 4,5,6, and 11. I have a niece who’s five and she usually plays with my Barbie from my James Bond Barbie and Ken set. I think that doll is beautiful. She does dress them in my puffy gowns (which I’ve been meaning to reconstruct)and plays they’re princesses and are getting married.

    • barbielea April 10, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

      Thanks Diego, I’m glad you like my choices, if only Mattel would just let me run the show all would be well, eh! Aww, I don’t really mind the bigger heads, although I was worried about this before I got my first LITD doll, Midge. How nice that you let your niece play with your collectible dolls πŸ™‚ I take the same approach with the kids in my family, after all that’s what dolls are for!

  6. amystika18n August 24, 2015 at 10:22 pm #

    I like 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, and 10-15. I probably would’ve picked the same ones when I was little, too-my tastes have changed, but not that much. I agree with you and Andrea-a lot of little kids have better taste than we realize.

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