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Lea 37 – The Look Lea

7 Aug

Please please please, for once in my life, let me feature a doll while she is on current release! Well, you know what? I’m doing it, even though she’s jumping the queue.

I didn’t think I was going to get The Look Lea, as one of my friends had informed me that she was a Dealer Exclusive. Now, sometimes this can spell trouble, especially if you are a collector outside of Europe. And considering that Mattel have pretty much turned their back on the world beyond the US when arranging distribution of the post-Basics Black Label dolls, I wasn’t hopeful.


But here she is! I’ve seen her advertised in a few places, so I think she’s comparatively easy to get hold of in Europe at the moment. I’ve just had a look on the (US) Barbie Collector website and I paid more than twice what they are asking on there for her (grr) but I was delighted to have the option of getting her at all, so I shouldn’t moan.


The Look Lea’s big draw for me was those huge, cowlike rooted eyelashes that dominate her face. I gather that these are either a love em or hate em kind of feature, but I definitely fall into the former camp. Her face is interesting – she has the colouring and the makeup of the popular Basics Collection One Lea, but the little pursed mouth and the dark eyes with prominent brown highlights remind me more of the latest budget Ballerina – which is not at all a criticism, as I love this doll.

I like her dress, but I’m not wow’d by it. Overall, I’d say the same thing about all of The Look dolls and its one of the reasons I haven’t chased after more of them (the other one being the relatively high European price tags). She also comes with a metallic clutch purse, which is the most annoying style of bag that they could have given to a doll who is completely incapable of holding it.

As for her body – well, as you might know I’m not the biggest fan of the Model Muse body in the world, so I’m not sure that mine will stay Model Muse forever. However, the problem is that her dress is quite tight and the material is rigid so although I’ve not tried it, I’m pretty sure that it wouldn’t fit well on a Fashionista. Sigh. Another rebodying dilemma, exacerbated by the fact that her head looks really very small to me, so she wouldn’t be able to carry off a body with wide shoulders (LIV, for instance). We will see.










Wedgwood Barbie

6 Aug

I do love my Monsters, but all the MH posts I’ve been writing are starting to take their toll now. I need to post a Barbie or two by way of a little break from it, so here’s a great one.


Wedgwood Barbie is a collector-level doll from 2001 and its strange that I actually opted to keep her, I suppose. I picked her up, loose in box, in the same charity shop where I bought my Birthday Surprise Barbie and although she wasn’t exactly cheap, I reckon I could get twice what I paid for her if I was to put her up for sale. But I haven’t done this.

The thing is, I come from the Potteries where Wedgwood China is produced, and my extended family is full of people who collect the stuff, together with china by Royal Doulton and Beswick. Of course, we tend to have acquired it at employee rates (or as heirlooms) because plenty of us have worked in the factories where it gets produced. However, as this has been going on for several generations (my generation being the first in which, to the best of my knowledge, there is nobody working for these companies) this makes us value it more, rather than less.

As a rebellious teenager, I loathed china. I hated the way that you weren’t allowed to touch it and I hated its fussy sentimentality (as I saw it). This kind of doll – dressed in period costume, designed to be displayed and never played with – would have been my worst nightmare. But over time, most people (including me) mellow a bit, especially about the traditions of their families, and now I like the idea of a crossover between my family history and my collection.



And of course, she’s a very pretty doll. I love the way that her dark eyes are accentuated and her lips have been made a little bit fuller than usual. I think this gives her a rather modern look; if she wasn’t in period dress, wouldn’t she fit right into a Basics line-up? Her dress is not something that would usually immediately appeal to me, but I like it precisely because its so unusual in my collection, and I have to admit that it photographs quite nicely. The dress is designed to bring to mind Wedgwood’s most famous product, Jasperware. There was a blonde Wedgwood doll who got the most famous colour combination (white and a kind of grey-blue which is sometimes known as Wedgwood blue), so my brunette was left with the next most popular Jasperware colour, this dusky pink.



From what I can gather, though, the big selling point of this doll was the inclusion of a “genuine” Wedgwood Cameo in her choker. These cameos are another trademark Wedgwood product (although from looking at their website tonight, it seems that they are not selling cameos or Jasperware in the UK any more). I was impressed to note that this choker does unhook at the back, so it could be taken off and put back on without breaking it or having to behead the doll. I wasn’t expecting that on a doll designed primarily for display, and its a nice example of the attention to detail which is often such a feature of these early noughties collector dolls.


(PS. the Jasperware I have used in the photos was loaned to me by my patient and very understanding parents – thanks!)

Happy World Doll Day!

14 Jun

I’ve had some rl things to do just recently, so World Doll Day has caught me on the hop. I originally found out about this from Confessions of a Doll Collector’s Daughter, and I think its a lovely idea.



This year, all I have had the time and energy to do is get together a little group of dolls for photographs – I suppose in future I might do a giveaway or a swop if anybody is interested. Anyway, left to right, my featured dolls are:

* Sea Holiday Midge – I just love this doll and don’t do enough with her. The brown hair and green eyes makes her a very unusual Midge indeed. I just wish she didn’t have the “two bent arms” body type, which I don’t like at all. In fact, I am considering a rebody for her.
* (sitting) The very first Lea ever, Amazing Nails Lea.
* An unidentified Asha I picked up a while ago. I’ve still got no idea who she is, so if you can help, I’d like to hear from you about it.
* So In Style Trichelle from Rocha Wave One. Probably my favourite SIS ever, and she has jointed elbows – always a plus.
* One of the Fashion Fever Leas
* An Indian Barbie with a Mackie face. I believe that she was actually manufactured in India for the Indian market. I got her nude, but I’ve had a go at making her a Sari for these photos.
* (sitting) Dury, a generic 90s blonde Barbie I made over at the start of the year. Doesn’t she look good in Trichelle’s jacket?
* Another Asha-faced doll, Cali Girl Christie.









Adventures in Rebodying Seven – Birthstone Beauty

22 Mar

We are a little bit late for this post – well, Birthstone Beauty is still OK as she’s good for the whole of March, but I really should have featured Pisces Barbie a few days ago, before we moved into Aries … Oh well.

You may remember that last year, I made a promise that I would definitely have rebodied these dolls next time I photographed them – well, I half stuck to this. I’m not a huge fan of Model Muse bodies and I really wanted to give Birthstone in particular more poseability. As her original outfit is cute as hell, I wanted her to still be able to wear it, which ruled out a Fashionista (too wide through the hips for her pencil skirt). I put her on a LIV which I thought worked out well – OK, she now has monkey hands and feet that don’t fit her original shoes, but on the other hand she can throw all kinds of shapes … here she is in Barbie Fashion (I’ve forgotten which set, isn’t that awful?):


Her beautiful Mbili Piscean friend is the one that got left behind. I did mean to find an SIS Chandra to rebody her with, but I never got round to it. I don’t mind, she still looks cute on her original body:



Every time I get these dolls out, I am surprised all over again by how gorgeous they are. My favourite thing about Birthstone is her beautiful, old-fashioned side-glancing eyes. I love Mbili’s super-long ponytail with the golden highlights. No doubt they will be back next March …





A Late Summer

7 Feb

Sorry, the name “Summer” suggests all kinds of awful puns to me. I just can’t help myself!


Anyway, my Summer is late – really late. I bought her last Autumn and only got round to deboxing her today. Really, this is no reflection on Summer, its just that I have a bit of a backlog of dolls to debox, mess with and post about (lucky old me).

I understand that “Life in the Dreamhouse” has moved on now, but as far as I know this is still the only wave that is available in the UK. So far, I only have my Midge and this Summer. I love Summer’s character and style anyway, but really I bought her because I am a sucker for anything rainbow themed and I love that outfit.



I know that a lot of collectors fell instantly in love with the new sculpts showcased in Life in The Dreamhouse, but it didn’t happen that easily for me and I’m still not sure how I feel about some of these dolls. Some of these sculpts feature unusual facial expressions never really seen on Barbies before. Summer’s smile is still reasonably traditional, but its not as “Hollywood” as the dolls we have seen in the past – more like the kind of smile a girl would pull for a photo with her friends than a model posing in a measured kind of way. After messing with her today, do you know what? I’ve found her more interesting to photograph than I thought I would, and she’s really grown on me.

When I got Midge, I was so wow’ed and excited that I basically just took pictures of her. For instance, I completely forgot to try out Midge’s second outfit. I decided that this time round I was going to do it as I really like Summer’s second outfit, despite the fact that, unlike the dress she wears in the box, the pattern does not continue round the back. When I was undressing Summer, I noticed something interesting that I’d not noticed with Midge. She has an upper torso joint, like the old Fashionista bodies, but this is combined with knees that are capped rather than hinged, like the more recent Fashionistas. So we get the best of both worlds!


Here’s Summer with Midge, in first and second outfits:




When she was in the box, I thought that Summer looked like a very contemporary doll who might look a bit out of date in a few years (not that this would bother me in the slightest, but still). However, having taken some pictures I’ve changed my mind – in some ways, its quite a classic face. You could put her in a sixties or seventies-style outfit and she’d look just as good. I’m so glad that I got her.







Lara Revisited and Generation Girls Magazine

2 Feb

Today, I was rummaging through the doll drawers and I came across my Generation Girl Lara, who I posted about some time ago. I love this doll! She was a grail for me and I was so happy when I got her. I couldn’t find her loose for a good price so I ended up going for a boxed version, which turned out to be a great move as I got a whole plethora of tiny props with her and also a copy of the Generation Girl magazine. I never included most of these in my last post so I decided that tonight was the time to come back to them. While I was at it, I took some pictures of her in her alternative outfit, which I had never even tried on her before.



It wasn’t easy to get Lara out of her original outfit and into the new one – as you can see, she has a little beaded bracelet around her right wrist which was just asking to get snapped. Its a nice touch but surely none of these bracelets could have survived getting played with. As you may remember, Lara’s back story is that she is an artist from Paris, and I think the two sketches you can see are meant to be GG Barbie and GG Blaine? Anyway, she also came with her boho cushion (made of the same fabric as the dress she was sold in), a little box which features the same pattern, a bottle of nail varnish, a couple of purple candles, a paintbrush, the pictures, a sketchbook and a drawing board.

The GG Magazine is full of tips on how to conduct yourself at a party, pop quizzes, makeup guidance etc – pretty standard Barbie mag stuff. I love contemporary doll pictures, and because this line is just so full of character I think that these are particularly good:



And I was also interested to note a whole double-page feature on the boxed outfits that were sold for this range of dolls. I’ve seen a few of them for sale (like the blue dress worn by Lara and the tracksuit worn by Tori) but others must be quite rare, as I’ve never come across them:



Anyway, its nice to revisit dolls I haven’t seen for a while – what’s the point in collecting stuff if you never enjoy it once you’ve got it? Its also served as a reminder for me, as I’ve still got several big holes in my Generation Girl collection which I really want to address.




Adventures in Rebodying 5 – Tango and Mbili

24 Nov

So, the rebodying continues, and this time round my body swop victims are Model 12 (Tango) and Model 8 (Mbili) from the first wave. Like her Collection Red companion, Model 8 got a Grace body from the So In Style Baby Phat range – great colour match. Model 12 was easier to accommodate, as she was a good colour match for a bog-standard blonde and blue fashionista – in fact, as you can see, she’s still wearing her dress in these pictures.





While I was using hot water to soften the neck opening, I kind of melted the gel in the shorter pieces of hair around 12’s face – I actually think she looks much better for it. I think they’d tied to style her hair like Jennifer Aniston’s but I just didn’t like these side pieces at all. Thankfully, they are less noticeable now.

I don’t know why but I never noticed before how different the SIS knees are to the current wave Fashionista legs – the joint just isn’t disguised at all. I think their made from the same mold as the first-wave Fashionistas, as they’re definitely more shapely and substantial than the legs of contemporary dolls, what do you think? Here’s a comparison with Mbili (SIS body) on the right and Tango (contemporary Fashionista) on the left in the first picture and (duh) the other way round in the second:



Anyhoo, I’m very pleased to have got another two done, although there’s lots more to go yet!