I’m going to have a little moan today about playline Barbies. I’ve been reading through a few doll blogs and came across one featuring the Fashion Fever dolls.
I loved that line. Most of the Barbies I buy are playline dolls. I don’t have a lot of money to spend on collecting and I like to redress dolls so collecting them made more sense to me than buying very expensive dolls. The reason I liked the Fashion Fever dolls so much was because I thought they were very nicely made and there was a great variety of dolls to choose from. Although over the years a few did come out that looked similar once you undressed them for the most part they didn’t, well not to me anyway. Also there were a lot of outfits and you could mix and match. The closets I especially liked.
I’ve written before about how much fun I had when my sister brought me back a huge pile of Fashion Fever fashions from Singapore. I was really disappointed that Mattel chose to discontinue them.
I do have a few Fashionista dolls and some of them I quite like but the more recent ones feel lighter and to me look cheaper. They all seem to have the same glazed expression compared to the earlier dolls. Dolls faces are really important to me. With all the dolls I buy, fashion dolls or other types I have to like their expression. If I don’t like her face I don’t make a connection with the doll.
I really don’t like the trend of making them with coloured legs and plastic clothing either. Clothing is not as nice and there isn’t as much to choose from. One blogger mentioned what she called “half clothes” that is the pattern is only printed on the front of the outfit. Very cheap.
I recently gave a box of old Barbies to a local church for the children to play with after their bible study and I’m told that they all love them, even the boys, and they are played with every week. Not all children need gimmicky toys, they can use their imaginations and the more specialised a toy is the less the child can really do with it.
I know that Mattel has been through periods like this in the past where the dolls seemed rather cheap and uninteresting. I hope that this too is a phase and that one day soon playline dolls will be made with care and with lots of nice fashions that collectors will want in twenty or thirty years.
In the meantime I look elsewhere for my dolls. I did fall in love with the Basics dolls and although they are more expensive they are still affordable for me. I buy nude collectible dolls from eBay and occasionally spring for a boxed doll going cheap. If I go to the shops I always take a walk down the Barbie aisle, so much smaller now than it used to be and with many of the products just Barbie branded, not actually dolls. I’m usually disappointed but I live in hope.