Sunday, 14 September 2014

Different Barbies

Dolls in my house are treated like art supplies. They are displayed posed and mostly dressed on shelves, but they still run the constant risk of being yanked out and used as mannequins, laid upside down for hair treatments or wrapped in toilet paper for other experiments. I can't imagine keeping a doll in its initial state (or even worse, boxed)! I have a friend though who likes her dolls just as they are. She doesn't have her playline childhood Barbie any more, but since then she moved to collectible Barbies of the 90's and early 00's. Only two dolls are in her collection at the moment and a third in her wishlist. She kindly let me take pictures and share them here.

Short technical moment first. I took notice of the August poll results. Ten out of 21 people voted for larger 800px images. I'm not sure if this is a good solution. Vertical images don't fit on my screen and I don't like how they take over all the text. The colours are distorted more than ususal, one picture was so bad I had to take two extra steps to fix it. Anyway, here is a test post with 800px images :)

The first doll we'll be looking at is 1996 Happy Holidays Barbie. This is the Caucasian doll. When I looked for a link, I discovered an AA version as well. The only differences between the two seem to be the skin and hair colour. The AA doll uses the same Superstar sculpt and purple eyes. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Happy Holidays arrived in a fancy, but very battered cardboard box with plastic top and bottom. Everything is golden:

Luckily, my friend doesn't collect boxes

The back has a large picture of the doll:

They make a special point out of saying the doll can't wear the muff like the promo picture.

With the cover removed:

I apologize for the quality of pictures, I didn't have a good photo setting!
Hidden behind the doll is a saddle stand with a "Happy Holidays" sticker:

The other accessories are a hairbrush and shoes that appear to be made from the same maroon plastic. There was a certificate of authenticity too, which we didn't save.

We thought it was weird to pair court shoes with a winter outfit that includes a fur hat, but at least they fit.

The doll is wearing an outfit that looks like a burgundy velvet coat with fur trim over a tiered golden skirt.

In reality it's all in one piece and the back of the "skirt" is coarse white tulle.

Tissue paper for volume

The visible part of the skirt has a nice pattern.

The velvet part is very nicely made and has red "crystal" details, golden braided trim and white faux fur:

I did my best to show the real colours. Isn't this beautiful?

The outfit is completed by the muff from earlier pictures and a hat made from the same fur:

A huge mass of light blonde waves emerge from the underside.

The hat is stitched to the head but I think it can be easily removed. Here is a profile shot with an earring:

I'm not a fan of the Superstar face, but this doll pulls it off with deep red blush and lipstick and dark eyes on light skin.
The only other piece of jewellery is a matching ring.

Normal people start by describing the face, I saved it for last :)

Happy Holidays' most interesting feature are her purple eyes with a magenta highlight in each iris. It's an unusual design choice that really ties together the ubiquitous blonde Barbie with a royal outfit like this.

The second doll is the Fairy of the Forest Barbie from 2000.

Back of the box:

The doll attached to the background. Take a good look because it's the only full-body picture that turned out acceptable!

Fairy of the Forest seems to have the Mackie sculpt.

Glitter overload!

With a hair curl sewn to the dress I didn't disturb the 'do, but I later read that the head has elf ears. They aren't visible at all with regular handling, hidden under a lot of auburn curls.

The doll has a leafy hair accessory (with glitter, obviously):

The dress is very nice and well made. The main body is sewn from a slightly iridescent blue chiffon. It's hard to capture on camera, even the Mattel people gave up and made it bright blue in their promo picture.

You can see the wire necklace too

The same blue fabric continues into a long train in the back.

The front of the skirt has the same leafy theme as in the hair pin:

My favourite part of the outfit are the detached sleeves:

The wings of the Fairy feel like a cross between felt and paper. They are heavily covered in glitter on the visible side:

They are pretty ugly in the back with just some of the dye seeping through.

The wings are sewn into the dress. The way they are attached allows a good look at the dress closure. There are three 4/0 snaps with some loose stitching on top.

Fairy doesn't have shoes. Instead, golden cord is wrapped around her legs and taped in the back.

This is all! I hope my friend finds the other doll she wants, Society Girl Barbie. Until then, I'm glad she let me play with these two. What do you think of them? Which do you like most? Be nice, she will read your comments!

The Black Kitty


  1. I like them both, but the fairy one has always been on my wish list. Or at least the outfit has. They are both beautiful dolls either way.


    1. Thanks, Mystic! "Shoes" not considered, the outfit is great!

  2. Oh, I LOVE them! Both used to be on my wishlists. The superstar mold can look super cute, depending on the face paint and skintone. It looks better with lighter skin than the dark orangey ones that were so common in the past. The fairy is gorgeous, I love everything about her! Thanks for including pics of the back, I think it's brilliant how the wings were attached. =) Too bad you didn't notice the pointy ears, they are really cute too. ^^ (And YAY, back at commenting XD)

    1. Welcome back, Liane! Why "used to" be on your wishlist? Do you already have them or did you change your mind? I agree about the Superstar face, it's less bad when it's light (because you can't see the shape very well), but I still hate it. Have you seen the AA version? Yikes! They should have used the Christie face for it and a different eye colour.

  3. Oh, the fairy is very nice. Shame that the back of the wings is so plain.
    On a side note, the size of the pictures (800, right?) were very large I found.

    1. Well, my friend doesn't display the doll with the back visible, so she isn't bothered :)
      I think I'll make the pictures no bigger than 600 and have some of them open large in a new window.

  4. The fairy is very pretty. I like the painting on the Mackie face mold here.

    My eldest had that Christmas Barbie. Technically still has, but dolly will probably be going to the thrift store before Christmas if we can't rehome her some other way. If I recall that era correctly, collectors were becoming rather indiscriminate in their Barbie purchases, to the point that Mattel was taking collectors rather for granted. Thus things like putting high heeled shoes on a winter doll walking outside wearing a fur hat.

    I like the pictures this size, but I have to admit to having great high-speed internet. Mr. BTEG works online from home one day a week, plus it's pretty much bundled with basic cable television many places in the US. And if I'm being honest, Mr. BTEG would want the best internet connection anyway, because he's a total computer geek.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Barb! The Christmas doll can be fun for a while, but I confess I'd resell it too. There are only so many ways to play with a doll that has a half-skirt sewn to a coat that opens backwards. My friend actually likes both the Superstar mould and the TNT body so she sees more value in it.

      I'm thinking of returning to smaller pictures, maybe 600px, and make the most important or pretty of them open full-size in a separate window. One thing I didn't mention is that I have a lousy connection and it took forever to upload everything. Big pictures might be convenient for others, but I didn't anticipate it would be so much worse for me.

    2. I was afraid big pictures would be an issue for you. Having some of them open full-size would work as well, though.


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