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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Barbie Fashionistas "L.A. Girl" review, plus a discussion on Fashionistas in general

I feel a little silly reviewing this doll since these modern Fashionistas are very similar to the majority of the dolls I've got.  However, I've been wanting this particular doll for awhile, so I'm reviewing her anyway.  This is the Fashionistas doll commonly known as "L.A. Girl."
L.A. Girl gets her fan-given nickname from her shirt.  I don't know why this particular doll is so popular, but like Moschino Barbie, she is.  Maybe it's the hair.  L.A. Girl has blonde hair like 99% of the Barbie dolls in this world.  However, there are two things that set her apart.  One side of her head is buzzed. 
Instead of rooted hair, L.A. Girl has pale yellow flocking.  It's just like Venus McFlytrap's hairstyle.
As if a buzzed head weren't edgy enough, L.A. Girl also has pink streaks in the hair that she DOES have.
The streaks are cotton candy pink rather than the hot pink that I've grown to associate with Barbie.  I've spoken often about my dislike for the overuse of pink in doll lines, but I love these streaks.  They jive well with the rest of L.A. Girl's hair.  According to a prototype picture that Monkfish found, there were supposed to be pale blue streaks as well.  Why Mattel nixed this is anyone's guess.  As an aside, L.A. Girl's rooted hair came with a fair amount of styling gel in it.  This brushed out with no fuss and left the hair in soft waves.  Unfortunately, it also wants to fly in L.A. Girl's face a lot.  That's a bit unfortunate, because L.A. Girl has a lovely face.  Check this out.
Her eyebrows are blocky and brown, suggesting to me that she does more with her hair than streak it pink and shave one side.  Her eyes are brown, rather than blue like most blonde Barbies.  Her eyeshadow is subtle, consisting of a cream inner band, a light brown outer band, and a fair amount of mascara.  L.A. Girl's lips are bright red.  She has a closed smile, another departure from the usual Barbie face.  She also has a beauty mark on her right cheek, which I love.  Again, I don't run into too many playline Barbies with beauty marks.

As I looked L.A. Girl's face over, I realized that although she's part of a Barbie line, her appearance is very...well, it's very UN-BARBIE!  At one time the Fashionistas came with individual nicknames, mostly silly crap like "Glam" or "Sporty."  I also learned that the first wave of Barbie Basics were to have nicknames as well.  If this had been done, my #3 girl on the right would've been Alexis and...I think #10 would have been Christie.  I can't get the website to load, so don't quote me on that second one. 
I named them Vivian (left) and Steph, but I digress.  In light of this revelation, I wondered if L.A. Girl and her Fashionista friends had nicknames.  My hunch turned out to be right...sort of.   
According to Carlyle Nuera, these names are fan-given names and not official ones.  It turns out that he designed several of these dolls, so he'd know if the names were official or not.  Anyway, according to my fellow fans, L.A. Girl's name would be "Elizabeth."  The name "L.A. Girl" is a bit of a mouthful, so I think I'll call her Elizabeth from now on.

Before I move on to clothes, let me show you the other 2015 Fashionista that I own.
Before Elizabeth was released, this doll was the It Girl.  She has a Desiree head, just like Vivian does.
The catch is that this doll has the head done in pale vinyl.  I don't think that's ever been done before; the Desiree head is a common mold, but it's usually rendered in tan or dark brown vinyl.  Anyway, this doll too has a fan name.  Hers is "Kenzie."  I find this odd since the last Kenzie doll had the Lea face and very, VERY red hair, but Kenzie was the only member of the Mystery Squad that I liked so I'm pleased to have her namesake aboard.

Alrighty, clothes.  Elizabeth comes dressed in a two-piece getup, a departure from the one-piece dresses that Kenzie and a couple of my other dolls have.
They don't make doll clothes like they used to!  These Fashionista clothes tend to go heavy on stiff synthetic crap, and Elizabeth's getup is no exception.  Here's the L.A. Girl top that gave her her first nickname.
The bad news is that the top is made of that stiff shiny stuff I just complained about, the kind that likes to catch and snag on unkempt fingernails.   It's badly wrinkled from the packaging, too.    The good news is that it's well-hemmed and solidly put together.  The material actually has a pretty pattern, too.  When seen from a distance the fabric merely looks pale blue.  A closer inspection reveals a faint floral pattern.  It's printed all the way around too.  See?
The skirt is a black A-line job.
It has a few surprising details.  The front is made of smooth black pleather and has a silver zig-zag sewn down the front.
The sides have semicircular patches that are made of a softer material with subtle little sparkles on it.  The back of the skirt is made up of a third type of material that has a bit of stretch.  Neither of these sections photographed well.

Rounding out the look are these black flats.
These shoes are pretty nondescript.  They have molded straps and molded buckles, and they have to be rubber banded to Elizabeth's feet.  That disappoints me a bit, because I like it when my dolls' shoes can stay on without help.  The rubber bands are the clear kind, so they don't show too much.

Elizabeth's accessories are also average, consisting of a plastic clutch and a necklace.
These are very ordinary accessories, but they add a nice splash of color to Elizabeth's ensemble. 

You may have noticed in the shoe picture that Elizabeth has flat feet.  This is a fairly new thing that several of the new Fashionistas have.  It's something unique and different, but that renders Elizabeth unable to wear nearly all of the shoes I own.  Some of the accessory packs come with flat shoes, and some of my LIV shoes may work, but for the most part Elizabeth's options are few in the shoe department.  Good thing her stock shoes are so versatile.  Little black flats go with just about everything.

But then again, Elizabeth's body is just plain strange.
When the first Fashionistas made their debut, they were highly articulated.  Only their immobile ankles prevented them from being modern-day Living Barbies.  Elizabeth's mobility is poor in comparison, though it's nowhere near as bad as a Stardoll's mobility.  She has five joints:  hips, shoulders, and neck.  Her neck and shoulders are your standard ball joints that are all but ubiquitous on Barbie dolls.  Her hips have a bit of lateral movement, enough that she can stand with her ankles crossed.
That's the extent of it, though.  Elizabeth can't do side splits, but in her defense most of my other dolls can't either.  The hips do have a respectable amount of forward and backward movement, enough so that Elizabeth can sit...
...and do a back-front split.
Elizabeth's knees do not bend at all, which I gather has become commonplace for modern-day Barbies.  Some of the Fashionistas have both knees set in a straight position like Elizabeth does, and some have one knee bent and the other straight, like Kenzie does.  Dolls with one bent knee have one hip popped out to the side and one shoulder higher than the other.  Since Kenzie has a bent knee, her body has scoliosis the popped hip.
Elizabeth has straight knees, so her torso is not bent.

Both dolls have an arm frozen in a bent position.  This is both good and bad.  Kenzie and Elizabeth can wave in a convincing manner...
...they can play with their hair a bit...
...and needless to say, they can stand with one hand on one hip.  Other positions are less graceful.  In fact, I had a hard time finding poses that WEREN'T on the robotic side!

I find it odd that these Fashionistas are supposed to be play dolls, and yet their bodies are more similar to Model Muse bodies.  In case you don't know, Model Muse bodies are the highly rigid bodies equipped by dolls that are meant for adults.  Moschino Barbie, Tokidoki Barbie, and the Basics I shared above have the Muse body, as do plenty of others.  I have few complaints about the Muse body; it's graceful and it has a pretty shape, so it has its place in the Barbie world.  I don't like it on playline dolls, though.  If a doll is meant to be played with, then I would prefer that she have a more flexible body like the bellybutton body, or like the body of the fantastic new Made to Move doll.  But then again, a high number of joints can mean more weak spots, more places where a doll can break or fall apart.  I highly doubt that Kenzie and Elizabeth will encounter that problem.

Strangely enough, although the Fashionistas' bodies are similar to the Model Muse bodies, they are not the same.
Vivian's Muse body sports longer legs and some bone structure at the collarbone and the rib margin.  Kenzie's Fashionista body has molded undies, as does Elizabeth's body.  It also looks like the two dolls have different waist sizes, but to verify that I'll need to play Dolly Dress Shuffle.  Vivian rocks Kenzie's dress, but her feet are too big for Kenzie's pink heels.
Since Elizabeth has flat feet, it's pointless for Vivian to try those black shoes.  I doubt the would have fit anyway, since Viv's feet are bigger than high-heeled Fashionista feet.  Elizabeth's clothes are loose on Vivian, particularly the skirt.
Vivian's original dress and shoes are in storage, so the Fashionistas first get to try on her purple minidress.  It's a wee bit tight on Kenzie, but it accentuates her curves nicely.  Elizabeth's body isn't as curvy as Kenzie's, but she too can wear Vivian's spare dress.
As I mentioned above Vivian's stock dress is in storage.  That's a bummer since it's got a deep neckline.  It would've looked interesting on the Fashionista bodies, I'll bet.  All is not lost, however.  My Muse-bodied Barbie Look doll has never been redressed so her gold frock is on hand.  But as it turns out, it doesn't matter whose dress is available...
...because neither Elizabeth nor Kenzie can wear Model Muse clothes!  Their hips are too wide, and I suspect that Elizabeth's waist would've been too wide as well.  For the record, Barbie Look's gold pumps fit Kenzie very well.
So what's the final say on my Elizabeth?

*I hate the way Elizabeth's top handles.  It is stiff, it holds wrinkles like mad, and it feels like it can snag.
*Shoe options are limited...for now.  Hopefully Mattel will get on the stick and make some more flat shoes.
*Body is stiff.  It can strike some very cute poses, but it can also look awkward.
*Accessories are mundane, though they are a nice color.
*Can't wear all Barbie clothes.  The current playline outfits are no problem, but Model Muse clothes are OUT!

*Hairstyle is original for a Barbie.  If we were talking Monster High the style would be less impressive, but we're not.
*Face is pretty, and not generally so like Barbie can sometimes be.
*Clothes are more versatile.  Since there are two pieces, there's more room for mixing and matching.  The black skirt has lots of potential.
*The fabric print goes all the way around, something one doesn't always see nowadays.
*The black shoes are also versatile, a good thing considering Elizabeth's limited shoe options.
*I forgot to mention this above, but Elizabeth can sit down while fully clothed.  Kenzie cannot; her dress is too tight.
*Mobility, while not the best, is much better than that of some other dolls meant for play.  Stardoll, I'm looking at you.
*Sturdy.  Those stiff limbs are restricting, but they are also a potential blessing in disguise.

My feelings for Elizabeth and Kenzie are mixed, though they're not so mixed that I'm going to berate them much.  Both dolls are nice dolls; they stand out from their fellow Fashionistas, particularly with their unorthodox hair and their nonstandard faces.  I think the thing that bothers me most is that jointing.  These dolls look, move, and feel like they should be collectibles, but they're very clearly toys.  I particularly miss the knee joints; even the old rubbery click knees lend some realism to certain poses, like walking or sitting poses.

Frankly, I wasn't planning on reviewing this doll.  My intention was to find her, buy her, and quietly add her to my collection like I did with Kenzie and with countless other dolls.  However, I'm glad I did review her.  It makes me more aware of the Fashionistas' flaws, but it also makes me appreciate Mattel's efforts to make Barbie more interesting.  These new Fashionistas remind me of the Fashion Fever line, which existed during my teenage years.  Both lines appear to be experimenting with new faces, new hairstyles, new hair/skin color combos.  Though the Fashionistas are not perfect dolls, I applaud them for attempting to break new ground without giving up the play factor.  That makes them worth owning.  Therefore I recommend these for kids and collector alike.  They are an excellent way for a young child to get the feeling of a collector's doll without breaking the bank.  If you're an adult collector looking for some new faces, these will fit the bill nicely.

Happy Thanksgiving,


  1. Very interesting review! I totally agree with your assessment of these dolls. I do have both of these dolls and I very quickly rebodied them to poseable bodies. Shouldn't have to, but I did since I can't stand the stiff bodies. BTW, LA Girl and Carli Bell (on the user based nickname chart) both share the same facemold which is the current Skipper facemold. The faceups and hair style and colors make them appear very different, don't you think? Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    1. Thanks, I did have a good Thanksgiving, and I hope you did as well. So Elizabeth has the new Skipper mold! I was wondering why her head was smaller than the other dolls' heads. Yes, I've never been able to wrap my brain around those stiff bodies, particularly when the Fashionistas used to have such nice joints. It seems pretty chintzy of Mattel. Makes me wonder about their financial status.

  2. I'm really loving the new Fashionista Barbie doll line. They are so adorable and the styles are modern yet still sweet. I've also got an Elizabeth (I call her Elysia) and few others. Have you seen pics of the next wave of dolls yet? As for articulation, it would be nice to have it but I honestly don't want to change the bodies out. I'm happy with them as the are (for now LOL).

    1. That just proves that there's something for everyone, eh what? I ran into a couple of other folks on Facebook who like the stiffer bodies too. I haven't seen pictures of the new wave yet, but now I'm looking forward to it! If you have anything to add to this post, go ahead and do it!

  3. Thanks for reviewing this Fashionista. She's on my Wish List as is "Kenzie." I don't like the Fashionista bodies, but I love the faces and some of the fashions. I'll either re-body them onto articulated bodies or leave them as is until I find the right articulated body for them.

    I enjoyed reading your comments about these dolls and seeing the photos of them dressed in various fashions. Seeing does help with deciding whether to buy a doll or not.

    1. No prob! Yeah, I'm not a huge fan of these bodies, but the faces, outfits, and hairstyles make these dolls worth buying. It seems like "Kenzie" and "Elizabeth" were both the it girls of their wave; everyone I knew either had or wanted them. I can see why, LOL! Good luck hunting them down; I haven't seen either one in stores in awhile, but they're certainly available online.