In Jakarta, Indonesia there exists a low-cost airline called Wings Air. Their slogan, which was roughly translated from Indonesian to English, meant "Flying is Cheap," but read "Fly is Cheap." Normally a flub like that would be found on a bootleg doll box rather than an airline, and said flub earned Wings Air the apparently unfair assumption that their service was subpar. Wings Air's record is certainly cleaner than ValuJet Airline's record was before the latter got bought out, but I digress. I paid another of my regular visits to the toy department today, and...let me just say that I was shocked at what I'd found. It made me think of the "Fly is Cheap" slogan for some weird reason.
In short, I found a that a good percentage of the Barbie dolls available for sale have molded-on or painted-on clothes. The ones in swimsuits don't bother me too much, since they're meant for water play and can wear clothes over their swimsuits...
similar to the one linked here. I gave her away a few years ago, but she wasn't terribly unlike the ones above...except that she wore clothes. I mean REAL clothes; a cloth dress with a cloth tutu, and vinyl pointe shoes that had to be rubberbanded to her feet. Granted, her legs were painted lavender and I thought that was a cheap move, but having seen these I wish I hadn't judged my budget ballerina. The two ballerinas pictured above have molded on leotards and necklaces in addition to painted tights, while the two princesses have molded on bodices. I can't even tell if any of them have skirts that can detach! And unlike the swimsuit dolls pictured above, these bodices aren't flat, thus covering them with other clothes would be a real challenge. It CAN be done, but t's not easy to do. These dolls are largely relegated to conservative tops that cover their entire shoulder and neckline area, and in Barbie's world clothes like that aren't the easiest to find. The only way to remedy this is through a rebody...and not to sound insensitive, but if your doll is a doll of color like the ones above, finding a body that is a good match can be tricky.
Oh, but it gets even better (worse?) than that! Check out these two.
Billie Jean's in fact, because they have the same head mold. The problem is that neither doll is dressed up. Like the ballerinas and the princesses above, these dolls have their clothes molded on. The fairy has a cluster of large jewels sticking out of her chest, and I don't know for sure but I think they're there permanently. Her sherbet-colored mermaid friend has not only a molded on bodice, but also a molded tail instead of legs. Once again, I owned a mermaid doll, one that I wish I'd kept because her head was gorgeous. She didn't have legs either, but she made up for it by having a soft tail that moved when her hips were squeezed. The one pictured above has a hip joint, but I suspect that's all she's got. I can forgive the mermaid for her lack of versatility though, since my old mermaid doll couldn't wear other Barbie clothes either.
This last one though? I'm at a complete loss for words.
Bubble Angel Barbie...but seriously, how many of us actually DO remember Bubble Angel Barbie? I do, but only because I thought the commercial was cute. No, the concept of this doll, I like. But...THAT FULL-SKIRTED DRESS IS MOLDED ON COMPLETELY!!!!!! She doesn't have a removable dress with wings that double as a bubble wand like Bubble Angel Barbie did. According to the package this doll's hard plastic skirt is supposed to create a reservoir to hold bubble soap and allow the doll to blow bubbles. Uh...what's wrong with using those wings as bubble wands? What's wrong with waving the doll around to form the bubbles? Her hair certainly wouldn't be messed up from such treatment, as it's styled in a tight bun. That hair is fabulous, by the way. I've griped in the past about Barbie's obsession with pink, but I love this doll's hair. However, the hair will not in any way, shape, or form tempt me into plunking down twenty bucks for this doll, and my feelings would be the same if I were a mother. What can you do with this doll when the bubble gimmick runs thin? She can't be redressed AT ALL, and her hair can't be restyled much. In short, she's just a twenty-dollar bubble wand, and I had toys during my childhood that did the same thing for half the cost.
I'm not Mattel's target audience of course, but it does seem pretty chintzy of such a large toy company to be releasing dolls with molded bodices, especially when they finally appear to be kicking clothes production up a notch. Or maybe it's Mattel's bizarre way of selling more dolls. Some little kid could very well want Bubbletastic Fairy Barbie to play with AND a Fashionista to dress up...or some scenario like that. This new molded-on-clothes trend is a bit sucktacular for collectors though; I saw no fewer than five heads that I would've loved to have owned, but I wasn't about to pay for a gimmicky body that would immediately land in the dust heap just to get those heads. I guess that I'm relegated to hoping that the Fashionistas will start getting more interesting hair colors...especially one that is colored like that mermaid! Her tan skin and aqua hair are a combination to die for.