Liberation 6: Hallmark’s Holiday Voyage Barbie

Mattel puts out a lot of ‘historical’ theme dolls. Some of them are wonderful, and others are, well, not wonderful. I’ve always found it interesting that Mattel does so many 1920s dolls, since the idealized flapper has far less generous assets than the B girl. This doll was put out as an exclusive to Hallmark Gold Crown stores last Christmas, as the second doll in their second series of historically themed, greeting card bearing holiday dolls. She does not appear in any way on her enclosed card, which gave the Mattel designers more leeway in designing her costume than usual. The results are pretty spectacular!

The Doll

Sophisticated is the word that comes to mind when I look at this doll’s face paint. Big, true red lips. Curved, plucked thin brows. Softly blushed cheeks. She has big green eyes, accented with brown eyeliner, the barest hint of blue shadow, and then two different shades of rose highlighting up to her eyebrows. The hair is also extraordinarily well done. Many short haired Mattel dolls suffer from ‘flyaway’ syndrome, due to the fact that saran hair cut that short has virtually no weight to it. This hair is ever so slightly thicker than usual, and has a soft, wavy texture that allows it to hold a bubble well. In the above pictures, she has a bad case of ‘hat hair’, exacerbated by the fact that her hair seems to have been styled after her hat was put on. Although this looks lovely with the hat on, her hair looks absolutely breathtaking once fluffed out (see the results picture below). Her hair is rooted in quantity, with a side part. She has big ‘pearl’ teardrop earrings, which can’t be removed, of course. I can’t help but think the pearl studs would look better.

There’s not much to be said about the body. It’s the standard Barbie body with Shani arms. Mattel got really cheap with the legs here… two extremely weak clicks (middle photo, above). The skin is the ‘porcelain pale’ color, which looks really dramatic with the red lips and dark brown hair. Alas, even though the original retail price on this doll was $50, the white plastic panties are in evidence. With molded ‘B’s, no less. Somehow I doubt that’s historically accurate.

Doll Scorecard
Face: A
Body: C+
Hair: A+
Overall: A-

The Outfit

Simple clothes, unfortunately, are always harder than they sound. This dress is proof of that. A basic shift with a dropped waist and self-belt, Mattel seems to have forgotten that the draping on such a style needs to be exact. On a 1:6 scale, a fraction of an inch variance in the location of the waist can be fatal. On the plus side, the fabric is what I assume is an excellent fake silk, with incredible texture, and those are snaps, no velcro in sight. The coat is a cheap polyester, but is nicely accented with an intricate black velvet overlay and fake white fur. Mattel’s box bondage means there is a hole in the coat for the twist ties to go throw, but it is actually an unsewn inch of back seam that can be fixed without looking bad.

Outfit Scorecard
Fabric: A-
Style: A
Execution: B-
Overall: B+

The Accessories

No, your eyes do not deceive you- that’s a fastener you see on the ‘pearl’ necklace. Why Mattel went to that trouble when this necklace is actually long enough to come on and off easily, I don’t know, but it’s always nice to see them remember the little touches. The hat is black velvet and tailored, with a cute little ribbon rosette. Also included is the requisite doll sized Hallmark card and a ‘crotch rocket’ stand. The shoes are absolutely adorable! The molded stitching is very detailed and the style is very authentic.

Accessories Scorecard
Concept: A-
Style: A
Playability: B+
Overall: A-

The Result

I wanted something simple for this doll, so as not to overwhelm her great makeup and hair. And what could be more classic than a black cocktail dress and pearls?

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