Monday, December 30, 2019

Best of 2019 - # 1

I guess in a year of "slim pickings" it is only fitting that is one stand-out doll from the small crowd, or should I say a small "gathering".    For the past couple years, IT collectors have had to deal with a lot of problems in the production process of their dolls.  Heads and bodies do no match, hairlines are all over the place and sometimes very poorly rooted.  Eyelashes droop.  Screenings are messed up due to misaligned paint molds.  It's been a total mess!  Rather than push out quantity, IT has been working diligently to try to correct quality control, so there have been fewer dolls this year.

I've often teased that I am not a Poppy Parker collector, even though I've owned the majority of versions that have been released.  For some reason, only a few have staying power.  My "mini-me" is actually the first Poppy I ever purchased in 2009 Summer Magic.  I have brown eyes, and, when I was younger, I had red hair and wore it in a bob with bangs.   Summer Magic is also my avatar on Flickr.  The picture below is actually over 10 years old!
I have sold many Poppy versions that are considered grails by others.  The most interesting thing about Poppy Parker is the versions can look very different from each from just the screenings.  There are fans of every screening.  Poppy has looked very young, more mature, innocent, sweet, and serious.  Poppy Parker has a very strong group of collectors and some of them only collect Poppy Parker.  Poppy Parker is an anomaly in the doll collecting world.

Collectors had extremely high hopes for 2019.  It was the 10 year anniversary of Poppy Parker.  The IT designer, David Buttry, didn't even break a sweat!  If you were a W Club member and you attended the IT Convention "Fashion Week", you had an excellent year of birthday celebrations!  There were 20 versions of Poppy Parker that made their way into collectors' hands in 2019.

When I first started considering the dolls that arrived this year to be included in my Best of 2019 countdown, I quickly realized the list was going to be very loaded with Poppy Parker.   It quickly became apparent that Poppy Parker was going to be my #1 choice for the second time in four years.  So... I have decided to give you my Top 10 Poppy Parkers from her 10th year anniversary in my #1 spot.  Please note that these are my personal favorites!

#10: Gardens of Versailles Poppy Parker
She was the W Club Convention offer this year.  The dress is gorgeous but the face and hair is what brings her to my top 10!  Her popularity suffers from the fact that she was released at the same time as the convention Poppy dolls and they were all so beautiful.

#9: Fashion Week Style Lab - Kicky
I missed out on Big Eyes from 2016, so I was so excited to get this one.  It doesn't hurt she has amazing blue eyes!

#8: Split Decision Brunette
This was a highly anticipated version because she was a close duplicate to one of the most sought after and expensive Poppy Parkers ever produced, Bergdorf Goodman.  I actually think I like Split Decision better!

#7: Fashion Week Style Lab - Far Out
A Poppy interpretation of Francie!  Right down to the oxidized bangs!  Fabulous!

#6: Kimono Go Go
Did not see the potential in this doll until she started showing up in collectors' photos.   She is much better out of that ridiculous costume.  This doll is worth a second look.

#5: Bossa Nova 
I may not be a fan of bangs, but this doll delivers face in a major way.  I even love the ensemble.   One of my very favorite dark haired versions and proved me wrong about my not liking those painted on upper lashes.

#4: Double Agent
This is another that took me by surprise.  I have "To The Fair" and thought this one was too similar.  I fell in love with those eyes!

#3: Fashion Week Style Lab - Groovy
Unfortunately missed getting her at convention and had to turn to secondary market.  (Can't get over the reference to "PJ")  She is skyrocketing!

#2: Fashion Week Style Lab - Cool
I love this doll's coloring.  She is my favorite from the style lab.

#1:  Love Is Blue
This doll is truly one of the most under-rated versions of Poppy in years, but I think she is one of the most elegant and beautiful.  There is a quiet, cool, sophistication to this doll.  

When I was doing my Best of 2019 list, I first tried to group all of the Fashion Week Style Lab dolls as #1.  But then I had to find places for the other six.  Next, I thought I could maybe do all the Convention Poppy Parkers as #1, but I still had three left over.  My only way out of this dilemma was a Top Ten inside a Top Ten.  

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Best of 2019 - #2

In a lackluster year for Integrity Toys (IT), another doll manufacturer decided to wake up the collecting community - for that matter it stirred up the general public as a whole.  

For old farts like me, these can be very confusing times.  Technology is moving so rapidly it's nearly impossible to keep up.   Societal changes are pushing boundaries and demanding more open-mindedness and tolerance.  Fortunately, I believe the more educated one is (in all things), the better off one will be.  Fear is a product of ignorance, ignorance is nothing more than the lack of educating oneself.

"Non-binary" is a new term in our vocabulary.  It seems young adults have evolved beyond gender definition.  People are demanding to be met on their own terms.  It's a very exciting and interesting time in our history.

I had always considered Mattel (the parent company of Barbie) to be extremely traditional.  After all, they have actually helped define gender roles for over half a century!  I shared in the general surprise when Mattel forged ahead in this area in 2019.  Earlier this year, Mattel introduced the first "gender-neutral dolls".   These dolls could be accessorized as either male, female, or gender neutral.  (Photo property of Mattel)

I was very impressed with this concept; however, the dolls did not fit into my collection as a whole.  (Not because of theme, but because of shape and size.)

Mattel kept forging ahead - the next big surprise of 2019 was the BMR1959™ line.  I understand that the name given this line celebrates the year that Barbie® was first introduced to the world and suggests a celebration of 60 years of doll production, but this line of dolls couldn't be any further from the traditional norms of Barbie®.

Collectors have been begging for Fashionistas to be put on the Made to Move Barbie® bodies for years.  I love the articulation and first blogged about these when they were released over four years ago (Link to my review: Made to Move Barbie Review.)  Unfortunately, most of the Made to Move dolls are sports-inspired or yoga dolls.

The "BMR1959™" mini capsule was packaged in brown FSC certified shoeboxes made from materials that have been responsibly sourced and feature a fashion sketch of each doll by their designer, Carlyle Nuera.

The outside of the box states "The BMR1959™ collection celebrates the fashion heritage of Barbie® and showcases how current trends influence the brand.  These bold, fully posable dolls capture the diverse looks found in today's street wear culture.  From high-low fashion fixes, re-imagined '90's gear to juxtaposed patterns, textures, and silhouettes, this curated ensemble is all about personal expression and style."

When you open the shoebox, the dolls inside are packaged quite well.

Here is what they look like in the boxes - each doll has a different interior color.

And closeups of their faces!

This is what diversity is all about.  There are different body types, different ethnicities, different genders, and different preferences.  The ensembles are very vibrant and exciting.  What an amazing way to celebrate the 60th birthday of another "old fart."   This is a very positive step forward for Mattel!

With the cute packaging, cool clothing, and Made to Move bodies, the retail on each doll is $29.99.  After Thanksgiving, each doll went on sale for $19.99 online (Amazon, Target, and Walmart).  I got all six, shipped to my home, for less than the cost of one doll by Integrity Toys!

Best of 2019 - #2 goes to Mattel for being so forward thinking on Barbie's 60th birthday by modeling tolerance to both children and adults and celebrating beauty in all its shapes and forms!