/// 19 February 2009 ///
A taste of things to come....

Toy Fair 2009: Part Two

Styled By Me Barbie® will finally be available online (Picture courtesy of ASM - click to see it bigger)

I present to you part two of my new novel, Toy Fair 2009. (Here's part one.) Once again, the pictures are used with permission from ASM, and they all link to larger versions on ASM's site. There are lots more pics there, so so click them and check them out!

FAO Schwarz opened a Styled By Me Barbie® boutique in 2007 that lets customers create a "customized" Barbie (or friend) doll, choose an outfit for her, then watch the doll "model" the outfit on a "runway". At the end, they have the option of purchasing the doll they "designed".

I'm not sure if this is just a "refreshed" version of the in-store Styled By Me console or not. In any event, the big news is, the Styled by Me Barbie service will be available online in the near future as well. This is great news for people who've been lamenting the demise of the online My Design Barbie service at the end of the 1990's. However, the dolls you can get will undoubtedly be limited to playline bases - which means big heads - and that will definitely temper the experience for a lot of adult collectors. (I think the pictures that come after it, like this one, are examples of dolls you can "make" using the service. I noticed the Asian character, Kira®, isn't included... She was originally an option at FAO Schwarz. I sure hope she hasn't been removed. There also isn't much variety - the dolls all look like the ones you can already buy in stores. Hopefully you'll have the option of choosing hair and eye colors the way you could with the My Design dolls.)

Side note: For some reason, it's been explicitly stated that the word "Barbie" is now considered to be "noun". This seems very, very strange - the whole reason Mattel has been adamant that the word "Barbie" only be used as an adjective (e.g. "a Barbie doll") rather than a noun (e.g. "a Barbie") for the last 50 years was to keep it from becoming a genericized trademark that could be used to refer to fashion dolls in general. This is part of the reason they've always vehemently discouraged the use of the plural form "Barbies", requiring people to use the phrase "Barbie dolls" instead. At first, I thought the "Barbie is officially a noun" thing was a mistake, but there are hints of it in the Toy Fair pictures; for example, the wall behind the Styled By Me console has "Design your own Barbie" written on it. (Normally, you would expect it to say "Barbie doll".) I guess we'll have to wait and see if official sources start using phrases like "check out the latest Barbies" - up until now, saying things like that have been grounds for a cease-and-desist letter. (I'm more concerned that Barbie's friends will start being called "Barbies". They don't have much individuality as it is. )

Here's the Bye Bye Bad Hair™ Detangler Kit about to be put into action. (Hopefully this isn't the after.... Because you could "detangle" Barbie's hair better than that with a cucumber, or a shoe, or any number of other readily-available household items.)

FAB Girl™ Barbie® (I think) (Picture courtesy of ASM - click to see it bigger)

I think this is FAB Girl Barbie. (The name may change.) She's the second of three dolls shown with what looks like the 1998 "Generation Girl" head sculpt. (More about that in a minute.) She's an intern at a fashion magazine, and that's a lot of coffee. (Or whatever it's supposed to be - I don't think Barbie would drink coffee. If she were a real person. Which she isn't. Yes, I know that.) Also, I like how she comes with fake eyelashes. Every workin' girl needs fake eyelashes, right?

Next are the I Can Be... dolls, which focus on other possible careers. (If you want to quibble, fairy, "fashionista", mermaid, and princess aren't really viable "careers" nowadays and they've never been included in this line, but it's good to have dreams, right? I once knew a kid who wanted to be a brontosaurus when she grew up. They haven't made an I Can Be a Brontosaurus Barbie doll yet, though.)

Two of the dolls on display are already available in stores: Sea World Trainer and Pet Vet. There are also three new ones: Gymnastics Coach, Preschool Teacher, and Nursery Doctor.

Nursery Doctor is the third and final doll in ASM's pictures whose head sort of looks like the 1998 "Generation Girl" head - but, can you see how it looks kind of "different"? I suppose it could be a modified version of the old sculpt, or maybe even a totally different sculpt (hence the wishy-washiness about calling it that). It seems like there's less detail in the nostrils, which almost makes me wonder if it might have been further enlarged (like the Lara® head was in 2006).

BTW, I also noticed that the boxed Sea World Trainer and Pet Vet dolls on display both have the vintage Barbie logo on the box. These dolls have already been released for sale in boxes using the current logo, which means the boxes shown here are revisions. And the Gymnastics Coach, which isn't out yet, has the current logo on her box. These facts can only lead to one conclusion: There could be mucho de box variations this year if all of the boxes that have been released so far are revised with the vintage logo. (I'm not going to pay attention to them, though. If I see a basic Ballerina in a box with the current logo next to one with the vintage logo, I'm just going to ignore them. And if I keep saying that, I may actually be able to do it if that happens. )

That's all for now! Stay tuned for more! I've managed to get a big fat cold (or typhoid fever or something) so it's taking longer than I'd like to write this stuff.

Doll Diary 19 February 2009