Before I started collecting dolls, I use to ask for all sorts of gifts for special occasions – if given a say, which we usually practise in our family. Now, whenever I can, I ask for dolls. This year, I’ve even had to bring home a doll as a souvenir from the seaside – even though there is nothing inherently ‘seaside’ about her:
I had heard of the Spanish company Famosa, knowing them as the makers of PinyPon – a toy which I’ve never owned, but always thought was very cute…
…but I had no idea they also produced fashion dolls.
I was very intrigued when I saw the dolls. First of all, they had articulation, with double-jointed knees and elbows! The clothes were really cool, and the dolls were really inexpensive. I only wasn’t sure about the style of their faces, but overall, it was definitely worth a try. Of the four dolls available, I grabbed the one named Kelly.
This doll cost me 25 pln, which at the moment is equivalent to 5,60 euro, 6,70 usd or 5,2 gbp. To put this into perspective, Barbie Fashionistas typically costs 40-50 pln. Although I imagine prices vary from country to country, because of the costs of transport and other things, but anyway, she is the price of half a Fashionista to me and that’s great 🙂
For a moment I worried that at this price the doll may be a fake. One of the things that convinced me that it’s not was the quality of the packaging. It’s fantastic! Cute themed graphics all over…
Pretty shiny embossing on a matte background… and an outline of Hello Kitty’s face with a bow on the side.
The card in the back of the box is also shaped like Hello Kitty with a themed print on it:
The back gives you a sneak peek at other characters, complete with some polka dots for decoration.
Wow! I really love this box design. It looks really neat and well thought through.
Inside, there was a small poster showing the dolls in more detail.
I also quite liked the one on the right – Yanina. However, nothing can beat… Kiss-inspired Hello Kitty 😀
Unfortunately, when I sat the doll down, it creased Hello Kitty’s head 😦 I would consider this a bit of a design flaw – but the outfit is overall is fun. It’s pretty nicely made too – I especially like the gathered sleeves and the interesting choice of fabric. It goes with the rock/metal theme.
I was blown away by the tights. Actual, fabric tights are so rare in dolls lately, I’m usually happy if the doll at least doesn’t have painted legs. But this doll has nice, patterned mesh tights. And she was so cheap!
The only problem with the tights that they have discolored the doll’s feet. Oh well.
She comes with a purse that, unfortunately, does not open:
To be quite fair, her shoes are not the best I’ve seen. First of all, they are pink. The product shot shows Kelly wearing grey shoes, which I think would have looked way cooler on this Hard Rock gal.
Secondly, they only fit with the tights on, and only stay on securely if you leave the rubber bands on. Thirdly and finally… I thought these dolls were supposed to be young teens, so these shoes don’t seem appropriate?
Um, maybe they just really aren’t tweens… Don’t get me wrong, the tattoo is an awesome touch, it’s just weird that she looks like a tattooed kid.
The outfit is topped off with a Hello Kitty-esque bow, a common theme in this doll line:
I like how it’s a real fabric piece, but it also looks cartoony. It is, however, a little hard to put on, because the band is a rubber band that pulls on the hair along the way.
Speaking of the hair, she reminds of Raven Queen because of the purple highlights. I like her bob cut – short hair in dolls is not exactly unheard of, but less common. Her hair is not very soft but it’s generally nice, thick and totally free from gel or glue.
Now onto her face… I’ll be honest, at first I thought it looked horrid 🙂 I think that I’ve spent so much time dealing with Mattel and Disney Store dolls that other styles automatically look ‘wrong’ to me. Over time, her face has grown on me to where I don’t feel like I have to try to repaint her, but I still think there is room for improvement. I have a big issue with how their eyebrows make them look, which is another reason why Kelly was my favourite – hers are mostly covered.
Just like many Mattel dolls lately, quite a few of the dolls on the shelf had a degree of eye-wonk. I found one which is free from that affliction, but the trade of was sloppy lip paint.
Let me also mention that her head is not vinyl. That’s pretty unusual. It is made of fairly hard plastic, but it’s not shiny. The head has a decent range of motion.
Even more impressive are her leg and arm joints…
She has double-jointed, Made-to-Move-like elbows and knees. Her wrists are also articulated. The arms bend very well, the knees a bit less so. The following photos shows them bent as far as they can go.
She can’t do splits too too well. This is how far her legs go to the sides:
This is how Kelly compares to other dolls height-wise:
I think she could pass as a pre-teen child in comparison to most doll lines, but as I mentioned before, I am not sure if that was the intention, or if she is a young adult doll on a completely different scale – or whether she has an assigned age at all.
It so happens that she can sort of share clothes with Monster High and Ever After High dolls. While Howleen’s leotard has an excessively long torso section…
… more loose-fitting outfits work just fine. Just longer than on the original owners 🙂
As for the shoes, she can borrow boot-style footwear from Ever/Monster High dolls, but not dress shoes or sandals. These need to be borrowed from the Curvy Barbie, especially ones with a raised heel. They all looks slightly awkward, but passable.
Now for some final thoughts…
I feel like “Club Hello Kitty” Kelly is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea at first glance – that’s judging by my own initial uncertainty – but given enough time and exposure, she has a chance to compete with other fashion dolls out there. Her face took me some getting used to, but seeing the overall quality – of the body, the clothes and accessories, the packaging – I believe it is not a case of sloppy design or manufacturing, but rather quirky design. I can most definitely say that this doll is the best value for money I’ve seen perhaps ever (barring some wild discounts) – with fun design, good detail and advanced articulation, all at a price below many a budgets doll. I absolutely recommend her… as long as you like her face or are good at repaints 😉
Nobody is paying me to say this, but if you’re interested in this doll line (and read Spanish or use Google Translate or are satisfied with just looking at the photos :)) check out their website famosagroup.com/hellokitty/ especially the ‘Catalogo’ http://famosagroup.com/hellokitty/es/catalogo/ to see other dolls available.