Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Poppy Parker and Chip "Baby It's You" Gift Set by Integrity Toys

Typically, when fashion doll pre-order season comes around each year, I select a few Tonner dolls with Cinderella faces to add to my collection and that's about it.  This leaves me in a position where I can get out the popcorn, sit back, and watch the chaos that surrounds the yearly Integrity Toys pre-order extravaganza.  I have tried once or twice (half-heartedly, I'll admit) to buy a new Integrity doll, but by the time I get my act together, the dolls I want are always sold out.  Why are these dolls so popular?  Well, the edition sizes are pretty small (400-600), and the dolls are also Barbie-sized, so they fit nicely into the collections of established Barbie fans.  Furthermore, Jason Wu is a brilliant designer and many people want to own something he has created (have you seen his clothes at Target, by the way?  They are very nice).  But I also suspect that there's another intangible element to these dolls that makes them so tempting--a kind of "X factor."

I do own a few Integrity dolls, but only ones that don't sell very well for some reason.  For example, I got my 16" AvantGuard dolls on a big clearance sale and I found my I.T.B.E. doll collecting dust at an online shop two years after her release.  I really like these dolls, though, and that got me thinking that if mine are the undesirable Integrity dolls, the hot dolls must be pretty spectacular.  So, this year I decided to put a little more effort into my quest for a popular Integrity doll.

Lately, one of the most sought-after Integrity characters is Poppy Parker.  Poppy portrays a teenaged fashion model from the 1960s.  2012 has been an exciting year for Poppy Parker doll releases, because along with the usual 12" additions to the Poppy collection, there are new 16" versions of this character as well.  The 16" Poppy dolls are actually among the few Integrity dolls still available to order now, but the 12" dolls were typically scarce.  I managed to get my hands on one of the 12" Poppy dolls, the "Baby It's You" gift set that also includes Poppy's boyfriend Chip:

Poppy-Parker-Chip-Set
Poppy Parker and Chip Baby it's You gift set.
The gift set, which retails for $150, comes in a beautiful cardboard window display box.  The box is decorated with a simple pastel green and pink pattern and is tied at the sides with pink satin ribbon:


To get  the box open and remove the dolls, all you have to do is untie 9 ribbon bows.  It could not be easier.

Some of the accessories are a bit harder to extract.  Each doll comes with a separately packaged pair of shoes and a stand.  Poppy comes with a small clutch purse.  These items are displayed along the middle of the box, and are held in place with plastic bands that run through the pink cardboard insert and are taped in place at the back.  The stand bases are in cardboard slotted compartments behind the dolls' legs:

I love the elegant simplicity of this packaging, and I also love that with a little effort, both dolls and all of their accessories could go back into the box and almost look like they'd never been removed.

First, I'll show you Poppy and all of her accessories.  She comes with a telescoping saddle stand:


Poppy is dressed for the prom in a coral silk shirred dress with matching shoes, white elbow-length gloves, a diamond bracelet on her left wrist and diamond stud earrings.  She has a flower corsage type decoration at the waist of the dress.

 

I was especially anxious to see Poppy's face, because this (and her vintage wardrobe) are what I suspect make her so popular.  She has a very unique, pouty face with exaggerated slightly parted lips:

Poppy-Parker-Chip-Set

I'm probably not the first person to think she's got a bit of a January Jones, Mad Men look about her.

Poppy's platinum hair is done up in an elaborate asymmetrical style.  It is very stiff and immobile, but very few strands of hair were out of place and the hairstyle didn't seem crushed or misshapen in any way.  I think it looks great:


I am not sure if the lower curl on the back is supposed to be lopsided,
but I think it looks good this way.
The dress is very pretty and beautifully made.  I'm almost certain it's real silk.  The color is a bit bright for my taste, but it suits Poppy's platinum hair and tan skin tone.  It seems like an appropriate prom style dress for the 60s, although the skirt reminds me a bit of those collapsible tissue paper party decorations.


I don't care much for the flower.  It seems much too large for the scale of the dress.  Perhaps they were trying for something like this?  The level of detail and quality of design in the flower is not worthy of the rest of the outfit:

Imagine that thing scaled up to life size.  Yikes.
The dress has a real zipper in back and even a tiny hook closure at the top.  The fabric is a little crushed from being in the box:


The dress is fully lined.
I decided to snip off the offending flower, but discovered that the silk bow under the flower is held on by the same thread, so one snip removed the whole front decoration:

Oops.
The dress looks a bit bare without the bow:


I tied the bow around Poppy's waist as a sash.  This works pretty well, but you can see little holes in the fabric of the sash where the thread used to be, and the bow I tied in the back looks a bit sloppy.  Huh.  Maybe I shouldn't have cut off the flower.


The shoes are really pretty.  They are made out of the same silk fabric as the dress, and they have little pleated details on the front that mirror the gathered texture of the skirt:


The shoes don't look quite as good on Poppy as they look off her.  I think the stockings aren't helping much--the doll is so small that the texture of the stockings looks chunky and thick.  They look like medical grade stockings, and I know because I had to wear those bad boys when I was pregnant:

Not elegant.
The diamond tennis bracelet is lovely, and I enjoy hands that have separately sculpted fingers, but that left hand borders on being too claw-like:

Zombie hand.
The little clutch purse is made out of white silk and has a rhinestone accent.  It really opens and is lined:


Poppy-Parker-Chip-Set

Poppy's face paint compliments her dress and her coloring very nicely.



She is wearing coral lipstick and has a much lighter coral eyeshadow.  Her eyeliner is a deep brown that brings out the color of her eyes.  The earrings are a bit too big, but if they were any smaller, they'd no doubt get lost or fall apart.


There's no doubt that Poppy is an appealing doll.  I am already having fun paying with her. What I am noticing, though, as I have her strike different poses, is that there's an inconsistency between her sultry, elegant face and hair and her poofy bright coral party dress.  I really expect someone who is wearing this kind of dress to be smiling or giggling.  I suspect Poppy would prefer a simpler, more sophisticated dress.




Poppy-Parker-Doll

No more pictures of me in this dress, please.
Underneath that dress, Poppy has a nicely articulated plastic body.  She has 14 points of articulation (neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso, hips, knees and ankles).  


I think the sculpting in this doll is very pretty.  She has a lot of subtle anatomical detail without looking strange.  Her back is especially well done:


She has a lot of mobility in her shoulders and hips and can strike almost any pose you'd want:



Poppy sits very nicely, and her knee joints even have a bit of side-to-side mobility so she can tuck her feet off slightly to one side, or stand slightly knock-kneed.


There's very little movement in that torso joint.  It moves very slightly from side-to-side, and can tip forwards and back in an almost imperceptible way:


The range of motion in the knees is good, but the movement of the ankles is limited.  Furthermore, I don't find these two joints to be very attractive.  The upper half of the knee joint overlaps the lower, but there's a pretty big size discrepancy between the two sides of this joint.  The feet are flat, which is fine, but the foot can't be pointed much at all and again, the upper half of the joint is too large for the lower.  She looks like she has swollen ankles.  Maybe that explains the medical hose?



Here's a lineup of some 12" dolls I own:

From left: Stardoll, Barbie Fashionista, Poppy, ITBE, Rapunzel, Liv
Not surprisingly, Poppy most closely resembles the ITBE doll.  In fact, they seem to share a body sculpt, but the ITBE doll has different legs and is quite a bit taller:


Suddenly the mismatched vinyl of the ITBE doll is making some sense.  Did they just grab a torso from the Poppy Parker/Fashion Royalty bin and make some simpler arms and legs for it?


Here is Poppy posing in between a Barbie Basic doll and the Integrity basic doll. What I notice most is how much more appealing and realistic Poppy's face is:


Poppy can share clothes with Barbie, which is excellent because she really needs to ditch that coral dress.  Katie is happy to have a new silk dress, and it suits her cheery personality:


The Barbie Basic little black dresses have to be the most useful doll clothing pieces I own.  They look awesome on everyone, and this one suits Poppy perfectly:


Poppy-Parker-Doll


Poppy-Parker-Doll

Now, let's see about this boyfriend.  Chip comes with a different kind of stand and shoes:


Chip is decked out in a spiffy white jacketed tuxedo and black and white wingtip shoes:


I have been waiting to see Chip ever since I read about his hair over on Terri's blog.  Sure enough, my Chip has the same funny flap of hair sticking up on top that Terri mentioned.  It's a strange shelf-like plume of hair.  It reminds me of a dog's tail. Or a tidal wave.  Bizarro:

Poppy-Parker-Chip-Set

Hold up, though--he's also devilishly handsome!  I like his sly grin.  I think he could give Ken some serious competition.

If you can drag yourself away from gazing at his baby blue eyes and commanding eyebrows, notice the paint defect at the side of his mouth.  Did Poppy just kiss him??

Busted.
But really, we need to get back to the hair.  This is the strangest hair I have ever seen on a doll.  Around the bottom, it is a G.I. Joe-style flocked buzz-cut.  On the top, it is long and rooted, but it is kinda rooted backwards towards the front of the head and then flipped over and slicked back.  The slicking back part doesn't seem to have worked very well, and so the hair sticks up and makes that little tail.  I don't know a ton about doll hairstyling, but I am guessing there's a better way to get that effect:


He's like some fancy crested bird:

...in the seldom-seen mating display of the Chipper bird,
the male will raise an impressive black crest...
Tonner attempted a similar hairstyle on Edward Cullen the vampire and I think it looks much better:

 

I am not a big fan of the white jacket tuxedo look, but this outfit is very detailed and accurate.  The jacket is a slightly different shade of white than the shirt-- it's a bit more cream colored.  It has satin lapels and false pockets.  It is also wrinkled from being in the package, and it has some funny creases along the shoulders that I can't get smoothed out:


Despite all of the intricate details (little black tuxedo shirt buttons, a detachable bow tie) the overall look is a bit messy.  I think it is difficult to manage lots of layers of clothing in a doll this size.

Straighten your tie, Chip.  
I like the cuff details, and Chip's nicely sculpted hands:

It's a dark picture, but you can just barely see the little veins on his hands.
The jacket is lined and closes with tiny hooks:


Under the jacket, Chip is wearing black suspenders over his white shirt:


 

The shirt opens down the front with those little metal hooks:


The suspenders are a wonderful touch, and the tailoring on the pants is incredibly well done.  The front pockets of the pants are real, but the back pockets are just decoration:


Excellent...tailoring.
The outfit is finished off by the wonderful wingtip shoes--with real laces.  The idea of shoes with real laces is grand, but in reality, the laces have to be long enough for ham-handed people like me to get them tied, and this means that they have to be ridiculously loopy on the doll:




Under the outfit, Chip has a very muscular sculpt.  That's quite an impressive figure for a teenager, if you ask me:

Poppy-Parker-Chip-Set

The pants have a real zipper fly with yet another of those tiny metal hooks at the top:


Chip has 14 points of articulation and a very action hero body type.  The level of movement in his body is very similar to Poppy.


He has excellent motion in his hips and shoulders:


But not a lot of flexibility in his torso and ankles.  


The chunky ankle joints don't look as bad on him.


It's a bit tricky to get Chip dressed again.  The lined pants want to turn themselves inside out instead of sliding nicely over his feet, and all of those little hooks are tricky to re-fasten, especially the ones in the collar of the shirt and on the bow tie.


All dressed up again, Chip is ready to meet Poppy for their big date:


Poppy-Parker-Chip-Set

Chip has a rascally side...and I am not sure Poppy approves! 


It's not like Chip didn't have his choice of ladies.  Around here, he is the only 12" male who has been taken out of the box.  This makes him extremely popular.


He looks especially nice with Stardoll Fallen Angel:


Although Meowlody would love to get her tail wrapped around him...


He can even pass for a Flynn Ryder stand-in...although there's something slightly sinister about how he looks in this picture.  Rapunzel seems so trusting and innocent and he...well for starters, he doesn't look like he's going to give that tiara back.

Sure...I'll take you to see the lanterns...
However, Chip has eyes only for Poppy, especially when she dresses in her elegant basic black:


Who are we kidding--these two aren't going to the prom, are they?  They're like 25 years old and only play teenagers on TV.  However, we can pretend they're going to prom, and in that case this can be their prom portrait:

Poppy-Parker-Chip-Set

..and they can do some dancing:


...and cuddling:



Bottom line?  After today, I have to count myself among the Poppy Parker fans.  She has an easily recognizable and unique face sculpture.  While she doesn't ever look particularly happy, I find that she oscillates between sultry and innocent very smoothly, and this makes for fun photography sessions.  Chip was a nice surprise.  I have to admit that I assumed I wouldn't like him--partly based on the promotional pictures and partly on the concerns about his strange hair.  What is odd is that I don't even notice the hair much when I am photographing him.  His face is captivating, and I find myself focusing on those features and filtering out the strange hair and even the little paint defect.  With faces like these, Integrity certainly has the foundation for an extremely successful line.

What really sets these dolls apart from other vinyl fashion dolls is the quality and intricacy of their outfits.  Poppy's silk dress and matching pumps, Chip's full tuxedo with every little detail in place--these are perfect miniatures of real clothing.  The seams are all finished, the insides are all lined, the fabrics are all authentic and most of the buttons and pockets actually work.  I can't think of a vinyl fashion doll line that currently makes better clothes than these--although many of the Tonner doll clothes used to be made with this kind of care.

Ironically, it seems like it is the intricate high quality outfits that can also be the downfall of any given Integrity doll.  All of that attention to detail (and the price that you pay for it) is wasted if you don't like the style or design of a particular ensemble.  In this case, Poppy's dress isn't as appealing as I'd hoped, and Chip's tuxedo is too bulky, with all of those little details actually getting in the way of a polished look.  I don't regret buying these two by any means, you have to start somewhere, but there's a part of me that is already starting to think ahead to what kind of outfits I would like my next Poppy and Chip to be wearing.

I think I am beginning to see why some of these dolls are so incredibly sought after while others linger on the shelves.  If Poppy's memorable face was paired with just the right cute, retro outfit (designed by Jason Wu, please) and topped off with a nice hairstyle and interesting face paint, that would be a small treasure.  I might even be willing to set aside my popcorn and jump into the pre-ordering fray for such a doll, staying up all night to refresh my screen and be sure I had a chance to plunk down the $80 necessary to bring her home.  Tune in next pre-order season and we'll see what happens with that.

Summary:

Age Level
10 and up
Value
Good at about $75 per doll.
Quality
The quality of the clothing is outstanding.  Both dolls have well tailored, multi-piece outfits made from nice fabrics.  The dolls themselves are highly articulated with appealing faces.  Chip has a small factory face paint flaw and a poorly conceived hairstyle.
Packaging
Beautiful and simple.  Mostly cardboard with a plastic window and ribbon ties. Very reusable for storage or resale.
Collectable?
Yes--highly collectable. Secondary market prices can be pretty steep.
Versatility
Although these dolls have a retro 1960s theme and wardrobe, they can easily jump forward to modern times by sharing clothes with Barbie and other 12” fashion dolls.  Their faces are full of character but also open to interpretation.
Overall
Recommended.  I have to qualify that, though, by suggesting that you wait until you see a face and an outfit that really speak to you.  That combination is easily worth the retail price.

Poppy-Parker-Chip-Set

12 comments:

  1. Dragging myself up off the floor and clawing my way into my chair after the pix and commentary about Chip's bird hair .... These dolls are certainly beautifully made, including the clothing. My personal preference is forward-facing eyes rather than side-glancing because I think the side-glancing limits the posing options -- that being said, on Poppy her side-glancing eyes add some additional personality to her pout. LOVE how her mouth is done!

    Back to Chip's hair. I wonder if it is an attempt toward an early-60's style pompadour (think Elvis...)? If so, a little bit of work on his style could get that look, such as relaxing that part of his hair with warm water, then "setting" it so the pompadour rolls a little forward over his forehead before curving back (and of course a necessary loose lock must be falling down). Perhaps not something to be done to a doll being held as a collectible as it changes the out-of-box situation.

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    1. That sounds like a good idea--I especially like the idea of a loose lock hanging down. Very sexy! I have to believe that the designers at Integrity had something else in mind, and then the production of that style was too difficult and so we got the Chipper bird instead. ;)

      I don't mind if he's modified--especially because he has that paint flaw on his face already. I might try to fix the hair, but usually when I try to fix things like this, they just get worse! What would you use to re-set the hair? Hair spray?

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    2. To re-do his hair, I'd first brush it to make sure any fixative is brushed out, and brush it forward/down. Then pour very hot water (up to boiling) over the hair from back to front, or dip the hair into a cup of it. Then I'd use something handy like a narrow strip of foam rubber or a little piece of cloth rolled up tightly, to make the "roller" for the pompadour and set the hair such that the pompadour comes down a bit over his forehead and then rolls back on the roller. Hold the roller and hair in place with a piece of plastic wrap brought down smoothly and firmly around the head. You could then pour hot water again over the plastic wrap, followed quickly by ice-cold water, and then let the doll stand for about a day before removing the plastic wrap. Once the hair is dry, take it out of the roller, brush and use a bit of hair gel to hold the style as well as to pull a little down for that forehead curl. You might need to wrap the curl hair around something to use as a roller for it, but the gel should set it without need to re-do all the hot/cold water stuff.

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  2. I've been drooling over Poppy myself but for now am content to enjoy pictures of her like these (though I'm very tempted by this set!) I love the pic of Chip with all the girls, Barbie Basic looks like she wants to eat him up, literally!

    I've used Magic Eraser to remove stray paint marks on my Pullips, it may work for Chip's smudge. If you do try it do it with the eraser dry first; if that doesn't work dampen it a little.

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  3. Poppy have such a cool, unique face. She's on my list of "some day" dolls!

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  4. Hello from Spain: Poppy is one of the most beautiful dolls on the market. The clothes are high quality and jewelry are beautiful. I like the articulated body ... The worst thing is the price and not sold in Spain this collection of dolls in stores. Congratulations for the description and comparison you make of this couple of dolls. As always perfect images. Keep in touch

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  5. That was one of the most thorough reviews I have ever read! Bravo!!! I understand that people have used nail polish acetone to remove paint BUT since it is so close to Chip's mouth I would try the Magic Eraser someone suggested first.

    LauraLA

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  6. I love Poppy! Thank you for this wonderful review. I love the articulation in her body as well.

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  7. I don't care for this particular Poppy (I think it's that the platinum hair looks too severe), but Chip is awesome! He reminds me a little bit of Jonathan Rhys Meyers (probably due to the Elvis-style pompadour Barb mentioned-JRM played Elvis in a popular CBS miniseries about 10 years ago) and (why?!) James Franco (again-why am I getting Franco vibes?!).

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  8. Thanks again for this wonderfully detailed review. I too have only one Poppy (though it sounds like you may have more by now...😉), Mood Changers Red Haired Poppy and I adore her ❤️ I was reading the review as I want to buy her some suitably gorgeous clothes and this dress is up for sale on eBay... I do like red on red so I may go for it despite your reservations. I too would probably snip off that horrid flower 😉 PS I looked at a lot of Poppys before deciding on mine and I think I made a good choice even if her hairstyle (which is definitely staying as is!) can be limiting. Sounds like an excuse to buy another Poppy...

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  9. I just wanted to let you know that you were the one to inform me of this brand's existence, and I was immediately delighted by Poppy and vowed to get one for myself one day, as soon as I could afford her. But at the time I didn't realize that Poppy doesn't always look like this, but instead receives a new face with every release. Only, you made me fall in love with this Poppy specifically! n.n I just adore those brown eyes and that platinum hair. I think this iteration still looks wonderfully haughty, but the brown eyes add a certain warmness to her. So I panicked, thinking I could never afford her second-hand. But, after searching eBay I found this same Poppy, for an excellent price since she came unboxed and nude. She arrived yesterday, and I got her a pink sweater and some floral shorts from Squishtish (this listing https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1104577951 - this seller owns the same Poppy too, totally made me feel this outfit was meant to be haha).

    She's one of the most delightful dolls in my collection now, and I wanted to send you a warm thank you for telling me about her.

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