On the other hand, I did find Cyanne to be charmingly photogenic, and noted that several of the other dolls in the series appear to have more imaginative outfits, more interesting face paint, and more personality. This got me wondering if I might have made a bad choice for my first La Dee Da doll. I decided to re-assess these dolls with a fresh perspective. This time, I selected my favorite doll in person, at a real store, where all of the dolls were in stock. This was a surprisingly easy decision. Many of the dolls look similar to me, but a few stood out as special. City Girl Dee is very appealing, and Runway Vacay Sloane and Tylie are distinct, but the uncontested show-stealer, in my eyes, is Sweet Party Dee:
|Sweet Party Dots of Style Dee|
I found when I was looking at these dolls that I was evaluating them for their hair, their face paint and their outfit...pretty much in that order. Dee has great hair (and it's not an up-do, so I can test the rooting hypothesis), she has an adorable polka dot dress and she has expressive side-glancing eyes and glittery, asymmetrical face paint:
|She's got it all.|
It's nice to have the Dee character because I get the sense that she's the founder of the La Dee Da fashion label. The Sweet Party clothes were apparently inspired by Dee's "sweet" 16th birthday. Groan. This is a tired theme, especially since the Monster High crew just took the sweet sixteen idea and gave it a creative jolt by adding two powers of ten.
The box is littered with word play:
|Shouldn't that be canDEE?|
Here are two neat things from the box: first, you can download a free ebook from the App Store. That's creative and modern and reduces packaging. I like it. I might not like the book itself (I haven't read it yet) but I love the idea.
The other neat thing is the bar code:
|How cute is that?|
The dots of candy in the background, Dee's spotted dress and purse, her circular eye makeup and the rainbow burst of her hair...it all adds up to a lot of color. It could be deemed over-the-top, I suppose, but it makes me feel like I'm in a candy store, or at a carnival, and that's a great feeling. There's definitely a cohesive theme with this doll.
|Even the loose curls in her hair hint at the dot theme.|
I look at this doll and I think of Hallmark's Rainbow Brite. Dee doesn't really look anything like Rainbow Brite, so I guess it's just a simple word association, but I can't get it out of my head. Dee's hair reminds me of Rainbow Brite's horse, Starlite, who I have always loved. Dee and Starlite would be a great pair.
Ok, here's a little tangent. In Googling the picture of Rainbow Brite and her horse, above, I stumbled upon the (old) news that in 2010, Playmates made new Rainbow Brite fashion dolls with plastic horses! I was so excited to learn this, but less excited when I saw the bad reviews of the dolls on Amazon, and the high prices for the (now discontinued) horses on Amazon and eBay. I like the yarn-haired 1983 Rainbow Brite dolls (and their 2003 re-releases) by Mattel better. Lately it seems like everything old is new again, and those of us who are a certain age get chance after chance to re-experience the consumerism of our youth.
Back to Dee. She comes with a stand, an orange wrapped present that doesn't open, and a rainbow polka dot purse that doesn't open.
Here's a warning about that package (aside from the fact that it doesn't open). It's being re-gifted. Remember this?
Spin Master is allowed to re-use their own stuff, I know, but at least
re-wrap re-paint it.
It's from this Liv Party clothing pack:
Yet another secret about the present (and the purse) is that they have ugly writing on the back, and the purse doesn't have the polka dot pattern on the back--it's blank:
Dee comes with an activity book with stickers that is very similar to Cyanne's book:
In contrast to the Monster High girls, the cartoon version of Dee's character actually looks very sweet and adds to the doll's appeal. All of the pictures of Dee in the book (and on the box) are exactly the same, though, which gets weird after about page three.
Inside the book, Dee Clone #1 explains different elements of her appearance:
One problem here is that I love the shoes she's describing, with flecks of color that make me drool and think of sprinkles...
...but those aren't the shoes that the doll is actually wearing. She's wearing these:
|These are nice, but they don't make me think of sprinkles.|
Dee's stand has a blue sparkly base. It is the same style of stand as Cyanne's, attaching to the doll by snapping onto both of her thighs:
Dee is colorful from head to toe, but her face and hair are the most eye-catching:
Her hair is pink around her face and orange at the back, with blonde in between and purple and blue streaks coming from her side part. It's fabulous:
She has a large pink hollow plastic bow with an arrangement of light green dots in the center that looks like a flower:
Her eyes are painted in two shades of blue and have little reflective white dots and stars:
Both eyes have lime green eye shadow on the eyelid area, a black line marking the end of the eyelid, and then a pale blue accent above the eye. There's also a small yellow half moon just under her pupil that looks like another reflection:
There are five glittery purple dots of different sizes painted underneath her left eye:
A few of the purple spots have a faint, hazy edge to them. I'm not sure what causes this, or if it's intentional, but my concern is that it could be some sort of paint leeching effect. It could also just be that it's difficult to get a perfectly sharp edge with the face stencils or whatever they use.
Her sparkly, asymmetric eyes are playful and cheery, but this type of face does limit her versatility.
Dee is wearing a teal blue mini sundress with a rainbow polka dot print. The dress looks sleeveless, but it has translucent straps holding it up.
There's an unhemmed ruffle detail that runs along the top of the dress, and a lime green ribbon just under the ruffle, which looks like a very high-waisted sash or belt.
The lime green sash is only attached at the back of the dress, so it actually droops down in front to reveal a line of blue stitching:
The dress closes in the back with velcro.
Although the dress is stitched with blue thread along the hemline, it is not actually hemmed and might be prone to fraying:
Underneath the mini dress, Dee is wearing metallic pink leggings with an elastic waist:
The pattern on the leggings looks a bit like sequins. Or squid skin:
Her shoes are purple with translucent green soles. The heels are made of three tiered spheres that get smaller towards the bottom of the shoe. The design of the heel compliments the dots in the dress, but I still like the sprinkle shoes better. The shoes fall off easily.
Dee is wearing a matching purple and green necklace with molded beads. This really balances the shoes nicely, but I don't think the shoes or the necklace match the rest of the outfit that well.
The biggest question for me was whether or not the hair is rooted well on this doll. She certainly looks like she has nice thick hair. Notice on the right--she's losing a long strand of hair at the bottom. Several of these pulled out when I brushed her hair.
You can see the contrast a bit better in this picture:
Is the rooting better than Cyanne's? It's a close call, but Dee's hair is better, at least on average. Here's a reminder of what Cyanne's hair looks like:
At the top of Dee's head, where her part line is rooted in bright blue, purple and pink, the rooting is dense again:
Her hair looks great overall, and the color balance is good. It's still frustrating that you couldn't style her hair in two braids or two ponytails or something like that. I wonder if maybe rooting the back of her head with more hair would have been too much? It already looks like she's got a ton of hair:
You can style her hair in a simple ponytail, and this is fun because it rearranges the colors a little bit:
This doll is certainly fun to look at. She is bright and cheery and definitely reminds me of candy:
She can't hold her purse, but you can hang it off one of her arms if the angle is right:
Bottom line? I like this doll much more than I like Cyanne. Dee's vibrant rainbow hair and cute party dress come much closer to compensating for her lack of articulation than Cyanne's thinning hair and cliched dress could. To me, Dee's face shines with a bit more personality than Cyanne's--her eyes have more sparkle and mischief in them, and her face paint is bold and different. She seems more special.
It's hard to ignore the fact that there's not much you can do with the tiny, inflexible bodies on these dolls. They can't stand alone, they can't look up or down, their arms and hands can't express much of anything, they can't hold anything, and they don't have many action pose options. They seem more like they were designed to decorate shelves than to be played with. Admittedly, they make lovely shelf decorations.
I also don't see these dolls as being versatile enough to embody the characters that were written for them. Nothing about these dolls makes me think of regular teenaged girls. That doesn't bother me so much, as long as the dolls inspire some kind of creativity in the children who own them. This assessment will be different for every individual, and so I can only speak for myself. While Cyanne did absolutely nothing for my imagination, I can picture giving Dee a mischievous and magical fairy-like personality and getting lost in fanciful games with this colorful sprite.
So really, my bottom line is fairly unchanged from that first review. Choose your doll carefully. If you find one of these characters that speaks to you, it's much easier to look past the shortcomings. Dots of Style Dee strikes that balance for me, and so while Cyanne and Sloane have moved on to other homes, this doll is here to stay.