There are only two Fashion Pup characters, Coletta and Dalia. These dolls sell for $24.99 (I have only seen them at Toys R Us so far), making them the most expensive of the new dolls. I am holding on to some hope that they'll be less expensive when (if?) they arrive at other stores. I bought both of these sets and decided to review Coletta:
|Cutie Pops Fashion Pups "Coletta."|
This is what Dalia's cartoon looks like:
Here's Dalia's yarn hair:
The poodles are posed on a cardboard staircase with printed bricks:
Coletta's extra pops are hearts and purses (just like Dalia), and she has little Eiffel Towers instead of fire hydrants. Poodles are a French breed and the Eiffel Tower is French--I get that, but France has some other neat landmarks, too. Why is it always the Eiffel Tower? I'd like to see a Mona Lisa pop or maybe the Arch de Triomphe. Or a baguette. Just for a change.
I was so happy to see the yarn hair with this set. Neither the Crown Cuties nor the Hattitude dolls have yarn hair, and I have always loved this feature of the Cutie Pops. I am glad it's still in the mix:
The jacket feels stiff--partly because it is absolutely caked with tiny little pieces of pink and silver glitter:
Under the jacket, Colette's dress has two transparent rubber shoulder straps and the appearance of a strapless bodice:
The dress holds three pop decorations. Here is the dress on its own, with the three pops removed:
Lolli is crazy and colorful and overdone, but I like her. She retails for $9.99, but went on massive clearance at Target a while back.
|She's like an updated version of my beloved Candi.|
And this is the photograph of her on the back of the box:
I've chatted about this with many of you in the comments sections of the other Cutie Pops reviews, but I'll say it again here: Dalia looked for all the world like an African American doll with blue eyes. I was picturing Candi with a new hair mold. In reality, Dalia is much lighter than Candi, and much lighter than her cartoon:
At first glance, the real Dalia was a disappointment.
Right after I got Dalia in the mail, I saw Coletta in person at Toys R Us. She actually looked much better to me than her promotional cartoon, and I was completely charmed by the poodle pops in her hair bows:
I left the store with Coletta and came right home, eager to review her.
Before I review Coletta, though, I have to say that after my initial disappointment with Dalia wore off, I found that I really like her. Dalia looks more Latina than African American, and while she's not what I expected, I appreciate that she doesn't have the same exact vinyl color as the other three dolls I bought. I wonder if she's the same shade as Bianca?
I'll show you a few pictures of Dalia before I review Coletta. Here she is in her box:
I love the name Dalia. It really suits this doll. Unfortunately, Dalia's cute dogs don't seem to have names. Dalmatian spots are caused by the skin pigment melanin, so I think I'll call this pair "Mellie" and "Nina."
I love Dalia's new molded hair. The layered bangs are great and I wish all of the new dolls had this mold:
The pops in the Fashion Pup line are neat:
The dog face pops are the best by far, but there's also a fire hydrant pop (Coletta doesn't have this), a generic heart pop, and a purse pop. I think the fire hydrant is a reference to the dalmatian's history of being a fire fighting escort breed--not a reference to the assumption that dogs always pee on fire hydrants. Or at least I'm hoping that's the association.
Here's Dalia's yarn hair:
Despite her misleading promotional pictures, Dalia looks like a great doll. The bigger problem might be that Jada appears to be dropping Candi's darker vinyl color, which is sad because Candi has been my favorite Cutie Pop for a long time, and I was excited to see upgrades to her character. I also hate to see a decrease in ethnic diversity. That's backwards.
Anyway, now I'll get back to Coletta. She comes in the same style and size of box as the Crown Cuties. I have to say, these new boxes (while large) are an improvement over the first wave boxes:
The back of the box has photographs of Dalia and Coletta. Coletta is in the foreground on both boxes.
Coletta looks slightly bug-eyed and clownish in her photograph. That hair reminds me of the Bratzillaz Switch-a-Witches!
The poodles look like they have blue skin, with purple and pink fur:
In reality, Coletta's hair is not quite so poofy, she has lovely eyes, and her poodles both have purple skin:
These two poodles don't seem to have names, either. I have two poodles in my house, and the great thing about poodles is that they don't shed very much. Their hair is constantly growing and rarely falls out. The down-side to this is that they have to be clipped every several months, or they'll get shaggy and get depressed.
Hair goes through a growth cycle with three different stages: the anagen stage, the catagen stage and the telogen stage. The anagen stage is when the hair is growing, and the telogen stage is when the hair has reached its full length and is waiting, dormant, until a new hair comes along to push it out. Hair sheds (falls out) at the end of the telogen stage. Most dogs (and humans) have the majority of their hair in the telogen phase at any given time. Poodles are different in that they have most of their hair in the anagen, or growing phase.
That's the long-winded explanation for why these poodles' names are Ana and Genny:
Here's Coletta's purple yarn hair:
De-boxing Coletta was pretty simple. She didn't have a single tiny plastic tie holding her clothes to the cardboard. That was a wonderful surprise!
There are a lot of pieces in this set. There's a doll, the two dogs, a dog leash, extra hair, extra pops and extra (closed) eyes:
Here are the three loose pops up close:
I have to admit that the Eiffel Tower is nicely done:
The purse is the most intricately painted pop. It has areas of silver, blue, black and white. The paint is not necessarily always between the lines, but the overall effect is fine:
Coletta's closed eyes are pink with purple hearts:
Coletta is attached to her dogs with a single pink string leash. The leash is looped around her wrist:
I'll take a closer look at the dogs a bit later in the review.
Before I did anything else, I checked Coletta's knee joints. Both my Crystalina and my Dakota dolls had bad knees and I was getting jumpy and paranoid about Coletta. Indeed, Coletta's right knee had trouble bending right out of the box. It's always the right knee that's glitchy, making me think (without any actual expertise in this area...) that there's a manufacturing defect just in this limb.
There's a design detail in both knees that I think exacerbates the stubborn joints: when I try to bend the hinge joint of the knee, what actually bends is the peg that attaches the lower leg to the thigh. This absorbs a lot of the stress away from the actual hinge of the knee, so the knee doesn't bend.
You can see the big gap that forms as the peg bends and puts stress on that area:
So, the skinny knee peg bends (threatening to crack the leg) while the hinge stays stuck. I wonder if a more robust peg would help? The peg is presumably made out of the same bendable vinyl as the lower leg. If the peg couldn't bend because it was stronger, the hinge might be more inclined to flex. So--perhaps the lower legs should be made out of a harder vinyl or plastic and the attachment peg should be thicker? That's all I can think of.
In any case, Coletta's knees are better than Dakota's, so I'm not too upset. I do hope that there's some attention to this detail in the future, though.
It's easy to get distracted away from the knee joints with this doll, because she has so many fun little things to look at and play with. Her curly ponytails and poodle pops drew my attention first. The ponytails have strange little cardboard pieces in them:
|Not sure what those are for.|
Coletta's hair bows are made out of a purple stretch knit with metallic silver dots. One of the poodle pops is pale pink with neon pink fur and a purple bow:
The other poodle is white with a light blue bow:
Here are the pops removed from the bows. They look a little dinged up and poorly-painted in some areas, but these details are too small to be seen clearly in real life.
Coletta has the traditional straight-cut molded bangs. I was slightly disappointed that she didn't have a new style of molded hair like Dalia and Crystalina. She has pastel pink painted hair and sparkling pink painted lips:
She has the exact same eyes as Crystalina. Coletta's eyelashes are all painted the same medium purple color, though, rather than alternating colors like Crystalina's lashes.
Here's a side-by-side comparison of Crystalina's eyes (L) and Coletta's eyes (R):
Underneath her eye pops, Coletta has blue painted eyes:
|Step away from the paint, Emily.|
Coletta's lips have a small paint defect at the top--on the left side of the picture (the doll's right). This is something I noticed on Dakota, too, but forgot to mention. In general, I have found the Cutie Pop dolls incredibly free of paint errors. Granted, this is a pretty minor defect and quite hard to see:
Here's Dakota's mouth, just for reference--it's basically the exact same defect:
Coletta is wearing a pink satin dress with a glittery jacket. Both the dress and the jacket are trimmed with soft white "poodle hair" fabric. I love how Coletta's white curly ponytails have the same texture as the trim of her dress:
The glittery jacket is attached to the dress with one small plastic tie. Curses! I thought I might be able to avoid those silly things with this doll.
And, of course, there's a cardboard support under the skirt...attached with three more of those infernal plastic ties. I have to admire how these cardboard petticoats always match the color of the doll's outfit. That's attention to detail.
The fake fur collar is lined:
There's a fair amount of glitter shedding with this jacket.
|Apparently, the glitter is in the telogen phase.|
Under the jacket, Colette's dress has two transparent rubber shoulder straps and the appearance of a strapless bodice:
The pops that were on the dress are re-painted repeats of the three pops that I have already shown you:
Coletta is wearing fantastic pink and white frilly boots:
I was delighted to see that these shoes weren't just re-paints of Crystalina, Pearlina, Dakota or Dalia's shoes. They seem to be unique:
I paused at this stage to play with Coletta a bit. She has a lot of different variations to try out, which is really fun.
With her yarn hair and dress (no jacket):
With her closed eyes and poodle hair:
Here she is with her jacket back on and no pops in her hair, trying out Dakota's brown eyes:
I also tried Crystalina's butterfly eyes (which go really well with Coletta's pink theme):
Switching the pops around is fun, although the blue purse pop shown below falls out too easily. That's the first trouble I've ever had with a loose pop, though, which is good.
Now, let's take a closer look at those two purple poodles, Ana and Genny:
The leash slipped right off Coletta's arm, but it wasn't as clear to me how it would detach from the dogs' collars. At first, I feared I would have to untie tiny knots like this one:
In fact, the leash is tied to a removable plastic piece that inserts into the dog's collar area.
Here's the hole in Ana's collar where that little plastic connector fits:
Genny's collar has the same feature, and there's a second plastic piece on the leash that fits in here:
Here's Ana, off her leash:
She has a strange face with a very broad, almost sinister smile...and what looks like a dimple:
|Daughter of the Big Bad Wolf?|
She has attachment sites for two pops. One of these sites already has a pop in it--a purple bone with a pink bow. This pop blends in really well with Ana's coloring and doesn't do much in the way of eye-catching decoration. The other site is empty and can hold any of the pops that come with Coletta.
I think it's funny...and a little absurd...that you can put a poodle head pop on this poodle's leg:
She looks like a strange two-headed mythical creature, or like she's a mutant marsupial, carrying her puppy in a leg-pouch.
And of course the bone pops can be used on Coletta's dress, too:
Genny is sitting down and has the same dimpled smile on her face. Her bright blue pop provides better contrast to her fur than Ana's pop:
Both dogs look like they have articulated necks, but when I tried to rotate Genny's head to face the camera, this happened:
|Definitely not articulated.|
I should be able to glue Genny's head back on with no trouble, but it would have been really nice to have an articulated neck.
|Good thing she has a spare head.|
These poodles are sort-of cute, I guess, even though I don't relate very well to their smiling faces. My biggest problem with the dogs is that they're not Cutie Pop dogs. This is a Cutie Pop dog:
|Candi's dog, Lolli.|
She has five points of articulation plus an interchangeable tail and ears (which provide basically three more points of articulation). She suffers from the crazy-lollipop-eye syndrome that Candi has.
Rather than making two new unarticulated purple dogs, I wish Jada Toys had improved or modified Lolli's design instead. Some more normal eyes would make a big difference, and a poodle fur variation of this style of dog could be really fun.
Her are some picture of Coletta with her pooches:
Here are a few more pictures of Coletta modeling her different combinations of hair, eyes, clothes and pops:
I like how Candi's polka dot hair bows look with Coletta:
I tamed her poofy hair a little bit by tying it down to the plastic base of each ponytail:
Bottom line? Of all the new Cutie Pops this season, the Fashion Pups series is the most similar to the original first wave dolls. Coletta comes with extra pops, extra eyes, extra (yarn) hair...and a single pair of hair bows. She's very much like a pink version of Chiffon...with a few notable differences. The most refreshing difference is that Coletta has the same new, more normal-looking eyes that grace all of the fall releases. I think the styling on this doll is an improvement, too. I prefer Coletta's outfit to most of the first wave dresses. The last notable change is that Coletta has ditched the useless comb accessory and is accompanied by newly-designed, unarticulated dogs. The new dogs are fine (way better than the comb at any rate...), but in a perfect world, I would choose one of the larger, old-style dogs over these newcomers. Better yet...I'd like to see the dogs sold separately and a lower price for the doll on her own.
Aside from being underwhelmed by the dogs and finding the price a little high, my only complaint about Coletta is (or was) her color palette. She's very pinky-pink, which is not normally my thing. I am more fond of natural hues like forest green and tree-bark brown. I have to admit, though, that Coletta's pastel paleness grew on me and eventually won me over. She reminds me of a big bowl of strawberry ice cream with whipped cream and pink sugar on top--and, like a bowl of ice cream, I find Coletta impossible to resist.
Speaking of pale, Jada Toys seems to have hit a nerve by making the vinyl color of the other Fashion Pup doll, Dalia, lighter than it was in the promotional pictures. While I appreciate Dalia as she is, I agree that she's nothing like what I expected, and her pale appearance makes me worry that the Cutie Pops are shifting towards a more homogenous look. Jada Toys seems to be testing the waters in a number of different ways this season, so I'm not going to jump to any conclusions just yet.
Picking a favorite from this new collection of Cutie Pops was not easy. Each style of doll has something interesting to offer that the other dolls are lacking. For example, Hattitude Dakota has nice, natural coloring and rare brown eyes. I also like the casual simplicity of her outfit and her single ponytail:
On the other hand, Crown Cutie Crystalina introduces an addictively fun new way of playing with doll hair, and provides lots of long, silky, blue (blue!) hair to enhance the experience. In addition, this doll's permanently attached ponytails might be a nice feature for little kids who struggle to keep the removable hair in place. The new shape of Crystalina's molded bangs is a big plus, too.
As an aside, I have now seen Crown Cutie Pearlina in person, and she might be even better than Crystalina. Pearlina has purple eyes and some wonderful little birdcage pops to accent her elaborate ball gown.
I started these reviews assuming Dakota would be my favorite--mostly because of her coloring and her bear hat. Halfway through the Dakota review, I realized that I like Crystalina more. Styling that wonderful blue hair was way more fun than I expected. After reviewing Coletta, though, I am shocked to announce that she is my favorite of them all. What it comes down to is that I think Jada Toys got almost everything right the first time--with the very first dolls they released. The first wave dolls came packaged with enough accessories for a huge assortment of mix-and-match customizations, without the need to buy any extra sets. The Fashion Pup dolls echo that achievement, while upgrading the appearance of the eyes and the appeal of the fashions. That's hard to beat.
Jada Toys still has a bit of work to do. I think the knee articulation absolutely has to be addressed. There's something flawed in the design of all of these dolls' legs. Also, I'd love to see more attention to the mix of accessories included with each doll. The Hattitude line has some conspicuous omissions (no closed eyes, extra hair or hair bows), while the other dolls come with accessories they don't need (Crystalina's comb) or accessories that push the price of the doll a bit high (Coletta's dogs). While I adore the new range of hair colors, I would love to see more neat eye colors, and very much hope the diversity of vinyl colors doesn't fade away completely.
Here's my ranking, in a nutshell:
1st: Fashion Pups: these dolls stick with the original Cutie Pop formula...which really works. Improvements in the eyes and clothes give the new dolls something special.
2nd: Crown Cuties: the new hairstyling technique is a blast, and the hair colors are bright and wonderful. I miss the removable hair a little--especially the yarn option.
3rd: Hattitude: while Cutie Pop veterans might eat these up, and they are nice bargain dolls, I would never gift this doll on its own to a new collector because of some critical accessories that are missing.
So, if I had to pick one doll from this trio, it'd be Coletta. I am hoping that Jada Toys doesn't pick just one, though, because I'd love to see this whole new range of styles and prices extend and expand into next season. This is a solid lineup of dolls, and I am impressed by Jada's ability to put together a varied new collection that builds on past success while branching out in some promising new directions.