Lammily was designed by graphic artist Nickolay Lamm, and the reason that she has captured such widespread attention is that she was designed to have the body proportions of a typical American teenager. Unlike Barbie (and most other 12-inch fashion dolls) Lammily does not have an impossibly tiny waist, large chest, oversized head or spindly legs. Mr. Lamm used body measurements published by the Center for Disease Control to ensure that his doll would not only be realistic...but would be average. The word "average" does not tend to conjure visions of loveliness, but Mr. Lamm challenged this preconception and branded his doll with the inspiring logo, "Average is Beautiful."
I pre-ordered two Lammily dolls immediately after reading the article in The Atlantic (the dolls are $25 each). This is exactly the kind of crowd-funded, vision-driven project that I love to see in the doll world. I was inherently enthusiastic about the Lammily concept, but an email I received from Nickolay Lamm last May added to my excitement. Mr. Lamm wrote seeking some advice about the doll's articulation--and you guys can probably guess that I, uh, had a fair amount to say on that subject. Conversations back and forth with Mr. Lamm over the past few months have given me a fascinating glimpse into the creative process behind this unique new doll. I have been on pins and needles to see how all of Mr. Lamm's ideas came together in the debut doll, and am beyond excited to share my initial impressions with all of you:
|The Lammily doll makes her entrance.|
Mr. Lamm's original intent was not to produce a ground-breaking fashion doll. A talented artist and researcher, he was simply using his graphic design skills to explore the idea of what a fashion doll would look like if she had realistic proportions. The initial images of the resulting "normal Barbie" circulated online and generated a lot of discussion and enthusiasm.
Below are pictures showing two steps in the artistic process of graphically rendering this realistic version of Barbie:
Photo credit: N. Lamm, used with permission.
Here's the second photo a little larger so you can see the details:
|Photo credit: N. Lamm, used with permission.|
The Lammily company's backstory is fascinating, and I encourage you to read all of the details over on the official website. For now, though, let's take a look at the actual doll.
My Lammily doll arrived in a brown shipping box:
I was particularly anxious to see the doll box inside of that brown shipper. At one point during my conversations with Mr. Lamm, he was wondering how to make the inner doll box look more exciting. He sent me this picture of a plain box:
|What to do with this??|
I thought the box, above, looked like a Tonner shipping box, and was concerned that any graphic design printed on the cardboard would appear grainy and unprofessional. I needn't have worried. Just look at how the box turned out:
The Lammily character herself looks serene and lovely--like someone I would want as a friend. She is carrying a large suitcase with several stickers that suggest she is fond of travel:
The stickers represent locations in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, France and the United States. Granted, there's not a lot of room for stickers on this suitcase, but the destinations are decidedly western. What about India, China or South Africa? Maybe those stickers are on the other side of the suitcase.
In any case, the entire box is covered with colorful, watercolor-style decorations. It is truly a joy to look at, and something I will save as a part of what makes this doll special:
The back of the box has the names of individuals singled out for special recognition--probably the initial donors:
The front panel of the box is secured with a small tab, and this opens to reveal another inner panel that folds out in the opposite direction. The inner panel displays a removable leaflet:
The leaflet has greetings in several languages (not all western this time...) and hints at an epic journey that has brought Lammily to her final destination:
Perhaps the most extensive conversation I had with Mr. Lamm (other than the one concerning articulation) was over the backstory of this doll. This was really fascinating to me because while I certainly turn a critical eye to a lot of lame backstories (the over-used magical high school, for example...) I have never spent much time trying to dream up an ideal backstory for a specific doll.
Mr. Lamm had some fun ideas that I thought steered the doll towards a very young audience, and I had an overly complex idea that would have given her a more international, adventuresome personality. In the end, Lammily is presented as a friendly young traveler who has experienced some wonderful adventures along the journey to her new home (in this case, Maine):
I like this theme because it doesn't pigeonhole the character into a specific personality, but it presents her as independent, outgoing and worldly...and it sets her up to have some fun international outfits and accessories in the future. It also gives a nod of recognition to the Lammily backers all over the world.
At the back of the pamphlet there's a short explanation of Lammily's story, and some steps for what what can be done next with the doll:
For example, there's a link to the online store, where lots of nice-looking outfits are already available for pre-order. Here's a preview of one of my favorite outfits:
|Photo property of N. Lamm, used with permission.|
There's also a link to the page where the doll can be named. I had been assuming that the doll's name was actually Lammily, but it turns out that this is just the name of the company--"Lamm" mixed with the word "family." I get to pick my own name for this doll, and can even make her a passport with that name using a tool on the Lammily website.
I searched for female names that are popular in many different countries and came up with choices like Sophia, Mary, Olivia, Mia...and Emily. I think I'll go with the name Mia for my Lammily doll:
I really like the art on the Lammily leaflet...with the exception of this drawing:
Something about this particular image makes the character look too old...and really skinny. I like her best in this picture:
|She's an animal lover!|
Petting the (docile) Australian sheep, she looks kind, eager and youthful.
As much as I was enjoying this gorgeous box, I was excited to see Mia herself. Here's one last look at the inner flap of the box, though:
|What will she look like??|
And here is my first glimpse of Mia!
She was attached to a cardboard backdrop that is as intricately decorated as the rest of the box:
Mia was held in place with two wire ties (one around her ankles and one around her chest).
The cardboard backdrop can be removed from the main box, which allows easy access for un-twisting the wire ties.
In addition to the two wire ties, Mia was also anchored by two small plastic ties attached to the plastic strip in her hair. Ugh.
I was bummed out to see the plastic strip in Mia's hair. Mr. Lamm actually asked me about all of the different ways that doll hair could be secured for packaging, and this is exactly what I said in reply:
I can think of the following (kind-of ordered by preference):
-Hair net (over the whole head and the hair)
-Band of clear plastic around the head (like Lottie or Licca-chan dolls)
-Clear rubber bands holding the hair to the doll's waist or arms
-Thread or rubber bands holding the hair against a plastic or cardboard backing
-Plastic bag (meh)
-The hair stitched onto plastic strips (please don't use this!)
Here's Mia out of her box:
She's remarkably similar to the early prototype pictures, and my first impression was that she looks very friendly and sweet.
I bought two Lammily dolls, and actually de-boxed both of them for this review. I thought it would be interesting to see what (if any) variability there was between dolls. Here are my two Mias side-by-side:
They are very similar, but I did notice some interesting differences. First of all (and most important to me) the doll on the left, above, can't stand up as well as the doll on the right. Also, the doll on the left has a side part while the doll on the right's hair is more centrally parted. Last, the doll on the left has a minor defect in her shirt that I'll show you later.
Mia has a very satisfying weight to her body. She is more substantial than most other play dolls in this scale--another feature that makes her seem more expensive than she is. Her legs are not rubbery and bendy at all, which contributes to her solid, stable presence. These qualities made me assume that Mia would be able to stand nicely on her own, but unfortunately her thin, wobbly ankles make balancing her in anything other than a straight stance a tricky proposition.
One of my two dolls needed a lot of help balancing, so I set out to find an appropriate stand for her. The Kaiser stands I use for most of my 12-inch dolls don't fit Mia's torso the right way, though:
|This stand has a 4.5 inch base.|
I can maneuver the waist grip of this stand to get Mia on her feet, but the top of her body is pulled backwards. Likewise, if I straighten her torso, she yanks the base of the stand up off the ground:
Since all of the other stands I have for my 12-inch fashion dolls have skinnier waist grips than the Kaiser stand, I didn't even try to get those to work:
|Ever After High stand, Bratzillaz stand, Pullip/Hestia stand, Kaiser stand.|
The next size up in the Kaiser stand collection would probably work for Mia, but I don't have any of those in my house.
The saddle-style stands that fit Mia's body are too tall:
|Flying Lammily on a Poppy Parker stand.|
I eventually found a great solution with this Hot Toys action figure stand:
You can find these on eBay for about $8 each by searching "Hot Toys action figure stand."
This stand grips the doll at the top of her legs and is the perfect height for Mia:
|It doesn't mess up her clothes, either.|
In the future, it would be great if Lammily dolls would come with their own stands...or have ankles that allow them to balance more reliably.
Now that she's balanced, let's take a closer look at Mia's face:
Again, the faces of my two dolls are virtually identical, but I find the one on the left, below, slightly more attractive. It could be subtle differences in her face paint, or just the effect of the pronounced side part in her hair:
Here's one of the faces up close:
Mia has concave printed eyes with no molded detail. This design catches a lot of glare in my photography and is seen most clearly from the side:
Mia's eyes have a ring of light brown around an inner layer of olive green. These colors combine to make a pretty hazel color (the average of all eye colors?). The shape of the eyes is realistic and there's nicely-drawn eyelash detail at the edges. Mia has a small eyelid line, but no eye makeup of any kind...which I find refreshing. Her eyebrows are light brown and do not have any hair lines:
Mia's mouth is broad and friendly with a soft smile. Her lips are painted with a translucent, slightly glossy natural rosy-peach color:
In the close-up, above, you can see faint speckles in the vinyl of this doll's face. I was surprised to see these because they are not visible at all from a distance. Unlike the knockoff Frozen dolls I reviewed a while back, the grainy texture of this vinyl is not at all apparent to the naked eye, and does not interfere with the smooth print of the eyes or eyebrows.
Mia's left and right profile are very similar--if not identical:
I really like how she looks in half-profile--I think it accentuates her smile:
...and is perfect for bringing our her animal-loving personality:
|With a Lalaloopsy butterfly.|
Mia has long straight brown hair with golden highlights:
I think it looks very natural and beautiful on her:
The hair is layered in the back to give it a soft, rounded shape. It could use a few trims here and there, but nothing major:
The hair fiber is very silky and smooth--right down to the tips. It is densely rooted all over the scalp, to the point where it was tricky to expose any bare scalp for this photograph:
The hair's density makes for a very hefty high ponytail:
I think a slightly lower ponytail is more flattering:
The hair is also quite thick for a single braid:
...but the smooth hair fiber makes smaller braids easy to do. This hair has a lot of body, and smaller braids can stick out a bit at first:
|No trick photography here--promise!|
But the hair is also easy to tame. I could get that braid to relax by just pulling it down...
...and then could get it to lay flat by just clipping it to the rest of the hair for a few minutes.
When I took that small braid out, there were a lot of crimps left in the hair--even though I only left the braid in place for about an hour. On the other hand, the crimps completely disappeared after smoothing the hair back into a plain ponytail for another hour. I really like how this hair can hold its position so well, and yet remains malleable to quick changes. It's absolutely fantastic hair for a 12-inch doll.
Mia came wearing a collared blue ombre camp shirt and a pair of jean shorts. As I mentioned, one of my dolls has a shirt with a small defect--notice the uneven chest pockets on this shirt:
Here's the better version:
The shirt has a folded, lined collar and light decorative stitching all around the edges. The glued-on silver buttons are nicely in scale with the doll. Each side of the shirt has a small pocket flap with its own silver button. These pockets do not open, but the flaps lift up. The sleeves of the shirt are rolled up and stitched into place in this position:
The actual closure of the shirt is from two chunky strips of velcro:
|Thank goodness those don't usually show.|
The fabric of the shirt is lightweight, but the construction looks excellent:
Mia's jean shorts coordinate with the shirt through their light-colored stitching and silver button details:
These shorts fit Mia very well and are quite flattering.
As with the shirt, the actual fly closure on these shorts is a strip of velcro. This velcro is much more subtle than the white strips on the shirt, though:
The front and back pockets on these shorts actually open and can hold tiny items (or Mia's hands).
Mia's vinyl legs make it slightly tricky to pull the shorts on, but that's not such a big deal. What I find more frustrating is that Mia can't sit (on the ground or in a chair) without popping the velcro of the shorts and inelegantly revealing quite a detailed view of her molded underpants (in the front and in the back):
Mia is wearing white vinyl sneakers with painted orange laces. The shape of the shoes is actually more like a loafer, but the painted laces make me think of a sneaker:
Mia has very thin pegged ankle joints. It's easy to pull her whole foot off while trying to remove the shoe. To avoid an unwanted foot extraction, simply grab the back of the doll's heel (not the ankle) before you pull off the shoe. If the foot does come off, it's very easy to snap it back into place. I'd just be wary about taking the feet off too many times for fear that the connection would weaken over time--as it does with Monster High dolls.
The most anticipated feature of the Lammily doll is her natural body type. Let's see how it came out:
I think Mia has a beautiful body profile. She's not at all overweight, nor is she too thin. She has nice, modest curves accenting a slightly athletic build:
The doll also looks good from the front, but from this angle I feel like there's something not quite right in her hip region:
It could just be that I am used to looking at ultra-skinny fashion dolls, but it also seems like the torso is too long--especially the distance from belly button to crotch. Maybe it's just something odd about the contour of where Mia's leg joints meet her body?
She also has no visible hips from the front--the shape in this area strikes me as childlike or even masculine. This could very well be representative of the norm, but I also wonder if the average measurements aren't necessarily something you'd actually see in one body.
Mia has molded skin-colored underwear and a small printed copyright on the small of her back:
The Lammily body has an impressive thirteen points of articulation. Mia has neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle joints.
She can tilt her head from side-to-side:
Up and down:
And can also look all of the way around:
Mia has excellent neck articulation. The tilting movement of her head is especially great and adds a lot to her expressiveness.
The shoulder joints are large, sturdy rotating hinges with a great range of motion:
Mia's torso is made out of hollow hard plastic, but her arms are made out of bendable solid vinyl with an internal jointing structure. This style of joint is so uncommon in doll elbows that at first I assumed Mia didn't have elbow joints at all. The arms don't feel floppy, though--their internal mechanism makes them quite solid and firm.
Each elbow can click into three positions. I think there is meant to be a fourth (more bent) position, but I can't get this one to stay in place.
The hands do have a great range of motion, though:
I also think that Mia has an unusually attractive hand sculpture. She has long slender fingers with very realistic contours. No sausage fingers here:
I think there is very, very subtle fingernail detail on these hands, but it's hard to see--both in photographs and in real life.
While I was posing Mia later in the review, one of her hands popped off unexpectedly. It's easy to get the hand back on, but I hope these connections don't weaken over time.
Here are some of Mia's possible arm poses:
The Lammily body has very large rotating hip joints. There is no lateral movement in the hips at all, which is disappointing. Mia can not do much in the way of side-to-side splits:
...and the angle of her legs can not be widened--regardless of her leg position:
But she can do very nice front-to-back splits:
I tried to investigate the structure of the hip joints by pulling the leg away from the body. The top of the leg has a wide circular insertion point, but the actual attachment of the leg to the torso is a much more substantial rotating bar with a cylindrical connection into the leg.
Mia also has internal knee joints. During my lengthy conversations with Mr. Lamm about articulation, I expressed my lack of enthusiasm for internal knee joints. My experience with the new Disney Store Merida doll certainly hasn't helped my opinion of this style of joint. However, Mr. Lamm was concerned that the prototype images of the Lammily doll showed seamless knee joints, and we could not think of a way to add hinged knees while living up to this smooth-legged image of the doll.
Mia's legs are made out of soft vinyl but--like the arms--their internal structure makes them very solid through about mid-calf level. From the middle of the calf down to the ankle, the vinyl has a bit more bend. The legs as a whole are not at all floppy or rubbery. The apparent bulk of the internal structure makes me feel optimistic about joint durability. These joints do not feel fragile.
At first, I could only get Mia's knees to bend through one click. This was a huge disappointment, especially since Mr. Lamm had mentioned that the joints would be capable of four different positions.
This limited flexibility was a bit of a travesty for chair-sitting poses--especially when combined with the restrictive hip joints:
|Ooof. She and Cinderella should get together...|
However, after bending and unbending each knee several times, the joints loosened up and now allow two additional angles of bend:
This makes chair-sitting much more graceful:
Mia has hinged, peg-inserted ankle joints that allow her feet to flex and point nicely:
She has a great foot shape, with all of the toes distinctly outlined:
As with the wrists, the ankle joint pegs are very tiny and thin. The size of this peg and the degree of the flexibility in the vinyl at the ankle are what make this doll so unstable on her feet. If the peg of the foot was thicker, or if it could somehow insert into the rigid internal structure of the leg, I bet this doll's balance would be dramatically improved.
|That's a ridiculously small peg for this doll's weight.|
Here is Mia showing off a few of her poses--most of which she could not maintain without help. In these first two pictures, I got the shot just as she was falling down:
In these next three pictures (try as I might) I could not get Mia to stand without the help of a finger hold:
Mia can balance in several poses if she's not standing on her feet, though:
One last thing that I would like to point out about the Lammily body is that the color and finish of the vinyl arms and legs match the hollow plastic torso extremely well. Without touching her, I would have found it very difficult to tell that these components of Mia's body were made out of different materials. That's impressive to me--and fairly rare.
The more time I spend with Mia, the more I get used to her proportions. However, if I look at her with a crowd of other 12-inch play dolls, the differences pop out again:
|She's not average in this crowd.|
First, let's look at Mia next to Barbie--the doll who inspired her conception:
|Barbie Basic, Lammily, articulated Style Barbie.|
The skin tone differences also jumped out at me right away. Mia and the Basic Barbie look very natural next to the Style Barbie's pink, plastic-y complexion.
Here are the dolls from the side:
This is the view where the upper body differences stand out to me. The Barbie Basic doll, in particular, is insanely thin throughout the entire length of her torso. And again, the length and straightness of those Barbie legs is hard to ignore.
And here are the girls from the back:
Again, I wouldn't mind it if Mia had more in the way of hips. It could be that adding width here wouldn't look right when she's clothed? I'm not sure. She does look more shapely when she's dressed.
Here's Mia with just the Style Barbie, since these two have more similarities in their articulation:
I noticed a few new things while looking at this comparison. First of all, Mia's neck is much shorter and thicker than Barbie's. Maybe it's a tiny bit too short. Also, I really want to hike up Mia's crotch area a bit--like pulling up pants that are slipping down. Last, look at how tiny Barbie's hands are compared to Mia's!
Mia's arms seem a little on the short side to me. For example, she can't lean back on her hands while she's sitting on the ground unless she's leaning pretty far back...or balancing on her fingertips.
Also, it's hard to beat the relaxed, sanguine appearance of Barbie lounging in the photo, above. I wish Mia's articulation allowed her to look a little more at home in her body--if only because it would contribute to the confident image of this beautiful, average-sized girl.
Here are the two dolls' faces side-by-side (sorry, I cut Barbie's hair while trying to extract her sunglasses...):
The eyebrows are similar, but the other facial features are exaggerated on Barbie and more modest on Mia. In particular, I notice Barbie's bright lipstick and her thick, double eyelashes (applied and painted). The contrasting neck styles are also easy to see from this angle.
If the differences between Mia and Barbie seem glaring, take a look at Mia next to my very skinniest dolls:
|Winx Club Bloom, Ever After High Apple, Lammily, Monster High Clawdeen, Integrity ITBE.|
|Winx Club Bloom, Ever After High Apple, Lammily, Monster High Clawdeen, Integrity ITBE.|
|Clawdeen looks like a pencil!|
Now, here's Mia alongside a few dolls that I have always thought of as having fairly normal, natural proportions when compared to the typical fashion doll: Bandai's Dorothy and Spin Master's Liv doll, Hayden:
Among my personal collection of 12-inch play dolls, I think Dorothy's proportions are the most similar to those of the Lammily doll. Dorothy holds her own pretty well standing next to Mia. The Liv body was a bit of a surprise to me, though. Hayden's straight, slender limbs and tiny hip region stand out pretty glaringly here:
Before the Lammily doll was released, I was thinking of her as a kind-of hybrid between fashion dolls and action figures. This notion came from the idea that action figures have more realistic, muscular body styles than the typical fashion doll. I forgot, though, that action figures also tend to have some areas that are, um, slightly exaggerated:
This Otaku doll has no less of a fantasy physique than Barbie--it's just a different kind of fantasy.
The Otaku arms, hands, legs and feet are fairly similar to those on the Lammily body, but the Otaku torso shape is entirely different--with an underplayed waist and overplayed chest.
The thing about the Otaku body that I really admire, though, is that it can stand beautifully on its own in all sorts of action poses. Mia has to lean up against the Otaku doll in order to maintain her position...something I'm not sure the Otaku girl appreciates:
Despite their dramatically different proportions, Mia can actually wear this dress that I bought for my Otaku doll:
I like how Mia looks in this slightly sexy, elegant dress. It brings out another side of her personality--and makes me even more anxious to find more clothing options for her:
As I looked over my various sizes of fashion doll, I was surprised to learn that even the 14 and 16-inch dolls like Moxie Teenz and Tonner's Penelope Brewster are skinnier than Mia:
In fact, clothes sharing between Mia and these taller dolls is unreliable not so much because of the 4-inch difference in height...but because the taller dolls actually have narrower shoulders and slimmer waists than Mia!
For example, this Deja Vu shirt is a little long on Mia:
|Lammily wearing Deja Vu top.|
But the bigger problem is that the snaps are strained in back, leaving gaps and wrinkles:
Most Moxie Teenz tops are way too tight for Mia also:
|Lammily trying to wear Moxie Teenz top.|
However, I happened to find one loose-fitting style in this line that suits Mia really well:
This Tonner City Girls top also makes a decent dress on Mia--although this is a random fluke. Most of the clothing from the City Girls collection is too big in scale for the Lammily body.
To find a Tonner doll with similar body measurements to Mia, I had to turn to the child dolls like this older Alice in Wonderland (she has the Marley body):
|Lammily, Tonner's Alice in Wonderland.|
These two can't share many clothes, though--both because the styles would be inappropriate and because Mia's hips are wider than Alice's.
*Update (12/10): here are a few pictures of Mia with one of my Lottie dolls, per Lucy's request.
I was hoping that I would be able to find more clothing options for Mia--to show her off in several different ways, but I suppose a natural side effect of having a uniquely-sized fashion doll is that it's hard to find other doll clothing that will fit her. For this reason, it was incredibly wise for the Lammily company to start focusing on outfit sets so quickly.
Fortunately, I really like the original Lammily outfit. It is casual and attractive and highlights the friendly, approachable nature of this character. Here are a few more shots of Mia in her own clothes:
And here are a few shots of Mia wearing the Moxie Teenz top that I find gives her a slightly softer look. This is actually my favorite outfit for Mia:
I have an odd assortment of toy animals in my house, but Mia has already managed to find most of them...and make several fast friends:
|Mia with a Calico Critter.|
*Update (12/10): for Ann, here's Mia on the Liv horse. Breyer and Paradise horses are too small for her. She rides fairly well--her legs sit a bit forward of the saddle and so her feet can't fit into these particular stirrups, but I think she looks like she knows what she's doing!
Because Mia had such a grand, international adventure on her way here to Maine, I wanted to be sure that she saw some of the best parts of her new home right away. I figured I should take her to see the water, and also to get a glimpse of Portland--Maine's largest city.
I took her to Back Cove, a small bay flanking the outskirts of Portland.
Mia loved the beach--especially all of the gulls, ducks and cormorants that were resting on rocks in the water. She immediately wanted to climb the nearest cliff so that she could sit and watch the birds.
After a few minutes of rapt bird-watching, Mia caught sight of the city's skyline and wanted to go get a closer look:
(The sand was great for helping Mia balance!)
Backlit with the dramatic winter light, I think Portland made a pretty good first impression on this world-traveler.
Mia found a sun-bathed tree trunk where she could sit and take in all of the sights.
On the way back to our car, Mia found an old brick bridge that she wanted to investigate.
I think she's a little afraid of heights, because she clung to the walls of the bridge pretty cautiously....
But eventually she got up the nerve to peek over the edge of the bridge and inspect the ice-covered landscape below:
As the sun faded, Mia insisted that she pose on this modern steel bench that faces back out towards the city:
Bottom Line? I often find myself wishing that the Lammily doll wasn't getting so much media attention for her body proportions--or for being the "anti-Barbie." Granted, I'm kind-of in the mood for an anti-Barbie after Mattel's recent epic fail with their computer programming book, but that's another story. With so much emphasis on Lammily's body type, she's at risk for being more of an agenda than a plaything. She's a victory for feminism! She's the antidote to poor body image! Or from a negative standpoint, She's the "fat" doll! To me, she's none of those things--least of all overweight. When all of the hype fades away, I hope Lammily enjoys staying power for simply being a lovely, personable, well-made doll...who just happens to have the measurements of a normal teenager.
She's not a perfect doll yet, though. My biggest issue with Lammily is that she can't balance on her own in anything but a perfectly upright pose. For a doll with sturdy limbs and solid construction, she should be able to stand like a champ. However, her pin-like ankle joints negate the stability of the rest of her frame. This seems like a fixable problem that I hope is addressed in future editions. The doll also has super-thin wrist joints with hands that can fall off. Another thing is that while Lammily's internal elbow and knee joints seem more flexible and durable than other joints of this style I've seen, her simple, chunky hip joints hold her back. She doesn't have the graceful, natural movement that thirteen points of articulation should provide--and this is almost exclusively because of her hips. My last notable criticism of Lammily concerns the shape of her lower torso. There's something odd about the dimensions in this region...and the girl has virtually no hips. However, when Lammily is fully clothed, her proportions look spot-on.
The good things about the Lammily doll vastly outnumber the bad. First of all, her box is a gorgeous work of art. It's made completely out of recyclable cardboard, but I can't see myself ever throwing it away. The presentation of this doll rivals some of the most expensive collectibles I own. Also, Lammily comes with an illustrated backstory that sets her up as a friendly, independent world traveler while leaving the specific details of her personality up to each new owner. Finally, the doll herself is much higher quality than her $25 price would suggest. She has thick, silky-smooth, realistic hair that is easy to work with and feels amazing. Her facial features are mild and unadorned--giving her a sweet, versatile appearance that will appeal to a broad audience. Her clothing is well-made, practical and reasonably flattering (her shoes are underwhelming, though). Her body design has very few flaws, especially given that it is completely original. The body feels solid and satisfying in my hands and the articulation is superior to many other 12-inch fashion dolls (certainly better than the unarticulated Barbie Fashionista bodies). With a couple of critical tweaks, the articulation could be fantastic.
The Lammily doll came into being because there was significant public enthusiasm for a fashion doll with average proportions. This admirable goal could have been achieved in a number of different ways--and might easily have produced a hastily-made, gimmicky product. Nickolay Lamm managed to use the idea of realistic body proportions as a starting point for creating a doll that is special in a number of different ways. I happen to know first hand about some of the thoughtful, heartfelt decision-making that went into the design and production of this doll, and I suspect that anyone who buys her will be able to see the the evidence of this, too. The end result is a charming character with a very distinct look. Lammily is unlike anything else that is on the market right now, and yet she manages to feel almost instantly familiar.
Despite my fondness for the Lammily concept and company, I didn't hold back my criticisms here at all. I guess I don't know how to write a review any other way. What's amazing to me, though, is that I can cast the same critical eye on this doll as I would on a doll made by a multi-million (or billion) dollar company...and she can still come out shining. What Mattel, MGA and Jakks Pacific do regularly and professionally, Nickolay Lamm did from scratch for the first time--and in most ways, he did it better. And he did something new: the Lammily doll might have body proportions that represent an average woman, but her shape is far from typical in the fashion doll world. The Lammily slogan "Average is Beautiful" comes to my mind again, but now I have a different reaction to these words. While I find my Mia to be quite beautiful, there's very little about her that is average.
She is extraordinary.