This elegant lady is Elinor, one of the 18″ slim body dolls from American company Carpatina. The line of Fantasy Adventures dolls was launched in 2002 and currently consists of 7 girl dolls and 2 boys. The company specifies “slim body” to make it clear that the dolls and clothes for same are different from chunkier soft body dolls such as American Girl (for which the company also make a range of clothes).
I’ve long admired the Carpatina range so was thrilled to find them being offered here in the UK by My Doll Best Friend as well as the official European distributor, Dragonflies Dream. The dolls haven’t gone through the process to market them as play dolls for children in the EU so are sold here as collectibles only.
Elinor arrived in a sturdy and attractive blue box with a see through window, though as you can see the doll herself was hidden behind tissue paper.
And here she is, “sleeping” in her box quite peacefully.
The doll is held securely in her box with white ribbons, with foam padding protecting her neck and her hands safely encased in plastic for protection.
Attached is a small catalogue of the other dolls in the series.
And yet again the wonderful hairnet keeping her long dark locks under control for transport – as I’ve said previously the ribbon and hairnet combo always gets my vote for packaging choices over and above plastic ties and unsecured hair.
Once completely unboxed you can see what a true beauty she really is. She is all-vinyl, with jointed arms and legs and a turning, tilting head, as well as sleep eyes.
All the dolls in this series look more adult than the child-like Kidz n Cats range, and the fantasy ranged clothing reflects that. Her outfit consists of a red renaissance style gown with silver brocade; the website states its a burgundy mediaeval gown in cotton and silk but the actual fabric is rather thicker than it looks, almost towards a felt, though it does hold its shape nicely.
The sleeves are long and flow down over Elinor’s wrists to end in a point, and the silver embroidery is echoed on the upper arms.
I especially like the silver lacing up the bodice..
..which is repeated on the back of the gown also. Note the shaping also, making the dress fit perfectly.
She wears matching red shoes, which are quite plain but go nicely with the rest of the outfit. She comes with simple white cotton knickers under the dress.
One of Elinor’s most stunning features is her long tumbling ebony black hair which falls in loose curls, crowned and mingled with silver ribbon. You don’t often see black hair on dolls for some reason, with blonde being so popular, but its quite a dramatic look for her.
Looking at her aristocratic face, almost violet eyes, dark red lips and that hair I’m reminded very much of the line in the original Snow White tale, where the queen wishes her daughter to have “lips as red as blood and hair as black as ebony”.. can quite imagine many hours of fairy tale play with this doll for a younger owner. Its still the eyes that first caught my attention – in some online images they’re an almost unearthly piercing blue but luckily that’s just odd lighting: the shade is unusual but most attractive.
I mentioned initially that these dolls are clearly marketed as slim bodied – I don’t own an American Girl doll but my Madame Alexander doll is of similar build:
The contrast in terms of size is quite startling, and its clear that AG clothes will likely be too loose on Elinor and other Carpatina dolls. I believe Carpatina clothes by contrast do fit Kidz n Cats dolls but not Gotz, although this of course depends on how fitted the clothes are.
Here’s Elinor next to Kidz n Cats Ariane – you can see they are much of a size. The difference in look, between the more elegant, grown-up Elinor and the child-like Ariane is very clear.
Overall I’m extremely pleased with Elinor (who was a belated birthday present from my parents). The build quality and styling is very good, although the clothes aren’t quite as impressive in terms of fabric choice and feel close-up compared to how they look in online images.I would certainly consider another Carpatina doll in the future, in fact have my eye on one of the boy dolls – well, more like young men in looks really.
With the range of Fantasy Adventures outfits also available (renaissance, Victorian and the like) as well as international costumes such as kimonos I think Carpatina have managed to find a unique place in the 18″ doll market, appealing to both older children and collectors.