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Elinor – Carpatina Veronika

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Portrait of Elinor

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 box shot

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.

Elinor revealed

And here she is, “sleeping” in her box quite peacefully.

Elinor box close-up

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.

Elinor hands in plastic

Attached is a small catalogue of the other dolls in the series.

Elinor hairnet

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.

Elinor posing

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..

Detail of Elinor's dress

..which is repeated on the back of the gown also. Note the shaping also, making the dress fit perfectly.

Elinor red shoes

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.

Elinor's hair

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.

Elinor and flowers portrait

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:

Elinor with a Madame Alexander doll

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.

Elinor and Ariane

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.

Elinor in black & white

 

Kira – Madame Alexander

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Portrait of Kira

Autumn – seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness according to the poets, and the inspiration for this Madame Alexander doll, named Autumn Mist. Well, I call her Kira but that’s the official name, and you can blame Dolls Diaries for a round-up post on Fall fashion (“Fall Mist” doesn’t have quite the same ring, somehow..) where I first spotted the doll and rather impulse bought her, there and then direct from the US with the power of Amazon, ooh!

I’ve considered the Madame Alexander dolls before now, at least the African American ones, I’m not too keen on the face moulds and general look of many of the other dolls in the range but have exercised some willpower til I spotted her pretty face and rather fabulous outfit, and about 10 days later, here she was on this side of the Pond. There should at this point be proper unboxing photos but due to a slight camera mishap, said images got deleted. The plastic fronted box was the usual type with twist ties holding her firmly in place, and my fave feature of a hair net to keep her hair tidy during transport.

Madame Alexander is a traditional US doll brand that has been going for many decades, though the current incarnations were apparently bought by long-term licensee Kahn Lucas in 2012. This doll is one of the Favorite Friends range which features numerous 18″ dolls, clothes and accesories, with the range updated frequently.

Kira Posing

Here’s Kira in her seasonal outfit, consisting of a green jersey top and denim skirt, worn over green and grey striped leggings. The best part is the long hooded cardigan in some kind of knitted fabric in those wonderful shades of green and yellow, very reminiscent of a pile of newly fallen leaves. She has gold Mary Jane shoes to complete the look. The clothes are good quality and fit well, unusual styles which I do like muchly.

Kira herself is a soft bodied doll with jointed vinyl arms and legs and a posable head, which can tilt up and down as well as from side to side. Unlike the American Girl range, she has a chest plate, which avoids seeing her fabric body when wearing strappy tops, this seems to give the doll more stability without needing to be well stuffed so she is quite cuddly and stands securely on her own.

Kira's sleep eyes

Kira’s coffee-toned skin is set off nicely by her brown glass eyes, which are the sleep kind, i.e. they close when she lies down. Um, they actually rattle a bit when the doll is being carried around which is a little off-putting. She has lovely  long dark lashes and painted brows.

Kira's hair

The doll has quite unusal hair, meant to be dreadlocks I think, as they are tighter and coarser than ringlets. I like the look and style of her hair, though it took me a little time to warm to the central pulled-back section;  its not very shiny but is thick and well-rooted, of the kind that can only be finger curled however, I dread to think what the results of a brush would be.

She’s mid-range in terms of price and quality I would say, and even with shipping from the US was reasonably priced. As a soft bodied doll she’s closest to The Dolls House and Design a Friend dolls, as you can see below:

Bree with Kira
If you look closely you can see the difference the chest plate makes between the dolls, Bree’s fabric body is clearly seen under her cotton frock whereas Kira’s vinyl neck area looks more natural.

Lindy and Kira

Lindy from Design a Friend is the closest in looks to Kira, with similar colouring, though her hair is softer and falls in tight curls rather than dreads. And of course Lindy has quite a floppy body and can’t stand up without support (she also as thinner legs and her eyes are fixed).

For an impulse buy I’m very pleased with Kira, not sure I’d add any others of the Favorite Friends range as its this doll’s rather unusual features and outfit that drew me in, but design and quality wise I can recommend the brand,

Kira in b&w