Thursday, January 3, 2013

Deluxe Fashion Pack Reviews - Operetta & Frankie Stein

Being a Monster High fanatic occasionally leaves me in a bit of a fix. Mattel releases several MH doll lines at varying price points. Deluxe dolls tend to have nice clothes and lots of extras, therefore they cost more money. Mattel also releases lines at a "budget" price point -- these dolls have much simpler outfits and fewer extras. They also tend to be heavily themed. The thing is, more often than not I love the budget dolls. A great example was 2011's Dead Tired line -- I thought the more natural looking faces and relaxed hairdos was a great change of pace compared to the other lines. Another example was this year's -- make that last year's -- Skultimate Roller Maze line. I found the extra colorful faces and streaked hair to be quite striking and beautiful. What I didn't love about either of those lines were the actual clothes the dolls came wearing. The pj's of Dead Tired were cute but not my thing. Ditto the skating gear of Skultimate Roller Maze. The result: I have a lot of dolls I love wearing outfits that I find very "meh". Luckily Mattel has us covered on that front -- they periodically release lines of fashion packs that feature clothes you can augment your collection with. Typically these lines feature four separately sold packs, each themed to a specific character. Not all fashion packs are created equal. For every amazing Operetta Fashion Pack 1 there seems to be a rather boring Abbey Fashion Pack 1. Luckily Mattel is slowly but surely getting the hang of MH and the packs seem to be, in general, getting better and better. This year they've even upped the ante on the packs, releasing not only four basic packs but an additional line of "deluxe" packs that feature two outfits instead of one and lots of accessories. Oh yes, much happiness spread across the land of MH fandom as we all rejoiced at the thought of all the new clothes coming our way, and all at once. And so that fix I was in has been relieved at least a little thanks to all the new outfits Mattel has bestowed upon us (for a price, of course). I've already covered three of the basic packs; today I'll be looking at two of the four deluxe packs.

First up is Operetta. To look upon the package is a feast for the eyes. You'll find a one piece dress, a separate top, a skirt, a cardigan, a purse, one set of earrings, a pair of shoes, a belt, and a mask. Yeah, it's a lot. Some could complain that two pairs of shoes or a second purse would've been welcome, but honestly, everything here looks great, and no matter how you cut it there's simply a plethora of goodies included. The way the pieces are laid out in the package seems to imply you can mix and match these however you like and so that's what I've done. It's also worth noting that, again based on packaging, it seems the one piece dress is the "main" outfit while the other one is the secondary. Let's get going!

To model this first look I went with Operetta's basic doll. Originally I had Dance Class Operetta in this but the look just didn't seem to have enough oomph on her. But on the basic doll? Yep, we have a winner! You probably already know this but just to be safe I'll point out that Operetta's mask, bracelet, and ring are not part of the fashion pack.

Operetta's "main" dress is a satiny white swing dress featuring a print of purple cobwebs and swooshy musical bars. A lone squiggly black line also adorns the front of the skirt. In keeping with Operetta's retro theme the cuts and silhouette are pure 50's. A satin purple collar gives way to short sleeves. The bodice is hemmed just above the navel where it attaches to the skirt. There's some pleating at the hem. The material feels very nice and the print is stunning. I love the color and the way the webs are surrounded by the twisting musical bars. It's very impressive. Also of note is the cobweb over the bust. It in particular stands out because it gives a hint of symmetry to the bodice, contrasting nicely with the more random looking print on the skirt. The pleating adds body to the skirt and simply looks great. I added the included belt to the dress, mostly because it emphasizes the pleat and gives the dress a more fitted look. The belt is solid red dice.

I paired the cardigan with the dress. I love this cardigan. It's made of thick purple yarn and features a shiny red abstract heart on the left breast piece. The cardigan is completely hemmed with red thread. It looks amazing and matches the dress perfectly. The purse is pretty interesting. I don't really get a 1950's vibe from it but it looks cool and the colors match. It's a purple shell; it has a working clasp and opens on a hinge. Each side has four large-ish circles. There's also a removable strap of piano keys. The shape of the shell and circles of the purse remind me of one of those little walking troll things from the original Mario Bros. Nintendo game you had to jump on. Every time I look at this purse I hear Casio music playing in my head. Probably not what Operetta, our resident music maven, intended when she chose this purse but what can you do. It's a weird purse but I like it. If nothing else it makes me nostalgic for old school Nintendo so that's cool I guess.

Operetta's shoes are red open-toed heels. There's a ribbon over the toes while the heels are made of stacked white dice. Cobwebs decorate the body of the shoe. I chose to use the included earrings with this outfit. They look like they're meant to be paired with the mask (we'll get to that), but they seemed like overkill together so I separated them. The earrings are solid red and are in the shape of a treble clef that also forms a heart. Very cool.

Anyone who's been reading the blog for a while now probably won't be surprised to learn that I went with Kohl's Operetta for the second outfit. Aside from the fact that I adore this doll, this vintage-y, early 60's look was practically created for vampy, dramatic Kohl's Operetta. Since I used the deluxe pack's purse and shoes on the first look, for this outfit I paired it with DDG Operetta's purse, and her first fashion pack shoes. I think it all comes together quite well, if I may say so.

First, the mask. This is yet another one of those accessories that you're simply not going to find in any other mainstream doll line. Only MH would try something this unique and just plain weird. And you know what? I absolutely love it! The whole idea behind this mask works since Operetta is based on The Phantom of the Opera. It comes in pure red and fits like a standard pair of glasses -- that is, it has ear pieces that hug the side of her head. The mask itself matches the earrings I discussed earlier. It seems to be a sort of abstract treble clef melting into a heart shape. One side frames the eye while the other rests above it. The piece is molded to lay just right over her face. The only complaint I have -- and it's a minor one -- is that her right eye is usually obscured a little by the piece resting above it. But considering how complicated this mask is it really works quite well. It's dramatic, odd, intriguing -- just what I love about MH. In my opinion it looks amazing on Kohl's Operetta.

The only other pieces left to discuss are the top and bottom that make up the second outfit. The top features a solid red bodice with off the shoulder sleeves in white. It has a print of black music bars and red abstract hearts. It's paired with a black denim skirt featuring five swirling white stripes of thread. The skirt rests over her abdomen and ends well above the knees. In terms of fit it's quite similar to her first fashion pack skirt. I adore this look. It's pure vamp, something you might see in a classic noir. It's perfectly Operetta. Between these two deluxe outfits and Operetta's first fashion pack, she's three for three on amazing clothes. Hopefully Mattel can keep it up because I'm loving everything Operetta-related lately (yes, even her Dance Class doll and outfit).

Next we have Frankie. Is that a mixture of boos and cheers I hear from the audience? Well, for me Frankie is always worthy of a cheer. Sure, there's a ton of Frankie dolls, and yeah, we already have a crapload of Frankie fashions. Why give her a deluxe pack when there are other characters so severely lacking in fashions (especially my very own beloved Cleo)? I'll tell you why -- because she's awesome! Being serious, I have found that more than any other character, Frankie fashions tend to look good on a wide range of dolls. Ghoulia, Abbey, and Lagoona can wear Frankie clothes quite well, in my opinion. Anyway, let's talk about some more brand new fashions!

Like Operetta's, Frankie's deluxe pack is a cornucopia of fabulousness. Doll junkies beware: this pack provides a strong hit, and boy is it nice! Inside you'll find a one piece dress, a top, skirt, jacket, belt, purse, one pair of shoes, a pair of earrings, and a necklace.

I was especially into the one piece dress when I first saw pics of it. I loved the silver hemming, and the 70's-looking peasant skirt practically screamed "John". Once I actually had it, I tried it on Classroom Frankie thinking the retro skirt would be a great match with that Frankie's retro-ish hair. My excitement deflated; I didn't like it. So then I tried it on Gloom Beach Frankie figuring her simple hairdo and matching solid blue makeup would be the right fit. Nope. So finally I threw it on Scaris Frankie and voila! Hello, fashion! Yeah, I know I've already espoused the underrated greatness that is Scaris Frankie on this blog (several times), but seriously, there's nothing this doll can't wear and look gorgeous. Sigh. So let's talk about the dress!

It has a short, electric blue, knit bodice. The straps are shiny, silver ribbon. Just under the bust is more silver ribbon, hemming the bodice to the skirt. The fabric skirt features an extremely mild pleat, helping create a bell shape that ends above the knees. The print of the skirt utilizes Frankie's colors -- electric blue, red, white, and black. The style of the print and cut of the dress is very 70's, very peasant. Towards the bottom of the skirt is another line of silver ribbon. That ribbon goes a long way in adding some flash to this otherwise simple dress. Of course, I love the simplicity but am happy to see it Frankie-fied with the bright ribbon. I paired the dress with the earrings and necklace. The earrings are electric blue, dangling hearts. They're stitched around the edges and even right through the hearts themselves. They're very funky and match the bodice of the dress perfectly. The necklace is comprised of silver chains that give way to a small red tie. There's no clasp in the back and the necklace hangs loosely. It's constantly falling off my doll. On the plus side it looks great -- the red of the tie really pops when contrasted with the blue bodice.

Frankie's shoes are open-toed wedges. Her right shoe is white, the other black. Both feature a silver lightning bolt adorning the front. The body of the shoes has some unpainted, molded stitching while the wedges have the fatter, messier style stitches spread throughout. I like these shoes a lot. Using two different colors for each adds a lot of visual interest. It also gives the look some edge. The purse is a silver tote with black detailing. The handles are large hexagons. It matches the necklace and shoes perfectly. It's worth noting that while it looks really cool and feel nice, it's also pretty heavy for a doll purse. Most of my Frankie's have trouble holding it at the wrist. It rests much better at the elbow.

I'll be upfront about the second outfit included in this pack: I love it much more than the first outfit. To model this look I've chosen SRM Frankie, mostly because I think her green lips and streaked hair contrasts nicely with the electric blue of the top. Also, SRM Frankie's loose hairstyle fits the younger, hipper vibe of this outfit. Before I go on I'll note that Frankie's purse, bracelet, and shoes are not included with the deluxe pack.

Frankie wears an electric blue top with black stripes done in a horizontal stitched pattern. It has very short sleeves. It's paired with a metallic silver skirt featuring a print of black industrial nuts. The top of the skirt is fitted at the abdomen before flaring out with a pleat at the hips. The skirt features a unique attached strap that winds over her left shoulder before crossing her back diagonally and meeting back at the skirt on her right side. It's metallic blue and looks like large stitches. It's a bit hard to figure out at first but once you realize how it works it looks pretty damn cool. I paired this set's silver belt with this outfit since it lays much more naturally over this skirt than the one piece dress -- just as Mattel had in mind, I'm sure.

Initially I paired the included jacket with the first dress but I didn't like it at all. Luckily it looks amazing with the second outfit! The jacket is made of contrasting black and metallic silver pieces. Black on her right, silver on her left. They meet in the middle in the back. The jacket also features a large collar in electric blue. It all looks and feels really nice. The stitched strap of the skirt looks particularly great over the jacket, and creates a nice contrast with the jacket's metallic silver. The overall look here is very 80's, very Barbie and The Rockers, minus the tack.

I've been refraining from giving any fashion packs a letter grade. Instead I'll just say that in general I love both of these deluxe packs. They're loaded with goodies, the looks all work, and they've tried a few new things with them. Operetta's melting heart mask in particular is a risk that worked. Thanks to all the extras included you have lots of different outfit options with these packs. Like I said at the beginning, these are the way I chose to put the outfits together. But really it's up to you how you want to pair everything up. Or try them with completely different outfits and characters. Go crazy! Have fun! They're dolls, it's what they're meant for! It's why we love them!


  1. I'm loving the Operetta pack! So many good pieces to mix and match. I'm still not sure on the Frankie pack. I actually like the one piece dress the best in that one, but I'm just not sure how much use I'd get out of the whole pack. I think I'll give that one a pass, myself. But your Scaris Frankie DOES look gorgeous... I might have to get her, too.

    Great reviews! As always :)

    1. Thanks, Astroasis! Yeah, the Operetta pack is 100% goodness -- possibly the best all-around of the deluxe packs.

  2. I have both of these fashion packs + Ghoulia's.
    Frankie's outfits both look really cool, and the jacket is probably my favourite item. Only thing is I wish her purse, or should I say handbag? is a little to chunky & heavy. It's a nice concept, though.
    As for Operetta, I love both of her outfits (especially the skirt & top) & accesories, I just hate the mask & purse.

    1. Frankie's peasant dress is right up my alley -- very 70's and I love the colors. In this review I say Classroom Frankie didn't wear the dress well but have since changed my mind. It's actually what she's wearing at the moment! I like the chunky purse/handbag/tote, but your doll has to have some pretty tight elbows to hold it. The looser limbed dolls constantly drop it lol.
      I love this mask, but have noticed even on Operetta, only certain dolls can pull it off. I think it looks good especially on the Kohl's and PD dolls. The purse is just plain odd. I'm not really sure what they were going for? Like I said, to me it looks like a Super Mario Bros troll. Very odd.

    2. I think the purse is supposed to have a dice pattern on it.
      IMO, the shape of it is all wrong, like it would look better & make more sense if it was like Spectra's Maul Fashion purse, but shaped like a dice, hanging from a web or musical bars.
      Coincedentally, I hated that purse of Spectra's at first, it made me think of a Pok├ęball (Pikachu, I choose you! lol), but I've grown to appreciate it.
      Or even a simple clutch purse like basic Cleo's would have been much better.

    3. The dice thing makes sense -- too bad it was executed so oddly. I think maybe the shape was meant to be evoke an abstract, postmodern look that was starting to come in at the time, but still -- it wasn't executed well if that's what they were going for. Had the purse been musical bars and had the basic hanging shape of Spectra's purse I would've loved it! Or as you say, a clutch would've been nice. It probably would've fit better with the overall look of the outfit (the dress, anyway), than the one we got.

    4. Yes. Well, at least her Maul fashion purse is cool. :)
      Who knew a vinyl record could make such an awesome bag?

    5. I know right! The record purse is too cool! I also really love her DDG purse. The "worn out piano" look is really striking.