Thursday, February 21, 2013

Deja View: Dawn of the Dance Frankie Stein

In the first installment of Deja View I took a look at Gloom Beach Cleo, my first ever MH doll. Within days of getting that first doll I had picked up several more, among them Dawn of the Dance Frankie Stein. (And yes, this was my first Frankie!) If GB Cleo opened my eyes to how interesting and unique these dolls' facemolds and body structures were, DOTD Frankie showed me that Mattel was doing some pretty smart things with doll fashion.

Dawn of the Dance was the first themed line from Monster High. The first wave hit shelves in late summer 2010 and consisted of three dolls: Frankie, Cleo, and Clawdeen. In an early example of the punny pop culture awareness this line has, the name is a play on George Romero's 1978 film, Dawn of the Dead. The idea behind the line was that the ghouls were attending an invitation-only party, and the clothing should be fun, funky, and, judging by the dolls' outfits, very retro. I was impressed by the presentation of DOTD Frankie. A lot of thought went into extending Frankie's storyline within the MH universe with this doll. Frankie had only recently been created and this was her first party -- she was excited, and we get to see this on her box back, as she goes through her day preparing for the party.

Included in the box with Frankie were her invitation and two snapshots from the party. On the back of the pics are handwritten notes from Frankie about the great night she had. All in all, an elaborate setup and presentation for a playline doll!

Dawn of the Dance gave us our first Frankie release after her basic doll (not counting her greyscale SDCC limited edition release). This Frankie is decidedly more colorful than not just the greyscale doll, but also her Wave 1 basic doll. Frankie has a thick strip of very dark blue eyeliner. Under the eye is a considerably thinner strip of grey eyeliner. Surrounding it all is a thick layer of electric blue eyeshadow; above the eye it goes all the way to the brow. The makeup around her eyes has a very light shimmer, so light you might not notice it. Contrasting this nicely is her lips, hot pink and also lightly shimmered. Frankie's hair is pulled into a tight ponytail. Her hair is completely straight, no wave at all. It's layered and lands a little past halfway down her back when in the ponytail. She doesn't have bangs. In true Frankie fashion, the hair is incredibly silky and soft. This Frankie has a more even mix of black and white streaks than later Frankie dolls, who generally seem to have mostly white hair with fewer black streaks. Truth be told, I prefer the look of her dolls with the heavier emphasis on white hair. Not that this Frankie is anything to sneeze at...

The real strength of this doll, and what made her a must-have for me, is her outfit. Frankie comes wearing a strapless cocktail dress. It's form-fitting and bares a print of stark, black and white, lightning bolt stripes. They stretch diagonally across the dress. The material is a semi-stretchy knit and has textured dots completely covering it. These dots especially stand out against the black stripes -- they look great! Across her abdomen Frankie wears a blue, metallic cummerbund. It has two stripes of white ribbon, each encircled by a silver industrial nut. She also wears a patent leather jacket in hot pink and matching hot pink fishnets. All the materials here feel very nice. There's a variety of textures and bold use of colors that somehow manages to avoid coming across garish and unsightly. In fact, Frankie's outfit couldn't be better put together. The girl knows how to dress! Everything's really well-made. Hems are clean and it all fits perfectly. Especially impressive is the jacket, a tiny little thing, with pleated puff sleeves and teensy hems. To this day this is one of my all-time favorite MH outfits. It gets a lot of use around here -- in fact, I don't think I've ever not had it on a doll since I first got this Frankie way back when. And yet this outfit is still in great condition! No snags, tears, or worn hems on this heavily trafficked outfit -- pretty impressive!

Frankie's shoes are mismatched wedge heels. The right shoe has a body of metallic silver while the wedge is black. On the left shoe, the colors are reversed. Unfortunately the shoes haven't withstood the test of time as well as the dress. While the black is fine, the silver has become spotty and chipped. But I love them anyway! I actually think the chipped silver adds even more funkiness to the look! Her purse is a satiny clutch in blue and pink. The colors are connected by thick black threads. A triangular top of black and white lightning bolts is sewn over the front. A tiny black ribbon wraps around the doll's wrist. These purses made of material rather than plastic would be short-lived. I would say it's disappointing, but Mattel is continuing to do great things with purses. I do miss the soft purses, though. Frankie wears small, electric blue lightning bolt earrings (love these!), and also came wearing a small necklace and black and white bracelet. I spent a half hour looking through my bagged MH accessories, then checking all my dolls, trying to find the necklace and bracelet, to no avail. I don't even remember my DOTD Frankie wearing a necklace, so it's possible mine didn't have one. I really loved the bracelet, hopefully it pops up soon!  Her last accessory is her iCoffin. I've always felt like these were "filler accessories", but at least it has some electric blue stickers and bares her name, so it's personalized. Frankie came with a hot pink stand and matching hairbrush.

The overall vibe of this outfit is pure 80's. The fit, the colors, the prints -- all 80's. This look would go on to be very influential on not just Frankie's later dolls, but also on the entire doll line as a whole. The 80's repeatedly appear throughout MH fashion. Most notably on Frankie, but also on many other dolls. The werecat twins, Ghoulia, and Venus would all go on to wear outfits heavily influenced by the 80's, and I can't help but imagine Mattel's designers felt confident tapping into that era based on the positive response to these early DOTD outfits.

I have to be honest -- for about a year I fell out of love with DOTD Frankie. Not the outfit, just the doll. For starters, when I first got into MH I really wasn't all that much of a Frankie fan. By the time I did start getting more into her, several more Frankie's had been released, and I liked most of them more than DOTD Frankie. Once again, I'm speaking specifically about the doll, not the outfit. Over time I've come back around to her. I still think her hairstyle, while certainly very pretty, isn't particularly exciting. Her faceup on the other hand? I love it now! They were still figuring things out when it came to makeup with these early dolls, and so this Frankie's makeup is pretty different from what we see on her now, at least in terms of shape. I really love the extra-thick, bright blue eyeshadow. It's so striking, and really makes this Frankie stand out. As for the outfit, I've always loved it. I still think it's easily one of the best looks we've seen from Monster High. It was the first sign to me that Mattel meant business when it came to great doll fashion. The elaborate character setup and presentation of the doll told me that this was a line of great quality, something I needed to pay attention to. And I still am -- that's gotta say something, right?


  1. I really like her faceup here and the outfit is stunning!
    I never fell in love with this doll but over time I started to appreciate her more and more thanks to pics online.
    I don't remember seeing this line in stores, but that could just be my fault. I never really check the toy stores on a regular basis. Due to problems with money it's hard for me to buy new dolls anyway.

    1. Yes, this outfit really is one of the best -- stylish, hip yet retro, and very well-made. I'm not kidding when I say it's one of my all-time faves!

      Try not to worry about the money problems. I've been there and it's extremely stressful. Here in the US the economy is in the crapper. They say it's improving but talking to my friends and family it seems it's still pretty bad.

    2. Yeah, people say the economy is getting better but meanwhile those who have to work for their money are not getting anywhere near better.

    3. Yep! I'm a social worker and in dealing with clients I see first-hand on a daily basis just how much the economy has improved. What a joke!

  2. I still think that DOTD Frankie is my fav Frankie, and one of my favourite mh dolls. She is soo pretty and she even is wearing my favourite colours, pink and blue, and even in my fav shades. Love Frankie, what can I say. I still feel bad for didn't bought her, she was everywhere, I though there would be much better Frankie's but, yes there as been some amazing Frankies that I love, but the only one that I love everything, really everything is DOTD Frankie.

    I remeber when I saw DOTD protypes for the first time I though they were fake because, well Monster High was soo new, only one mounth old, and they had soo many colours and Clawdeen with green hair confused me, strange way to meet my fav Monster High collection :P

    I think is strange you loosing her necklace, because it was like a real necklace and you would need to cut it to get it off, and that way the little metalic bolt would fall, soo probably you missed it thinking it was just a thread and a metalic piece?
    Well yours couldn't have came with it, but I think the quality control one dawn of the dance first wave was pretty good.

    Loving this old reviews, hope you make more soon. And hope you get the reedited swim Venus to make a review, and Scaris 2 pack, I saw some pictures out of the box and though Cleo is the one that catches everyone, with that mount of bracelets, exotic makeup and hair, Lagoona is pretty cute, like a sweet little girl, and I think whiout that top, I think her dress is pretty sassy and shiny, and well teir shoes seem pretty amazing and they have paint job at least!

  3. I didn't get into MH until late 2010 so I missed seeing the DOTD prototypes. I bet it was a shock! Green hair, day-glo mummy wraps on Cleo's dress, and a bright pink and blue Frankie!

    I still have the black choker on my DOTD Clawdeen, the one that can't be removed. But I don't remember one being on my Frankie at all. I suppose I could have accidentally cut it off while deboxing her but I'm usually pretty careful about that. Who knows? If it was the kind that couldn't be removed, and it's missing, I have a feeling I won't be finding it, ever.

    It's funny you mention Swim Venus. I had a review of the first version completely written up, pictures taken and edited, and everything scanned. The next day news broke of the correct Venus surfacing, so that review has been put on hold until I can get my hands on the correct doll. Who's absolutely gorgeous, in my opinion! But I have to admit it totally sucked to do all that work, for a review I can't use!

    Also, WHERE can I see those out of box Scaris Cleo and Lagoona pics?! I'm totally loving this Cleo!

  4. You can't imagined how shocked me and my sister were, I didn't knew they would have collections, the other dolls I had weren't chracters soo developed with such unique styles, I only knew they had to do Ghoulia's basic doll. Really the shock was soo big, and just a mounth or two laters, during Comic Con é knew they were true, but I wasn't the crazy for knewing everything about them like now, and didn't knew dolls had a trademark for everything, how naive I was.

    You can see it here:

    It's only one photo but hopping for more, or at least to see the shoes that seem pretty cute. Cleo is amazing seeing her closer, that glossy lips, the cute and different hairdo, and I I adore how much acessories she has, 6 bracelets! Lagoona looks cute though I would prefer my adored Lagoona with a baby pink shade of lipstick like the pink of her purse, like the shade of classroom Lagoona's. And I think the acessories should be translucent blue, like her lovely purse made of water bubbles, soo funny!

    After you see them what you think they are? If they are like the small boxes or the big boxes. I know they have little purses like the small boxes, but they are much more detailed, even more than Frankie (sorry Frankie, but you know a bracelet doesn't hurt :P I know clothing isn't as good as Clawdeen, Jinafire or Skelita, but they seem the same quality as Catrine, soo they are kinda what?
    Good thing is that they come with stands, black stands but stands on a exclusive, like werecat's fearleading pack has! Soo happy for that, my werecat twins are crying for didn't have their one stands and having to borrow from Frankie's dead tired and skull shores.
    I think when you review them, I think they deserve a + for that, well who doesn't love stands? Probably just little girls, at least myself as younger didn't liked stands, and just leaved them in the Barbie's playsets and furniture box :P

    1. Thanks so much Cammie! I actually did end up seeing the pic over at MHD. What can I say -- I love them! Especially Cleo! Her colorful faceup and blue streaked hair are definitely "speaking to me". Not loving Lagoona quite as much, but I think she's a more than worthy addition to the Lagoona doll canon. My favorite thing about her is the outward flipped hair.

      I would say these land somewhere in between the slim box Scaris dolls and the large box ones. They have more extras and slightly better outfits than the slim box dolls. I have to admit I *love* Scaris Frankie, I think more than most other MH fans, so I didn't mind that she had only a few minor accessories. And stands, for a multi-pack exclusive? That has happened in quite a while! SO glad they have stands!

      Over at MHD this pack is getting a very mixed response. A lot of people are saying it seems cheap and like a quick cash-in type of thing. It kind of blows my mind, because between the nice bags, extra shoes, stands, and the rather nice outfits, this set seems like a step above the usual MH multi-pack to me.

    2. I know you like Scaris Frankie, she is pretty but I think she is not as cool as the other ones, what is sad for Frankie, I think my problem is that she is wearing too light colours, I much prefer her with that red that she sometimes uses instead of pink, I love Frankie with red, she looks much prettier with dark colours constrating her light skin, and it's sad that each wave we have fewer Frankies with red :/ But I still find beauty in her, you know lots of people on MHD are really mean to some dolls, and don't try too see the good things in the dolls.

      I think the packs looks good quality, I found a real good photos that show the full details here:
      The last thing I can think of them is cheapness, while their dresses can seem cheap at first that weren't just made in the moment, and Lagoona's top is well made. Also the only reused things they have are Cleo triangle bracelets (wow, just school's out had) and the extra shoes, well I've seen a lot of people made about them but please they are extra shoes! They can be used for cams missing shoes (like the blue ones for ice ghoul and the gold ones for I don't know, but for someone) I uderstand Lagoona's cold be other shoes that haven't been reused, like her first fashion pack ones, but Cleo's is an intelligent idea.
      Anyways are people expecting for Mattel never reuse shoes? We have already more than 100 shoes mold, and they blame for some being used, well I don't wanna see more of Clawdeen's club fashion pack being used soo often, but there are some great old shoes that some people missed that can certainly be used.
      There doll lines with less than a year that have reused shoes more than once, soo what's the problem?

      Also the dolls by themself are pretty, Cleo is really amazing and has different hairstyle without tynsel, what will make a lot of people happy, Lagoona well I think her makeup is kind of old but she is cute! And people should be happy for this sometimes forgotten characters having new dolls, at least any new Lagoona or Cleo always makes me happy.
      And they come with collector cards and stands!

      Really I love to go to MHD to read people opinions but there are people being soo rude to great dolls that I really can't understand...

    3. The way I saw it, it's a multipack exclusive. Over the past year NO stands, few-to-no accessories, and using repeats for what few accessories that were included, had become the norm for any exclusive multipacks. The fact that the Scaris 2-pack includes stands, lots of accessories -- including a few brand new ones -- AND collector's cards, make this a really nice set.

  5. I'm so jealous of your collection, John.
    I would sell my soul for this version of Frankie.

    Her dress is simple, but the electric blue & hot pink really make the outfit. And her shoes, who knew mismatched shoes could be so awesome?!
    Normally I hate the overuse of pink on dolls, but Frankie really rocks it here.

    1. Thanks Felicity :) This is definitely a MH classic. The outfit, that is. I think people are bigger fans of the outfit than the doll! And yes, they actually made the pink work really well here! Her jacket is amazing :D

  6. i really want the dawn of the dance collection so badly this frankie is the doll that turned me on to monster high in the first place i seen her in store one day and said to my self how awesome !! i didn't know at the time that my love for monster high dolls would grow... so i passed the collection up and i regret it to this day... so a little time had passed and my nieces birthday came around and she loves monster high as much as i do, so for her birthday i purchased the dead tired clawdeen bunk bed set, that was the first mh doll i purchased and i liked it so much i got one for me too and then more and more dolls were purchased and i was hooked, by the time that i started my collection the dawn of the dance dolls were gone from the stores... i wish i would have never passed it up because even to this day i think the dawn of the dance collection (besides scaris) is the coolest and most interesting collection ever... maybe one day ill find it from a collector that wont charge me an arm and a leg but until then my collection will never be complete !!

    1. I think we all have that certain doll (or dolls) that we passed on and now regret it. For me it's DOTD Ghoulia. I was into MH by the time DOTD came out and saw Ghoulia in stores several times and almost bought her. But my fandom was much more casual at the time and I already had basic Ghoulia so I figured the DOTD doll wasn't necessary. I definitely regret it now!

      Unfortunately on eBay people ask ridiculous prices. An alternative is to keep an eye out if you ever find yourself in second hand shops or flea markets. I hear stories all the time of people finding MH dolls for cheap in stores like those. Also, if you have a doll that's in pretty high demand that you wouldn't mind parting with you could always do a trade for DOTD. Especially if you have just about any of the male dolls, I'm sure a lot of collectors would trade a DOTD doll for one.

      I like the story about your gift to your niece -- and now you two have the same toy! MH dolls are addictive like that, aren't they!

  7. yes!! very much so we are in love with them and now for every birthday and holiday i get her a couple, her collection is almost just as big as mine... i have seen DOTD on ebay and the prices are crazy but who knows maybe one day i will find them, as for the trading i have one guy doll and that's scaris duce and i don't think i could trade because the way that i like to collect is to have the whole collection of the specific lines that i love... i have a couple unfinished lines - i still need the wave 2 picture day with frankie , operetta and lagoona and also need 1600 clawd and dead tired clawdeen, abbey and i need the whole DOTD line but next up is - music festival, ghouls night out ( i really love the 4 pack !! ) and probably 13 wishes and the dolls drawing me to 13 wishes are the special colored lagoona and the moroccan themed frankie !! so i hope to eventually get all these and many more as the new dolls are released... but always at the top of my list will be DOTD !! :)

    1. That's really cool about you and your niece :) The prices for DOTD on eBay are crazy! I've seen them sell for more than a lot of collectible vintage dolls, and they're only from a few years ago. I'm right there with you about 13W Lagoona, so can't wait for that doll. From the GNO 4-pack I really like Ghoulia and Venus so I'll probably be picking that set up. I'm glad only one doll from it will also be sold solo.