2012 was a rocky year for Draculaura. Yes, there was a slew of dolls released of the character, which could lead one to believe that it was a great year for the diminutive vampire. Unfortunately, for the most part the actual dolls, to me at least, left a lot to be desired. Several of them were only available as exclusives in multipacks, and it seemed each multipack Draculaura was the weakest doll in her respective set. The ones that weren't multipack exclusives were either boring (Dead Tired Wave 2), or just plain tacky (Ghouls Rule). In general there was an air pf predictability surrounding Draculaura in 2012 and I know I wasn't the only one in the fan community who felt this way. There was only one Draculaura doll last year that I out-and-out loved, her JC Penney Roadster doll. But 2013 has, so far, proven to be a different story for the character. Her Scaris doll isn't revolutionary in her design but she's very pretty and in general is of rather high quality. And although I chose to pass on her Picture Day doll, she at least had some colors on her face besides the usual pink and her outfit was interesting. And then we have her newest doll, Swim Line Draculaura.
I'll tell you now, right up front, that I LOVE this doll! She has a lot going for her, from design to theme to execution. Let's talk specifics...
Swim Line Draculaura has a faceup that eschews the pink-on-pink color scheme that left so many of us bored in 2012. Instead this Draculaura utilizes a bold dark-bright color combination. It's a fresh approach to designing this character and it breathes new life into Draculaura! (No pun intended.) She wears very light bronze eyeliner. Her eyeshadow encircles the entire eye and comes in a medium shade of taupe. Translucent silver shimmer travels to her brows. I love these eyes, but even better are her lips. They come in an orange-pink shade so bright it could almost be described as fluorescent! Curiously, this Draculaura has no fangs. Some fans have complained about this but personally I like it. Why? Without the white fang-paint covering her lips you can more clearly see just how plump her mouth is. She kind of looks like she's blowing a kiss, that's how plump these lips are. It's worth noting that Swim Line Draculaura's cheek heart isn't outlined, another change from the usual Draculaura faceup. Bottom line: this is an amazing faceup -- bold, bright, and fitting for this character without relying on so much pink.
Draculaura has bangs and wears her hair in pigtails. We've seen this hairstyle on her a few times already. What makes it so great here is the texture. It's thick and silky, and has fat curls at the ends. Her bangs are black underneath and pink on top. For the rest of her hair the pink is rooted only at the part where it is once again on top with the black underneath it. The length seems a little longer than usual for Draculaura, with the bottom of the pigtails landing just above her elbows. As I already mentioned, what really stands out about this hair is the fantastic texture.
Being part of a swim line, this Draculaura wears a one piece suit. The body is made of a smooth knit with a print of vertical black and white stripes. Scattered throughout are hot pink bats in outline. The straps are made of hot pink ruffles that wrap the neck and form a V over the bust before landing at a hot pink bow over the abdomen. The bow is attached to a matching hot pink belt. Both the bow and belt are made of translucent plastic. More knit ruffles appear at the hem of the legs. Usually so much pink would turn me off but I love it here! And even though pink is the standard Draculaura color, here it somehow feels fresh and new. I think a lot of it is thanks to the contrast of textures between the smooth knit of the suit and the hard but pliable plastic of the belt and bow. The overall vibe of this outfit is very retro; to me it looks like something you would have seen on a circus performer in the 30's. Like Swim Line Lagoona's swimsuit, this is one of the best we've seen to date from Monster High.
Draculaura's shoes look like a highly modded version of Scaris Draculaura's plain black wedges. Here they come in translucent hot pink and have some minor molded detailing. They also have an ankle strap that wasn't on the Scaris shoes. Although they're not the most exciting shoes in the world they match the outfit, and the molded details at least add some visual interest the Scaris shoes were lacking. Draculaura also comes wearing a pair of sunglasses -- they're hot pink and in the shape of bat wings. They're the best Draculaura sunglasses released to date, in my opinion. Unlike Lagoona's (very cool) sunglasses, these fit the doll perfectly. An accessory of Draculaura's that the other two swim dolls didn't come with is her tiny bottle of sunblock. It has an SPF of 500 -- clearly vampires need LOTS of protection from the sun! As you probably already know I love little extras like this. The SPF number cracks me up and is one of those cute little MH touches that make this such a fun doll line. Draculaura's last two accessories are her small beach towel and large tote. The towel comes in a print that matches her swimsuit, except here the black stripes are much wider than they are on the suit. Her tote is a chunky hot pink piece with a grid design. I know it's supposed to look like bat wings but to me it much more closely resembles a butterfly. Whatever the case, I quite like it! The handles are block-shaped hearts, another really cool and uniquely MH touch.
Overall grade: A Draculaura is another slam dunk for the 2013 Swim Line! She's stunningly beautiful! Her faceup avoids the boring, predictable, pink look we've all grown tired of. Her hair looks amazing and the quality is great, too. She wears a vinatge-y swimsuit that cleverly plays around with textures, and her accessories are all good, especially the wicked bat-glasses! The sunscreen is a cute little bonus that is pure MH. The combination of a unique faceup, interesting swimsuit, great hair, and general high quality make this one of my favorite Draculaura releases to date!