"It was the middle of winter, and the snow-flakes were falling like feathers from the sky, and a Queen sat at her window working, and her embroidery-frame was of ebony. And as she worked, gazing at times out on the snow, she pricked her finger, and there fell from it three drops of blood on the snow. And when she saw how bright and red it looked, she said to herself, "Oh that I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood of the embroidery frame!" Not very long after she had a daughter, with skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony, and she was named Snow-white. And when she was born the Queen died."
Notice how the poisonous apple drawing says RAVEN right there? Yeah, I didn't put that there. Hmm...
So begins the translated Snow-white and the Seven Dwarfs by the Brothers Grimm, and the life of the mother of today's review subject, Apple White. Snow's was a troubled but ultimately rewarding existence, and her story must now be relived by her daughter. One hopes Apple ain't too broken up over never having gotten to meet her dear ol' Queen grams. And if she is, maybe today's review will perk her up -- by nature of my glowing words, she's got good things coming her way!
I covered a lot of the basics of the overall design and presentation of these dolls in my Raven Queen review, so I won't be going too deeply into those aspects of the line today. Likewise, if you're looking for body and face mold comparisons to Monster High, I highly recommend you read Raven's review first if you haven't already. With that said, let's get started!
You as ready as I am?
Bring on the glowing words, Mr. Review Man!
Apple White comes in a package designed to mimic a real storybook. The left side of the box looks like the spine of a book, the shaded red showcasing Apple's name and lineage as if they were the title of the faux book being presented here. You'll also find a drawing of Apple encased in an opulent picture frame, which in turn is topped by the official royal symbol, a gold crown. The crown rests in a wax seal. The right side of the box is designed to look like the pages of the book, with the doll line's name printed across them.
Apple herself is positioned underneath a marquee baring her name; the insert she's attached to is a page from the book featuring several different languages that flow into each other. Before you've even opened the package you're given sketches that subtly establish the doll's character: a castle draped in pearls and hearts and topped by red turrets, and a large red apple. Above the apple is plating showcasing Apple's catchphrase: "The Most Fabulous One Of All!"
Can't argue with hard facts.
Also attached to the insert is a bookmark. Apple's bookmark is red and showcases a ribbon of charms: the EAH logo key, a garnet, and a large apple. Once removed from the insert you'll find a small storybook affixed to the bookmark. This storybook is narrated by Apple and keys us in to her personality and motivations. It goes a long way in endearing Apple to the reader. (As with Raven, I enjoy the character of Apple more in this storybook than in what we've seen of her so far in the webisodes -- though even in webisode form I find myself quite fond of her.)
For scans of Apple's entire booklet, plus the booklets of the other three dolls, click here.
Apple's box back features a full-size drawing of the character (love these!), a brief bio, and a printed interview.
I think I was over-excited when I was deboxing Apple -- check out that giant rip up top!
But it's not like I'm a nerd who loves dolls too much or anything. (Ahem.)
With the packaging well and fully
You call this rooted in reality? Seriously, John?
Apple has a pale, pearlescent skin tone and complexion. In a design choice that has been controversial -- to say the least -- Apple has the same facemold as Raven (and Maddie and Briar for that matter). To the design team's credit, however, Apple has a completely different vibe from the other three dolls. She comes across genuinely happy; she's alert yet dreamy at the same time. Raven's eyes face forward although the irises have a slight upward orientation. Not so with Apple, whose pupils and irises have a directly forward orientation. Due to the shared facemold both dolls have just a hint of a smile that gives them the faintest of dimples. Similarly, Apple shares Raven's large forehead, flat eyes, round cheeks, and tiny chin.
Apple has ridged, French blue irises that hug large pupils. A hint of ice blue lines the pupils underneath. She has three small, white reflection streaks and a larger white reflection dot. The iris is lined in chocolate brown, matching the ridges contained in the French blue portion of the eye. A strip of purple runs through the white of the eye on top, creating a wet effect. It gives way to thick, black mascara and eyelashes. Smaller black lashes run under the eye. She wears shimmering, pearl eyeliner above the eye while underneath is a short strip of silver liner. She has a maroon divider line topped by light grey eyeshadow that surrounds the entire eye. As I pointed out in my Raven review, these eyes are much more detailed than your standard MH eye. The paint used for Apple's eyes is matte. Her light brown eyebrows have a mild arch and fade towards the center of the face.
In doing my review of Raven I was astounded by the high level of detail in her lips. Apple's are much simpler. They come in shining, unlined brink. She has three silver reflection dots running the lower lip. Very simple, but very pretty. Apple's cheeks are lightly blushed.
Apple's hair is natural blonde with golden lowlights. It comes in long tendrils that land at her rear. For the first week or so that I had Apple I didn't dare brush her hair for fear of losing those beautiful tendrils. However, after a week of constant posing and photographing it started to get a bit frizzy. I gave her a gentle wash using no product which got rid of pretty much all the frizz. Her tendrils lost some of their definition but as the hair dried they did come back. (Hooray!) She has a part on her left. The hair that falls to her right is left unfettered, falling loosely to her side. The hair on the left is held by a tuft of hair gathered behind her ear and banded in the center-back of her head. I like this style a lot. It emphasizes her sidepart, aided largely by her headband which I'll discuss in a bit. Mattel has used similar banding methods for MH dolls with the same sidepart Apple has. It had already become one of my favorite hairstyles long before I got Apple, but boy does she make it look better than ever!
Her hair pre-wash.
Her hair post-wash.
Yep, great hair!
Apple is a princess and while her outfit has been modernized in certain ways (the short length of her skirt comes to mind), it's roots are in Renaissance era fashion. She wears a one piece dress paired with a jerkin influenced jacket. The bodice of the dress is made of a red, satiny material. It's darted, with the bust lined in black netting. It gives way to a red, knee length skirt featuring an ornate, shining gold print. The skirt is topped by a pleated bustle that falls to each side. Each half comes in white surrounded by pink shading that gives way to deeper red towards the bottom and edges. Another print, this one of white blossoms, leaves, and stems, adorns both sides. The print has a subtle diamond backdrop. Both sides are hemmed with pleated black netting.
Something about this picture makes me laugh...
Over the dress Apple wears a short jacket in a silken knit. It comes in bone with a gold diamond print. The edges of the diamonds have light grey shading that adds a richness to the print. It has a dramatic high collar and baragoni sleeves that are hemmed with sparkling gold thread. I have to say, this jacket is probably my single favorite item of clothing Apple wears. The material looks and feels incredibly nice, a bit lux even. The colors play perfectly off of the heavier red of the dress and perfectly match her accessories. The diamond print accentuates the diamonds found on the bustle. And most importantly, it's very well-made. Although Apple's outfit as a whole looks nice, the jacket in particular gives her the feel of a collector's doll. I won't go so far as to say it looks high end, but it's very impressive for playline doll clothing.
Playing off the black netting of Apple's dress are sheer black tights. She also wears red platforms with a stiletto heel -- another modern touch to this Renaissance look. The platform, body, and heel of the shoes are solid red. A row of gold bows run the front while the heelcaps (also solid red) are molded into the shape of an apple with a little stem poking out over the top and a leaf hugging the inside. The heel has a vine wrapping it, adding a touch of whimsy. It was probably needed -- without that vine the stiletto would look just plain painful!
Apple comes with several accessories, the most notable of which are her headband and purse. The headband comes in solid red and has a medium-sized, matching bow molded onto it. You'll also find some intricate, textural dots that travel down the sides of the band. It's a shame these dots weren't painted gold as they would've perfectly matched the little gold crown resting behind the bow. The crown has some nice detailing of it's own going on, not the least of which is the tiny apple that rests right on top. (So cute!) The overall effect here is of a fascinator done in the style of a crown, rather than simply a straight-up crown resting up there on that noggin. I really like this approach -- it tells us this is royalty we're dealing with, but in a fun, youthful way. It's another way of offering a royal character but with a modern twist. It works like a charm.
Apple's purse is a beaded, well, apple. It comes in red and has a lid featuring a gold stem and leaf that lifts completely off. The handle is more beads, these in solid gold. The handle rotates in it's sockets making it easier to remove the lid, in addition to adding a few different posing options when she's holding it. The red and gold perfectly match the shades used for the headband and shoes as well, so it all comes together nicely.
The rest of Apple's accessories are all solid gold. Solid colored accessories often disappoint me but considering elsewhere on this outfit there's such an emphasis on red with only small gold flourishes the solid pieces definitely work. Her earrings are little bows with a dangling ornament while her necklace is an abstraction of beads with one tiny bow attached. She wears a bracelet lined with tiny beads that frame intricate, molded detailing. Her final accessory is yet another personal favorite -- a ring in the shape of a thematically accurate bow. For a ring, the size of this bow is pretty large, especially compared to the other bows found on the smaller accessories. This is my favorite of all the EAH rings but I couldn't exactly tell you why. The shape reminds me quite a bit of a butterfly with it's wings spread. I love butterflies and on a fairy tale princess the thought of one simply resting on her dainty hand seems romantic, quaint even. Whatever the case, I definitely dig the ring!
Apple comes with a gold stand featuring the EAH logo as the base. She has a matching "key brush". I like that all four dolls' stands and brushes are different colors; it makes me miss the days when the MH stands and brushes also utilized different colors depending on the character.
Overall: Apple is easily my favorite of the EAH dolls. There's something naturalistic about her, fitting given her name. Like I said earlier, compared to the other dolls in the line she's a breath of fresh air. Although red is clearly her signifying color -- and that's a bold color to have as your signifier -- it doesn't feel overpowering. The use of lighter shades on the bustle and her natural blonde hair go a long way in absorbing some of that red. Her jacket is exquisite and is the piece that ultimately pulls the look together (although I do think the dress looks pretty fab on it's own too).
Apple is the most beautiful of the EAH dolls in my opinion. Her blue eyes are so striking; sure, they're kind of fierce, but as I've spent time with this doll I've come to view them as exceedingly kind. Something I've noticed with this line is that each of the dolls can occupy several different archetypes, all at the same time. I think it's largely due to the mutability of the simple facemold, but there are other factors as well. In Apple's case, she strikes me as a vintage Hollywood starlet (those luscious, thick, blonde curls!), edgy 90's raver girl (those striking eyes!), mid-twentieth century southern belle (again with the hair -- styled a certain way and combined with her heavy makeup she's almost gaudy!), and, of course, the archetype she was actually designed to fill, fairy tale princess. Apple is all of these, and probably more. It's fascinating.
As with Raven, there is a consistency in Apple's details -- she's all bows and beads, and they're scattered evenly throughout her outfit. I like that the only apples you'll find here (aside from the doll herself of course!) are the purse and the heelcaps of her shoes -- and those heelcaps are hardly even noticeable. Apple is the product of an expert design team who managed to take a complex line theme and character and deliver a smart, conceptual doll that will actually appeal to the masses. The EAH team make it look easy; talk to anyone who's ever designed a doll, especially under such strict guidelines, and they'll tell you it's most definitely not. Regardless of your personal feelings on Ever After High as a line and Apple as a character, I simply don't see how any collector could look at this doll and say she's anything but exceptional. To my thinking, she's exceptional and then some.