Since the I Love Shoes dolls hit shelves there really hasn't been much talk about them. I believe they're suffering a similar fate as the Dance Class dolls, being released simultaneously with several other lines, many of which are far flashier than they are. And so they've fallen by the wayside as the excitement for other dolls pulled attention away from them. There's another factor at play here as well: although not exclusive to any specific chain the ILS dolls are a semi-limited release. For a while there was talk that they might even be online exclusives until people started spotting them at certain stores, in particular Big Lots. In other words, they're simply not as easy to find as wide release dolls, or even dolls exclusive to a specific chain. Whatever the reason, these dolls haven't been grabbing the headlines of MH fandom. All that said, while ILS Ula's attributes are minimal, they are there. Basically, nobody else is talking about her so I decided that I would. (To quote Madonna, "I'm gonna avoid the cliche.")
I Love Shoes is what I would consider a moderate line. They're not as elaborate as deluxe dolls, but not as simple as budget ones. They land somewhere in the middle in both design and price. I consider them an offshoot of the I Love Fashion line. Like those dolls, ILS Draculaura and Cleo come with a small handful of bonus accessories, except in their case it is shoes rather than full outfits. Like the ILF dolls, the ILS accessories are repainted repeats of pieces seen on previous dolls. Draculaura comes with three pairs of shoes, two pairs of earrings, a pair of sunglasses, a bracelet, and a shopping bag. Her outfit is a new design. She also includes a stand and hairbrush. Unfortunately she doesn't come with a purse or necklace.
The real strength of this release is the outfit Ula comes in and that's where I'd like to start. Looking at her in the full outfit it's clear Mattel was going for a vintage 40's look here. She wears a simple tank top in a bold yellow knit. The matching straps are made of thin ribbon. It's paired with a beautiful pencil skirt in crimson with an ornate, Victorian-style print in carmine. Little bats are hidden in the print, connecting it to Ula's vampire theme. The skirt tapers at the knees and has a small slit in the back. Four black buttons rest over the abdomen, giving the skirt a tailored look. Over the tank she wears a small shawl. It comes in black and features a funky, modern print of hot pink and yellow stripes in a diamond pattern. It's hemmed with white netting and Velcros at the neck behind a black ribbon bow. It's a really cute piece, playing off the yellow tank while accenting the formality of the pencil skirt. As I mentioned, the overall effect here is a retro, 40's look, with hints of vampire Victorianism. The bold yellow of the tank and the sharp print on the shawl give the look the modern edge we expect from Monster High. It's a great ensemble that's perfect for Ula, tying into her overall theme and bridging her long ago past with her high school present.
Draculaura's faceup is very simple, and it's one we've seen many times on her now. Solid pink eyeshadow surrounds the eye, while her lips come in a different but complimentary shade of pink. Ditto her cheek heart. She has no glitter or shimmer anywhere on her face. What makes this faceup a winner is the size of her eyes. Over the past couple of years Ula's eyes have been steadily shrinking, something I've never been too happy about. ILS Ula's eyes, however, are huge! And I'm not talking in that weird, saucer-esque, round way we've been seeing lately on a lot of MH dolls. These eyes are very much in line with her original basic doll's eyes -- wide and almond shaped, with long, thick lashes surrounding them. In fact, I compared ILS Ula's eyes to the basic doll's, and the ILS ones are actually bigger! In short: despite the lack of creativity in the colors and style of her faceup, ILS Draculaura has an absolutely gorgeous face, and it's thanks to those gigantic eyes.
Simplicity is again the key word when it comes to Ula's hair. She has the usual black base with sporadic, wispy, pink streaks. It's parted on her left and pulled into a ponytail resting to her back-right. It lands at her rear. Her long bangs dangle to her right. It's not a unique hairstyle but it looks good nonetheless. The texture is what you'd expect for Draculaura: saran that's smooth and somewhat silky, but also a tad greasy. (Why does Draculaura's hair always feel kind of greasy? We know Mattel is capable of non-greasy saran so I don't get it.)
ILS Draculaura's glove-hands are a bit of a curiosity. They're solid white with decorative molding wrapping the "wrist". I think what makes them stick out so much isn't the bold white color but rather the size. They're considerably larger than Ula's standard hands. Regardless, I'm fine with them. The only other white on the doll is the netting on her shawl, making the hands a nice accent to the overall look. If they were red, black, or yellow I think they'd be too matchy-matchy.
As I previously mentioned, Draculaura's accessories are familiar to us. She comes wearing solid black wedge heels with hearts cut into them. The extra pairs of shoes are also wedges: one set is yellow with pink hearts painted near the hood while the other is pink with a black, hollow heart for the wedge. She comes wearing earrings of yellow bows with a skullette dangling underneath. The second pair is dangling, solid pink, skullette-and-crossbones cameos. Her bracelet is a chunky black piece, very simple. Matching it is her black sunglasses, the pair first seen on her Gloom Beach doll in pink. Her shopping bag is made of cardboard and comes in pink, black, and white. It's a very "Draculaura" design, all hearts and bat wings.