Saturday, October 12, 2013

Review: I Love Shoes Draculaura

I know what you're thinking. The last proper, full review I did was well over a month ago. There are so many dolls to choose from to review. And I make my triumphant return with... Draculaura? Hear me out.




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.















Overall: It's tempting to say Mattel could've saved the effort and just released this outfit on its own as a fashion pack. It's fairly unique within MH fashion. It has a touch of class, what with its pretty shawl and retro pencil skirt. Thematically I'd say it's downright clever. Mattel started incorporating yellow into Draculaura's color scheme as early as 2010 but seemed to abandon it not long after. It's great to see it make a return here as Ula had become very predictable, boring even, over time. The shoes may be familiar but I like all three pairs. Ditto the earrings. (Although painting in the skullette-and-crossbones would've been nice.) The lack of a purse is very disappointing, especially since I imagine that had one been included it would've been pretty cool. (Draculaura paired with a 40's-esque purse could only be amazing.) The doll itself is not particularly noteworthy, but she's well-made and very pretty. Her large eyes are the best thing about her, and coming after a long line of small-eyed Ulas the difference is striking. Her Gigantor hands are odd (she looks like she's wearing Micky Mouse's gloves), but can easily be swapped out with a standard set. I Love Shoes Draculaura is not an essential doll by any means. The outfit, however, kind of is. It's got me wondering what's going on with MH fashion packs...











18 comments:

  1. When the first wave of MH came out I began to think up my 'dream versions' of each girl and while the others no longer stick out to me, I knew I wanted for Laura - lighter/soft make-up & lips, a lovely outfit, no bangs and a closed mouth. With the announcement of the continuation of DotD I was excited to potentially get this 'dream/ultimate' Laura only to be nothing short of pissed at her black lipstick as it clashed so greatly with her art. Still I collected & collected and once the Dead Tired line came out and gave us the first closed mouth laura I anticipated this 'ultimate' eventually being made.

    This one isn't the first of her doll with no bangs - that would be the roadster edition - but she's the first one for a reasonable price in relative release. With her open mouth she still doesn't quite fulfill my want either but I'm more than sure that I can match her paint myself ;3 Even in her limited release she's a bit hit in my area (much to my chagrin - my local big lots had 8 I heart shoes dolls but no Lauras left) and I can only imagine how well she's going over with the other consumers. It's nice to see her go into that gigantic closet of hers and pull out something interesting. With Laura being so old & seeing what we did of her wardrobe in that webisode she could easily be in several different waves of I heart fashion all by herself but seems to be stuck in her present 'youthful girliness' phase. All it does is make me wonder who she was before & how that monster dressed (one of the most interesting things about DotD Clawdeen to me was her blurb revealing that her outfit was once Draculaura's). Likely we'll never truly know just how dark her character was - I'm guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of her Shadow version from 13 wishes - but at least with releases like this it allows us to see the other part of herself that is often just an afterthought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing, Andrew. How cool that you got something so close to your "ideal Draculaura"! With Coffin Bean Frankie that may be happening for myself: I've always wanted a Frankie with only white hair, and while the CB doll has those yellow streaks, she looks eerily close to my ideal Frankie. (Suffice it to say I'm *highly* anticipating that doll's release.)

      I know this is somewhat off-topic but I'm curious what your opinion is Ashlynn Ella's doll. I finally managed to get her today and am in love! But I know there are some who were disappointed with her. Thoughts?

      Delete
    2. I think Ashlynn is beyond stunning. Her mold/paint job is easily the prettiest of all the female dolls out (I think it's a new mold? I'm not sure) and I hope Cupid's doll gets the same one. I won't be able to go hunting for her myself until this coming Thursday but I am excited for her as well as tempted to take her hair out like my friend Aaron has - http://www.flickr.com/photos/27292654@N04/10191453466/

      And congrats on your Frankie ;3 I'm glad their mixing up her hair colors more. Her I heart fashion edition is the best doll in and of itself while I do also like her recent justice exclusive one. The Ghoul spirit would've surpassed that one with different eye make-up tho (the heavy pink under the eyes isn't the best on her IMO - ruins the look but hopefully it'll sort itself by release. I'm guessing the original intention was something like her Dead Tired doll?). I hope Coffin Bean lives up to your expectations!!

      Delete
    3. Oh. My. God. Your friend's mod of Ashlynn's hair is STUNNING. Love it! I could never bring myself to alter one of my signature doll's hair, especially Ashlynn, but wow seeing that pic sure makes it a tempting proposition.

      I'm eager for Cupid (though Blondie is tops of my "most-anticipated" list atm), and more than anything hope her hair is long, lush, and wavy like in the webisodes. I'm fine with either facemold for her but can see where you're coming from. :)

      Basically every single thing about CB Frankie works for me. Not just the hair, but also faceup and outfit. She looks like a deranged 50's diner waitress and that suits me fine lol. The GS Frankie just looks so odd to me, like she has puffy eyes from a cold or something. But hey, she gets points for being unique, that's for sure!

      Delete
    4. Coffin Bean Frankie has black streaks in her hair (more than just that stripe at the front). If you look closely, you can see it here;
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/78831580@N00/10212507594/in/photostream/

      Delete
    5. Okay, yeah I can it, sort of at the back-right. Oh well, I still really dig her. Maybe someday they will do a full-on white haired Frankie. A guy can dream...

      Delete
  2. Is it just me or would that skirt and that shawl look amazing on Operetta?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, I hadn't thought about it but yeah, I think Operetta could totally rock those pieces hard and proper! Think you just gave me an idea for my next clothes swap! ;)

      Delete
    2. He he he! Awesome!
      I think either her DDG or Khol's version would work well.

      Delete
    3. Mm-hm! *nods in agreement*

      Delete
  3. This Draculaura is such an underappreciated doll in general, I'm glad to find out you love her too! I really think this is such a 'fresh' fashion for her, it's unlike anything we've seen on her before. I really dig the yellow thrown into her outfits every now and then and would like to see it more often. I'm in love with her new Art Class doll (and any of the new dolls with the added yellow), and was already imagining how this outfit would look on that doll :D I love her big white gloves btw, they give her a certain added class too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG her Art Class doll is a-m-a-z-i-n-g! Those yellow streaks! That yellow/gold eyeshadow! The outfit! It's all so unexpected for Ula and it looks so, so cool! ILS Ula is yet "less is more" doll for me. She's so simple yet unbelievably beautiful. Like I say in the review, the extra-large eyes is a huge plus. I like the white glove-hands in theory, I just wish they weren't so big!

      Delete
  4. wow it is so great to see a traditional review here on voicething i wish we could go back to the good old days of more and more reviews because this was great and refreshing !! on the doll note i love this lala and i hope to find her some day i love the hair do and the outfit and im always a sucker for a subtle approach... i cant wait for your NYCC review because i feel from all the posts on this review that there will be a major discussion on the topic and john im right there with you on CB frankie in fact all the CB dolls look great, i find it interesting that so many times i seen the clawdeen CB playset in store and i never picked it up and now im wishing i did ( being a completest and all ;) ) because with the new CB dolls now i need the CB clawdeen...but really out of all the new reveals from NYCC i am sooo excited for PC frankie and jackson 2 pack that frankie is so beautiful and everything about her is unexpected from her hair coloring to the white and pink sweater she is wearing who would have thought frankie and pink !?! anyway i cant wait for some of this new stuff and hell i haven't even finished getting the releases that are out now, i have managed to get all the 13 wishes and all MF also got both CR 2 packs but i still need GNO spectra to complete that line and i still haven't made it to toys r us to get the ILF because i want both clawdeen and scarah and still have not found the wave 2 PG and i love that frankie and toralei... happy hunting to me right !! i have found all the EAH dolls they have released so far and i love ashlynn i know apple is your fav but i think ashlynn is giving her a run for her money :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck with your continuing hunt! Apple is still my favorite but I agree, Ashlynn is definitely stiff competition. She's my #2 for sure.

      Delete
  5. John im sorry for the way Felicity has treated you, over reading your post the last couple days i could see it getting more and more out of control and it is like watching a car wreck, your reading it thinking ok that was a little dig and then read some more and start thinking oh that sucks bc i know your really good friends and then escalating in to the last few comments and your like oh DAMN !! but i just wanted to say sorry that you went through that and i know felicity is hurt to but she could have chose to love you as a friend and accept the fact that you cant control the fact that you are attracted to guys and girls just don't do it for you, i have had many of those girl relationships that it starts out friends and then she admits that she likes you and she thinks that since you love her as a person that you can just set aside the fact that your gay and give her a try and it just ends up badly (as you can see) so what i do from going through this type of experience is if i feel that a girl is getting in that close zone and i get the slightest hint she wants more i nip it right in the butt ( pun attended :) ) and let them know hey i just don't roll that way im sorry and i love you as a person but not like that... i hope you and felicity can get past this and maybe still be friends bc it is not worth ending a friendship over... Ohhh and apple is just a played out dirty old slut !! (did that cheer you up ?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol yes it did, Ricky! Thanks!

      The situation is what it is. Thanks for the support for both Felicity and I. :)

      Delete
  6. with this review you have made people realize (well at least me) that you often so many times, with monster high, get great quality in a small package or a budget package so to say... i realize this because this draculaura is great and as you stated in this review or led people to believe that your return of a formal proper review was with this subtle but beautiful draculaura and though i have not purchased her yet i did manage to pick up MF abbey and with her i was surprised to find out just how well made she really was... there was no big hype around her and i bet a lot of people over looked her but as i was in the shop looking at all the MF abbeys they had left i too almost skimmed right past her only because a lot of the abbeys they had were a little messed up in shipping either her hair was pulled lose all over the place or her body had become unattached and shifted in the box and just looked kind of ragged but then something amazing happened i fund one that was in perfect condition everything was in place the way it was intended her hair was perfect and even her bangs were white with dark hot pink peppermint stripes her bandanna was in perfect position and hung in a cute little twirl off the left side of her head and her body was in a position that was screaming check out my sexy dance move and her face up, lets just say, flawless, and i was surprised with this because a lot of MH face ups lately have had flaws and abbeys definitely was flawless her make up is perfect and the blue eye shadow had just the right amount of shimmer to it... im so glad that i found that abbey out of all the ones that were messed up in shipping because she has made me realize that when mattel gets it right and the shipping hasn't damaged the box or the doll inside even the budget dolls can be great, i know out of all the MF dolls abbey was your least favorite and to tell the truth abbey in general is not a favorite of mine but maybe you didn't get to experience her in the way she was meant to be because i believe if you did you would love this abbey because really when i look at all my MF dolls she has ended up being my favorite... so this return review was a perfect review to return with because it should make all of us true MH collectors really appreciate all the ghouls even the not so hyped up budget ones :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ricky. In general I try to highlight dolls that maybe otherwise wouldn't get any attention, especially ones that I feel mostly certainly DO deserve attention! That was definitely the case here. Congrats on your Abbey! She sounds fab! :D

      Delete