Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: Madame Alexander Favorite Friends "Fashionista"

Let's step up a price point in 18" dolls, from Tuesday's Springfield Collection dolls review and look at a moderate-price doll, in the $25 to $50 range: a Madame Alexander Favorite Friends doll, specifically a new "Fashionista" by Cecelia Cassini.

Cecilia Cassini  is a 12 year old fashion designer and blogger, and a scion of the fashion family of Oleg Cassini. She has designed two dolls for MA, and Fashionista is the first. I liked the blue eyes paired with almost-black hair, and the black pleather matching jacket and boots. Madame Alexander has always been known for its quality, and these dolls have sometimes been favorably compared with American Girl dolls.

Here she is in her box:

 Close-up through the packaging. Her left eye looks wonky, doesn't it? I seriously considered returning the doll at this point, but decided that that was entirely too much bother, and I did manage to correct the problem, which I'll get to later.

 The outer box opened easily--only one piece of tape to cut!--and the insert that actually holds the doll slid right out. No wrestling or swearing needed.
 Better view of the dress, tights, and boots.
 Here's the back of the insert, minus the two ties around her ankles. The wire ties were easy to take off, and the doll detached from the packaging with absolutely no problems. Or, as I mentioned before, wrestling or swearing. Like butter.
 Her hair stayed behind, but only a little, and there was no need to cut the threads. The hair slid easily through the threads and out.
 And here she is! She has a plastic band around her bangs, but not so tightly that it creased. It worked very well, actually, as her bangs have stayed very nicely in place.
 Her hair, right out of the packaging, looks crookedly cut. I took off the very nice jacket with a real zipper, and here is the dress beloe, with ruched sleeves and an accent of sorts. She also has a headband with a large fabric flower that matches the dress.
 Partially nude. Noted that this doll, as with the other Madame Alexander Favorite Friends, has a shoulder plate. This makes summer clothing, like strappy tanks and swimsuits, look much better than on other dolls that have fully cloth bodies below the neck. Her cloth body is sewn to the shoulder plate.
 The boots open with velcro down the back--very convenient and easy to put on and take off.
 Nekkid feets! They're nicely molded, nothing spectacular about them.
The full back view. That's just a plastic protective band on her upper neck, easily removed.
 Ready for action! all out of the packaging, except for her protective hand sleeves.
 That wonky eye is driving me nuts at this point. I examined it closely with a flashlight, and discovered that it had gotten dislodged the smallest bit during shipping. I used the high-tech method of holding the doll in my right hand, and smacking the back of her head into my cupped left hand. *CLICK* and the eye popped back where it was supposed to be. However, if I weren't a doll collector and dismemberer, I would not have figured that out, and I can imagine a child being horribly disappointed by this. I'm not sure the company could do a lot to prevent it, but it could have been a birthday or Christmas mini-disaster.
 This hair is rooted--very very well, too. Look at that hairline!
 See? Amazing! (Yes, my thumb is mildly injured, no worries.)
 I always hunt to look at the rooting on the crown. This is well done--pluggy when you look underneath, but not at all with the doll's hair loose.
 This hair has an amazing hand, it just feels so silky and soft. I brushed it out, and discovered that her hair wasn't cut crookedly, it was actually a style--a little shorter in the front, longer in the bank, so it hangs finally in a pleasingly oval-ish shape down her back.
A quick afterthought shot of the back of the box. There's a warning on the side panel not to wash the hair or get it wet, but I brushed it out with my Downy spritz and the hair looks great.
I apologize for this pic, but the lighting today was bad. Here she is redressed in a shirt I made, and tights and shoes from another 18" play doll. The pattern for the shirt is for an AG doll, and the sleeves were about a half inch too long, but that's easily remedied on the next shirt. Just note that if you put a long-sleeved AG garment on her that her arms are the teensiest bit shorter. She's standing on my laptop firmly on her own two feet.

Hey! She's standing on my laptop! Get off of there this instant!

I bought this doll, now named Cecilia (of course), from, although she's also available at a range of online dealers under the Madame Alexander Favorite Friends line. I'm very pleased with my purchase, and would happily buy another of this line. I'd also feel confident buying one of these for a child, although I'd check the eyes before gifting.

Comparing her to American Girls, I'd actually buy this before an AG if I had the choice. That shoulder plate makes a big positive difference to the way her clothes look and hang; her hair is gorgeous; the quality is very high. For a third to about half the price of an AG, this is an excellent doll to buy, gift, or add to a collection.


  1. I have to agree about the shoulder plate; it's very off-putting for the AGs to have that cloth body, even if the cloth "matches" the skin tone. Pretty doll, and one I've considered buying at times. Glad to know more about her!

  2. I showed your blog to a friend and she has two Madame Alexander dolls that are over forty years old --Marmee and Jo from Little Women. She is willing to show them to you if you would like.

  3. Thank you for that run down on this doll. I am trying to decide which doll to get my daughter for Christmas, as all she has at the moment is baby dolls. She is 6 1/2 years old and I know what love a big girl doll. I had been considering this one and wondered if it was good quality as it is cheaper than similar dolls. I am no happy to make this purchase, and will know what to do if the eye is wonky!

  4. Thankyou for the feedback which is very helpful and thorough. I can now see from the image of the doll in the box that she is very pretty and fairly well made. The dress, however, does not look terribly well made. therefore if I purchased Fashionista, I would feel compelled to make an alternative immediately. I think, for all of us the expression on the doll's face is the most important, and this doll is quite pretty. Thank you again for the review.

  5. How do I clean her hair if it gets smelly? I just found one of these dolls in really good shape except hair is smelly? It says not to wet? Suggestions? My husband says febreeze her??


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