Thursday, December 29, 2016

2017 GOTY Gabriela - "Live" Count Down

Sunday, January 1
12:12 AM CST

Happy New Year! 2017!!!

I am enjoying looking at the images on the American Girl website and planning my purchases. The time has come to close down the "live" updates post but Poppets & Posies will continue in the new year to welcome Gabriela and to welcome all the other new anticipated poppets on the near horizon! 

Poppets & Posies hopes to do in-store reports and other AG reviews in the coming weeks. More analysis of the design elements of Gabriela's collection are in the works. And of course, the Barbie-Box-Gate controversy is just warming up.

Thank you to everyone who came by to enjoy the "live" updates. 1000+ page views for this one blog entry alone!!!

One final image for the road--Gabriela's Exclusive Earrings. Love!

Saturday, December 31
11:08 PM CST

Gabriela is up on American Girl Website! Welcome Gabriela!!!

Saturday, December 31
11:05 PM CST

This is it! Happy New Year to the East Coast. Soon, likely midnight CST, the AG website will begin updating links and images for Gabriela and taking down the links and images for Isabelle.

Will it be a smooth roll-out for the IT department this year? Anyone else spending New Year's Eve keeping an eye on AG's website launch of 2017 GOTY Gabriela?

Saturday, December 31
1:33 AM CST

Hearts for Gabi!

It took some time for a graphical theme to emerge for Gabriela, and admittedly it is not the most original, but the colorful nested hearts motif is definitely all Gabi!

The nested hearts theme is in her Rehearsal Outfit mesh tee, her Showtime Kit carry case, and from her Creative Studio, her yellow towel and of course prominently painted on the back side of her large cardboard backdrop.

Will we find more nested hearts in her collection?

Friday, December 30
5:05 PM CST

A closer look at Gabriela's Creative Studio.

This set should prove to be a hit for three big reasons. The dance barre is a terrific interactive item and many customers may not have Isabelle's retired barre, the two-sided backdrop is just right, and the price of $58 is a bit dear but less than other similar sets.

I am not a fan of the faux-mirror effect on the backdrop, but for the price, it is completely understandable. While Isabelle's Studio (sewing armoire with mirror and barre) featured real mirrors it was also three times the cost.

I wish AG would start making more backdrops and make them all double sided for maximum play value.

The triangle stand is cute but nothing too exciting. I am not sure why the sign was branded with "American Girl" since it takes the piece out of Gabriela's own narrative world.

Friday, December 30
4:35 PM CST

Thanks to sleuth work by American Girl Doll News, the stock image URLs have been located. First up!

Showtime Kit

This Showtime Kit, late on our radar, is perhaps my favorite accessory. Every piece is unique and spot on for Gabriela. And doll nail polish? Grabby hands!

Friday, December 30
1:12 PM CST

Catalog images courtesy of Kira Roy. Thank you!!!

Friday, December 30
12:48 PM CST

Check your mailboxes, a Gabriela mini catalog has arrived!

Gabriela's catalog says she will be available "throughout 2017 and beyond."

Price List for Gabriela's World

Gabriela Doll and Book $115
Gabriela's Accessories $28
Gabriela's Earrings $16
Gabriela's Creative Studio Set $58
Gabriela's Rehearsal  Outfit $28
Gabriela's Tap Shoes $16
Gabriela's Showtime Kit $34
Gabriela's PJs $24
Gabriela's Sparkling Sequins Outfit $32
Gabriela's Performance Case $48
Gabriela's Cat $22

Outfits for Girls

Gabriela's PJs for Girls $40
Gabriela's Slippers for Girls $22
Gabriela's Sweater for Girls (layered with tank) $42
Indigo Leggings for Girls $24

Friday, December 30
10:02 AM CST

A first! AG reveals a full unboxing video!

A few quick thoughts:

* Love the early peek. And let down by such a big early peek. Suspense is gone.

* Strange they have Gabriela unsecured in her box for the unboxing. A bit too much magical voila ease and not enough reality in the unboxing.

* The box is not as awful as suspected, it looks like the box can be preserved after opening. But that is still some of the flimsiest outside cardboard imaginable.

Friday, December 30
1:31 AM CST

A new close up view of Gabriela's Duffle with accessories. Thank you, Hello Savings!

Thursday, December 29
9:53 PM CST

Let's talk Gabriela's Exclusive Earrings and rumored Hair Piece.

The addition of exclusive earrings and a hair piece would be very welcome as it would be a departure from Gabriela being a complete Marisol rehash and instead be more in line with recent GOTY offerings. Isabelle came with an ombre hair piece and several recent GOTY poppets have come with exclusive earrings including Lea, Grace, Isabelle and Saige.

On the downside, instead of the hairpiece being included in the price of the doll, rumor is Gabriela's hair piece will be separate and priced at $15. As a slight consolation, it is also rumored Gabriela (doll + book) will be priced a smidgen lower than previous years at $115. Advantage goes to AG, but overall if a hair piece offered, most customers will be happy to at least have the option.

Thanks to American Girl Doll News and now some picture confirmation, we now believe that Gabriela's Exclusive Earrings Set will come with three earrings in the shape of a musical note, a song bird, and a blue flower. Pictured with Gabriela here is her musical eight-note earrings.

Thursday, December 29
8:45PM CST

So many new glimpses of Gabriela and just two more eves until her official debut! New images of her Creative Studio, Rehearsal Outfit, Performance Case and a first glimpse of her Showtime Kit with hair and makeup accessories!

Will this be the extent of Gabriela's Creative Studio?

I was holding out hope for the rumored Creative Studio to be something rather big like an actual room box, but a news agency released this photo and within its file name is "Creative Studio."

The Creative Studio, should that name hold, features a Dance Barre and Backdrop. The barre is a respectable if unexciting rehash of Isabelle's own barre, and I think it is appropriate for Gabriela's story. Personally, I am 99% certain I am satisfied with my Isabelle barre. However, there may be many customers who never picked up Isabelle's barre and would be open to adding this accessory. I wonder how the price points will compare.

The above photo gives a better view of the back of Gabriela's Rehearsal Outfit and it seems her black leotard may have an interest back cutout.

A stock photo of Gabriela's Rehearsal Outfit has also surfaced and I have to say I do like it better in the AG stock image. Still not my favorite outfit but perhaps not as garish as first perceived. (I am still appalled by the packaging, though.)

Lovely new images of Gabriela in action with her Performance Case items.

The Performance Case includes the rolling black case, her laptop, microphone, headphones, electronic drums and  drum sticks which can be held by the poppet by virtue of a little curved strap that fits over her fingers.

Showtime Kit

There is also a glimpse of some more possible hair and make up accessories! Her pale blue with gold handle Showtime Kit seems to include a woven silver head band, a compact mirror and a pale blue handled makeup brush. According to American Girl Doll News it may also come with metallic nail polish!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

All About Luciana

A new poppet on the horizon?

When AG trademarks a first-and-last name for a doll (see below) almost always it is a sign of a doll that is deep into research and development and almost always these first-and-last named characters will make its AG debut

Luciana Vega may be the GOTY 2018, the final GOTY or it is also possible Luciana is a BeForever character or Contemporary Character

Luciana is a feminine name of Roman origin (male variation is Lucius). Luciana is a popular name in Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

Vega is is a Spanish surname of pre-Roman origin meaning "dweller in the meadow" or "one who lives on the plain." It is also the name of a star in the constellation Lyra. AG does such a wonderful job with its naming!

Luciana Trivia

Princess Luciana is a character in the animated Barbie (Mattel) movie The Island Princess. Shall we presume only coincidence and zero connection?

Princess Luciana in The Island Princess

Will Luciana be the final GOTY in 2018? Or perhaps another Latino BeForever character so that AG may begin the slow-walk retirement of Josefina? I am intrigued either way!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

GOTY Gabriela and "Barbie" Packaging

More evidence of the "Barbie" style packaging that will be in full force with Gabriela's debut on January 1st.

Gabriela's Practice Outfit

Gabriela's Practice Outfit looks to be packaged not in a closed compact box but in a full view "window pane" style box reminiscent of how Barbie doll clothes are packaged and sold. Thank you, Hello Savings for the early look!

AG has been introducing "Barbie" style packaging over the past year or so, but it was mostly relegated to items sold through Costco, such as the repackaging of Samantha and her two outfits.

Samantha's Costco Packaging

But we also saw hints of this new direction in GOTY 2016 Lea Clark's collection with how her Three-Toed Sloth, Sea Turtle, and Margay Cat were packaged.

Lea's Three-toed Sloth

While the Lea animals were packaged rather cutely, it is almost impossible to remove some of the her pets and still save the box for future storage. For other items undergoing the Barbie-packaging like the Costco Samantha collection of doll +two outfits, the new packaging is not easily preserved at all and all but impractical to reuse.

Not loving this, AG. 

Poppet Peeks: Gabriela's Performance Case

Another peek into GOTY 2017 Gabriela McBride's world! 

The rumors said a performance case, the one-to-one mirroring of GOTY Marisol's collection forecast this case, but now we see an image of it. Thank you to Hello Savings for giving us permission to share her photo!

What to love:

A laptop! I love it and it has been ages since one has been made.

An electronic drum kit. Pretty cool and also about time. Will it actually work??

Old timey retro microphone. It is cool.

What to question:

I wonder how expensively this will be marked up.

Depending on price point, there is not much to this accessory overall in terms of goodies.

This is about as unimaginative of a performance case as one can manage--the trunk itself is a rehash of Marisol's performance case. 


The added wheels of the trunk is a nice upgrade, but the idea of the case is still a bit flat. I just want the laptop and maybe the electronic drums if it works...

I hope I do not "need" this accessory! Lol.

GOTY Gabriela: Hellos and Goodbyes

Finally photos of Gabriela in her meet box are surfacing!

First the fantastic "Hello!"

Gabriela is almost here! Photo is shared with permission by Hello Savings!  Hello Savings is sponsoring a Gabriela Give Away and more official information can be found in the links but in brief:

Hello Savings give away of a free GOTY Gabriella doll will run Thur, Dec. the 15th, through Sunday, Jan the 1st at 10 pm EST. This contest is open to US Residents ONLY. Must be 18 years of age or older. Must be a fan of Hello Savings. The winner will be announced no later than Monday, January the 2nd. This giveaway promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed it administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Poppets & Posies is in no way affiliated with Hello Savings other than through a shared interest in American Girl doll fandom!

Now for the Goodbye: the classic doll box is going away! 

New Coke vs Classic Coke?

Gabriela is the first of presumably many more AG dolls to be offered in the radical new redesigned box that DOES NOT OPEN in two pieces. Meaning, get our your scissors or knives, you will have to destroy some portion of the box in order to rescue Gabriela from the box.

The head-to-toe window pane aside and the more graphical design of the box aside--I am personally not thrilled with American Girl ditching the classic AG doll box of two pieces that lift and separate for a box that will be more or less destroyed upon unpacking of the doll.

I can imagine a whole host of reasons for the new box construction:

*Cheaper to manufacture
*More enticing for Costco and Kohl type stores display settings
*Hermetically sealed boxes means less lost accessories (books, hair bands or barrettes, etc.)
*Doll boxes no longer opened to handle/inspect individual dolls in store
*Returns of played with dolls discouraged (box destroyed)

Used with permission of Hello Savings. Note the cover has been carefully sliced off to reveal the interior of the box--cover was not lifted but peeled off and left the raw jagged brown cardboard edges of the front lip exposed.

I see zero advantages to the consumers. I am not insisting that AG stay with models of sales that are not successful, but I feel like if this new box style is a permanent shift that it does burst a magical bubble that gives these dolls that certain special experience of unboxing. Some in the fandom are calling this new box style the "Barbie" box and not in a complimentary way.

Think of Apple products offered in shrink wrap plastic rather than the gorgeous white boxes. Still an excellent product but such a move would also mess with the mystique and brand loyalty of many of their customers. Apparently AG is banking on the hunch that they will still be able to draw in more profits from their new approach--but it does feel like something special has passed.

Will AG offer the rumored BeForever Felicity in this new "Barbie" box style? Or will AG use the classic box style to set apart certain exclusive doll series? Or perhaps AG will try to sell their old classic  box as a stand alone "accessory" to make an extra buck.

Is it just a box? Or is it a New Coke fiasco in the making?

Monday, December 19, 2016

GOTY Gabriela: A GOTY Marisol Comparison and Review

American Girl will always and forever revisit major themes that are popular with young girls. But from the perspective of the size and theme of her whole world collection--is Gabriela the new Marisol?

I am not surprised or complaining that Gabriela's major theme in her clothing and collection are dance related. Dance is a popular and winning theme for American Girl and the newest and youngest customers barely know who Isabelle was let alone Marisol. Any scrutiny or criticism offered here is focused on the execution of the dance theme as well on the design and quality of the actual items themselves.

My question: In spite of the ubiquitousness of the dance theme, are Gabriela's outfits and accessories still unique, well designed and well executed within this broader category?

Before leaping into the design comparison, a few words on the smaller size of Gabriela's collection.

Size of Collection

We don't know the eventual size of Gabriela's world, but she is rumored to have a compact collection. Based on rumors and leaks, the size of her collection may mirror the size of earlier collections (pre-Nikki) in terms of number of outfits and accessories.

2005 Marisol's Whole World included the Marisol Doll in Meet and Meet Accessories (bundled), her Ballet Outfit, Spotlight Outfit, Tap Outfit, Jazz Outfit (bundled with trunk), Performance Trunk, Duffle bundled with her Cat, and a Spotlight Stage. Separating the bundled items, basically 5 total outfits and 5 accessories.

2017 Gabriela's Whole World is rumored to include Gabriela Doll in MeetAccessories Set (boombox duffle), Sparkling Sequins Outfit, Rehearsal (Heart Tee) Outfit, Pajamas, Tap Shoes, Performance Case, Cat, and Creative Studio (ballet barre with backdrop). She is also rumored to have a Ponytail Hair Extension accessory for $15. Basically 4 total outfits and 5 or 6 accessories depending on how her tap shoes or ponytail hair piece are categorized/bundled.

(Note Gabriela may still receive a 5th outfit if the summer outfit release pattern holds.)

Meet Outfits

Let's shield our eyes from the glaring use of purple n' pink vs purple n' teal. What strikes me most is the lack of any design details in Gabriela's meet.

Marisol's meet has a long sleeved purple wrap over a pink shirt with a gathered collar. Her crop pants have a velcro front fly, real belt loops, decorative top stitching, embroidered flower designs and a working pocket with a flap. And her two-tone shoes have a metallic buckle clasp.

Gabriela's meet has a basic purple crop tee with a decal worn over a simple teal tunic. Her jeggings do not have any top stitching. Her shoes are also two-tone but without clasp.

Taking into account the two different design styles/era, Gabriela's clean lines still seem to exude a rather severe austerity as if designers were told "stitching-time is money!" and were ordered to eliminate any extra gathers, seams, loops, top stitching, velcro closings, or pockets and additionally to eliminate all buttons or snaps.

Fabric wise, Marisol's meet uses unique fabrics including the shimmer on her khaki crop pants and the gold-sheen of her shoes. Gabriela's meet fabrics look fairly ordinary.

At this time I am unable to compare the meet accessories (Marisol's knit cap, scarf, necklace) as it is not known if Gabriela will have meet accessories. But based on the main outfits, I can't help to be visually drawn to all the wonderful details of Marisol's khaki crop pants and overall ensemble vs. the once-and-done-glance at Gabriela's outfit.

Meet Outfit Winner: Marisol

Dance/Tap Outfits

Both Marisol and Gabriela are tap dancers and both of them have really nice tap performance outfits.

Marisol's tap outfit comes with a black leotard, a fringe skirt, fishnet tights, glittery top hat and cane, a bow-tie and tap shoes with real taps. The fringe skirt is extremely whimsical and the glitter top hat and cane appreciated. The real star of this outfit is Marisol's "real" tap shoes with taps. Tap, tap, tap!

Gabriela's Sparkling Sequins Outfit comes with a fabulous sequined top, black crop pants with sequin detail, glittery half-gloves and glittery headband and from my best guess, the glittery silver dance slippers. The sequin top is the star of this ensemble, but if it is true that this outfit is bundled with dance slippers instead of tap shoes, then there is a bit of a potential let down. But to be fair, Gabriela's outfit could be a straight jazz dance outfit where the slippers would be more appropriate. And, as you will see in the next comparison, Gabriela will have a tap shoes option.

Both outfits are well designed in terms of details and flair. The materials used seem comparable. Marisol's outfit seems to have a bit more whimsey, but Gabriela's more sleek outfit contours seems to fit the overall aesthetic of her collection.

Tap Outfit Winner: A Tie

Tap Shoes

Marisol left and Gabriela on the right. These are such classics. I like that Gabriela's were made with silver glitter material. No marks down for a rehash of a classic. I only wish/hope they will come included in the Sequin Jazz Outfit rather than a separate accessory.

Tap Shoes Winner: Tie


Marisol's Duffle is bundled with her cat, so I will visually set the cat aside for the moment. 

These two sets (sans cat) are surprisingly similar. Both contain a zippered duffle-type bag with strap, a drink, snack and bandaids. Marisol's also includes a personal ID, bandage wrap and a flip-phone. Gabriela's duffle, which is part of her Accessories Set, includes bobby pins and colorful hair ties. It would be splitting hairs to try and nitpick the differences in these two duffle sets.

Duffle Winner: Tie

Pet Cat

Both Marisol and Gabriela have a cat as a pet. The differences seen between the two pets are primarily due to the changing style of pet design overall at American Girl. Marisol's cat on the left is plush with hard plastic eyes and Gabriela's cat on the right the embroidered eye which is being used more and more at American Girl--even Kit Kittredge's dog Grace now has embroidered eyes.

I can't say I enjoy the expression on either cat's face, lol. The one looks cranky and the other crazy.

Cat Winner: Tie

Practice Outfits

Both characters have a practice type outfit, with Marisol a ballet ensemble and Gabriela a modern dance warm up ensemble.

Both have a leotard, tights/leggings, skirt/shorts, and dance slippers. Marisol has leg warmers and Gabriela a mesh top. Marisol definitely has the extra add-ons which is a huge play plus--stick-on earrings, hair ties and bobby pins. However, hair ties and bobby pins are available for Gabriela and are bundled with her Accessories (duffle) instead.

While I am not personally a fan of Gabriela's practice ensemble stye, it is a full ensemble with pieces that fit Gabriela's story and dance styles. However, I can't help but think it could have been designed to be at least a little more appealing or interesting. I give this a pass but begrudgingly--this could have been a fabulous outfit.

Practice Outfit Winner: Tie (But barely)

Additional Outfit (Jazz Performance vs Pajamas)

The two outfits in the head-to-head here are two different categories--Marisol's purple Performance Outfit vs. Gabriela's Pajamas. This is where it starts getting difficult comparing the two collections since Marisol was given multiple "fancy" performance outfits and Gabriela just the one Purple Sequin jazz top with black crop pants (reviewed above). To be fair, Gabriela's Purple Sequin outfit could be matched with Marisol's outfit here and easily hold up well with another tie.

So let it be said that Marisol's Performance Outfit has a wonderful unique patterned top and lovely velour plush pants. Gabriela's Pajamas Outfit is made of plain generic off-the-shelf materials. I won't compare the bling (sequins) since it is an unfair matchup considering the different categories. 

But when I contemplate the two outfits side by side, Marisol's outfit seems tailor-made for her whereas Gabriela's pajamas are one of the most boring pajamas I have seen in the GOTY or TM line in the past decade. Gabriela's pajamas would be hard pressed to win against almost any outfit or pair of pajamas in any modern line.

Additional Outfit Winner: Marisol

Dance Barre

For the Dance Barre, we need to look to the other GOTY dancer, 2014 GOTY Isabelle for comparison. As the cumulative evidence shows, AG used Marisol's world as a template for Gabriela, but also borrows a classic from Isabelle's world.

A barre is a barre is a barre. And I have no complaints about a barre as a repeat accessory for a dance oriented doll. At least AG has changed the color and lower cross-beam design of the barre. But for the money, for Gabriela's collection one gets a cardboard backdrop, cardboard advert, water bottle and tiny yellow towel. I am not too excited by the hasty "G" in a random font added to the barre--an analysis of Gabriela's fonts forthcoming.

No new ground broken here but not feeling the wow factor, either. Gabriela's barre fits the theme of a Marisol retread item in the sense that it is drawn from another GOTY dancer with very minimal retooling. Understandable but not exciting unless one did not get Isabelle's barre.

Dance Barre Winner: Tie

The Show Stopper

Here is where Marisol's collection shines. An over the top, gorgeous, glittery, must-have Spotlight Outfit. So far Gabriela does not appear to have a 5th outfit, nor do any of her current outfits have a chance to compete with this show stopper. 

Show Stopper Winner: Marisol

Future Comparisons

How will the rest of Gabriela's collection compare?

Marisol's Meet Accessories (a crocheted hat and scarf, pendant necklace, and three pairs of stick-on earrings) vs Gabriela's Meet Accessories (her duffle, reviewed above) OR her Ponytail Hair Piece?

Marisol's Performance Trunk vs Gabriela's Performance Case?

First Assessment

I will want to see her full collection and work with actual stock images or in-person photos before making a final assessment of Gabriela's collection. My preliminary assessment is that many pieces of Gabriela's collection are on par with Marisol's collection. There are a surprising number of parallel offerings between the two dolls--duffle, cat, tap shoes, etc, but that is hardly surprising. However, there are plenty of signs that major components of Gabriela's collection are not very unique or well designed. 

Specifically I note the lack of unique prints just for Gabriela. Two of her plain tees are spruced up with a screened decal image and a third if you count the "heart" on her mesh tee in her Practice Outfit. There are also no discernible design themes sprinkled throughout her collection, like Saige's cactus theme (embossed on her boots, in her necklace, etc.) or Grace's bows and hearts.

I also suspect that the clean and uncomplicated lines of Gabriela's clothing have more to do with cutting construction costs vs merely a result of a character-driven design aesthetic. I am all for smart design and prudent business choices--but has this been pushed too far with Gabriela's collection?

2016 GOTY Lea Clark Sell Out?

Has GOTY 2016 Lea Clark sold out online?

If you still have Lea on your list, you will want to start calling the stores themselves to see if they have any Lea dolls on their shelves.

GOTY 2017 Gabriela: Warm Up Practice Outfit

Another Gabriela outfit is emerging!

Gabriela's Warm Up Practice outfit consists of a black leotard, bright pink crop leggings, maroon shorts with lettuce ruffle seams (to be worn layered over leggings) a mesh crop top with heart design and tan ballet slippers.

The mesh top is not my favorite piece but is likely something young dancers would wear. The back of the mesh top is a loose butterfly semi-open design.

Not my favorite colors or designs though appropriate dance wear for Gabriela's story. Are you interested in this outfit for your poppet?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

New Felicity Books Covers (Volumes II and III)

Felicity's second book. Wonderful! I can't wait! Will her Green Riding Habit featured on Book be reprised with a full fledged outfit at her debut?

Do we get a reprisal of her horse, Penny?

And Felicity's third volume, her Journey Book, part of her BeForever makeover.