At Toy Fair in February, we spent quite a bit of time with the team from Madame Alexander dolls – talking about the new dolls in their line and the direction of their 18″ dolls, accessories and the introduction of some fun creativity kits. As a follow up, a few weeks ago I got an email from Madame Alexander inviting me to be part of their Mom Advisory Board for 2014. Of course I said yes – I think getting feedback from Moms and their daughters is a great way to help the Madame Alexander brand continue to produce high quality dolls that have been and will be loved for generations.
As part of the Advisory Board, I was given a choice of about 12 different dolls to review. Of course, I chose a doll from the 18″ Favorite Friends line and the one I chose is Autumn Mist. I have actually considered buying this doll on multiple occasions since I first saw her.
When my package arrived, attached to the doll box was this card showing that I am part of the new Mom Advisory Board. I thought that was a fun touch and immediately hung the card in my office.
This is Autumn Mist in her box. Her box is label Favorite Friends Doll Factory which is part of the line that Madame Alexander has been selling on their website and in FAO Schwarz stores. She is 18″ tall, has a soft body like American Girl dolls, but the Madame Alexander dolls have a vinyl shoulder plate so they can wear sleeveless and strappy tops nicely.
The back of the box highlights the features of the Favorite Friends dolls – soft bodies with jointed arms and legs; eyes that open and close; stylable hair; and clothes you can change as well as mix and match. The one thing I think they should have noted is that her head movement is not limited to side to side – she can move her head in all directions which gives her quite a bit of personality.
Here is Autumn Mist out of her box! Much better!
First of all, I just adore her face and outfit. I think what has kept me from buying her before is her hair. She has long ringlet curled hair and I know from experience that this hair is going to take some extra TLC. If you are buying an 18″ doll for a younger child who wants to be able to style and play with the doll’s hair – get one with straight hair – it will be easier to manage and will tangle less.
That said, when I first got her out of her box her curls were a bit smashed against her head. After taking a few minutes to separate each curl and give it a bit of a fluff, Autumn was looking so much better!
Autumn Mist’s outfit is great for mixing and matching. I just LOVE her long green hooded sweater, but when you take it off, she has on a green tank top, striped tights, and very versatile denim skirt and a removable belt. This is a cute outfit of its own and each of those pieces can be paired with others – like I think the sweater will look great with Saige’s denim leggings and the skirt can go with just about anything! Stay tuned – I think Autumn and Saige are going to do some closet swapping.
Another look at those curls from the back. Again, I think they are very pretty, but they are going to require quite a bit of TLC and minimal styling. I have found that just using ribbon – no ponytail holders – is the best way to work with long curly hair. Finger combing and using a doll hair pick are the way to go. Brushing this would be a disaster.
Her face is just so very sweet. Her deep chocolate brown eyes work so well with her dark black hair and light brown skin.
And you have to love the shoes. They are gold plastic Mary Janes. These just slip on and off but are very sturdy and will hold up to a lot of play.
Autumn does sit fairly well either on the ground or in a doll chair. Due to her shoulder plate, like other Favorite Friends and the Journey Girls (who are built the same way), they can be a bit top heavy and getting them to stand on their own can be tricky. I think this is where her shoes really help – they give her more stability.
Miss Autumn is quite photogenic and I decided to have some fun with filters – this is for her modeling portfolio 😉 What do you think?
Overall, I think the Madame Alexander Favorite Friends dolls are a great addition to any doll family. They range in price between $49 and $65 (for the Disney Princess dolls) and can be found on the Madame Alexander website, FAO Schwarz, other specialty retailers, some Barnes & Noble stores and Amazon.
Just keep in mind the age of the girl you are buying her for when you select your doll. Straight hair or hair with a slight wave is best for younger girls. Curls are better for girls who are a little older and have developed more hair care skills.
I will work on a photo shoot of Autumn, Saige and maybe another doll or two swapping outfits. That is always fun and gives you a better feel for how you can add value to your doll collection with a mix of dolls.
Thank you Madame Alexander for inviting me to be on the Mom Advisory Board – I am excited and look forward to working with you!
Disclosure: I was gifted a doll for review and photography purposes, however all opinions are 100% my own.