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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Clothes Reviews: Radiant Rhinestones Outfit (2003)

Happy Holidays with Gwenni Damico!
Look at that, next post on the docket! I'm trying.

Last night, in my "get out the holiday clothes, sort away the others, discover there's enough Julie here to give those clothes their own bin, do that"1 sorting--I still need to sort through for Beth Cady's set--I counted my modern sets. Yeah, I have almost twenty official moddie holiday sets--and that's not counting the one that has been retrofitted to the 60s or the ones I made for Naomi and Otters originally. So what I'm saying is that the Mod Squad is going to be getting a lot of clothes changes, just to show off everything. What can I say? I love holiday wear, even if most of mine consists of jeans and long sleeved faux ugly sweaters from Shirt.woot. The gang dresses better than I do, s'all I'm saying.

Today, I'll be covering the Radiant Rhinestones Outfit. Starting with Mattel's take over of the line wholly in about 2000 or so, they started doing Limited Edition Holiday wear, starting with the Year 2000 Outfit in 1999.2 The outfits would come in specialty boxes just for them, many times with a unique hanger, and often had separate accessories including a purse, hair decs, and those infernal stick on earrings that I will stick to the handbasket before I throw it into hell. Soon after the holiday season, the outfit would be retired and then the next fall it would start all over again. They don't do the nifty boxes or hangers anymore, but they always do a really nice holiday set with a nice overcoat/shawl/shrug or the like and matching accessories, and I sometimes get it at one point or another. The Radiant Rhinestones Outfit was one of the earliest sets to do this, released in 20033 and retired by that next spring. It consists of a red velvet dress, winter white fur-trimmed coat, winter white tights, and red velvet mules. Original cost was $30. I bought this past September for $35 plus shipping soon after the holiday release for this year was out; it came with the box, but no hanger. The outfit goes for about that much on eBay--with of course, the ridiculous spikes here and there. I do not have the accessories, but I am fine with that. The tiara, if I desperately wanted one, could be faked; I could always make a necklace; purse can also be faked; Ornaments are....yeah; and as I maintain, fuck stick on earrings.

Our model is Gwenivere "Gwenni" Ruth Damico. Gwenni, as you likely remember, was my first blog-posted makeover but not my first AG restoration. She likes princesses, fairy tales, fancy clothes, and being something of a little diva. So yes, this was a perfect fit for her. She has accesorized her set with a simple red hairbow and the cutest little star earrings that are perfection; you'll get a close up interlude. 

Coated in fur.
Coat:  The coat is a winter white fur trimmed long sleeved suede coat that comes down to the knees, much like the dress underneath. You'll notice I keep saying winter white. "Winter white" is a sort of creamy, off white color that is, in fashion, suitable to be worn post Labor Day. My older sister is a casual fashionista, and as a kid if I walked out in non-winter white after Labor Day she'd send me back to change because I was not allowed to embarrass her in public with my fashion choices. Joke's on you, sis, I now wear black most of the time. I do like the color, though.

Fuzzy furness.
The coat is faux fur trimmed around the collar, down the front opening, at the bottom hem, and on both sleeves with a sort of loosely tangled fur.  I suspect mine is slightly matted from age; I did get it used after all, and the scraggly feeling doesn't really appeal to my eyes as it looks like dog fur. Perhaps they were going for a Tibetan Lamb look.

Fur Cuffs. (No jokes.)
It especially looks ragged around the cuffs. Even if I don't like the look personally, it does feel luscious under my fingers; very soft and pettable. I might wreck my set by running a hairbrush over the fur to smooth it out just a touch, to be more visually appealing to me.

Snowflake motif .
Both lower corners have a six-point snowflake embroidered in iridescent thread, with matching sequins in the center and five decorative ones around it to the side. If there's one thing I love in outfits, it's symmetry and balance.

Inside, the coat is unlined. There's a seam at about high waist to empire level.

Inside is a small hook and eye closure at the high waist, instead of snaps or velcro. This is a rarity in AG clothes, but given the style it makes the most sense as a closure. This was when closed, there's no overlap.

Closed coat is closed.
The coat, when closed up, can either flare open slightly or be smooth all the way down, hiding the dress completely. Paired with a winter white dress or skirt and shoes, this could really make a cute winter white all over look, and might be something for me to try to achieve. Oh noes not sewing and creativity how will I ever get by~

Back view.
From the back, there's a bit of a spoil in the line since the coat is straight and hugs a little tight. A little looser fit would prevent this. Also, the coat is hard to get over the sleeves, and it is important to tug the sleeve down unless you want that stupid bunched look near the shoulder that says "Hi, I dress my dolls funny."

Holding on to the coat.
Random bonus of holding the coat for no reason. It hangs ever so nicely.

Coat off.
Taking the coat off fully shows the unlined part wholly, and that the seams, while unfinished, are not particularly messy. The sleeves are lined in a matching winter white satin fabric. I think a lined coat would have been nicer than unlined, because open I can see the embroidery and seams. Alas.

Limited label.
The coat, however, has a unique label at the top indicating that this was the special set for 2003. This is a thing they really don't do anymore. I really wish they had kept it up, it's kind of awesome.

The coat gets a B+.A Full lining, a looser back fit, and a less ragged looking fur would have boosted it to an A, but the label, embroidery and the hook and eye closure give it the plus. 

Dressy dress.
Dress: The dress is a knee length red velvet dress with a high waist and long sleeves. I love, love love red holiday dresses. It just screams holiday and, while most things that holler "holiday" annoy me,4 holiday dresses don't so much. Which would explain why I own so damn many in doll size. And velvet? Oh god yes get in there now. I will step over people to get some velvet stuff. It always feels luxurious and nice. Taffeta has nothing on a good, well done velvet. And red velvet? I may not be able to eat the cake unless I make it myself, but I can love the fabric.

Note that the actual color of the dress isn't so bright red; it's a more muted color. Natural light doesn't exactly occur when you take your pictures at 4 am.  

Bodice superiority.
The bodice has a square neckline and stops at an empire length. I do adore empire waist dresses, even if they can make most women look pregnant if worn improperly, and so get regulated most of the time to prepubescent clothing. I did not snap a picture but the bodice is fully lined with satin. See, they did it for the dress but not the coat. *glare* There's no decor on the bodice at all, which makes sense if it's going to be under a coat, and also means a nice pretty dress that's not too busy. When doing fancy dresses there is a fine line in that balance between "fussy" and "lovely."

Hey, some of that whole rhinestone bit. 
At the waistband is a velvet ribbon band that goes around to the back. In the center is a circular rhinestone buckle broach made of ten small white rhinestones, that is firmly tacked in place so it won't move.

Sleeveing it.
The wrist length sleeves have a slight bell flare to them. Which make it hard to get in the coat but look so good with the dress that I won't even take away points for it. The hem is simple--again, no fuss, no muss.

Skirting the issue and doing it well.
The skirt comes down to the knees and has a slight swishy flare; somewhere between circular and A-line. A simple hem at the edge also helps to not take away from the sparkle bits.

Ooo, Shiny snowflakes.
On the left side of the skirt is more shiny parts: Three silver embroidered six point snowflakes are decorated with small rhinestones (five in the center and one at each point) and then there are seven scattered rhinestones around them. Very eye catching, and in nice compliment to the waistband broach and the shine on the coat. It is probably my favorite part of the whole dress.

Back shots.
And of course, it velcroes up the back. A+ dress--there is absolutely nothing I don't love about this dress. It's not even very dated!

Keeping it tight.
Tights: The tights are slightly sheer winter white tights that come up to the waist. Like all AG tights, they can snag if you put velcro on them so don't do that shit, mmkay? Tights get a B for not sucking.

You will notice that Gwenni is wearing pink panties underneath. I have Gwen's meet outfit from the time they sold it separate--to be reviewed later--and she got the panties.

Mule-style shoes before about 2006 are the AG bane of my existence.
Shoes: To bottom out this outfit, the set comes with a pair of red velvet backless mules. And now is the time of bitching. Until about 2006 or so--when Jess came out--AG--both PC and Mattel--did not take into goddamn account that shoes on a doll without a backing will fall the entire fuck off. And yet they more than few times made mules and slippers and slip-ons and fucking Birkenstock style shoes that fell off doll feet every Dragged time. And I hate them. HAAATE them. The constant falling off of backless doll shoes rank somewhere between "white people thinking that weak ass flat butt hip waggle they're doing is a twerk" and "everything about Frosty the Goddamn Snowman5" on my list of Things That Can Fall Into a Fire: A Short List. I suspect that, after much bitching, AG started putting the clear straps on shoes and then they stopped being lost hazards.

Well, that was a rant. Review continuing.

Size Shot. All empty in the back.
The shoes have red bows to the side and a single silver backed rhinestone in the center of the bow. The whole shoe is covered in red velvet on the top, including part of the inner lining for the toe.

This fucking backless shit, I swear to the gods.
The shoes slope down to a flat back that doesn't cover the heel at all. The shoes, when pushed onto feet tight enough might not fall off. Might. I knocked them off time and time again and I was just taking pictures. Damn shoes.

Silver Lining.
Inside, the shoes have a silver lining. Not often seen, but a neat touch.

Bottom out.
The soles are black with just a touch of a heel to them. C+. Adorable and beautiful and motherfucker, but do they fall off at the drop of a shoe.


Two bonus shots. 

Gwenni has, instead of a tiara, a simple red ribbon tied off center. It could also be up top center, but off center looks really sweet. Insert decorative bow joke here.

Inner star shine!
And in her ears, she's wearing silver earrings with red stones. Yes, they could not be more perfect and yes, when I put this outfit away in the holiday drawer the earrings are being put away with them. 

Box prize.
 The special box the outfit came in. Mine has crushed corners. I'm okay with that. 

 The hanger, as I found in an image search. It was a gold plastic hanger with lighter gold raised writing that says "2003 *Holiday Limited Edition* American Girl" in flowing script.


Overall Feel: This is a cute set that looks great together. The dress is the super high point of the dress, with enough sparkle to look eye catching but not so much that it gets busy and distracting. With the coat closed, the outfit does veer towards monochrome, but I'm looking to actually try that myself at some point with a different dress and shoes. Speaking of shoes, they have a cute but I would be so much happier with the shoes if they'd had a backing of any kind. Even the clear ones shoes do now. As it is, the shoes piss me off with the constant falling.

Cost Value: Both the original cost and the cost I paid were fair; I only paid five bucks above the cost and it came with the box. On eBay, the outfit should at least have the shoes (sucky as they are), dress, and coat. Tights are easily replaced with another set. $30-35 is a fair cost. Don't pay more than $45, and that's high. If they want $50+, it better have a complete set of the accessories, for $60 it better come with $20 cash back, and for $100 it better make your doll walk talk and run a temperature.

Timeliness/Datedness: I personally don't think it's dated at all. It's not really super trendy like bubble skirts, tutus, or crushed velour. The coat at most might be dated, but even that's got a classic feel to it. It's not a super trendy style, and high waists have been a thing since the 60 and 70s. So I think it can at least go back that far. As for moderns, it's not dated slightly.

Mix and Match Levels: Actually applicable with this set. The coat would look cute over a mono-winter white or silver dress with matching shoes. The dress could go with plain black shoes as well. And tights--well, they go everywhere. The shoes can't go with anything because they can't stay on feet. Bad, bad shoes.

Final Grade: B-. Those damned shoes, man, those damned shoes. 


1 Historicals I don't own but have lots of clothes for: Rebecca, Samantha, Julie. The only one I have absolutely nothing from is Kirsten.
2 Guess what I have lined up for New Years~
3 Whoop! (That was your Texas A&M Aggie moment for today.)
4 I carry headphones throughout December when I go shopping because 95% of Christmas music sucks.
5 I refuse to watch the special, I refuse to like the song, I refuse to even remotely let that damn thing assault my sense. I am that evil witch who is cheering for the magician, and the part where he melts makes me just cackle with fucking GLEE.

Cry, Karen, cry. Your tears power my laughter.


  1. Dammit Blogspot stop it.

    I'm digging that dress, so much. Velveeeet! I adore anything with a soft, luscious texture. So velvet? Definitely adored!

  2. Gwenni is sooo cute!
    I think this dress and coat would also look good (and fit the period) on Julie, Ivy or any other late 60s/early 70s doll.

  3. Shoes look like house slippers so I would have given them a D, but i think you downgraded the whole outfit a bit much because of them given your C+.

    I'm not crazy about this outfit. Don't much like the coat and the square neckline doesn't flatter the dolls a their weakest point, IMO. But that's must me. The Gold dress doesn't bother me as much with the same neck line, but this one does. So it's one that I'm not getting. I agree it makes a great Julie/Ivy dress and Iike it better than that jumper Julie has as her holiday dress.

    Great review. Covered all the points.

  4. I didn't plan on commenting until I got to the Frosty the Snowman part. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who absolutely hates it. I honestly can't describe how much I loathe it and I don't know why.

    I also have to add that Gwenni is also absolutely gorgeous and I couldn't stop looking at her pretty face and her hair while reading the review.

  5. LOVE the snowflake embroidery on this set. alas, velvet dresses are not my 'thing', but hey--more for you. ;)

    those earrings are the BEST, w/this outfit, too. THE! BEST!


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