Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ahhh . . . Barbie Ornaments: I Am Less Impressed By "Enchanted Evening" Than Fans Might Be!

The Good: Good sculpt, Vivid coloring
The Bad: Balance issue, Practical element of fur on tree
The Basics: When the Enchanted Evening Barbie ornament from 1996 came across my desk, I found it to be average-at-best.

As might appear obvious to those who read my many reviews, I have no particular fondness for Barbie dolls. To date, I have only reviewed one, the Edward Cullen Barbie (reviewed here!) and I was fairly unimpressed by it. So, when a Barbie ornament landed on my desk for review, I was ambivalent to it (I am, after all, just now getting to review it, despite it being there for a few weeks!). The first of the ornaments to cross my desk is the 1996 Enchanted Evening Barbie ornament. And it is, generously, average.

For those unfamiliar with them, Barbie dolls have been a leading trademarked doll (and model for anorexics everywhere!) from Mattel for over sixty years. Hallmark Keepsake picked up the Barbie license in order to produce Christmas ornaments and Enchanted Evening is one of many Barbie ornaments produced over the last twenty years.


The Enchanted Evening ornament recreates the Enchanted Evening Barbie doll that was on the market from 1960 - 1963. The ornament features the recognizable visage of Barbie with her blonde hair pulled back and blue eyes taking up a disproportionately large percentage of her face (I guess in the 60s Mattel made them with big eyes!). This Barbie is has the blonde pony tail with a slight upward curl at the back of it and bright red lipstick which is pretty iconic for the doll's head. The ornament has Barbie wearing a pink ball gown that has a forward sweep to her left side.

The Hallmark Enchanted Evening ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the feminine icon standing alone, white gloves going up to her biceps while her hands are lowered demurely to a neutral position before her. Her dress is colored bright pink and her unrealistic proportions end in two tiny feet with white high heels which are fused to a black disc that tells collectors exactly what the ornament is. The Enchanted Evening Barbie also features a neck obscured by a three-ring choker of pearls and a faux-fur stole which surrounds Barbie's upper arms and chest. The detailing of the sculpt is decent in that it features molded pearl earrings in each of Barbie's ears.

Where the Enchanted Evening Barbie ornament begins to fall down is in the coloring details. While the whites of the shoes and gloves are vivid and the pink of the dress is bright and hints at a woman's contours beneath, the pearls are not at all pearlescent and the eyes are poorly painted. In fact, the blue that hints at Barbie's trademark eye color is actually her eyeshadow painted on; the ornaments eyes are white with tiny black circles for the pupils without any iris color!


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Enchanted Evening could have a function like a sound chip or light effect, but does not. This is just an ornament, a low-cost (comparatively) option for fans of Barbie. The closest this ornament has to a feature is the stole and that leads us to the practical element problem surrounding Enchanted Evening Barbie (the ornament!). The stole is a craft fur which actually looks pretty good. Unfortunately, if put on a real tree, this Barbie ornament is unusually susceptible to dust, dirt and sap. Any of the three would absolutely ruin the stole.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Enchanted Evening ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Barbie Christmas Tree, the Enchanted Evening ornament is one that has a little problem. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of the character's head. From there, one hangs the ornament, but no matter how I tried, I could not get the ornament to balance well. This is because the dress sweeps forward from the left side, causing the ornament to be significantly heavier on the right side (when the ornament is facing the collector). No matter how I tried to arrange the hook in mine, Enchanted Evening Barbie always hung with at least a 15 degree sideways pitch. On the plus side, she is balanced front to back.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have branched out into every major franchise from Barbie to The Wizard Of Oz to Harry Potter. The Enchanted Evening ornament was a pegwarmer that went unbought by fans as well as by the public at large. There were Barbie fans who bought it and almost no investors or general fans of ornaments picked it up. It is one of the easiest Barbie ornaments to find on the secondary market and its value has plummeted.


Fans of the Barbie franchise, even those with retro reminiscences of their old Enchanted Evening Barbie dolls are likely to be largely neutral to the Enchanted Evening ornament. It is a fair recreation of Barbie, but the details simply do not impress fans who have seen some amazing work come out of Hallmark before.

For other ornament reviews of characters, please check out my reviews of:
2009 Wonder Woman
2010 Scarlett O'Hara
2009 Mr. Plow The Simpsons


For other ornament reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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