Barbie has been the talk of the town lately — at least, the new movie about Barbie has — but last year, the original Barbie dolls were also a hot topic for a big reason. Mattel, the doll and toy company that was famous for making Barbie dolls, finally reclaimed its rights to Disney Barbie dolls after the doll and toy company Hasbro had taken the Disney princess brand rights for several years.
Now, Mattel is taking its reclaimed toy rights and running with them in an unexpected direction.
The company is actually, according to the Wall Street Journal, releasing a “new line of princess dolls, representing 17 different Disney characters, including Cinderella, Moana, and Anna and Elsa of Frozen“. The Frozen characters are a particularly special addition to Mattel’s beloved Disney princess collection!
These new dolls are becoming available in stores this weekend, but they will not look quite like the Disney princess dolls of old. Mattel has apparently decided to bring the Disney princesses away from “damsels in distress” identities by incorporating several changes to the dolls’ designs.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “for the new line of Disney princess dolls, Mattel experimented with facial design. Designers digitally sculpted features and hand-painted faces on prototypes that were based on the characters’ appearance in films”.
Mattel designers also “incorporated new knitted fibers for a more diverse array of hair types.” According to Chris Down (Mattel’s chief design officer), “the goal was to make the designs less lifelike and more closely resemble how children say the characters should look, based on feedback from focus groups.”
The loss of the Disney princess contract was apparently “a slap in the face for Mattel”, but it looks like Disney princesses are back under the Mattel purview. Now all that remains to be seen is whether or not consumers will actually like the Disney princesses’ new looks and their new updated Disney princess style!