Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Case of Mistaken Doll Identity

I recently saw an image on Facebook of another collector's On Location Milan Barbie by Mattel and initially thought the doll was Kiyoni Brown from the Mattel Flavas series.

I examined the two dolls and decided to take and share photos of their head sculpts, which are similar, but not the same.

On Location Milan Barbie (left); Kiyoni Brown (right) have same facial structure but are clearly two different dolls.  Milan has an open mouth with teeth; Kiyoni's mouth is closed.  Kiyoni's head is also larger, but she is not as tall as Milan.

On Location Milan, full view

On Location Milan Barbie, box date 2006, designed by Robert Best has the ModelMuse body.  She has rooted black hair with side part.  Eyes are hazel with heavy blue eye shadow.  Mouth is smiling with painted teeth.  Worn clothing/accessories are silver lamé bathing suit, crystal drop earrings, black sunglasses, white high-heel shoes.  There are two extra fashions.  The first is a tan belted skirt, gold lamé blouse, black sweater, black high-heel shoes, and tan faux leather shoulder bag.  The second fashion is a white silk pant suit, black blouse with crystal button closure, black pumps, and black clutch with crystal closure accent.

Flavas Kiyoni Brown, full view
Representing the hip-hop culture, Kiyoni brown stands a full inch shorter than Milan Barbie at 10-1/2 inches and has articulated elbows. She has painted green eyes with tan and brown eye shadow.  Lip color is pale tan lined in brown.   Rooted hair is dark brown with golden blonde streaks on top.  She wears a red two-piece jogging suit with white mesh crop top, silver necklace with heart-shaped pendant, and white sneakers. Kiyoni's extra fashion consists of denim short-shorts, short-sleeved denim shirt, white footies with blue pom-poms, white terrycloth visor, black high-top sneakers with heart graphic on sides, and black purse with heart graphic.  Accessories include a boom box, temporary decals, and pull out "street" stand for Kiyoni and her Flavas crew to "have a spot to hang out."  The back and sides of box are graffitied.  Kiyoni's box date is 2003.

Was Best inspired by Kiyoni when Milan was designed or did I just mistake a redressed head and torso image of one doll for the other?


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  1. I really like the complexions of both these dolls. It is a pretty red/brown color. I had the Kiyoni and kept her around a long time before deciding to sell her. I still am not sure I did the right thing! I always wanted the On Location Milan Barbie! I like her face screening and her fashions are KILLER! I alway see some of the items from this set on someone's Flickr page of blog! Why can't Mattel do more things like this? When I saw your post I did see the simularities. Thanks for your post!

    1. Ms. Leo - The On Location clothes for that whole line were Killer! But with Mattel still stuck on MM bodies, they would still be making that fabulous clothes too small for the articulated bodies and we would again be frustrated. By the way, did you see my post from yesterday on the Ninimomo dolls? I now have a newfound respect for those MM bodies. I was about to sell all of mines, but I think I will keep them now.

  2. I do see a resemblance, but isn't that just the Lara sculpt on the Milan Barbie? I think it may just be a coincidence? But we could ask him?

  3. Thanks for the comparison photos. I think the make-up is similar in style which makes the faces resemble each other more.

  4. I have the Milan Barbie - yes, she has the Lara sculpt. Kiyoni Brown has a different sculpt - much bigger head as you point out and closed mouth. Both dolls are lovely. I don't have the Kiyoni shown - this one is the Sporty Kiyoni; I have the Street Kiyoni and the Denim & Diamonds Kiyoni.

    Thanks for posting about these two dolls, Debbie! Cheers me to see them.

  5. Wow I love the comparison between two dolls,well written as always!!!:)

    Although I have none of them,but I love the Milan Barbie very much from your pics,her accessories are so cool!;)

    You are wonderful,Debbie!!!!:D :D

  6. Ms. Leo - I've experienced seller's regret a time or two. I hesitated to buy Kiyoni Brown and Tre when they were released -- considered them stereotypical, but in reality, the Hip-Hop culture exists and is probably here to stay. I wound up buying them on the secondary market a few years after the line was discontinued. Hindsight is always 20:20. Milan's fashions are extremely nice, but as Vanessa pointed out, they will only fit the ModelMuse and similar super-thin bodies.

    I don't know most of the non-black sculpt names, Vanessa. Thank you for confirming Milan Barbie is the Lara sculpt D7ana. Best probably was not inspired by KB, but the similarities do exist.

    Limbe Dolls and Pam - thank you for your comments. I agree the makeup is similar between these two as well as the other similarities I pointed out.


  7. Hiya, DBG! Other than skin tone I don't see a similarity between the two. I think that because dark skin dolls arent as prolific, when I do come across a photo I glomp onto it checking out every detail possible.


Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!