Doll Review: Barbie Fashionista 88

I’m sure you’ve noticed my doll collection revolves mostly around Disney and Ever After High.  I’ve yet to review an actual Barbie, and the doll clothes I buy or sew are always for a Disney or Ever After High character.

Well, that’s because I don’t collect Barbies.

A Barbie-less doll collector! What's up with that?

Oh, I love Barbie!  I just don’t love some of the changes made to her in recent years.  The new Fashionistas are fantastic.  Their diversity and uniqueness are amazing, and I get the urge to buy one every time a new line is revealed.

What holds me back?  Their cheap, unarticulated bodies.

Barbie Fashionista Box Back

Seriously, I’d have a lot more Fashionistas in my collection if it weren’t for their hard, plastic bodies.  One look at those unbending limbs takes away any desire I have to own one.

Why not give them a Made-To-Move body?

Yes, but Made-To-Move Barbies are hard to find and often overpriced thanks to doll scalpers😡.  I can’t afford to pay $7 for each Fashionista then another $20 or $30 to give her an articulated body!

So, I stick to admiring the New Crew from afar and spend my money on dolls with better articulation, such as Disney and other character dolls.

However, one Fashionista won me over and convinced me she was worth adding to our doll family.

Barbie Fashionista Doll Review: Unicorn Magic.

It was love at first sight!  With that sparkly blue hair and unicorn t-shirt, it looks like this doll just stepped out of a fairytale (and I’m a sucker for fairytales)!  Even though she has zero flexibility, her charm alone seemed worth the $7 (plus I intend to give a minor upgrade😉).

On our next shopping trip, I stopped by the toy aisle (a usual habit) and, as luck would have it, there was Fashionista 88 sitting on the shelf waiting for me to swoop her up.

Doll Review: Barbie Fashionista Doll 88

The Box:

This Barbie Fashionista is doll 88 also known as Unicorn Magic.

Barbie Fashionista 88 Review

She comes in a plain black and white box, which is understandable since Fashionistas are budget dolls.  On the back is a picture showing the other dolls released this year, and that’s about it.

So, let’s get on with the opening!

Meet Unicorn Magic:

Barbie Fashionista Doll 88.

This doll is “Original with Purple Glittery Hair” on Mattel’s website but on Amazon she’s called “Unicorn Magic“.  Wow!  I’m going to refer to her as Unicorn Magic for now; but, rest assured, she will have a new name by the end of the review.

Unicorn Magic is an original Barbie and is 11 1/2-inches tall.

Barbie Fashionista 88 has an original Barbie body.

She has grey-blue eyes with brown eyebrows and wears mauve colored lipstick.  Her skin is quite pale with a tinge of pink, but we’ll talk more about that later.

Barbie Fashionista 88 Close Up.

This Fashionista has lavender hair with aqua highlights and strands of sparkly tinsel woven throughout.  Her hair is completely straight and layered in the back.

Barbie Fashionista 88 Hair.

How Well Does She Pose?

I went into this knowing Fashionistas have little articulation, so I won’t harp on her lack of joints and how much I dislike them.  We’re just going to cover what she can do and leave it at that.

Barbie Fashionistas have five points of articulation:

  • They can turn their head from side to side.
  • Lift their shoulders to the side and swing their arms to the front or back.
  • Rotate their legs forward and backward at the hips.

Barbie Fashionista Doll Articulation.

How To Count Points Of Articulation: Each joint is as a single point of articulation. The shoulders count as two points and the legs count as two points. Add those together (including her head) and you have five points. Same goes for elbows, wrists, and knees.  Each one counts as a single point of articulation.

I have no problem with dolls who have basic articulation, especially mini dolls.  However, I feel Mattel could (and should) do better for Barbie.  I’m not saying every Fashionista must be Made-To-Move, but they ought to at least have elbows and knees.  But I promised no Barbie bashing so that’s all I’ll say.

The Outfit:

I love Unicorn Magic’s fairytale hair and charming smile, but it’s the outfit that really excites me.  Being a horse lover, I simply can’t resist the unicorn cuteness!

Barbie Fashionista Doll 88 Outfit.

The outfit consists of:

  1. A unicorn shirt.
  2. Jean shorts.
  3. A watch.
  4. A pair of boots.

Let’s start with the shirt.  Upon closer inspection I realized the mythical horse printed on the shirt isn’t a unicorn, it’s an Alicorn–it has a horn and wings!  How awesome is that!

Barbie Fashionista shirt.

The shirt is white with colorful dots sprinkled all over.  The neckline and sleeves are hemmed with lavender thread.  Then, of course, there’s the charming equine on the front.  The horse’s body is white (save for some areas of shading) with a rainbow-colored mane and tail.  The shirt is tied in a knot at the front and has clear elastic sewn around the bottom edge.

Next, are her blue jean shorts.

Barbie Fashionista Shorts.

The shorts are light blue denim with distress marks on the front and back.  The legs are frayed and, instead of gold, the decorative stitching on the front and back is white.  Like the shirt, the shorts close in the back with Velcro.

Then there are her cowgirl boots!

Barbie Fashionista Boots.

These western style boots are the perfect accent for this outfit!  They are light brown with molded details, like leather straps, studs, and fringe.

Finally, we have a clear watch which snaps around her wrist.

Barbie Fashionista Watch.

The Transformation–Take One:

I already had a Pink Top Made-To-Barbie on hand and was hoping she would be a suitable match for Unicorn Magic.

Barbie Fashionista with Made-To-Move Barbie.

Unfortunately, that idea went up in smoke!  The Pink Top Barbie has a much darker complexion.

Made-To-Move Pink Top Barbie Skin Comparision.

Honestly, I’m surprised just how tan Pink Top doll is.  Barbie obviously spent her summer at the beach!  I guess I needed the Purple Top Made-To-Move doll, which I don’t have…or do I?

Actually, I do have one other Made-To-Move doll:

Belle!

Disney Store Belle on Made-To-Move Barbie body.

Belle has had a Made-To-Move Barbie body for over a year now!  I used a Purple Top Made-To-Move doll (per My Froggy Stuff’s suggestion) to give my Disney Store Film Collection Belle the ultimate Barbie body!

So, I’m going to use her to see if the Purple Top doll would’ve been a better match for Unicorn Magic.

Purple Top Made-To-Move Barbie Skin Comparision.

It’s not a perfect match, but I think it would work.  Unicorn Magic’s skin has a pinkish hue (I think it may even be a new skin tone), so finding an articulated match is difficult.  Still, I think the Purple Top doll’s complexion is closest.

The only downside is that the Purple Top doll is very popular and hard to get at a decent price.  I’ll spare you the boring details of my scouring eBay for used ones, checking Amazon multiple times a day, and researching alternatives for the highly coveted Purple Top and skip ahead to the good part where I open the Amazon app and see the Purple Top Made-To-Move doll had dropped from $70 to $22!

OMG!  This doll is going in the cart and I am checking out right now!

To say I was stunned is putting it mildly.  Even after buying her I was still skeptical she would arrive.  I kept thinking I would get an email saying the order was canceled due to not having any in stock or something like that.

Thankfully, I was wrong.  Ten days later the prized Purple Top-Made-To-Move Barbie was setting on my countertop!

Made-To-Move Barbie (Purple Top) with Fashionista 88.

Now let’s try this once more!

The Transformation–Take Two:

There’s really no right or wrong way for body swapping a doll; but, for those who’ve never done it before, here is my preferred technique.

How To Body Swap A Barbie Doll:

  1. Place the dolls inside a plastic bag (I use a Ziploc) and submerge their heads in warm water.  This will soften the heads and make them easier to remove.
  2. Once the heads are warm and squishy, take the dolls out and carefully remove the heads.  Make sure to hold the doll near at top of the neck (where the head and neck connect) to reduce the risk of breaking the neck peg.
  3. Once the doll’s head is off the old body, put it on the new one and push it firmly it over the neck peg.

Swapping a Barbie body.

That’s it!  Both dolls are A-OK  after their operation, and Unicorn Magic now has the ultimate poseable Barbie body!

Barbie Fashionista Before And After.

Final Thoughts:

This doll started out as a typical Fashionista–beautiful but barely articulated.  Now she has more articulation than my treasured Ever After Highs!

Custom Barbie Fashionista 88.

After a bit of customizing, she’s everything I want in a doll.  Her whimsical appearance, magical outfit, and new poseable body make her perfect.

After the swap, I braided the sides of her hair and tied them in the back to complete her fairytale look.

Barbie Fashionista With Braided Hair.

Barbie Fashionista 88 Doll Custom.

But I can’t keep on calling her Unicorn Magic!  No, she needs an imaginative name—something unique and euphonious like…

Barbie Fashionista Doll Review.

Petra!

I love strong, exotic names and this one definitely fits that category.  It’s the feminine form of Peter and means a rock.

It's certainly unique!

Now it’s your turn!

While I can’t customize every Fashionista, this doll has inspired me to do a couple more.  So, tell me, would you like to see more custom Fashionistas in the future?  If so, would you rather keep things short and sweet (just a basic body swap), or see the whole kit and kaboodle, like the swap, hair restyle, and new outfit?

Be sure to drop a comment with your answers!

Want to watch?  Follow this link to see the video review on YouTube:  Barbie Fashionista Review–Doll 88

11 Comments

  1. Guess who bought a purple top Barbie after you mentioned that she was on sale? You’re an enabler!

    I’m also frustrated that all the blonde M2M blond Barbies are so tan. I don’t Mattel has yet produced a white articulated body with the pink undertones. So frustrating! I really believe they aren’t producing these with rebodying in mind, though. Otherwise, I think they could make money just selling the bodies in different skin tones.

    1. Author

      That’s too funny! I’m so glad you got her on sale too! I’m tempted to go back and get another just to have on stand by. Yeah, I don’t get the lack of light skin tones either. I’d assumed Barbie was white and didn’t realize she was so tan until I compared her to a truly light skin doll. Honestly, I don’t understand Mattel’s doll making logic other than it’s quantity over quality.

  2. Awesome!! I’m I huge barbie collector and I have 4 of them with body’s that fully articulate, and two of them are antique! You should try to get one of the antique barbies! 🙂

    1. Author

      Yeah, it baffles me that a lot of the older Barbies are articulated but the newer ones aren’t🤔. It’s like Barbie has devolved in certain areas? But, yes, I did look into some older Barbies before finding the Purple Top, and there are a few that I think would be suitable matches for some of the Fashionistas.

  3. Yes, whole kit&kaboodle, as appropriate! I like Petra’s outfit, so of course not giving her a new one was great. I have one fashionista to whom I gave the yellow top body, & another got a WWE superstar body. I am amazed at how much a different body can change the look of the doll. Thanks for the great review!

    1. Author

      Glad you liked the review😁! That’s what I like to hear–more in-depth crafts/customs! Yeah, I couldn’t bring myself to change Petra’s alicorn outfit (it’s too cute!), but the next custom will get a new outfit for sure. I agree, the body can make or break a doll. I doubt Mattel will ever give Fashionistas articulated bodies, but we might get tall and petite M2M dolls at some point (especially since we just got a curvy).

  4. This is an awesome review. 🙂 And your braver than I am, I could never pull of one of my dolls’s heads.
    -Quinley

    1. Author

      I was a nervous the first time and watched several tutorials before attempting it. I’ve found that doing things very slowly and working the prongs on the neck peg off one at a time helps (as well as warming up the doll’s head). It can be creepy, though, if you’ve never done a body swap before😬.

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