Barely two weeks have passed since American Girl officially debuted its renovated historical line, and Beforever is firmly established as a phrase and a fact in the world of AG fandom. I have to admit that I didn’t much pay attention to the word or the coming alterations before August 27th. I love American Girl dolls, but I don’t feel deeply attached to Mattel or particular interest in their marketing moves. When I came home from a hard day of skating practice last Wednesday evening, however, and idly logged on to the American Girl Playthings website to pass the time until hubby got home, I couldn’t help getting caught up in the pre-release excitement as the clock ticked down to the big reveal on American Girl’s website (thank goodness it was 10 o’clock Pacific time!). I had some mixed feelings about what I saw when the moment finally came, but overall I was positively impressed with the changes and updates to the historical line. The bright colors and patterns, the new details (like the new character silhouettes above) and the overall presentation were very attractive and inviting. That weekend I had the opportunity to travel down to the Bay Area with my husband, and I found myself totally excited about getting to go see the debut in person at the American Girl Bay Area store! I was anxious to grab Rebecca’s new Meet outfit (if still available) and especially to see the Beforever Kits and Samanthas in person. Well, I went (3 visits: first to scope things out around noon on Sunday; second to go back that afternoon after picking up my sister in the City; and third a last visit with my husband before driving home Monday morning). One single Rebecca Meet outfit was waiting for me on the shelf (a minor miracle!); I had a blast looking through all the Samanthas with my sister and finally picking out the perfect one for me; and had another blast looking through all the Kits with my husband and picking her out too! Many other and better blogs have already shared pictures of all the Beforever newness and changes, so I just wanted to share a couple of the things I really like about how American Girl is presenting their renewed historical line: the new character silhouettes and mottos!
I always loved the original Pleasant Company character silhouettes (I guess I just like silhouettes, though it’s hard to spell), but I have to say, I ADORE the new ones! Each girl gets a unique tracing of her unique profile and hairdo decorated with swirls and stars and character-appropriate flowers. So artistic and pretty! I loved trying to choose which I liked best. But I also like how AG is giving each girl a “motto” too, a sort of sum-up of her driving motivation. These mottos are on each character’s page on the AG website, but in the store they’re even nicer. Please forgive the funky lighting; I was too excited to remember to set my camera on “flourescent.” So without further ado:
Josefina is one of our favorite characters here at A Doll’s Picnic. Though I’ve never personally bonded with her as a doll, she is such an endearing character, and her stories are some of the finest written of all the characters. Josefina was actually my first doll when I got back into AG in 2006, and though Paulina Clementina (as I called her) was soon passed into my husband’s possession when I collected Addy and Felicity, she holds a special place in my heart. Hers is not my very favorite silhouette, but in my book her motto gets first prize:
I love the book-shaped signs, and all the little flowery details. My only kick against the way things were presented in the Bay Area store is that some of the silhouettes were hidden in narrow gaps between displays, making them difficult to see much less photograph.
It took a long time for me to appreciate her (I wasn’t into the Victorian era when I was little, and though I admired the doll my grandma had, I was never interested in her collection until more recently), but Samantha is now one of my favorite AG characters. I particularly love her 1st and 3rd stories (now both included in the 1st volume of her chapter books). I now own my grandma’s Pleasant Company Samantha doll, named Megan Josephine, as well as a perfect new Beforever Samantha doll I’ve named Maribel. Of course I’m glad Samantha’s back (why did she ever leave in the first place?). As the current leading lady of Beforever, her silhouette is getting a lot of attention, but it deserves it because, as Hayley Mills would say, it’s gorgeous!
I was also tickled because when I took the Beforever Quiz on the AG website last night, I was told twice that I was most like Samantha! (then Rebecca, then Kit, then Addy…). Her motto is my second favorite by only a smidge:
But I think my favorite silhouette must be Addy’s:
She looks so poised and elegant, proud and strong, and I love the bun!!! Addy was my second doll after getting back into AG, and though I eventually gave that doll to my younger sister, how I loved her! Then I got her again because I missed her, and loved her again, and then I gave that doll to my older sister! And now, at last I have the Addy I always wanted and remember avidly admiring in the catalogs when she was debuted by Pleasant Company: early this August I found a beautiful Pleasant Company Addy on Ebay and brought her home. I’ve named her Augustine. Though I like Addy’s new Beforever Meet dress, I have to say I am partial to her old striped pink dress. Her motto moves me less, but it is very nice:
Though she isn’t one of my very favorite dolls (I’ve enjoyed her for a while and then passed her on), I do like her character and her books, and I love her fashions. I have to say that Rebecca’s silhouette is nearly a tie with Addy’s for me:
I just love her flowing hair and her strong nose and her thoughtful expression. Of all the silhouettes, hers looks the most like me. I’m not really into her motto, though. Not being even remotely the least bit of an actress, I have no desire whatever to put myself on a stage. However, if I translate it from acting to skating… then it makes more sense:
Okay, I’m really not into Julie’s collection, much (well, okay, I did have Julie for a while, and I did buy her floral jumpsuit, and I do now have Ivy), but I have to say, I love her silhouette too!
And her motto is very her:
Then there’s good old Kit, such a great character, looking cuter than ever, and very boyish and frank:
Although initially more drawn to Samantha (I can’t help it!) I was really pleased with Kit’s revised collection. Her bright patterns and colors aren’t ones I would necessarily wear myself, but they’re so adorable on her! I love my new Beforever Kit, possibly even more than Samantha (shhh… don’t tell!). I first purchased Kit in 2009 and though I have always admired her, I never bonded with that doll, so she moved into my hubby’s collection. My new Beforever Kit, Bethy, with her shorter, sleeker hair and sweeter expression, is much more the girl for me. I also love her new Photographer outfit, though I didn’t think much of it at first when I saw it on the website. Her Reporter outfit is growing on me too. And her new Meet is perfection! (though I always liked the old one). But poor Kit! I just realized in my excitement I never photographed her motto! Shame on me!
I’ve had Kaya (now moved to older sister’s collection), and though she isn’t a doll or a collection I particularly relate to right now, I’m glad she’s still in the lineup, and I liked her first story and her character. I hope AG gives her a little more love in the future. Her motto:
And at last, that brings us to Caroline. I had a Caroline doll for a while, traded her for a custom Caroline, and then sold her. Her staring blue eyes, blondness and long frizzable curls were a bit much for me. But I’m a big fan of Jane Austen and the Regency period, so I like her collection. I only hope that AG doesn’t do any more dresses like her new Party dress! American Girl, Caroline is not Elsa! Anyways, she got a very pretty silhouette:
And, I’m sorry to say it, but a very stupid motto:
Come on, AG. This sounds like Kiera Knightley sneering, “You like pain? Try wearing a corset.” No. Okay, maybe it’s just the phrase “pink dresses” that makes me itch.
Anyway, overall, I’m really pleased with where Beforever is going, and unless they do any more shiny blue (or shiny pink!) dresses, I’m looking forward to what AG offers historically speaking in the future. There were some changes/additions I wasn’t crazy about (bows on scrunchies, Kit’s canvas shoes, treats being stuck together) but it could have been worse. There are still several outfits I’d like to collect: Addy’s School dress, Samantha’s Holiday dress, Kit’s Reporter dress. There are new accessories I admire: Sam’s Nighttime Necessities, Sam’s bike, Caroline’s banquet, Sam’s ice cream parlor. And I’m especially pleased that Beforever now takes up more than half of the new AG catalogs! Change is inevitable, and I’m grateful to AG for making it less painful than expected.
So, let the fun begin, and Happy Beforever everyone!