Friday, 3 April 2015

Ever After High's Duchess Swan (complete with mini-makeover!)

So, I know I said I was thinking I might be done with Ever After High...well, turns out they aren't done with me yet! Recently, the newer wave of basic has started appearing at my local stores, including Duchess Swan, Kitty Chesire and the re-released Lizzie Hearts. I actually thought I'd end up getting Lizzie, because I'd been wanting her, but I am unimpressed by the release, so I passed on her for now. Kitty is very cute though, and is definitely on my list, but the real star for me was Duchess Swan! It's odd, because I hadn't even really considered getting her, but then I kept picking her up in Wal-Mart every time we were there, kind of mesmerized by her pretty face, and then there was a 50% off sale at Toys R Us that I could price match at Wal-Mart...and well, you know how I am about sales! Duchess came home with me last weekend, and as soon as I took her out of the box I was in love with her, but I also knew I was going to be giving her a bit of a makeover.

So, to see what Duchess looked like right out of the box, and also for some details about the makeover I gave her, click on through!

Duchess comes in the new style of Ever After High box, just like Ginger. Nothing too exciting to see here, except to note that Duchess is the daughter of the Swan Queen from Swan Lake, so get ready for a lot of ballet inspiration in her outfit!

And also a lot of ballet inspiration in her poses...I actually was a bit surprised Duchess wasn't posed in the box in a ballet style, considering they do mention on the box how she tends to dance places rather than walk! Anyways, here she is with her small complement of accessories. She does also come with the standard stand and brush, as so far all Ever After High dolls have, with the exception of Mirror Beach.

Her purse is small, and mostly made up of light purple ruffles. The top part of the purse is a slightly pearlescent white, with a small embossed swan on the front flap. The purse is just solid, and doesn't open. It's fine, but nothing special.

And this is an overview of Duchess! I like her soft colour palette, especially when taken with her personality in the webisodes, which is a bit like a mean girl. It's a bit different than the usual, and it's a fun change. I also just happen to really enjoy soft purples, so I'm a bit biased!

I think Duchess has one of the prettiest faces yet, in Ever After High. I love her thick, strong eyebrows, and her brown eyes, especially against her fair skin. Her makeup is also a pretty unique colour I don't recall seeing on a lot of dolls. It's kind of a burgundy or deep pink, and it gives her a more mature look, which I think fits with her personality. Her lips are a similar shade of deep pink, with a lighter pink in the centre of the lower lip, giving her a pouty look. This seems to be a trend lately, with Ginger having the same kind of lipstick!

I also have to mention, that I'm really pleased with the new face molds on these dolls. They still ring true and fit in with the original girls, but at the same time they've softened that moon-faced look that was so hard for me to get used to in the beginning. Duchess has a really lovely shape to her face, with defined cheekbones and a pointier chin, but she still looks to be part of the same line as say, original Raven or Apple.

In her hair, she's wearing a large headpiece, made of a black band of feathers around her head, a strand of pearls looping across her forehead, and a large mass of purple flowers and feathers on one side. It definitely is inspired by the headpiece she wears in the show, but at the same time, is considerably different. As soon as I purchased this doll, I knew I'd be doing some work on this piece!

Her earrings are pretty simple, just dangling silver feathers. I kind of wish they were ballet slippers, but these are fine too.

Her hair is the other thing I knew I was going to change when I bought her. It's mostly black, with white and lilac highlights throughout the top, and it's all pulled to the side in a ponytail. The ponytail is gelled super hard into a solid curl, with one piece left framing her face. There's nothing really wrong with this hair, it was just too stiff and flat for me, so stay tuned to see her updated hair do!

Her necklace is a pretty solid black choker, with gem and pearl detailing. I didn't paint this, but I actually might go in with some purples, now that I'm looking at it again. There's a lot of molded detail on it, but it's really hard to see it all when it's so solid in colour.

Her outfit is a one-piece dress, with a simple bodice and a full a-line skirt. The bodice is patterned in lilac and white, and has black straps trimmed in pink tulle. Over the bodice, she wears a black plastic corset piece. I think this piece mostly works, but it's a bit clunky. I actually would've even preferred if they'd just printed laces onto the front of the dress and left out the plastic accessories altogether, even though it seems that most dolls in the Ever After High line do come wearing at least one large, plastic accessory. See here, Raven's collar, Poppy's scarf...

Her skirt is pretty full, and made of two layers. First is a white layer with a black net pattern, and on top of that is a sheer tulle with glitter feathers, snowflakes and other designs all over it. There is also a small peplum at her hips made of pink tulle. I can definitely see a tutu inspiration here, but in a very princess-y way. It's pretty!

Her smaller accessories include a silver swan ring, and a bracelet featuring a dangling swan charm.

Her shoes are black, and have no heels. They're definitely meant to bring to mind pointe shoes, and the ribbons that lace up her ankles certainly drive that point home! Mine had some paint mistakes, with there being pink paint splattered on the toes, but I went over it with some black paint and fixed that right up.

She's also wearing black fishnets, but I'm going to ditch them. Firstly, I just don't love the look of the black tights with her softer colours, and secondly, they don't fit! It's hard to see here, but the tights are way too big, and tend to pool at her knees and ankles. I've actually already ordered her a pair of shimmery white stockings that I think will be closer to her webisode look, so I hope they work out!

So that's Duchess as she looked out of the box. As she is, she's a really beautiful doll, with a pretty colour palette and a striking face. However, I decided, especially because I got such a good deal on her, that I wanted to make some small changes to make her look more like I imagined. Not necessarily more like the webisode version, but just to make her fit in with my collection a bit more.

And this was the finished product! Small changes, but I think they have a real impact on her overall look. I painted in the details on her headpiece, restyled her hair, and painted the ribbons on her shoes to match her headpiece.

I kind of winged it on the headpiece, and didn't really have a reference to her webisode look, so it doesn't match, but I'm pretty happy with the colours I chose and the placement of them. I think it makes the details stand out a bit more, and it goes with her outfit better. As Ever After High has started cutting details, one of the biggest things to disappear was the painting of accessories. After doing this, as well as the small amount of painting I did on Ginger's glasses, that's less of a deterrent for me. Now I know that if I really want to added some painted detail, I can probably manage it!

 I also took out her hair and washed it, and restyled it. This was to make it look a bit more like her webisode style, with the large pouf behind her headband, as well as showing more of the white and lilac hair on the top. After washing out the styling product, her hair took on a lovely soft wave, so I didn't need to add any curl to it. I combed back the top section of her hair into a pony tail, pushing it up into a pouf. I cheated a bit here and put a small piece of cotton ball under the pouf to help it hold it's shape, and then gathered the rest of her hair into a side pony, leaving out one piece in the front. I'm super happy with how this turned out! I think the hair sweeping across her face lessens her forehead a bit, and I like how the headpiece works with this hairstyle more than before. I think it softens her in just the right way.

I also painted the ribbons on her shoes to match the new purple on her headpiece, and that was that! Hopefully her new white stockings come in the mail soon, and then Duchess will be complete! It's so fun to take a doll and tweak her just a bit, because it really makes me love them that much more. I feel like she's MY Duchess now, rather than just a doll off a shelf, you know?

It does help that I was starting with such a beautiful canvas, though. I still may see about making her something to replace the plastic corset, since I do think it's a bit bulky, but that's low priority right now.

What do you think of Duchess Swan? Will this lovely ballerina be dancing her way into your collection?


  1. I love the makeover! I have a couple of dolls I have been meaning to "tweak" and this is definitely making me get off my butt and do it

    1. You definitely should! Sometimes simple changes are all it takes to really make a doll perfect :)

  2. Nice job with the headpiece! I think it look so much better. If I end up getting a Dutchess, I will probably be copying you! ;) Her hair looks great and I love that you used a cotton ball to prop up the poof. Nice idea!

    1. I'm a really terrible hairstylist, both on myself AND on my dolls, so I need a bit of help from things like cotton balls does the job though, kind of like how women used to use rats to give their hair volume!

  3. She has a great face-up! I usually find the EAH crowd a bit bland-looking, but this gal jumps off the screen.

    Very nice makeover, too.

    1. She really does have a lovely face, and I agree, definitely more personality than the usual EAH girls. I actually think a lot of the newer girls, like Ginger, Kitty, Duchess and even the upcoming girls like Darling and Rosabella have a lot more interesting faces. I think it's because they've abandoned that flat moonfaces and given them some definition, which really helps!

  4. I have yet to be bitten by the EAH bug. I almost bought Poppy O'Hair but she stayed on the shelf. I do like the changes you made to her. She really pops now :O)