The gorgeous Maru and her friends Jamie and Savannah have just arrived and they are simply stunning. I always get excited about new dolls arriving at Petalina, but it isn’t very often that I am completely blown away by a doll’s beauty and quality. But I have been with these girls.
Maru and her friends are the brain child of Maritza Gutierrez, who wanted to create a range of dolls that would enable a girl to play with a doll that reflects her own culture and attributes. To help design the dolls Maritza approached Diana Effner, and this is why the dolls have such beautiful faces which are all very typical of Diana’s style. To help Maritza develop the dolls, she contacted Diana Effner, the world famous doll artist, and asked her to help with this task.
Diana Effner’s name is on every doll
Maru and Friends have been available in the US for a few years but in 2013 some of the dolls have been safety tested so that they can be sold as toys in the European market. So far Maru, Jamie and Savannah have been tested and are available already and next year more dolls and dolls clothes will also be tested and made available in the UK. So what can I tell you about these beautiful dolls?
Each doll is packed in a two tone orange presentation box with a clear plastic window, all of which is very nicely done. The dolls are tied in place with white grosgrain ribbon (not a wire tie in sight) and there is a hair net over the hair of each doll keeping the hair really neat and tidy. I love the ties as it is so quick and easy to remove the dolls for closer inspection. I took Maru out of her packaging first and I was stunned by just how beautiful and well made she is. Her vinyl is perfect and has the look of porcelain. Her clothes are made from good quality fabrics and the finish is immaculate. Really, very good. Her eyes are inset so don’t close but the almond shaping of them is really unusual. Maru’s eyes are brown and very realistic with a dark rim and lots of shades of brown around the pupil. She has long eyelashes that curl up on the upper eyelid and the lower lid has lightly painted lashes. You can see each hair of her eyebrows and her lips are a deep red and perfectly painted. I love her very slight smile. This doll has been made so nicely with great care being taken to ensure that there isn’t a mark on her that can so easily be made during production. Maru’s hair is dark, smooth and shiny and goes down to her hips. She has a fringe which even seems to curl slightly and just meets her eyebrows. Her hair is a wig that has been beautifully applied with a lovely even edge and no glue in sight. Gorgeous.
Maru’s clothes are all so beautifully made. Her hat is definitely knitted and crocheted by hand and it’s gorgeous. Her jumper is soft and stretchy so easy to remove and replace. Her pleated skirt fastens with velcro and her tights are lovely and soft and will be difficult to snag. Underneath, Maru wears a soft white jersey camisole and pretty white knickers. Her boots zip up at the back and this is the only thing that has been quite tricky to do. You have to pull the zip down holding it parallel to the boot and not out at an angle.
One thing I am disappointed about is that there isn’t a collar and lead for Maru’s dog. The dog is beautiful, white and fluffy just like Maru’s jumper, but any soft toy could have been included in the box, and what would have made it was a collar and lead.
So what is Maru’s body like? She definitely has long limbs with slightly bent elbows (not an elbow joint), and active fingers that are spread out as if doing something. The slight bend of her elbows make her very easy to dress as her forearms bend around her head a little so that clothes can be slipped over her head and hands easily and pulled gently down. Her arms are incredibly easy to pose and stay in position wherever you put them. Maru’s legs also stay in position easily and I like the way she can be seated without her legs splaying out to the side. One thing that is unusal and very unlike other dolls of a similar size, is the size of her feet which are very small. In terms of her physique Maru seems to be based on an 11 or 12 year old girl with some breast shaping, a defined waist, wider hips which are rounded with a little layer of fat and a slight tummy. I think she is really nicely sculpted with a realistic body shape that slightly older girls will relate to.
Today I had a bit of a try on of some clothes. Maru and Friends are similar in size to Gotz 46-50cm dolls but her shoulders are quite sloping compared to the more square shoulders of Gotz. This means that sleeveless tops can stick up a little on Maru’s shoulder. Full length sleeves by Gotz also fit nicely but Gotz trousers are far too short and Gotz shoes are far too big. However, Schildkrot boots fit and lots of Kathe Kruse shoes and boots fit nicely too.
Finally, I can confirm that Maru and Friends are made in China but they are dressed and boxed in Miami. This way the Maru and Friends staff check the quality and appearance of every single doll. And as I have said already, both the quality and appearance are amazing!
Jamie in her box
First posted on Petalina’s original blog on 16/12/13