Saturday, December 5, 2009

Kari Mitchell by M & C Toy Centre

Usually when I refer to M & C Toy Centre products, I discuss the PowerTeam action figures. However, M & C Toy Centre also produces fashion doll lines like Paula, a Kelly-doll clone, and Kari Mitchell, a Barbie clone.

Collector MSJ has photos of a new M & C Toy Centre doll shown here. Her post reminded me that I had seen some new Kari Mitchell clothes set - shown below - recently at Big Lots. The doll included in the clothing set has been seen in older sets, but the clothes and the accessories are new.

Additional information about Kari Mitchell dolls can be read at this John Medeiros article for Master Collector Online. More current information can be found at the Power Team Yahoo Group.

P.S. Sometimes this series is spelled "Kari Mitchell" and other times, "Kari Michell."


Niel Camhalla said...

I like the color scheme of her wardrobe as opposed to the usual playline pink. Too bad, it's not available here.

Niel Camhalla said...

And oh, I also like the blue set. =)

AilanthusAltissima said...

Great post! I purchased two or three Kari Mitchell sets from Big Lots several years ago, but I don't know much about the company that produced them. For some reason, I thought this was a Canadian line. The dolls I bought were African American, but I didn't really like the doll itself much (I didn't care for the sculpt or the facepaint and in general I don't like bent-arm dolls and this one has two bent arms!). I donated teh dolls to Goodwill right after I bought the sets. I bought them for the clothes, which were intersting, but not the best quality. I ended up selling the clothes on ebay a few years ago when I was downsizing my collection and they fetched more money than I thought they would. I think the complete set of black clothes went for about $20 (which might have been more than I paid for the set including the doll) and had a few bidders on it. I have seen the Kari Mitchell clothes on dolls in a number of colletions (mostly on Silkstones and Fashion Royalty dolls). I am surprised at the popularity of this playline doll among adult collectors (of collectible adult dolls).

D7ana said...

Hi, Niel and AilanthusAltissima!

I'm glad you enjoyed the post ;-D

I think the appeal of the Kari Mitchell fashions is that they resemble "real" fashions that you could find in someone's closet. True, the quality is middling, and the cut/size is for smaller sized dolls. (Think Model Muse Barbies, Momokos, Jennys, or Susies.) But there is fabric texture and color variety so that helps extend doll wardrobes.

The Kari Mitchell set that I bought, I got for the outfits. The dolls themselves look bland and generic. I'll either use mine for repaint practice or donate her.

I've never seen African American Kari Mitchell dolls. They're probably made with the same mold as the White dolls and with a similar facial treatment so I don't suppose that they would be much more interesting. Sigh.

Interesting point, M & C Toy Centre creates the most varied male action figures for their price range - $5 for some single figures, more usually though $10 for a single figure. I suppose their doll line is secondary.

D7ana said...

Y. T. Chin founded Hong Kong based M & C Toy Centre Ltd. in 1979. More information about them is available here.

Checking their customer list, the Philippines is not there now, but they cite Indonesia - PT Emway as a customer. Of course, that information is probably as useful to you, Niel, as hearing that Ricky Martin dolls and doll clones are available in Mexico ;-P Except that the M & C line might reach the Philippines one day.

Ms. Leo said...

I have purchase a few of these outfits. I have an older version of the black, brown, pink, blue and green, red and maroon. I like most of the outfits! I a few items like a skirt won't work for me but most do. A lot of the Barbie line is a little hoochie for my taste. Mattel went that way chasing Bratz. These items are more conservative. I like a skirt that falls at the knee. The doll... I keep one. You always need backround people. Not everyone can be a star. Some have to be extras. They do black and white dolls with the same face mold. Their velvet pieces are really nice. I don't think that their quality is any worse that the Barbie play line. Also they make it so you can easily mix and match pieces or do a one color theme! They fit older dolls like Julia but recently the coats are smaller. They use to be carried at Target too. Now I only see them at Big lot. Fashion Corner is the only company making doll clothes that is not doing a doll.

D7ana said...

Thanks, Ms. Leo, for your helpful comments. I laughed when I read the bit about Barbie's clothes being "hoochie" - but I know what you mean.

Good point also about the need for background players. I probably have too many divas for my good LOL.

And yes, the materials and the craftmanship of the Kari Mitchell clothes are as good as - if not better - than the Mattel playline outfits. The shoes and accessories are not as good, but yes, the clothes are okay. Not Fashion Royalty or Susie fine, but decent enough.

And those skirts do reach the knees ;-D LOL

smidge girl said...

Wow, thanks for the post, those sets have come really nice pieces, especially the coats! Sadly, probably another thing I'll never find here in Chicago. No Big Lots around here. But, maybe when I go home to visit after the holidays:) I'll definitely keep my eyes open!

D7ana said...

You're welcome, Smidge Girl! In addition to Big Lots!, I've seen the Kari Mitchell line at KB Toys. So Big Lots isn't the only U.S. distributor of Kari Mitchell. M & C Toy Centre also notes these other U.S. stores as selling their products: American Sales, Cherrywood, Dollar General, Duckwall, Far East Brokers, JCPenney, Kerr Drug, Kinney Drug, Lakeshore, NAMCO, ToysRus, WRT, Wisconsin Toy. Note: I have bought Power Team figures from Dollar General and a Paula doll from CVS Drugstore. I vaguely recall seeing the Kari Mitchell doll + wardrobe sets at Toys R Us. So you might not have to wait as long as you thought ;-D

Happy hunting!

AilanthusAltissima said...

Hi again. The African-American ones I had were the just brown versions of the caucasian doll (same facepaint and hairstyle). I think the doll was okay for being a playline doll which is why I gave them to Goodwill - I was hoping they would end up with a little girl who wanted a new doll in good condition. As I recall, some of the clothes (mostly tops) can fit bigger dolls dolls like Fashion Royalty because they were made from stretchy material and closed with velcro. I really did not like the handbags at all (and there were so many of them). I never tried the shoes and boots on any doll, so I am not sure which dolls they fit. I doubt the shoes fit a regular Barbie. Nevertheless, I see the clothes on Silkies and FRs quite a bit among collectors who have a lot of high end clothing.

D7ana said...

Hi, AilanthusAltissima :-D

I thought that the African-American ones were just brown versions of the Caucasian dolls. Thanks for confirming that guess.

I have a Tika head on a poser My Scene Madison body who can wear the Kari Mitchell low boots. So the tiny-footed Barbies can wear those shoes. Smartees dolls also have extremely small feet - probably even smaller than Barbies, I need to check - so they, too, might be able to wear the KM shoes.