what time do you think mattel/barbie was in their prime for you? like was there ever a time where they were consistently making high quality interesting dolls?
Definitely when it was 2002-ish to 2007, aka when Bratz was kicking their asses and Mattel HAD to release interesting, high quality dolls. My Scene, Fairytopia, The Fairytale movie tie in lines were all really high quality dolls and even though they had features meant for younger audiences, the fact that all their accessories, clothing and general quality is much higher than even today’s collector dolls says something.
Fashion Fever was genuinely one of the best play line dolls with its high quality clothing, variated head sculpts, the fact they came with stands, etc. Hell, even the furniture and accessories wouldn’t look out of place next to Rement.
Not to mention Cali Girl was the last high profile beach doll line, everything that came out afterwards was definitely low budget, generic junk.
The Collectors Line was at its best in the early to mid 2000s, and the dolls are still really sought after even now.
Of course I’m biased cuz that’s when I started collecting (around 2004ish) but asides from a few dolls, all the quality was sucked out of Barbie right around when Mattel won the lawsuit against Bratz, and it never returned despite Monster High getting that kind of attention and detail.
But asides from the saturation of the Generation Girl Barbie sculpt, I do think 2002-2007 was one of Barbie’s best eras and there’s a lot more hits than misses in terms of designs and quality.