Here is my review of the Jason Wu Net-A-Porter Aymeline doll by Integrity Toys, the lilac version. There is also a plum version where the doll’s skin tone is Nubian and the dress is plum. The lilac version is Japan toned. Both have the same Aymeline sculpt with the same screening but with color variations. Both of their edition size is 500.
Before these two there have been two other Aymelines from 2020; Midnight Garden Aymeline and Celebration Aymeline, which also wear Jason Wu’s fashions. The former mentioned was a Net-A-Porter exclusive with the edition size of 400, and the latter one was a convention exlusive with the edition size of 600. But let’s get back to my lilac Net-A-Porter exclusive Aymeline. She has without a doubt been the most difficult doll for me and many other collectors to acquire – ever!
The W Club first announced on November 13th 2021 that there would be these two new Aymelines released on or around the 15th. But because they would be Net-A-Porter releases, Integrity Toys (that manufactures the dolls) or the W Club (that gives info on IT dolls) would not be associated with the sale at all, and therefore would not know exactly when and how these dolls would be sold.
I don’t want to get too much into all the drama that ensued a 100-paged thread on the W Club forum about these dolls before no one had even seen them aside from the promo pictures by Integrity Toys…
But I will say that it included many sleepless nights and tiring days for many of us, me included. In the worst days I would check Net-A-Porter’s site on an hourly basis – especially after these dolls went for sale in the Asian and Australian sides of the store in mid-December. The thing with Net-A-Porter is that while you can order from any country, you can’t have your order shipped from that other country unless you have a shipping address there, so everyone just had to wait for the dolls to show up in their locations. And that was a loooong wait. Some days later I saw the dolls available for US customers, and it sucked not being able to buy. I kept waiting for a Europe release, and when nothing happened, I contacted Net-A-Porter.
I wouldn’t say Net-A-Porter has the worst customer service ever – the representatives who answered my inquiries at least tried to be helpful. But the most clueless customer service they do have. I was promised a follow-up email when the Aymeline dolls would be in stock and available for me to buy from Finland. And it was a when, not if. I never got that follow-up email, nor was I lucky enough to be put on the waitlist that some reps told other collectors about, and some reps told didn’t even exist. It was all very misleading when you got a different answer depending who you were talking to.
Eventually Aymeline appeared on the UK side of the Net-A-Porter site on January the 3rd. It was only because of a brilliant UK collector friend that I was able to buy the lilac Aymeline that I most wanted, as I had the doll shipped to her and she shipped her to me. I would have bought the plum version too had these not cost $250 per doll. But I’m grateful for the one doll I got! Aymeline took two weeks to arrive from the UK, and here she is:
Her box was not in the usual brown IT shipped box, but instead it came in a larger black Net-A-Porter box. I’m not a box collector, so I don’t mind not having the original shipper box. This is how Aymeline looks like in the box:
She really is a thing of beauty.
I love those bee earrings and ring! They are very imaginative; a completely new design by IT. And gunmetal is a rarer color in IT’s jewelry than silver or gold, a less predictable one. Aymeline comes with extra hands, neither of which have the long nails that IT nowadays gives their dolls. For some reason these Jason Wu exclusives come with ordinary hands. I guess it’s his choice, like his fashions are always very simple and bared down too. The shoes are simple but fit well, and a good fit is not always as obvious as it should be, so the shoes are fine. I love that little purse – it’s also a new design with its opening metal clasp! And it’s made of fabric and not pleather, so it won’t disintegrate in time, which is also good!
The dress actually consists of a top and a skirt, even though it’s not shown here. I like that it has two pieces that can be used separately; it makes it more versatile.
Aymeline’s earrings were a total pain to put on, though. I had to put them in an upward angle, as they wouldn’t go in any other way. It’s because this sculpt has a very low neck part on the head that the head sits lower on the neck than most other IT sculpts, so the posts of the earrings hit the knob inside the head when put in straight.
The promo pictures Net-A-Porter took for their site show the earrings just half-way in… And they are so terrible that I’m not going to show them here. I have seen before that Net-A-Porter and other high-end fashion retailers CAN’T take decent doll photos. If an item like earrings don’t work, just leave them out of the promo shot of the doll and photograph them separately, please. Don’t force them in the way they’re not supposed to go.
Anyway, I don’t think even the designer of this sculpt thought it through properly. Aymeline’s sculpt is a mini version of one of the 16 inch Avant Guards IT used to make years ago, and it looks like they wanted an exact copy of that with the short neck part and all. It must be easier to put the earrings on the bigger dolls since the earring post size remains the same. I still like this sculpt and I even like how it sits lower, so the neck looks shorter and the overall appearance is more human-like than that of other dolls by IT. The earring posts could be cut shorter and they would fit better, but I’m going to keep them as they are and make them work. And it can’t be seen here, but this doll’s right earring hole is a little bit higher than the left. It’s always annoying to me when the earring holes are not symmetrically punched… But as that’s her only fault, I’m pretty satisfied. I have received much, much worse dolls than this one, and very lately too. In fact, I think this one will forever remain among my very favorites out of all my 500 dolls.
I wanted this doll because she reminds me of Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey. I would name her Sybil if I didn’t already have a major character with that one. But I’m sure I will come up with a name just as beautiful for this beauty. I look forward to seeing where IT takes Aymeline next – and I sincerely hope that the next one is a W Club doll so that I can get her easily and might even get an extra one for a repaint. I can’t repaint my first Aymeline, as she has a perfect face. What do you think about Aymeline – this or the others?