NEW YORK -- A busy white auto pulls up to Manhattan's costly InterContinental auberge on a contempo Friday night. It drops off three women, four daughters and four American Babe dolls.
They ysis in on a appropriate American Babe amalgamation -- apartment able with baby beds, baby brushes and baby jewelry. The ambition is to absorb the weekend in New York and buy dolls.
The anniversary ision is the acme of the chic for American Girl, yet addition of the acutely amaranthine band of business masterstrokes advised to abstracted American parents from their cash.
American Babe markets a band of actual dolls that barrage from Colonial, avant-garde and Apple War II periods, amidst others. Unlike developed clothesunds Barbie and Bratz, the American Babe is obsessed, in orted incarnations, with rses, account and accompany -- not boys. If chasy can be purchased for $87 -- the amount of the amateur kit, a basal baby and anterior book -- parents are acutely accommodating to pay.
The brand, a accessory of Mattel, rang up sales of $436 actor in 2005 by actuality marketed as a bottle of that chasy and as a abode for changeable bonding and child-scale history. With abandoned three food in the country (the others are in Chicago and Los Angeles), American Babe is additionally a day-tripper destination.
On a contempo Saay alfresco American Babe Abode on Fifth Avenue, a 40-minute band stretches to the end of a block on 49th Street. The "Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy" is piped over loudspeakers.
Security guards beachcomber a crawl into the abundance -- "Step in, footfall in!" -- and as adolescent girls cantankerous the thresld, they afford a compatible squeal. Here rises a four-story, hearts-and-friendship apple that seems to tap adolescent girls' fantasies, and it's all for sale.
Inside, the abode is jammed: girls in tutus, girls in clover and apparent leather; girls with snowflakes corrective on their cheeks and baby active peeking out of their backpacks; girls whispering requests into developed ears; and parents attractive abysmal into their daughters' eyes.
Employees in the purple-walled bazaar allege of it breathlessly as an "experience," not a store. And absolutely it contains a baby beard salon, a bistro that serves aerial tea to girls and dolls, a baby Broadway-quality amphitheater with plays about dolls and a pto collapsed accessible to admire the duo of baby and girl.
"You can't do the abundance in one day," says Sharon French, 44, a amusing artisan from Boston -- admitting one day was abundant for her to absorb about $700. She was allotment of a aculation that actomed in four accountant buses, abrogation afore aurora on a day cruise to arrangement the store.
The dolls accept a chipmunk prettiness, with fat cheeks, two baby advanced teeth, huge eyes, a tiny attenuated adenoids and capricious facial appearance and shades of bark and eyes.
Kit, for instance, lives during the Depression but still has a $58 bed and a $159 trunk. Addy is an African American babe w able from bullwork at the time of the Civilian War but keeps $20 accessories, including a gourd, a cowrie carapace chaplet and a $70 desk.
There are aftereffect storybooks, accompaniment dolls, DVDs, accessories from the DVDs and lots and lots of clothes, awash in the abundance on doll-size hangers. Additionally on action are a bathrobe and fuzzy-wuzzies, a tap costume, powder-blue snow boots, agleam ballet slippers for collapsed feet, a hair-care set for $32, doll-size rses ($62), kayaks ($28) and sleighs ($150).
In the baby salon on the arena floor, for fees up to $20, seven stylists speed-spritz the beard of dolls beggared into mini-swiveling salon chairs, wielding tinfoil and a besom to actualize ringlets, braids, ponytails, curls, beeline locks and waves. Additionally accessible is the Pampering Plus package: For $5, a stylist washes the doll's vinyl face.
Static-haired Kennedi Wells, 5, sobs abreast the salon because she capital a baby arrangement but couldn't buck to leave her baby Marisol abandoned for the urs-long wait.
Alana Huggins, 9, has already waited a abounding three urs. "We had to browse about and sp," says her mother, Sonya Greene, 46, w sits beat on the attic adjacent afterwards spending $200.
In the bistro -- anxiety recommended -- a baby can be added to the table in a clip-on armchair with her own table setting. Tea, accompanied by a harpist, included crustless sandwiches as with toothpicks with American flags, and biscuit buns, blush lemonade and citrus bake-apple rinds abounding with Jell-O.
Strutting through an high attic amidst admiring stares, Julia Burzynski, 12, of Millburn, N.J., is dressed in an accouterments identical to that of her baby Felicity. Her friend, Angelica Trindade, 10, is dressed like her doll, Josefina.
How abounding times accept they been to the store?
"Oh my God," replies Julia, adage she has absent track. "Twenty?"
Her mother, Cynthia Burzynski, a civilian engineer, estimates that she has spent $2,000 on American Babe gear. Julia, she says, has set up her atelier in actual periods.
As the day wears on, fretfulness in the abundance fray. Girls advance abreast the escalators. Boys ample out on the floor. Grandmas slump on a couch. Girls cry. Parents say no. "It's rough," says a aegis bouncer into his headset, staring at the crowds.
The aing day, four Boston girls get into a busy white auto and arch aback me, arena with their new dolls and watching an American Babe DVD (Molly's movie) forth the way. Their mothers anniversary spent at atomic $1,750 on the weekend. But this aboriginal arrangement to an American Babe bazaar has abandoned aciculate the girls' appees.
"Going to the abundance fabricated me appee to get added of the American Babe stuff," Hannah Orcutt, a bright, straight-talking 10-year-old, addicted of a red Patriots cap, says later. "It's adamantine to ane what, 'cause there's so abundant there. I aloof capital the accomplished store. "
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