I love the Japanese dolls and am anxiously awaiting their release. The difference (for me) is that the Japanese influence has been hot in the fashion world for a few years now. The doll pictured above actually looks more like a fashion model than part of the DOTW collection - really fashion forward! Those Russian Silkies look more DOTW-ish than BFMC (Barbie Fashion Model Collection). To be honest, I have not purchased a new Silkstone in years - not since the release of the last lingerie doll. The Madmen dolls are great, but I am not into character dolls and the Palm Beach collection just doesn't move me. I would love for them to do more Lingerie dolls, but I am probably in the minority.
I like the second and third Russian Silkstones; the first one does nothing for me, I'm afraid, and the Russian Ken gives me the creeps.
I like Birthday Barbie, though, and the Lucy and Ricky set is adorable.
I'm from Russia and I'm not into any kind of folk designs. Russian doll collectors usually just ignore the "Russian folk" dolls that appear on the market (DOTW, Blythe, anything). But these Silkstones are the dolls that many of my buddy collectors put on their wishlists immediately. The point is, this year I really DID see young and fashionable people in both Russian capitals wearing Russian-style shawls and kerchiefs, more and more girls wear plaits :D