Picture of the Week Award ~ 8/16/09

Stratos Bacalis used the Vogue Magazine cover seen above as his inspiration to create one using Fashion Royalty dolls.

I asked Stratos to provide a little background on the making of the photograph. He wrote:
"It was difficult to shoot as no more than 5 dolls at a time could fit into my light-box do lighting and background had to be kept the same for the combined shoots. The black & white outfit choice was necessary to maximise the impact and keep it tasteful (I wanted to do the white and blue like vogue but I do not have enough blue items if any in my stash). Lots of thinking went into how the ladies would be combined. It was certain from the get go that they would all be FR ladies but not NU Face girls (they will get their own cover later, plus I do not have all the NU face girls yet). I tried to even the hair colouring - same number of blonds in both groups. The two African-American ladies ended up in the second group due to the dresses and not their skin colour - two white outfits are in each group but the first had both white dresses with a full short skirt that meant that the two black outfits with a short full skirt would have to be in another group and from that point everything fell into place. I tried to convey the feeling of the original Vogue cover as much as possible but it is not always easy, plus I have no ladders to use in this scale. In the end I think it still looks good."

If you would like to read Stratos' blog, see more of his photographs and learn more about the man, here is the link to the Fashion Doll Chronicles, his fashion doll blog: http://fashiondollchronicles.blogspot.com/

Congratulations, Stratos on the Picture of the Week Award!




I Vant to Suck Your Blood

Until recently Vampires were the stuff of horror novels and movies. Stories of the undead go way back in mythology and folklore but according to Wikipedia, the "charismatic and sophisticated vampire of modern fiction was born in 1819 with the publication of The Vampyre by John Polidori..." "However, it is Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula that is remembered as the quintessential vampire novel and provided the basis of the modern vampire legend."

My Mom told me that when she was a teen she saw the original Dracula movie and was truly terrified. It was reported in newspapers that at the opening of this film, members of the audience actually fainted at seeing the horror. Bella Lugosi could scare the crap out of a door knob without saying a word.
Oddly enough it was my mother who introduced me to Anne Rice's books. First I read the fabulous Mayfair Witch series and then I went on to read The Vampire Chronicles and the rest of her books. If you have never read her witch novels, you don't know what you're missing! The two themes ultimately entwine. They are very satisfying. The Twilight series pales by comparison. There are similarities Meyers sprinkled in her books but like the entire series, there is no depth.
This wasn't meant to be a book review but I just finished reading the Twilight series. Most of it was fun and rather simple-minded. There was nothing scarier than speeding cars in any of the four books. The really scary vampires get torn to pieces or go floating off back to Italy.
For those who couldn't get enough of the Twilight movie, Robert Tonner produced Edward and Bella last year. They are two of the most boring-looking dolls that could be imagined. Robert Pattinson does not look like this doll. I wonder what he thought when he saw it. Kristen Stewart is prettier than her vinyl counterpart as well. But I think the vacant look on the doll portrays Bella's personality well. Edward's hair looks afraid.
Images are property of Tonner Doll Company.
Last week, Mattel revealed their version of Bella and Edward. The Mattel dolls are truly tragic. There was no attempt to make the Bella doll look like the character at all. She's Barbie. The Edward doll looks like a miniature Tonner Edward with bad skin.
Image property of Mattel.
Come on...this guy is fabulous-looking. I collect Tonner's dolls and if there were a doll that looked like Robert Pattinson, it would have been in my house already.
What will 'Twilight' stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson think of their Barbie doll counterparts?
Now for a little more realism in a set of (just under) 7" action figures from NECA. According to promotional material they are posable and highly detailed. They're very appealing at under $30 for the pair compared to $139.99 retail for Tonner's dolls. Mattel's duo come in at about $25 each.
Give me Lestat, Louis or Marius any day.


Photo: Vampire bat

By the way, bats are good. They eat mosquitoes.


Mini Gene Dolls Set to Debut

It was announced to the public that three new Hollywood Royalty dolls based on the fictitious Gene Marshall designed by Mel Odom, would be coming soon.
I have created three montages to show the new dolls and the original 16" Gene doll upon which it is based. The original dolls were manufactured by Ashton-Drake and are some of the earliest of all the Genes.
"Blue Caprice" is based on Blue Goddess [inset]

"Red Desire" based on Red Venus [inset]

"Midnight Lace" based on Pin Up [inset]

The first two will be available from dealers, the last, Midnight Lace, will be a W Club exclusive available to lottery winners. Each is a limited edition of only 250. The estimated delivery date is Mid-Late November, 2009. And the price is a whopping $150.

I like the idea of these dolls. I was never a movie star-doll lover and Lana Turner, although nice, never really grabbed me. Josephine Baker wasn't a Hollywood star and I didn't care for the quality of the dolls. Since I am already fond of the Gene line, past and present, these are "just right" (says Goldilocks.)

I've had people ask me today who Gene Marshall was. I suppose for non-Gene collectors it can be confusing to find out that she wasn't anyone but the product of the creative mind of her creator.
There's a touch of sibling rivalry going on between dedicated Gene collectors and Fashion Royalty collectors. Some are saying that Integrity should have made these into 16" dolls. It's never enough! I think the Gene line this year was amazing!
With that said, two new dolls in the Return to Hollywood (Gene) line-up have been announced and they are absolutely gorgeous.

Pearls and Pink Ivy "Vee J." Jordan® Dressed Doll

Heat Wave Violet Waters® Dressed Doll

Both dolls are limited to just 200 each and are estimated to arrive in October, 2009. Price $119.00

"Best Drama" IFDC Convention Doll, Lifeball, Vanessa

Stunning, sleek, sophisticated, that is in a nutshell my description of "Best Drama", the 2009 convention souvenir from this year's IFDC. She is part of the newly introduced Monogram collection which purports to showcase the runway designs of Jason Wu. We're still looking for this dress. Perhaps it will show up in a future runway show.
The packaging is dramatic with a striking and dynamic color splash on the front of the box. Tying the doll to the box were gray ribbons with Jason Wu woven into them. I am wondering about the brass (?) closure folded over the top of the box. It's beautiful, substantial and excessive. I thought at first it could be used as part of the stand but that's not true. It's truly useless.

I put my Lifeball and Best Drama together and decided to switch a few things around.

First of all, I removed the crinoline from under Lifeball's gown to allow the fabric to drape gracefully. I took off her hat and gave it to Best Drama and replaced LB's jewelry with that of Agnes OV. Lifeball got a black ring.The rose themed jewelry on BD was tacky-looking so I switched it up with LB's earrings and added a rhinestone cluster at her waist, rhinestone bracelet and ring. Black looks so good with diamonds.
Here are two more views of Best Drama.

The biggest surprise of all was the intricate and delicate embroidered embellishment on the hosiery. The designers provided shoes with strappy ribbons that interfere with this beautiful detail work. I changed the shoes to plain black pumps.

The quality of this product is excellent. Value for the dollar is questionable but I'd rather have the finest of dolls for $225. than a defective doll for $125.
The biggest mistake Integrity could make would be to start knocking these dolls out one after the other. Why? Well, in 2006 there were only 11 Vanessas, each was highly sought after and very collectible. Then the company started to produce more Vanessas: In Bloom (Club Doll), Pale Fire, Going Places, (2007 Convention Souvenir), High Tide, Color Therapy, Metal Maven, Shirred Not Shaken (2008 Centerpiece Doll).
They were all beautiful but part of an overload of Vanessas. Club members asked for it and they got it. One must be careful what one asks for.
Two years later there are now about 19 Vanessas and the latest ones are hard to give away. There hasn't been a amazing knock-out Vanessa since Miami Glow.
There will be one more Vanessa as part of the convention collection this year. She is called "Luxe Life" and is a "re-edition." I wouldn't mind having Lush Life's gown again but I hope this Vanessa is drop dead gorgeous. This image is the property of Integrity Toys and shows Lush Life Veronique.


Woodstock Festival ~ Happy 40th Birthday!

Living in Woodstock, I am often asked about the festival that took place in 1969. Some are disappointed when I tell them that the festival didn't actually take place here but rather in Bethel, NY. The founder of the festival, Michael Lang is from Woodstock. An interesting book provides much of the backstory on the making of Woodstock is called "Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life." Written by Elliot Tiber in 2007 with Tom Monte, it reveals much of the wheeling and dealing that went on behind the scenes in order to secure a site for the concert. The movie Taking Woodstock based on Tiber's memoir will arrive in theaters on August 28, 2009.

Today in WWD Fashion, there is an article and an interesting video about the fashions coming out of those days and how they have lasted and are still seen in today's fashions.
Woodstock at 40: Fields of Fashion

Link to the behind-the-scenes video of the fashion shoot:

Dolls' fashions have certainly been influenced by the aura of the hippie. The doll that immediately comes to mind is from Mattel's Great Fashions of the 20th Century, "Peace & Love 70s Barbie." This doll was issued in 2001.
I should have kept this gal as she is fetching some really pretty prices now.

Come to Woodstock! Look me up and I'll meet you in town. But don't expect to find the festival. What you will find are street musicians, drummers, Grandpa Woodstock (very strange man), cute boutiques, a great quilt supply store, head shops, original art of every description, a great store for Flax clothing, a well known candle shop, Birkenstocks, incensed atmosphere, ice cream, lots of dogs, a few wandering hippies, beautiful scenery and lots of other tourists. Of course if you come on the weekend you are sure to get rain and mud. It's a tradition.

If you know of any dolls with a hippie vibe, please post a link in the comments. I'd love to add more doll pictures to this post.

Thanks to a kind reader we now have another doll to look at with a "hippie vibe."

The manufacturer was Ideal Toys and she was called "Harmony, the Music-Makin' Doll." Her outfits are adorable and she's got nicely articulated arms. She's the same size as Cissy at 21". I found this brief video of a working Harmony doll on Youtube:

Thanks so much, Catherine, for this information!

Added on August 12->
A friend just sent me this picture of a doll dressed in hippie style. She's not sure if it's Daisy or Willow designed by Doug James. I think it's Willow.


Picture of the Week Award ~ August 6, 2009

This week's award goes to LeeAnn in Pennsylvania for this wonderfully funny picture of her doll called Devil Debra. Debra's antics often include a Voodoo doll that sports a multitude of pins.

LeeAnn told me that Debra inspires her and often provides a channel for expressing feelings. The doll itself is an Elfdoll by Rainman whose original name is Hana (Devil). It came in two versions although both were neuter gendered. The differences were the face-ups and outfits. The doll is a 20cm resin BJD that was released in 2006 and came with four different face-plates.

See more wonderfully humorous photos showcasing this doll's antics at 5th Avenue Vixens
and on Prego where LeeAnn is the Admin.
Congratulations, LeeAnn, on creating a big personality from a small doll that so many of us enjoy.