2/21/2011

Michel Couture's Flavia, Grande Duchesse de Beauharnaise

Flavia, Grande-Duchesse de BEAUHARNAISE


 
 I was very surprised to be contacted by Mel Odom several weeks ago with a message saying that Hayworth would like to send me a doll. I provided Mel with my address and last week the doll arrived. That was the second surprise. To be quite honest, I have heard nothing but bad press regarding Michel Couture/Hayworth. Stories of deposits made and held for months with no product abound. Apparently, this gentleman attended a convention with samples of his products and took deposits but did not deliver. That's not to say that the deposits were not returned. I have no idea.
However, to the surprise of many, this doll won a 2011 DOTY Industry's Choice Award

Putting on my neutral hat, I guarantee that this review is not colored by what I've heard from others, just by my experience and the product itself.

Flavia is packaged in a white shipper inside of a nice black box which is reminiscent of early years of Fashion Royalty doll packaging.

The suit fits very well. I was able to put her gloves on without much difficulty. Her shoes fit over her stockings.
 Jewelry is a pair of gold metal rhinestone cluster earrings and a strand of rhinestones for a necklace. One jacket pocket has a black and clear rhinestone starburst pin.
Flavia's suit is a neutral woven fabric of black, taupe and white and is lined in light gray. The construction is excellent. The zipper on the back of the skirt was slightly off by a notch or two but this was of no account. Her stockings are thigh high and shoes are vinyl. I love the faux snakeskin train case. It has a pouch inside along with the designer's name. The closure is an elastic that goes over a brass finding. Her muff is shaggy. The hat is a wonderfully huge straw thing. It fits snugly on her head. That and the train case are my favorite pieces.

The doll herself has a pretty but cartoonish face. She bears an uncanny resemblance to Joe Tai's Ingrid in the mouth and chin area.
Her hair is neatly and nicely done up but the view from the side isn't pretty because the rooted hair stops and leaves a great deal of empty head where there should be hair.
The doll has limited articulation. Neck, arms at shoulders, waist and legs at hips are jointed. I am used to fully articulated 12" dolls. Michel Couture needs to put less emphasis on this doll as a model and more emphasis on his well made clothing. Her body is behind the times.
The suit fits the tall Fashion Royalty body. The hat fits as well but this hairstyle doesn't work well as the part of the hat that would sit on the dolls head needs a flat hairdo.

 I placed a piece of Kyori's hair inside the jacket to hide the lining. Due to the shape of the jacket opening, the lining shows all the time.

My package had no other information regarding availability or price so I went to the website. About the website - it is grandiose and pretentious. Go yourself and see what I mean. 

This doll is listed as: Flavia, Grande-Duchesse de BEAUHARNAIS® Mannequin Habillé de Luxe.™ She is sold along with with a separate fashion called Pariser Platz Modèle de Luxe™for the sum of $299.99. 

The Pariser Platz outfit alone lists for $150. I looked high and low to find if the doll was available separately but could  not find that information so I wrote to them directly. Unfortunately I have not received a response. I also asked if the merchandise was in stock and ready to ship. No reply.

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 Please do not hesitate to leave comments regarding your experience or knowledge about this doll company or the designer. Just click on the little comment link. You can be anonymous.

23 comments:

  1. Ingrid! That's who she looks like! I didn't order this doll. The outfits were pretty from what I had seen, but she was too overpriced. Thanks for the pics of her body. She seems like a Barbie or Candi clone to me. I am glad I did not order her.

    steven

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  2. The first thing I thought of when I saw the doll was Ingrid as well. The clothes are beautiful and look very well made, but I see what you mean about the website (or should I say "atelier").
    Very interesting to see the doll and clothing at last. I know that many people have been anxiously waiting for her.
    xo Hilda

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  3. Terri, another great review. I simply can't understand their pricing. While I think the clothing is very nice looking, I could easily buy several fashions by Randall Craig or Dressmaker Details for the price of one doll. I personally think the Barbie Basics are much prettier dolls, too. Heck I could even buy a FR2 and a fashion or two. As you know I'm a young collector and I have to be mindful of my spending so when weighing the options of what $299.99 could buy me, let's just say that this doll will never make me part with my money.

    Thanks for your reviews and commentary. They're always wonderful.

    Best Regards,
    Matt

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  4. The suit is lovely, but remarkably expensive. And I agree, the focus should be on the clothing and not on the doll. Honestly I thought it was a repainted Barbie until you explained otherwise.
    Are those prices high, or is my Barbie mindset showing?

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  5. I thought from the minute I saw her that it was Ingrid. I also am not a fan of the hairline. Her clothing looks wonderful, but overpriced compared to what is out there.

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  6. @Aubrey: I don't think your Barbie mindset is showing at all. Let's see, for $299.99 you would get a doll with limited articulation and two complete outfits. That's more than most Fashion Royalty gift sets! So, yes, I think the prices are very high.
    Terri

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  7. Neferkiti@AOL.com2/22/11, 9:32 AM

    I purchased just the doll as I had previously purchased the outfit directly from Hayworth Couture. Micahel emailed me that the dolls were on there way. I responded that I would not pay untill the dolls were in the USA ready to ship. He said he had 100 dolls. When I got her, I also thought Joe Tai Ingrid, of which I have one. She is pricey, but the new FR2 are 175.00 issue price so this isn't that much more. He also indicated that this is the only dressed doll, the other proposed items are outfits only.
    Neferkiti of FL

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  8. If she has a shaggy muff she should consider a Brazilian wax.

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  9. fwiw, I did see the 2nd outfit in person in Doll Peddlar's room at FR10. Same packaging. Marked down to 95, I think. I didn't buy it. I did take a photo and post it on facebook.

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  10. This doll has a clown face. Worse than any Ingrid mold. I guess the dude paid for his DOTY?

    I can't see how anyone would trust this man as far as they can throw him. Anyone read the FAQs? Written by a very delusional person, IMO.
    Nothing about this is right. Just NOTHING.

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  11. I think that it is an interesting concept, (although the website is in my opinion tragic), two things that I wonder is 1: what is the point of these niche market dolls? Integrity has the volume to just do it better...Fufu La Doll is an edition of 500, not artistic in the slightest with an average costume.
    I am stunned that she won the DOTY, and that Mel Odom would put his name behind something with such a torrid history?

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  12. Mel did say at a signing in November he had something in the works. I certainly hope this isn't what he meant.

    The clothing looks wonderful, but the doll looks too much like JT's Ingrid, just smaller. Personally, would like to see her as a 16" doll with more articulation.

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  13. Hello, Terri! First of all thank you for sharing your thoughts about this doll. As for the merits of the doll, I think the fashions are just gorgeous and true to its "French couture" claim. As for the price, I must say--it is relatively reasonable (given the current inflationary trend of the Chinese yuan, thus increasing factory costs). Lastly, I love the doll, too! On a somber note, looking at this doll (which is referred to as an Ingrid-clone by other collectors) makes me a bit sad as I miss the late Joe Tai. Hugs!

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  14. An infamous joke of a doll and "designer". Whatever possessed Mel Odom to get involved with this crock of s...?
    It's also obvious this scam artist bought his DOTY with the money he got from ripping off all those people. Shame...

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  15. i actually find i like her face. and the outfit clearly looks fantastic. it's out of my personal price range, but if i saw this with a discount and could "cash & carry" in person i might consider it. [i don't live near most doll shows anyway, so that probably wouldn't happen even if possible.] thanks for the pics.

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  16. @Lorrence: I miss Joe, too. So sad that he's gone. So young.

    @Anonymous: How is it obvious that someone could have bought a DOTY? That's a ridiculous thing to say without proof or some type of substantive information.

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  17. Question - is this "designer" still trying to see how many gullible people are in the doll world? After the IFDC fiasco, I kind of thought he would just gracefully disappear. I know he found a magazine that believes him! I still cannot believe that! How in the world did he get involved with Mel Odom? Wow, just sadly amazing. I personally never purchased anything from him, and would not do so in the future.

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  18. FR2 dolls are better articulated than this doll and has nicer accessories (i.e. shoes that are not plastic. This doll does not compare.

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  19. I met Michel in 2007 and ordered two dolls at the time which required a deposit. At the same event (IFDC), I won a raffle of a dressed doll wearing the ensemble Treffen im Tiergarten. The doll was removed right before the raffle and on the note card which was included with a bottle of Champagne and Chocolates it mentioned that once finished in production, the doll would be sent to the winner (I still have the paperwork from it as well as all correspondence).

    The first year, Michel kept in contact via email. After the first year all contact ceased. When I learned that Michel would not be attending IFDC in 2009 I asked for a refund. In Sept 2009 I received an email stating that the first outfit was now ready to ship but that my items that were ordered were not yet produced and that they preferred to refund. After two weeks and no refund came, I inquired again via mail and received a reply that accused me of spreading misinformation and how disappointed Michel was with me for no longer supporting him. Here it had been over two years, with one year of no communication and he is disappointed in me?! I did of course receive my refund in full in 2010 however no prize came my way and from what I have read, the only doll being released is this one and the rest will be outfits. It appears that my raffle prize will not even be produced.

    That said, I think the doll is nice to a degree (yes, it does look like JT’s Ingrid though I have not compared it to my Ingrid yet. It isn’t the doll we viewed at IFDC) and the outfit is beautifully detailed (JMO) yet the lack of rooted hair in the back is very unforgiving and not flattering.

    The price point is not what I would be comfortable with and the fabric changed as well from the one we viewed at IFDC and is much thinner (is it made of cotton)? The first doll that we were shown at IFDC had a nicer face and better screening.

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  20. There's a French "sauce béarnaise" which might have served as an "inspiration" (sigh, not again...) for this conglomerate.

    Am I wrong or is this an Ingrid head on a Barbie body?

    As our secretary of state for defence (Germany)has cheated on his doctor's thesis and Integrity have been , ehhrrmm, taken away by runway designs, why not try this way?

    Swim with the sharks or however that saying goes.

    I am sooooo fed up.

    Petra

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  21. wow, I am really late on my comments!I'm not familiar with Ingrid, but when I saw your pics, I thought she was a repainted Barbie doll ^_^
    I do think that price is too high, that's for sure, even if the clothes seem to be wonderfull, the doll really isn't (and plastic shoes?...)
    Not my cup of tea, definetelly.

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  22. I was wrong. Doll Peddlar had Paris Pariser Platz™ at FR10 for 125, not less.

    They still have it on their site for 117.25

    http://www.dollpeddlar.com/product_info.php?products_id=21262

    This is probably the only way to order this item and be sure you get it. It's been suggested this was the prototype one and nothing was every actually produced.

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  23. To obtain a DOTY Award all you have to be is a doll artist or manufacturer who sends an electronic entry form to DOLLREADER Magazine.
    There are instructions here:http://www.dollreader.com/doty.php

    I found 2 of the RULES interesting:
    Rule #2:

    2. For the 2011 DOTY Awards, you, as an artist and/or manufacturer or duly authorized representative, may enter doll(s) first introduced after Jan. 1, 2010 and made available for sale during 2010 and 2011, as long as they were not entered in past DOTY programs.

    and ##3:

    3. All entries for the 2011 DOTY Awards must have been first introduced after January 1, 2010. Entries must have been produced for sale (but not necessarily sold) during calendar years 2010 and/or 2011. All entered dolls must be available for delivery to the general public by Nov. 1, 2011. All dolls submitted for DOTY consideration must be available for sale nationally and/or internationally. One-of-a-kind artist dolls already sold are eligible.

    See the rest of the RULES & Eligibility here:
    http://www.dollreader.com/pdfs/doty/DOTY_rules_2011.pdf

    Questions: Kathryn Peck, 617-706-9081, kpeck@madavor.com
    (This is not me). I am merely an interested collector.

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