Integrity Toys W Club Fifth Year Registration Opens

It was a cold snowy day on February 14, 2006 when we left Woodstock in the late afternoon headed for Manhattan and FAO Schwarz where the first W Club event was to be held. We actually made very good time into the city and had plenty of time to eat and traipse around on Fifth Avenue. By the time we headed over to the store, the line outside was already around the block. Flurries were in the frosty air but so were the sounds of expectant W Club members. We stayed warm by huddling together, yakking and laughing. When the uniformed doormen finally allowed us entry, the going was slow as all our entry cards were checked against a guest list. But we were finally inside.
I had not been in FAO in a million years, certainly not since it was renovated. I liked it better before the renovation but it was still amazing with masses of huge stuffed animals alongside the escalator accompanying us as we ascended to the next level. It was a mob scene up there; the noise level was astonishing. I greeted many people I had met in Canada four months earlier. My poor husband was surrounded by wide-eyed collectors everywhere; nevertheless, he survived to attend many more events after that one.
An Isha gift set called Final Cut Cannes was the event doll. It was in a free standing showcase and rather difficult to see and photograph. I don't think we got to take them home that night. Many procedures were changed as the event went forward and that is a good thing because that night we had to stand on lines to buy the doll and it took forever. All the Integrity staff was there and although the event lasted only two hours officially, it felt like much more. Did I forget to mention that what did accompany us home was the de rigueur New York blizzard?
Meeting other collectors changes the entire landscape of the game. Even if one is in contact regularly on-line with other collectors, face to face encounters are so very different. I was saddened to learn that there will not be a February event this year other than a virtual meeting. For some people, the New York event was the only one they ever attended or could afford to attend. It is definitely a loss. From a business point of view, it's the right move for Integrity as it saves a huge amount of money. In that respect, I don't blame them for cutting out the event. The members of the W Club are a built-in market at this point. No further promotion is necessary. I don't know if Integrity ever did participate in the actual Toy Fair event anyway.
That being said, promotion may not be necessary but quality is. I'm in a quandry. One of the upgrade dolls is an AvantGuard called Freeze Frame. I love her look but they are so difficult to pose standing up and are so, the best word I can think of is wiggly, that I don't know if I want another one. But she is very cute - especially the wig and I want that wig. The dress, meh. The boots are cute. What will I do with the stuff in the middle? When will we get an AG in a gown? I plan to cut that wig Lady GaGa length and get some big sparkly sunglasses. I want a Lady GaGa doll!!!!

Base membership in the W Club for 2010 is $50. The AvantGuard Freeze Frame is $160. plus shipping.
The other optional or upgrade doll is "Spring Forward" Eugenia Perrin. There is nothing about this doll I like except the blouse and shoes. I find her to look very much like the original Natalia. See the inset of Natalia "Behind Velvet Ropes." Eugenia appears way too stern-bordering on severe and that doesn't go along with the bright, happy colors used on her.

The price for Eugenia is $75 above the membership.
There is also an option to purchase both upgrade dolls. The total for that with the base membership comes to $285.
The prices are quite fair in light of what we've been paying for AG and FR. Both dolls are scheduled for a May delivery.

Many Integrity dealers are offering W Club members a one-time free shipping per member for the coming year until December 1, 2010. And....members will be offered the opportunity to purchase two other Fashion Royalty Club dolls and one AvantGuard doll in addition to the upgrade dolls. That's what I mean about a built-in market. We sign up; we buy.

Payment must be made by January 22, 2010.

Since there is no contest this year to award the person who signs up the most new members, you can tell them my poodle, Rudy, sent you.


Picture of the Week Award ~ December 27, 2009

We are wrapping up the POW Awards this year with a gorgeous repaint of a Sybarite Seville by Idrusa. It's obvious that there's a lot of talent here! The repaint and the photograph are beautiful.

If you would like to see more of Idrusa's work, here is the link to her flickr photostream.

Congratulations on the Picture of the Week Award, Idrusa.


Black Lace: The Third Mini-Gene Doll and Silver Zinger

Black Lace arrived yesterday and I couldn't wait to rip open the shipper to see if this one was as wonderful as the first two. I was not disappointed. Of course I don't see how this one should be the same price as the others because she doesn't really have an outfit...but...the lingerie she is wearing is very nicely made. The sheer peignoir drapes nicely. The teddy underneath fits beautifully. Her hair is neat, not frizzy, and well done.
The only thing I was wondering about was the beige bow in her hair. Did they run out of pink ribbon to match the ribbon trim on the fashion? Very strange.
I'm happy to have the three of them.

My good friend Ovaz sent me Silver Zinger's outfit as a Christmas gift. Doll collectors are a great bunch of people! I changed the belt and altered the earrings which were too long. It's a great outfit. Aren't the shoes terrific? These shoes have the opposite issue from the usual issue. The platform is too high for the heels. So we're still looking for the shoe that will stand on it's own thereby enabling the doll to pose in a natural way.


Picture of the Week Award ~ December 20, 2009

This week's Picture of the Week Award goes to Stacy Leigh for her "frankendollied" Violett Decora.
Violet is one of Doug James' creations and the body is the new 16" Joe Tai replacement body.


Follow Up to post "Are There Any Jewish Dolls?"

I wanted to add that I am aware that Night Warrior is supposed to represent Anna Valerious, a vampire hunter from the movie Van Helsing.
Her cross was not a fashion statement but rather form of protection. According to Bob Bankard "the Christian cross - which represented the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ - was an anathema to those who have experienced demonic resurrection."
Sideshow Toys made a similarly sized 12" doll that sold for $40. Someone on Amazon is trying to sell it for $250. You can find different sized ones scattered about but this one is the best - that is until Vanessa came along.

"jesus called he said he liked my nails"
Image by Audrey Kitching


Mini Genes: Blue Caprice and Red Desire

Blue Caprice is as close to perfect as any Integrity doll I've ever purchased. In these pictures she is standing without support. I snipped a few stray hairs and threads and that's it. Whatever they told the workers to do should be reinforced. The quality is excellent. It's very difficult to serge chiffon but it was done successfully without the edge being excessively perforated. Her hair could have been a gelled nightmare like we've seen for the past year but it's curled carefully and there's barely any visible fixative. What happened? Did she come out of a different factory? Hello! Is anyone at Integrity reading this? Please keep it up. OK...there's one thing - the earrings are overscaled. But I'll take that any day. I love this doll.

Red Desire is another well executed doll. Luckily the design of the original gown was made into a comprehensible whole as opposed to the odd styling of the original. Red has a sad look on her face that didn't show up in the promotional photos. She seems to be pleading for something. Her beautiful mahogany colored hair was done very well. The gown is made nicely except for the closure as you can see in the third picture below. I do not like papery flowers on my doll clothes but they're on the original so there was a reason for them to be there. The feather boa wrap doesn't shed as much as it might. Just shake it out after removing it from the box. The earrings are the same over-sized ones only these have red rhinestones.
I adore her tiny red shoes. I've been told that she has the Misaki size body with fashion feet (as opposed to articulated ankles.)

Isn't the photo of the comparison scary? Gene looks like an Amazon. The shoes shown on the Gene body did not come with the original dress but the scrunchy thing around her shoulders did.
I can't wait to get the third Mini Gene, Midnight Lace. I hope she's as well made as these two gals.
Attention to detail is one of the most important things in my evaluation of a doll. These two score very, very high in that department.

Osvaldo Vasquez, Dolly Dress Designer

Twice a year, Osvaldo Vasquez, aka Ovaz, debuts a new line of breathtaking gowns for 1/6 scale dolls. His creations are, for the most part, not for the faint-of-heart. Sequins, beads, lace, skin tight and sheer fabrics are his palette. Here are two from his latest collection. I want them!

Photos above by Ovaz

I interviewed Ovaz a few days ago. Here are the questions and his answers:

1. How you make the dresses?
All my dresses start in a scrap of paper. Sometimes I see a couple of dresses in a store and I vision a couple if each dress details into One design. That's how the process start..then the selection of the fabrics .. Living in NY that's very easy. lol
But one of the most important thing during the fabric selection is the size of the sequins and crystals.. They have to be at the scale of the doll..so it look natural...I don't create Doll clothes. I create woman clothes for a doll.I think that's what I want to accomplish .

2. What types of fabrics are used? Where do you buy your fabrics?
I use alot of different fabric... Chiffon,strecth, anything with sequins.
Most from NYC stores... I even sometimes go to macys or bloomingdale to the clearance racks and buy gowns just for the fabrics..

3. How long you've been doing this?
I been designing for about 15 years

4. How long does it take to make most dresses?
It take me about 3 days to finish a dress with alot of sequins..(beaded by hand,no glue. With the glue technique about 1 day.. But when it come to a whole collection it take me about 3 months to complete the collection

5. How many collections per year you make?
I try to do 2 regular collections (fashion shows) and 1 Holiday collection

6. Do you do OOAK commissions?
Sometimes I do commissions, but not a lot. It's hard for me to follow direction or visions of somebody else.. Lol

7. What is your art background or your background in general?
My background has nothing to do with Fashion.. My background is in the travel & Hotel industry ..all this started when I wanted to come to the USA to study... I needed 3 credits to graduate from High School before the regular end of school year and the only class available was sewing 24 student and I was the only guy. But I learned the basis of sewing.. And look now...

8. What dolls do you collect?
Fashion Royalty - but not all of them because sooner or later they end up in somebody's home with one of my designs. The only dolls I love are my repaints by Pink Man. They love it when I dress them, but they don't leave my house....lol

9. What designers do you admire - real or doll sized?
Hmm...I love Bob Mackie and Versace, also Valentino. Fellow artist I admire are Pink Man, Gin-O, Tula, Randall C., Matisse. And when it come to blog or Photo if the week....You, Terri.

I have several Ovaz gowns in my own collection and the girls are always fighting over them. Here are some of them. One can never have enough Ovaz!

If you would like to see more of Ovaz' work, here is the link to his website: www.ovazdesigns.com

Mini Genes Arrived

This was one of those great dolly weeks during which the dolls and doll goodies kept arriving. The two so-called Mini Genes arrived. They're just out of the box and I love them. Petite and delicate-looking, these may be Jason's prettiest dolls yet! The quality of the hair styling is excellent. YAY. The bodies aren't wobbly. I don't know which body type they have but it's quite small. I couldn't take my eyes off of Blue Caprice. I'm hoping to have time to photograph them on Thursday.

I entered the lottery for the lingerie version Mini Gene but was not chosen. Another collector has graciously allowed me to spend my money and take over their spot.

I purchased three Antoinette outfits from Lynn's sale. They were each reduced from $99.00  to $49.00. There seem to be plenty of the expensive dressed Antoinettes remaining at dealers all over the country. When dolls I paid nearly retail price for go on sale less than 6 months later, I cringe. That's the way it is with most Tonner dolls.

Other goodies this week: Gene's light up dressing table and stool. That's going to be a fun prop. First I have to fix it as the mirror surround broke away from the dressing table's surface probably due to the extreme cold during the ride here in the UPS truck.

Simon Chase finally arrived looking fabulous in his tuxedo. It fits him beautifullly and I'm pleased with the doll although I think I like Jeremy Voss' looks better.

Two FDA outfits arrived from Paris.  They ship so fast that I get my order in under 7 days from sending payment!


Are There Any Jewish Dolls?

After writing my last post about the American Girl doll Rebecca, and the Chanukah and Sabbath accessories that can be purchased for her, I did a search for Jewish Dolls on Google.
But before going there I want to share something I've wondered about on and off for the last few weeks. The Fashion Royalty doll called Night Warrior comes with a cross on a chain. It's not a crucifix but it is a cross. Jason Wu has created several pieces of jewelry for his dolls with crosses. One of the Homme dolls has a cross on a tiny bead chain. Several tiny rhinestone studded crosses have shown up on belts. I began to wonder - are his crosses fashion statements or are they religious jewelry? I wanted to post the question on my favorite doll boards but I envisioned the possibility of a crusade ensuing.
The necklace my Kaori is wearing is a Star of David. It is not a fashion statement.

Here's what I found when I did my search:
Gali Girls - Very similar to American Girl dolls but about half the price. Is Gali short for Galicia? Galicia
was a royal province of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire where many Jews lived. There was a great deal of "ethnic oppression." According to one source "the majority of Galician Jews perished in the holocaust. Most survivors immigrated to Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia." Interesting name for a group of dolls. Odd...she doesn't look Jewish. ;-O

Mini Mishpacha Doll Family
These dolls are for children under 3 years of age. The male dolls have yarmulkas and prayer shawls and the females are modestly dressed and frumpy-looking. I'm sure that any 2 year old would tear the clothes off as soon as they figured out how to do it. I'm sure these are not widely distributed.
Here's a quote from the site:
"Modest - Lady and girl dolls have subtly feminine features (not l ike the immodest "fashion" dolls) Hmmm...do you think they're talking about Barbie? Duh. So I guess it means these dolls don't have breasts because that would make them immodest and god forbid a 2 year-old knew that women have breasts, vaginas and stuff like that.
The grandpa doll:
The Ellis Island Collection Dolls Series

This is a wonderful collection of "turn-of-the-century replica dolls with beautifully featured porcelain faces. These dolls are dressed in historically accurate, detailed clothing. Each exquisitely detailed porcelain doll comes with its own stand. Fully dressed in clothing reminiscent of the late 1800's to early 1900's immigrants. Complete with accouterments as pictured. Includes certificate of authenticity."
I am impressed! They're beautiful dolls. I love the costumes. Priced at $59.99, they're certainly within reach of collectors. I might actually get one of the 18 different characters. This is Sadie:
You can buy the entire collection for $899.99. They're almost as tall as Cissy. I'm guessing that they have soft bodies although the description does not specify.
By the way, these are not the same dolls as those from the company that goes by the name ellisislanddolls.com. Their dolls are beautiful as well.

That pretty much concludes what I'd call Jewish dolls. I did find Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud beanbags, stereotypical caricatures of elder Jewish men, biblical figures such as Moses and adult gag gifts like Harvey Magila who is a sound activated thing that dances and plays Hava Nagila. (Batteries included. $18.00) Tongue-in-cheek. I came across this interesting blog post that ties in with this post although in a political way. Gollywogs and Jewish Dolls.
By this time you may be asking yourself what all this has to do with dolls wearing crosses. Why not come up with an answer yourself and post it here. Or not. At least I put it out there.

Holiday Accessories for Dolls Celebrating Chanukah

American Girl is just about the only company I have discovered to date that acknowledges the existence of holidays other than Christmas. I applaud them for being inclusive when it comes to different ethnicities and beliefs in the creation of their dolls and background stories. Their dolls are widely available and are not charicatures of children of various ethnic backgrounds, they are just children who happen to be different from eachother.
Although most adult fashion doll collectors do not include American Girl dolls in their collections, some of the accessories can be worked in. In my photo of Kaori, two posts back, I used an American Girl menorah and dreidel. This year AG has another menorah available and it's beautiful. It comes in a set called Rebecca's Hanukkah Set, [Item#F9723] and retails for $22.

Here are the photos from their website:

The description: "Rebecca can't wait to light the menorah and celebrate Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights! This set features: A beautiful menorah and nine pretend candles A dreidel Rebecca and her cousins spin to play games Three shiny coins, called gelt."

The price is right and can bring your gals into the multi-cultural world!

American Girl has also provided Rebecca with a Sabbath Set.
This beautiful set comes with:
"A Russian samovar and tray for heating water and serving tea
A tea canister and a ceramic teapot
Two glasses, pretend hallah bread and a scalloped cloth
A pair of [pretend] Sabbath candles that the women in Rebecca's family "light" before sundown
Two blue candlesticks that were a gift to Rebecca from Mr. Rossi"

The Sabbath set is back-ordered until March 2010. The retail price is $68.

Tea? My grandpa drank a shot of schnapps on Shabbos. I guess we can't give little girls bottles of Schnapps and shot glasses, can we?
In addition, hallah is spelled challah and hanukkah is spelled Chanukah. I'm just sayin'


Picture of the Week Award ~ December 13, 2009

I've seen the name La Pierle many times connected with beautiful and trendy doll fashions. What I didn't know was that this same person is an accomplished photographer and Photoshop user. Her real name is Valerie Humbert-Deshayes and she is a free-lance textile designer. Her photography and fashion design demonstrate and echo her passion for textures and fabrics.

Valerie's native language is French but her English is excellent compared to my French. She described the image and fashion to me and gave me permission to reword her description. The part in quotes are her words.

Valerie obtained the embroidered tulle with irridescent beads and mother of pearl sequins from her Indian textile supplier. She wanted something transparent and light even though the fabric is quite heavy due to the beading. Once she had the fabric the style of the dress came easily.
The idea behind the image's mood is "inspired by the magic of Christmas. Salvation is the concept that other higher power, as part of Divine Providence, saves Humanity from spiritual death or eternal damnation by providing for them an eternal life."

Post processing was done in Photoshop through the use of multiple layers and lots of skill!

You can see more of La Pierle's work at Etsy and Flickr. 

Congratulations, Valerie, on the Picture of the Week Award.


Can I just get the shoes?

There are many who will spend $150 for a non-articulated doll dressed in a black catsuit with painted black hands and four pair of shoes. They are probably the very same people who bought my Platinum Cher doll for $500. I can't put you down because I take a look at my dolly spreadsheet from time to time and cringe when I see what I spend on doll clothes. It's obscene. But at least my dolls can sit, bend their arms and are fully articulated.

Anyway, I keep seeing these images of the Christian Louboutin Cat Burglar doll. The packaging is very nice. I wonder if the shoes are plastic? The doll is limited to 7700 worldwide. That seems like a huge amount to me when I collect dolls that are variously limited from less than 100 to about 1000. The range of retail prices I've seen is from a low of $149.99 to a high of $299.99. Unreal.

"Here is a brief description: Christian Louboutin has collaborated with Barbie to create this limited edition 'Cat Burglar' doll. In a black catsuit and Differa sandals, she is the perfect gift for fashion lovers. She comes with a collection of 4 red-soled Louboutins, each with their own shoe box and bag. "

I love the last picture. Definitely a hottie!

Mattel outdid themselves this year and their rising prices reflected the extra effort.


Jamie Show for Angelic Dreamz

Recently Angelic Dreamz began shipping the Jamieshow dolls that they helped to develop. I have been reading the reviews on Prego and it sounds like the dolls are winners in almost every aspect.
There are four characters, Mayumi, Kyra, Jamie and RuYi. Each comes as a basic doll dressed in lingerie or as a dressed doll in a beautiful ensemble.
The dolls are wigged with painted features although Mayumi, Kyra and Jamie can be optionally had with drilled eye sockets for an additional charge.

Pictured below: Jamie, Kyra, Mayumi and RuYi.JAMIEshow Basic Dolls

The dressed dolls:
JAMIEshow Dressed Blossom Collection

Prices range from $249.95 for the basic dolls to $345.95 RuYi dressed, $375.95 for Jamie (red gown)
to $425.95 for Mayumi and Kyra.

There are four additional gorgeous gowns available at $124.95 each.Jamieshow Outfits
In addition, a collector may choose to purchase an optional hand set, jewelry and doll stand. I've heard that this stand is one of the best ever for 16" dolls! The only negative information that has come from collectors is that the eyes and wigs aren't the quality they expected and Kyra's finish should be more matte. But the weight of the body is excellent and the posing is superior - even without a stand.

For more pictures and information visit Angelic Dreamz.


Picture of the Week Award ~ December 6, 2007

This week's featured photograph is as much about the doll as the photography. They both deserve the spotlight.
Alexandra Forbes is a well known photographer in the fashion doll world. Not only is she the Creative Editor for FDQ, she is a regular participant on the doll board Prego and that is where she posted this amazing photograph of the Ficon doll, ME IN.

I asked Alexandra to tell us about the doll and how she made the photograph.

The doll featured in the photograph is produced by Ficon doll http://www.ficondoll.com/
Her name is "ME IN." This is a traditional Korean name meaning "Beautiful Woman." ME IN, herself, is a high quality resin 16 inch fashion doll and part of a new gift set that has just been released by the doll manufacturer, Ficon Doll. Her beautiful wig, tights, shoes and the gown are all part of this amazing gift set. The image you see featured on her gown is one of the original (ME IN) based in Korean history, which adds a very special touch to this Versace inspired gown.
My photograph was taken in a black lighting cube tent with a highly polished black veneered surface as the floor. The doll reclines on a simple plastic riser. Keeping everything monochrome and simple helped to lend high drama and keep the focus on this exquisite doll.

With gorgeous photography and dolls like this, the dolls will be very hard to get! That's what makes it worth it to many in the doll collecting hobby.

Congratulations, Alex, on the Picture of the Week Award!

You can see more of Alexandra's beautiful photography at her website: Alex's Attic.