Tonner Direct is having a "Baby, It's Cold Outside Sale"

If you live somewhere that has nice weather you pay double.*

Starting Thursday February 24th through Friday February 25 at 11:59 PM EST you can save 15% and get free shipping on most every in stock item in the store. Promo Code is FRZN.
International buyers will get a $9.95 credit toward shipping. Promo Code is FRZNINT for International Sales.

There are a few exclusions.

Sadly the Twinset of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are amongst those. I think they are just adorable and I was going to stock up on them.*


Approximately 8 1/2" Tall $374.99 set. LE100

I had no idea that these resin characters had the Matt head sculpt. So cute.

Tonner 2010 Halloween Convention Exclusive Base LE 50
You can,  however, buy these very interesting and scary bases called A Bone to Pick which list for only $110. I wonder how many Vanessas I can get onto one of those. 




More Runway Fashions Reinterpreted for Dolls

Michael Williams pointed out this resemblance earlier tonight.

Fall 2010 Runway Alexander McQueen
Mattel's Darya Barbie Doll 2011 FMC
According to the Barbie Collector site, this doll was designed by Robert Best. The 'resemblance' is unmistakable.

Mel Odom's Connection to Hayworth

In response to an email in which I asked Mel what his relationship is with Michel Hayworth he wrote:

Dear Terri,
I've known Michel over the years from telephone calls asking for technical advice regarding doll making.  I guess you could say I was an advisor/ friend.  We met once at a doll convention for 10 minutes.  When he sent me his doll I congratulated him on his accomplishment and posted a congratulations on my FaceBook page.  He said sales were slow and I suggested he send one to you for review.  That's pretty much it.  I know nothing about his business, just that I think Flavia charming.  I hope this helps.

While we're on the subject of Mel, I snatched this gorgeous portrait of him from his Facebook album. I think this is one of the best pictures of him I've ever seen. 
Mel has some wonderful images of his work on his Facebook page and you ought to have a look. Click on the picture and it will take you there.

The Lies and Fraud of Michel Couture - Hayworth

A letter I received today is reproduced here in it's entirety:
Dear Ms. Gold
Occasionally I stalk your blog, like most collectors I find it a great place to learn more about dolls. I was SHOCKED, STUNNED, and AMAZED to see your post regarding Flavia, Grande-Duchesse, by Michel Couture.

I met Michel at a doll show (IFDC) where he had a display several years ago. What I loved about his presentation was the combination of old Hollywood glamor and a small doll. I am not the biggest fan of all the articulation that is the craze these days. Flavia wasn't beautiful, but reminded me in may ways of the original Barbie, but it was her clothes which were seemingly nice.

What I loved, was Michel, he was so charming and wanted to offer something unique. He promised very small exclusive editions, and explained in great detail how hard it was to compete with the "mega companies" who didn't produce quality.  I knew all that to be true, having followed Doug James and Christina Bougus, I knew that being "little' was hard. He talk so passionately about his dream doll, and that afternoon I wrote a check for almost a $1000, pre-ordering his entire line, and also being promised a special considerations for being a "founding" collector.

He sent me a card on embossed stationary thanking me for my support, the pleasure it was to meet me, and promised a doll in the summer. Summer came and went, then it was the fall. It seemed just when I had had enough waiting he would offer me more. He promised to send sketches, pictures, and went so far as to ask my opinions about the doll, what would I love to see. I felt as if I was part of something amazing. He supplied me with dates that never came into fruition, and many excuses, tho all seemingly legitimate. Productions issues, quality control, anything to dely sending me the doll. Finally after a year and a half, he told me he didn't have enough capitol and offered a refund. This man wanted Flavia to be the next Mdvanni, which I should have known was asked for to much, but that was inspiring. He asked me to be a "benefactress to beauty" and that he was going to create the doll in the states in resin and make the clothes himself, in editions of 10-20. I sent him another $500. He sent me a fashion which was a relabled Dressmakers and I promptly contacted my bank and the police.

The police laughed at me and told me they did not have time for "Dolly Capers". I contacted the coordinators of IFDC with no response. I contacted the Attorney Generals office in CA, and again, nothing. I finally filed a claim in small claims court, and he did not appear, thus defaulted. He still has not paid the judgment against him, or more offered me an explanation. It is not the money that bothers me, it is the lies and fraud.

I never expected to see an actual produced doll, and it bothers me in every way that Mel Odom brought this doll to you. In many ways I feel that you have done Michel the biggest favor in writing about this doll, but reporting on dolls is what you do. The DOTY is a shock....

I wasn't sure I could put all the information on your blog or what you would do with it. If you want I can mail you copies of correspondences, and the judgment, and even the fashion.

I appreciate your blog and look forward to hearing from you.


Second email from the same person:

Hi Terri,
There is a reason that people send you dolls, because consumers value your opinion. You highlight new artist, repainters, and in general give valued opinion. I often won't buy a doll till I've read your review, and know I am not the only one. You have been very non-biased about all of this which is commendable, but for me, even to show the doll and the vehicle to which you received a free doll bothers me. In some ways you have been given stolen merchandise, from Mel Odom of all people. To me it creates a sense of validity that Michel Hayworth (not his real name) needs to be credible. I can write whatever I want, maybe some people will listen, but everyone listens to you. You offered a frank analysis of the doll, which is awesome, and some opinion about the marketing, but I think had I been you, I would have returned the doll to Mel and said that there is to much drama towards this doll maker, and I would rather abstain. Or I would have waited for contact from the maker, and published a blog about the drama and the doll.

Since you are the link to major doll people like Mel Odom, have you had follow-up with him? The way the blog reads to me is that Mel Odom is advocating a new doll and by putting the doll on the blog you are advancing the sale of that doll. Regardless of press, even bad, it is still pres. If you said, don't by "x" the market would feel it, because you have authority and with authority comes responsibility. Granted by publishing stories such as mine, you are offering another side of a story, sadly I am not sure my story is all that effective?

Publish at will. I appreciate your time.

At this point I, too, am wondering about the DOTY award and how it works.
Photo sent to me by a collector who was at the IFDC Event where Michel promoted his doll.


Update on The Barbie Standard Edition Book

The Barbie Standard Edition book is available for $29.70 at Amazon.com.

That is a savings of $15.30 off the list price of $45.  You get free shipping on orders over $25. at Amazon.

Comments from Readers Regarding Hayworth, Michel Couture, Flavia

Apparently Michel Hayworth burned his bridges because even my honest review of Flavia has stirred up many angry memories.
Source Unknown
I started off my review by saying that I was aware of the controversy surrounding the designer. 
Why would I even review the doll and give it publicity? 
Think out of the box for a minute.

I have provided a platform for those injured by Hayworth to air their experiences;  however,
most of these people did not take advantage of the comment area to post.

I have copied some of the publicly posted comments with ID stripped from them.  
I doubt this is the publicity Hayworth expected.
-Unfortunately, I am one who has had a bad experience with Michele. I preordered the dolls at the 07? convention and also purchased a jewelry set in hand. It was missing a white rhinestone from the earrings and Mihele promised to make good on it. I asked him to simply send me a stone & I would replace it, as I make jewelry, have the tools etc. He said hewas having problems etc. & would prefer to exchange it, to please wait & bring it to the next convention. I showed up with it.... Michle did not, nor did he respond to following emails. I would love to hear from him if anyone has any influence. Teri? Mel?
-Interesting. I respect you, for being able to make such a factual analysis, but the doll looks different from the prototype that I saw at IFDC.

-Nice suit, but ridiculously overpriced. There are a LOT of fantastic folks out there who . . .
do that kind of work, too. And as a treasured OOAK, not a mass produced item.

-The fashions are nice but the OOAK and more limited fashions that are handmade by many just on this board alone are worth much more to me... My collection contains fashions by Shane, Bellissima Couture, Natalia Sheppard, LaBoutique, Petra Elise, Vince Nowell and sooo many more that I've acquired for less, are so much more rare and from what I've seen - fit so much better as well.

-I cannot see paying 150.00 or more for a mass produced fashion from ANY manufacturer - no matter how limited. The price tag is presumptuous for such a new line(and on such shakey ground) for sure.

-In my honset [sic] opinion- the fashions look nice but we get the same styling/quality from DMD for at least 60.00 less per fashion and each one of Steven Fraser's are a LE of no more than 300 per design.

-I'm not buying it literally or figuratively. After all that's happened, he's still got a long loooooooooooooooooooong way to go to prove himself.

-Thanks for posting! I find it odd he could not contact you himself, LOL

-Thanks Terri for the pix. Not loving the doll but your Kyori looks beautiful in the suit.

-One does have to wonder at the strategy being used here.......
Seems to me that they are trying to legitimize themselves by having a respected member of the boards receive a doll and review it so people will feel safe about preorders and future orders. But I think we can all see thru that. I'd be more impressed if the folks who actually preordered got their items rather than a gift to one of our more vocal members. I'm just saying......

-I'm not financially involved with this designer - BUT I think it was SHADY of him to send a FREE doll to a well-known blogger when so many people have been scammed out of big $$$ and are STILL waiting. I think it was a tacky, tacky move.

-I did read your review, and all 8 current comments after it. Your opinion was surprisingly glowing for the most part. I just think he's a scam artist to have kept people's money since 2007, that something is shady with him winning an award, and that people (like Mel) are publicly supporting him when a huge majority of the doll community knows what this "designer" is all about. I have a problem that this guy sought you out (even if it was via Mel) for FREE publicity and more ego stroking when he should concentrate on contacting his customers who are waiting for their money and/or product.

-Interesting. The dolls name is pretentious and nothing special from what I can see.
Given the history with this "doll artist" I still say buyer beware. I find it interesting that no one who ordered this doll years ago has posted that they received it. Feel free to prove me wrong though.

-I agree...very informative and thorough review! So how is Mel Odom
related in regards to Hayworth?

-Very informative and thorough review and pics. Thank You !

-Thank you for doing this review Terri...Your review is fantastic and you handled the surrounding "stuff" very well.

-Hi Terri, and hi everyone. Glad you posted this new (copied) doll on your blog. You do a beautiful job on your reviews.
Disclaimer before you read below. This is just my "humble" and "honest" opinion.
But, I must say, his new copy of a doll really pisses me off. Shame on him for using Joe's Ingrid. Before, the doll shown, as "his" new doll was a Barbie, now it looks like Ingrid. Guess he knows that Joe can't do anything to him, what a friggen shame. I compared it with my Ingrid, and it is identical, except for the screening.
I'll never forget meeting him at IFDC. Watching his presentation and listening to him talking about the "pearl" jewelry, that he has made by a "real" jeweler. I quote what he said...."I believe these are "real" pearls. He said this with what sounded like a fake accent.
Well, you guys should know me well enough to know that I know what are "real" pearls, and his were plastic. What a crock. Also - "his" new doll was a Barbie. A Bob Mackie Redhead with a new paint job. Crock again.
Shame, shame, shame......gives the doll world a bad name.
Just my humble, pissed off opinion. I guess it takes all kinds, doesn't it? 

-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 from one of his assistants 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?! (Nice CS skills) 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.
-That sucks. This guy is a fraud, plain and simple >>
I find it interesting that he sends a doll to one person to review, but can't bother to fulfill orders he collected years ago.
I also don't know what all the fuss is about with the "French couture" outfits....they definitely don't hold a candle to some OOAK and IT outfits for a fraction of the cost.
Also, the doll is ridiculous. No articulation? Maybe you could get away with that a few years ago (perhaps when he started his pre-orders?), but you can buy a fully articulated FR for a fraction of the cost.
I PRAY that people are not lured into buying from this person because of any ploys of his, including sending an unsolicited doll to be reviewed. Lets not forget that over the years, "someone" has appeared on the pink parlor and other boards impersonating collectors to try to generate positive buzz for these dolls and outfits and failed every time, rather sadly in fact. Backfired every time.
He can keep his foo foo, blas� "Flatulence, Grande Duchesse of Bearnaise Sauce". I hope he doesn't get another dime of people's money.

In the doll community, bad publicity generates a buzz but doesn't necessarily produce income. Hayworth can post pictures on his own all over the place. Having a known blogger post pictures of a free doll or any doll for that matter, is not an endorsement. It is what it is.
Above all, a company should spend it's time building a good reputation. That's the bottom line.

Image source: ereleases.com

How to Comment on a Blog Post

Many of you send me email and I love to read what you have to say.  In some of these emails I have been asked  by readers how to comment on a blog post.

At the bottom of each post you will see a section that looks like this:

Click on the word (after Links to this post) comments.
Type in your comment.
You can post as anonymous if you do not have a g-mail or Google account.
You have to post as something or someone. The choice is yours.


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 HabillĂ© 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.


 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.