Silkstone Fashion Model Collection "Ducissima"

Listed on the amazon.de (Germany) website is this newest Mattel Silkstone, Ducissima.
Once again we see a conglomeration of styles and an overworked ensemble. I want to take things away like the cape and the ruffly bow-tied sleeves. One doesn't know what to look at first because so much is going on.
Individually, some parts are very nice. She is a pretty doll with a lovely face. I can't tell about the hairstyle.  I like the boots a lot. They'd look great with a coat or a simpler dress with chunky jewelry. Ditch the purse and gloves and give us big earrings  (after taking away the shirt and cape.)
Bottom line...we've got another hot mess here.
To me she looks more Spanish than Italian. "Matador Sans Red Cape" is what I'd call her.  An Italian speaker noted that the name, Ducissima, doesn't mean anything in Italian slang or dialect. Dulcissima is a Latin adjective. Dolce means sweet in Italian.

It was pointed out by Dutch Barbie World that this look is inspired by a look from the Dolce & Gabbana Fall/Winter 2012 line. D&G did it much better.

Robert Best's flourishes and changes do not help the fashion at all. I like the D&G look very much and I like the boots on their own..

When I photograph my dolls who have side glancing eyes, I always have their head turned in the direction their eyes are looking. Try it yourself. Glance to one side and turn your head the other way. It's not easy and it's very weird at the same time. Don't you feel sly?

2/24/14 UPDATE: Her name on-line has been corrected to read Dulcissima.


Playing Dolls

After a stressful day yesterday, I took some serious doll playtime. I wired a doll for the first time and she's much more pleasant to handle. Three dolls were redressed and rewigged.

These are all iPhone pictures.
 Good grief, Sybarite's heads are huge! Geometry looks like an Amazon next to Ms. G and Nelson.

Nelson is gorgeous in her peachy pink wig and pastel Ficon gown. Ms. G, newly wired, is standing nicely for the first time. Now maybe I can start to enjoy her instead of fiddling with her legs all the time.


Sybarite Neurotica Covers Up?

I am sure that other fashion doll collectors have experienced finding the perfect outfit for a doll. Once it's on the doll, she becomes even more gorgeous than before. This newly found fashion treasure will stay on the doll for a long time.
Two weeks ago I briefly considered removing Neurotica's tattoos and then Masque arrived. Her red lips convinced me to give her the new outfit. I could not stop looking at her once she was redressed. You can still see the tats but they aren't in your face (although her boobs are,) and I'm so glad I didn't remove them.

Mohair wig by Ilaria Mazzoni "Time of Doll"

 I have an assortment of other 16" BJDs but in my opinion, no doll poses like a Sybarite. Emilia's Inro comes very close. There are no wobbly knees or kicky arms. I do not enjoy fiddling with legs for what seems like an interminate amount of time every time I handle wonky-jointed dolls. I know this issue can be taken care of by wiring the body but I don't know how to do it. I can't be the only one who is having this problem. Is anyone telling the manufacturers? As if they don't already know, right?

Debbie Garrett, The Doll Griot

According to Wikipedia, a griot is a West African historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet and or musician. The griot is a repository of oral tradition. That title has been applied to Debbie Behan Garrett by Paulette Richards in the piece I quote below.

The following is from Debbie's blog, Black Doll Collecting.

Before leaving for Senegal in September 2013, fellow doll enthusiast and educator, Paulette Richards, wrote a glowing and most impressive review of my three books written on the subject of collecting black dolls.   Richards' review, which compares my doll research to the research of two historians of African American history, was too lengthy to post on Amazon.com; therefore, she sent it directly to me.  I posted the review in its entirety on my Facebook Page:  Debbie Behan Garrett, Black Doll Enthusiast a few weeks ago.  Paulette will be a guest blogger later this week.  I thought this would be an opportune time to post the review here.  Thank you again, Paulette, I remain grateful and forever honored.
The Doll Griot
By Paulette Richards

Debbie Behan Garrett grew up during the era of the Civil Rights movement when African Americans vehemently rejected the stereotypical images of blacks that had long pervaded American mass media. Rather than purchase dolls that perpetuated negative stereotypes of blacks, Garrett’s mother provided only white dolls for her children. Yet young Debbie keenly felt the lack of “dolls that look like me.” In the early 1990s after her own daughter had “outgrown” dolls, Garrett was consumed with a passion for collecting and documenting black dolls. This passion launched her on a trajectory similar to two African American historians of the early twentieth century – Arturo Schomburg, and J.A. Rogers.

“Blacks have no history. There are no black heroes. Black people have accomplished nothing, have contributed nothing to the advancement of human civilization…” Like many students subjected to the routine “miseducation of the Negro,” Arturo Schomburg (1874-1938) heard myths like these when he was a schoolboy in Puerto Rico. Schomburg, however, vowed to prove his teachers wrong. Although he did not follow a traditional academic career like W.E. B. DuBois, he dedicated his life to the study of Afro-Latin and African American history. In 1911 he co-founded the Negro Society for Historical Research. By this time, however, Schomburg had already amassed a large collection of books and artifacts documenting African diasporan culture and history.

Schomburg united scholars from Africa, the West Indies, and the U.S. in the study of African diasporan culture and history. Meanwhile, his collections continued to grow. Although he worked in modestly paid clerical jobs and had five sons to support, the New York Public Library paid $10,000 for his collection of books and materials in 1926. The collection was initially housed in the 135th Street (Harlem) branch of the library and Schomburg was appointed curator of “the Schomburg Collection of Negro Literature and Art.”

Schomburg’s obsessive pursuit of books by and about people of African descent may have seemed crazy to some, but his collection formed the basis of the Arthur Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Similarly, while Garrett’s obsessive acquisition of black dolls may seem irrational to non-doll lovers, her dedication to celebrating the beauty of black dolls echoes Schomburg and Rogers’ determination to destroy myths of racial inferiority.

Garrett published her first book, The Definitive Guide to Collecting Black Dolls with Hobby House Press in 2003. This 176 page soft cover volume catalogues each doll with information on the artist and/ or manufacturer, the material, height, identifying marks, descriptions of the hair/eyes/ mouth, clothing and an estimated value. Then, following in the footsteps of J.A. Rogers, Garrett self-published her second book in 2008.

Joel August Rogers was born in Jamaica in 1880. Although they could not afford to provide much education for their eleven children, Rogers internalized the strong value his parents placed on learning and devoted his life to researching and disseminating as much information as he could about the history of black people. By 1906 he was living in Harlem. Later he took a job as a Pullman porter, which allowed him to comb libraries all over the country. Over the course of his life he also traveled extensively overseas, sifting “the bran of history” as he called it for nuggets of information about the historical experience of black people. Although Rogers was self-educated, self-financed, and self-published, his books eventually earned respect from academic historians. For example W.E.B. Dubois observed that "No man living has revealed so many important facts about the Negro race as has Rogers." Similarly, Garrett’s years of dedicated research and publication have earned her recognition in The New York Times and other prestigious publications as an authority on black dolls. (“The Dolls I Never Had as a Child”)

Like most of Rogers’ works, Garret’s 450 page volume on Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion is lavishly illustrated. Full color photographs carefully document each doll. Garrett’s collection runs the gamut of materials (bisque, celluloid, composition, rubber, hard plastic, and cloth), aesthetics (artist dolls, craft dolls, manufactured play dolls), and genres such as fashion dolls, paper dolls, and celebrity portrait dolls. Since dolls are usually viewed only as toys for little girls, the “bran” that Garrett sifts might seem even more marginal than the records Schomburg and Rogers searched for evidence about black experience. Further, the bulk of Garrett’s collection consists of manufactured dolls rather than one of a kind dolls and includes play line dolls as well as artist dolls produced in limited editions. Yet, as a record of how the larger society has viewed and represented people of color, her eclectic collection probably has more value than it would if she focused only on art dolls created by black artists as more authentic self-representations.

In traditional West African societies, griots were oral historians who preserved the lineage and noble deeds of their communities. As latter day griots in a time when much of the academic establishment still subscribed to Hegel’s idea that “Africa has no history,” Schomburg and Rogers documented “who we are and where we come from.” Although women rarely served as griots in traditional African societies, in her third book, The Doll Blogs Garrett answers the fundamental questions griots are most concerned with – “Who are your people and where do you come from?” Through her meticulous research into the provenance of each doll she provides information about the artists who sculpted the dolls, the manufacturers who produced them, the retailers that sold them, and sometimes even includes tidbits about previous owners. Anyone who has done genealogical research would be overjoyed to uncover such detailed information about the African American branches of their family tree for even when there is an oral tradition and/ or paper trail that enables us to trace our ancestors back to the time of slavery, the trail usually goes stone cold on the shores of the Atlantic.

The barracoons that dotted the west coast of Africa from the 16th – 19th centuries transformed human beings into commodities and erased their personal histories. While DNA typing can now take us further into the interior of the Mother Continent and indicate regions where our enslaved ancestors might have come from, it can’t recover the stories of how various individuals met and combined those strands of DNA. The ritual acquisition of black dolls that plays out on every page of The Doll Blogs often occurs through auctions, a scene that is fraught with the painful legacy of slavery and the forced separation of families on the block. Yet Garrett’s purchases are a redemption that gives every black body a voice and a history. Her doll room then functions as a kind of anti-barracoon where lost souls recover their identities and re-unite with family and friends.
Paulette Richards has been writing about “the serious business of doll play” on her blog, LimbĂ© Dolls, since April 2011. Formerly the Associate Director of the Nommo Literary Society/ Neo Griot Krewe writing workshop in New Orleans, she holds a Ph.D. in French Civilization from the University of Virginia. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Richards will further explore the griot tradition as a Fulbright Teaching Fellow in Saint Louis, Senegal.
Visit Debbie's blog at http://blackdollcollecting.blogspot.com/ 
Visit Paulette's blog at http://limbedolls.blogspot.com/ 



New Fashion Ensembles from Sandra Stillwell

Those of us who attended Every Day's A Holiday last summer in Kansas City were able to pre-order an assortment of individual fashions from prototypes.
I ordered the following two. Descriptions are by Sandra.

Sophisticated cocktail dress with sculpturally pleated skirt in seven layers of graduating lengths. A sparkling rhinestone buckle is the perfect touch. Accessories include black opera length gloves, shoes, and jewelry.
Inspired by a Roberto Capucci design, circa 1956. 

Gene is "Kansas City chic" in this stunning suit of black and silver tweed. Jacket features decorative tabs and Swarovski crystal buttons. Accessories include a scarlet red wool hat with velvet trim, matching red gloves, jewelry and shoes.
Inspired by a Betty Rose design, circa 1950's.

Both fashions are expertly made and fit my models perfectly.  The layers of skirt on American Beauty are not wired. They stay up as a result of their construction. It fascinates me. I think I will add a necklace.
The suit is trimmed with rhinestone buttons. You can't see it in my photos but the fabric has a metallic silver thread running throughout. The shoes are miniature masterpieces of black suede with red trim. They were an unexpected touch.

There may be extra fashions to buy-not just these.
You can contact Sandra at dls6643@aol.com.


My Little Pony

Go ahead and snicker but some people out there are making art out of these toys. Let's agree that they're not fashion dolls but the way I came across these images is that I was hunting down an original picture of Tonner's Aragorn and found these. The artist Barkingmadd has created many OOAK ponies. The link I provide at the end will take you to them. They are amazing. 

All images are the property of Barkingmadd.
Barkingmadd's deviantart gallery link: http://barkingmadd.deviantart.com/gallery/