Adrian "A Woman of Means" Fashion ~ Hollywood Ahoy Convention

I did not know anything about Adrian previously. When I saw photographs of "A Woman of Means" I knew I had to have the fashion. Now that I have it, I'm thrilled that I can dress a doll in such a stylish and beautifully made outfit. Here is a brief bio and photo of Adrian which I have snatched from the internet:

Adrian, Gilbert, 190359, popularly known simply as Adrian, fashion designer, b. Naugatuk, Conn.
Educated in New York City, he created designs for Broadway shows until 1925, when he moved to Hollywood. As studio designer at MGM studios (1928–41), he created glamorous clothing for such stars as Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, and Katharine Hepburn, his opulent designs influencing haute couture throughout the 1930s and 40s. Adrian was known for his extravagant, draped evening gowns; hooded dresses; embroidered, padded evening jackets; and elegant suits. He was creative director for MGM's Wizard of Oz (1939), one of his most acclaimed productions; the same year he married actress Janet Gaynor. From 1942 to 1952 he ran a fashionable Beverly Hills salon.
The suit: there was been a great deal of discussion on one doll board regarding where this suit was manufactured. No definitive answer came about as a result of those queries. I didn't see it as relevant in any event.

None of these are meant to be seen as artistic images. They are for showing the style and details of the garments and accessories.
The outfit came with lots of pieces: jacket, skirt, sleeveless shell, handbag, shoes, gloves, earrings, bracelet, hat and faux fur. It was packaged almost identically to the way Ashton Drake packaged the Gene line fashions. There was a lovely ribbon tied around the box with a tag.
I had heard that although the fashion was created for Robert Tonner's Joan Crawford doll that it would fit other 16 in dolls as well. Heavenly Gene needed a change of clothes so she got lucky. Did it fit? The waist and hips of the skirt are visibly large. The bottom of the shell hangs loosely but overall the suit looks very good. It is easy to put on - no struggling with hooks or ill fitting shoes.
The inside of the jacket looks almost as good as the outside. The lining is a royal purple - I love that. The label is a replica of Adrian's original label! The stole is wired for shaping when placing it on the doll. That's a great detail. My stole needs to be aired out as it has a weird odor as if it's been stored too long in a basement in China. Not that I'd know what a Chinese basement would smell like...
The gorgeous metal and rhinestone embellishments truly make the suit. The one at the waist is not laying properly. If it really bothered me, I would make a temporary tack with three stitches to get it to lay flat. It's making a slight right turn as it is now.
The bling, in addition to that which is sewn on to the suit, consists of a multi-strand rhinestone bracelet and dangling rhinestone earrings.
The large zippered handbag and open toed pumps are black patent leather. There is something a little off about the tops of the shoes at the opening. They are too long - unless this is a style of which I am not aware.
The hat...I really didn't know what to do with it. I put it on and turned it this way and that and still couldn't find a pleasing way for her to wear it.
This outfit cost $129. and was available as an optional purchase at the Hollywood Ahoy Convention which just took place in Long Beach, California in August. There are a few still available. Buy one! You will not be disappointed.
Here is the link to purchase Hollywood Ahoy souvenirs that may still be available:
Tell Sandra I sent you!

Picture of the Week Award ~ August 30, 2009

This photograph of Style Mantra Eden is sure to brighten any computer monitor. I love the colorful, casual fashion and the relaxed pose of the doll. It's young and fresh. The photograph was taken by Nina, a W Club member, who told me that the outfit is from the "Souol by Louos" shop on Etsy.

Congratulations, Nina, on this wonderful photo.

Noel Cruz's Hollywood Ahoy Joan Crawford Repaint

I have been privileged to know a few people who share doll collecting and creativity in the my passion for dolls, among them is Noel Cruz. We find our commonality in this craft, aside from us being both Filipino. It was Noel who encouraged me to pursue this little passion -- my determination to make the Tonner doll look like Vivien Leigh (at least in my eyes). I would send him pictures of my repaints and he would make comments about them -- generously -- like a master to his student. I know I may never be a Noel Cruz, but what he has shared is one of the greatest treasures I have found in life. The long hours of practice, the grumble everytime I didn't make it right, the symmetry, etc. They were all part of the journey. I am still a practicing student, hoping one day to create my own style but having the realistic impact I desire for doll repaints. I wish I had more time though. Advertising can eat up so much of my time.

Noel gave me my first brushes which I still keep and somehow refuse to use extensively. Each one of them is signed by him -- at least, if I can't afford a repainted doll, I have something of Noel Cruz's which I feel are equally priceless.

Noel was happy to have been part of Hollywood Ahoy. I believe the organizers of Hollywood Ahoy was lucky to have had him too. I take this little opportunity to share with all of you what Noel has shared with me: a photo of his Hollywood Ahoy Joan Crawford auction doll which went to his friend Suzanne. Lucky lady she is!

Thank you Noel for sharing this. = )


And since I've mentioned Noel, I also share this with all of you and the rest of my friends who share their passion for dolls or whatever: To Eric Caron whose miniatures are amazing! To Isabelle of Isabelle Repaints who takes time too to share her work with me, to the beautiful Nikki, to Margaret Wallace who at 75 still lives with vibrance and love for life, to Alana Bennett who never fails to bring creative vision to life, and to Margaret Thackston, my friend who makes me always smile with her passion for dolls. And to the little group that follows this blog. I know its not much of a blog I know. But it's my little world that makes me feel happy and makes me love life a little more than I do.

Integrity Toys Announces Two New AvantGuard Dolls

Two new 16 inch AvantGuard dolls from Integrity Toys will join the ranks shortly. One is called Attention! and is an exclusive to Chelsea's Collector Cottage in Australia. This doll is limited to 300 worldwide. The retail price is $304. AUD which equals US $253.91. The least expensive shipping to the United States is $45.30 AUD or US $37.85. The doll will cost me $291.76! YIKES.
The other doll is called No Exaggeration. This gal has caused a bit of a stir because of the pants she is wearing. Whether they're called harem or dhoti pants, they're "out there" and they are freaking some collectors out. What I don't understand is that collectors seem to want high style and when they get it it scares them. She is priced at $220. and is limited to 400 dolls worldwide. She can be ordered from any AvantGuard dealer. With shipping from my dealer who is in a neighboring state, she will cost me about $232. That's about $60 less than the one from Australia. The Oz exclusive itself before shipping is nearly $40 more. I can't figure out why. No Exaggeration's fashion is more complex and interesting.
Some collectors have been commenting on the uber-colorful eye screening. The same complaint is heard with Fashion Royalty dolls, too. They're saying the doll is not as versatile. Does every doll have to wear shades of ochre and gray? It sounds funny coming from me but I've learned to wait until I see the doll in person. The change in my perception began with Aphrodisiac. I thought her eyes were freaky and that she looked like a zombie with her huge curly wig and black rings around her eyes. I never did get to liking that wig but the doll herself became beautiful and ultra-fashionable in my eyes after a short while. When the last set of basic Fashion Royalty dolls came out, I thought Vanessa looked diseased because of the dark blue/black lips. Now, redressed and with her hair crimped, she's one of the most stylish of my Vanessas.

I've also heard complaints about the lack of extra clothing for the AvantGuards. There has been only one fashion created for them so that's a valid point. When I compare what Tonner puts out for his new lines of dolls to what Integrity puts out, the difference is night and day. When Tonner created the character DeeAnna Denton he put out two basic dolls in lingerie, two dressed dolls and four outfits. The next season he put out three basic DeeAnnas in bathing suits, two dressed dolls and four separate fashions. This season there is one basic DeeAnna in a bathing suit. A new character, Peggy Harcourt, has been added and comes in two basic versions. There's one dressed Peggy and two separate outfits. Collectors cannot complain about a lack of support for this doll's body type.

What are we seeing here? We often hear the excuse from Integrity Toys that they are a small company. Yet they keep putting out line after line of new dolls. How small are they? How does a company grow? Not every doll that Robert Tonner releases is a success but he still keeps going with creativity and daring. Robert's famous quote is "Believe in the Power of Play." Is Integrity's theory, "Believe in the Power of Display?" or "Put it on a Shelf and Go Away?"

Anyway, I tell all the " clothes for AvantGuard..." complainers that almost every single Gene fashion, the Madame Alexander Alex clothing and now Tonner's Antoinette fashions, fit AvantGuard dolls. There's no shortage of clothing for them at all. Sybarite items are a bit loose but can be pinned. I've seen them in Tyler clothes as well. Most of Alex's, Gene's and Antoinette's shoes fit, too. There's no nekkid AGs around these parts.

Images in this post are the property of Integrity Toys.

Color Therapy Vanessa

Finally! Some of my readers may know that Vanessa is my favorite sculpt of all the Fashion Royalty dolls. I spend more time and energy (read: money) on them than most of my other dolls. I don't stop until they look gorgeous. Color Therapy arrived on the scene with too much hair. No amount of combing or hair tamer worked. So I bit the bullet and boiled a pot of water and used it to straighten her hair. Believe it or not, the result - which looks like she has had a light perm - was the straightest I could get it! I think it's much better than before.

Here are two earlier photos of her. In these, her hair has been combed out but I couldn't get it into a pleasing style.

NDR: New Yorker Cartoon by Alex Gregory

Just because I think it's funny.

Picture of the Week Award ~ August 23, 2009

When I opened a post on Prego and saw the pictures of this doll, I thought it was a real person!
The photo is by Jackie Saunders who goes by the name of Jackie in Cincy or JinCincy on the boards. The doll's name is Callan. He is a limited edition Iplehouse EID SE version of Akando. Honestly, I have no idea what all those initials stand for but it must be something really good because this doll is as hot as it gets. The photos Jackie posted of him are beautifully exposed and composed. He is so easy to stare at. Jackie knows how to use a black background when her doll is dressed in black. She lights the background to make the doll stand away from it. The lighting creates a wonderful dimensional effect and outlines Callan's body. Well done!

This information regarding the dolls has been provided by Jackie:
Iplehouse does offer regular line versions in different skin tones, (white and normal) but the skin tone my guy has, called "real resin" (which is a mix of urethane and french resins), has only been offered as Special Edition dolls. The Iplehouse EID guys are 70cm tall and they are heavy, weighing in at close to 7 lbs. They are some of the most beautiful, realistic looking male dolls that I have ever seen though, and that was the draw for me. Their bodies are sculpted beautifully. They even have detailed veining in their arms and hands. They are truly pieces of art in my eyes. They range in price from about $640 for a standard doll without make up to $1000 for some of the limited editions.

If you would like to see more of Jackie's photos of her doll collection check out her Picture Trail album and/or her Live Journal. You won't be disappointed!

Congratulations, Jackie, on your Picture of the Week Award.

Dania Zarr "Red Zinger" Fashion Royalty Doll

The only doll I pre-ordered from this year's main collection was Red Zinger Dania. I did so mainly because she is a new character; however, her mold has already been used for Lana Turner. She photographs amazingly well or I was just having a good afternoon...not sure which. Usually when I'm not in love with a doll, the photos show it.
As to the quality of the doll, she passes with flying colors. I'm having a little trouble with the jewelry. The tiny jump rings holding the heavy elements together open easily and when I was removing the necklace from it's cardboard backing, two pieces fell off. Yesterday when I was posing the doll, part of her earring fell off. Annoying but not irreparable.
Dania came dressed with a plastic protector around her shoulders and neck. That's a warning if ever there was one. Do not leave this outfit on the doll for an extended period. I wonder if there is something one can apply to the interior of that area that will protect the doll. Saran wrap?
I removed the navy blue fabric belt/sash as I felt it was completely out of place and ruined the line of the outfit.
As you can see, under the jacket Dania is wearing a sleeveless top tucked into the skirt. It's like a bodysuit although there is elastic rather than fabric holding the top down between her legs. She's also got panties under that. The skirt sheds a bit so when photographing one must carefully blow any stray fibers away.
Let's talk about the hair. This is just my personal taste. I don't like the roll. So far in all the pictures collectors have posted, they have flattened it. In the promotional photo that Integrity posted (see below), the curl is flattened. So why have it in the first place?
Image Property of Integrity Toys
I have an on-going issue with manufacturers whose promotional photos look significantly different from the production dolls. This isn't a big issue with Dania. Please, show us the dolls we are ordering before we order them. 
I don't know what color the sash is supposed to be. Mine looks navy blue but the shoes are black. Am I missing something?
I hope lighter, more feminine shoes make a comeback. Ultimately each collector personalizes the fashions to his own taste. Some like painted hands and chunky shoes. My own taste in dolls runs to the softer-looking face with less exaggerated features. 
Personal preferences aside, this is a great doll although she is expensive at $135.

Cool Site to Make Photo Presentations

Maybe everyone knows this site already but I just discovered it. All you have to do is upload a bunch of pictures, pick a theme, a presentation format and some music and the program does all the work. I love the way the sepia film look like an old 8mm filmstrip. Very vintage.

I have un-embedded the video. Please click on the link below to watch.

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:

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.