Sandra Stillwell's Golden Age of Couture — Nashville, August, 2010

The first thing I want to say is that I will probably go to every event that Sandra organizes in the future. This talented lady wove an amazingly detailed tapestry by combining the best of the location with a fabulous event. She organized visits to top Nashville locations that related to our purpose. Presentations at meals were relevant and interesting. The fashions Sandra had created for the centerpiece dolls and for our event souvenirs are beautiful and so abundant I can hardly believe it.
I shot more than 400 pictures, many of them not so impressive. It takes alot time to go through them and post. Interior shots at Cheekwood and the Frist were not permitted

 The Cheekwood mansion was huge and we were told that just one small family of four lived there in it's day. There was a Chihuly installation out-of-doors. I think if I hadn't seen a mind-blowing Chihuly installation in Pittsburgh a few years ago, I would have been more impressed with this one.

Ryman Auditorium 
The history of the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Old Opry is fascinating and I recommend going to their websites to read about it. I do not follow country music but I certainly learned a great deal of interesting facts. 

Country Music Hall of Fame

Frist Center for the Visual Arts
The Frist Center is housed in an Art Deco United States Post Office with spectacular marble work, wrought iron gratings, doors and moldings. This is truly an impressive building aside from the exhibit. The Golden Age of Couture exhibit at the Frist Center was very special. I finally got to see four of the Theatre de la Mode mannequins in person. Madame Lachasse was beyond belief. Her teensy leather gloves were handsewn and still in perfect condition. She had tiny silk stockings and a cigarette case with pastel colored cigarettes! The miniatures created to go along with her wardrobe fascinated me. 

Display Dolls
Imagine walking into a ballroom filled with nearly 200 Genes, Madras, and assorted other dolls from the Ashton-Drake and Integrity Gene Marshall lines! Impressive, right?

Chez Manuel More about Manuel can be found on the internet. He has a long history of designing bling-y fashions for country western stars and other well-known personalities and performers.

Crawford Manor  Cheryl Crawford debuts her Crawford Manor collection of 16" resin dolls.

Never judge a doll by its PR photos: Tonner "What's my lamb gonna wear?" Scarlett O' Hara

Sometimes, a friend tips you on a good buy and often, it turns out to be a pleasant surprise too! When a friend tipped me on Tonner's "What's my lamb gonna wear?" outfit only in eBay, I immediately tipped my courier about bidding for it for me. And luckily, I got it!

What was originally getting a lot of criticism (me included) for the color and amount of prints on the iconic Barbeque dress (from initial PR photos), turned out to be a beautiful sight to behold. Well, perhaps Tonner listened  too as the entire members of the Scarlett Yahoo group were writing Tonner about the color of the prints.

The dress is made of gauze-like chiffon. It's very thin. A strong tug and you could probably tear it apart. The prints are darker in color -- unlike what we see in the PR photos. The base color of that dress is cream and somehow there is a "green" reflect on the entire dress which then debunks the idea that the base is all white. The entire dress is put atop a thin cream satin -- perhaps this is the "cream" that diffuses the white.

There is a generous amount of cloth here for the skirt. Twirl the doll and the entire dress sways very much like how Vivien would sway her skirt when defying Mammy's admonitions to eat before the party.

The entire ensemble is comprised of gloves and a hat with a ready-ribbon and a clip to hold it in place. Quite tight too on the head. Deep-green pumps, a pantyhose and jewelry (similar to the real thing, save for earrings which look like chili  LOL).

So here are portraits of the doll. This one is a repaint of the Drapery doll. The curls came undone and I just left the length, the hair is softer here.  And if you would ask me, yes, there is a great lesson here: never judge a doll by its PR photos. What's my lamb gonna wear turned out to be somehow spectacular -- at least for me = )

Tonner Scarlett: A Hamilton Saturday Portrait

After watching "That Hamilton Woman" for the nth time. I thought of doing a portrait of the Tonner Scarlett in a dress close to this still you see here.  I have to apologize for the limited number of clothing these dolls have. I am trying to limit my purchases to GWTW only, because they are really price-y items. And the clothings are not really as many as what you see with other collectors. So pardon if they may seem reduntant. I try to be imaginative as possible, when the mind allows.

The gown this doll wears comes from two sources. The top is an Ashton Drake creation for Gene. The skirt is a creation of Alana Bennett.

W Club Exclusive Doll Avantguard BIJOUX

Bijoux is a French word meaning a small, dainty ornamental piece of delicate work or, as the adjective bijou, it describes something delicate, elegant or highly prized. That's a nice name for a doll.
This new Avantguard doll is described by Integrity as follows:
The Exclusive W Club Bijoux AvantGuards Doll wears a dark fuchsia satin gown with black contrasting embroidery, orange chiffon inserted accent panels and striking black netting. A dramatic sprinkle of gold on her eyes makes this doll the shimmering bijoux that she is. The fabulous tapered black bob wig delicately shapes her face. The jewelry that accents this fashion consists of a necklace with three black roses and matching earrings. To complete the ensemble, Bijoux wears black platform skyscraper shoes.

The price is $185. which is $40 less than prior releases. What happened? Is the price seeking the correct level at last?

Integrity Announces New Monogram Doll and Fashion

By the time this post is published (it's on automatic) I will be in Nashville, Tennessee for the Golden Age of Doll Couture event.  Members of the W Club get these announcements and are asked to wait until a specific time and day before sharing the information. So, this is being written on Tuesday evening and publication is on time delay.
The dressed doll is called "Extravagance." It is a limited edition of 300 with a SRP of $150.

The fashion is called "Escapade." LE 300. SRP $99.

I'm looking at it like a gift set. One doll and two complete outfits with a wig, nice accessories and very pretty clothes for $249. A little lingerie would have been a bonus but when I see it as a gift set, the price becomes more reasonable.

A Day of Ennui with Robert Tonner and Ellowyne...sigh.

Today I attended a luncheon at the Wiltwyck Country Club which is only 13 miles from my home. I love that I live so close to the Tonner hub. Who knew when I moved to Woodstock that I would be collecting dolls? It's really a big coincidence...or is it? was fun. Everyone looked great. There were the usual fantastic raffle prizes none of which came home with me. I consider the cost of my 80 tickets a donation. There were competition dolls and all of them looked like winners to me.
Upon arrival we were greeted with a cute canvas tote inside of  which was an Ellowyne item of clothing or outfit, a book of Ellowyne poetry, some postcards and a catalog.
There was a big bowl of lovely mood rings at the registration table. Mine didn't change color until I put it inside my bra for a while. Hey, a table full of women usually gets a little raunchy.
Dessert was good and I would have been happy to have eaten just that. It was a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on a puff pastry shell drizzled with either chocolate sauce or strawberry sauce. And then the server brought a trough of whipped cream to the table. Heaven. I love whipped cream.
The centerpiece was Prudence:
The event souvenir was Ellowyne "A Day of Ennui" (of course):
The companion doll was Amber, "No Ennui, Just Me!" I didn't even know this character existed! I love her snooty face.
All the dolls have inset eyes and applied lashes. I think that makes them even more special. The additional dolls were $150. plus NYS tax which is 8%, give or take a fraction, bringing the total to $162.
After the event those who wished to purchase additional dolls did just that. There were plenty of dolls to buy. I'm guessing the extras will be offered through the Tonner Store so if you are interested, keep an eye out for announcements at the Tonner Direct website.
We were invited back to the store after lunch to have dolls signed and to spend more money. Everything in the store (except event dolls) was available to us for 20% off the current price. Dealers do not carry Wilde Imagination products so there is no discount unless they go on sale directly from WI.  I made up my mind before I left the luncheon that I would buy the Wilde Rose Vanity and Stool I have been eyeing for two years.
Image property of Wilde Imagination
Yes, I had controlled that impulse for so long (while ignoring others and letting them run rampant.) But I broke down and ordered it. After all it was a bargain at 20% off.  I wanted it-emphasis on the word wanted.
Do you notice how effectively I have stopped buying dolls larger than 12 inches tall? Now that I have Ellowyne dolls again, they need a little furniture, right?

Fashion Night Out at Bergdorf Goodman accompanied by a Jason Wu doll!

It won't go on sale until Friday, September 10 but the W Club and Bergdorf's has released the information and pictures of a new doll inspired by Jason's Resort Collection.

The price of the doll is $150. Will you be ordering one or more?

Read about Fashion Night Out in the New York Times.

Disturbingly Low Prices on Dolls on Sale ;-)

Today Maddies Dolls (Canada) announced a sale on Gene Marshall, Fashion Royalty, Avantguard and some Mattel dolls. The  Avantguard doll, "No Exaggeration" is on sale for $140.  Is anyone else gagging?  It seems that everyone is trying to dump the last three Avantguard dolls. Perhaps the next release will take into consideration the desires of collectors. That would be nice.
I say 'disturbingly low' only because I paid full retail for some of these dolls and it wasn't even that long ago.
I'm used to this happening with Tonner dolls but not with Integrity dolls. Ugh.
It also seems that the ITBE line is so unpopular, they can barely give them away. That's what happens when you call an inexpensive doll an "entry level collectible." My Monster High dolls, at retail, cost less and come with cute accessories and trendy/funky clothes.
Here is the link for Maddies Dolls. They do ship internationally.

Grand Finale! The Fence Dress by Beth Wilder, Louisville, Kentucky

To Beth Wilder of Louisville, KY , I was trying to find you, but could not. 
I hope you don't mind me giving credit to your creation.(featured in the TonnerSpace Newsletter, May 2008)

In the Tonner Newsletter May 2008, where collectors feature their collections as part of Tonner's Philosophy: "The Power of Play", a certain Beth Wilder from Louisville, KY posted a beautiful creation of her own of GWTW's last scene dress. It is never seen on film, however it is the last emotive moment for Vivien Leigh's character to convince us with her beautiful talent and face that Scarlett will get one true love back.  Beth Wilder was able to create a dress with the color similar to the Plunkett drawings. The buttons, the lace on the bodice and the length of it make her creation a wonderful wear for her Tonner doll. 
I know that I found somehow photos of that last scene with Vivien Leigh. I hope that Beth doesn't mind though. I used her dress here and photoshopped (highest gear) to put my repainted Return to Tara Scarlett atop that doll. With little fixes on the dress cuffs, doll hair and dress length (I magine it would have a small busle at the back for an elegant lift), I have a portrait of what could have been if that "lost costume" were found by Tonner. In my opinion, it could be considered as one real "lost costume" from the "lost scene". And that scene must be be lying somewhere waiting to be found too, can you imagine if it were?

"Lost and Found" seems to be the ultimate theme of Gone with the Wind. What she finds as true love is what she loses in the end. But hope keeps her up. And sometimes hope and courage are all we need to rise above any daunting situation. So, to Beth Wilder this Portait is for you. Thank you! I hope Tonner finds your inspiration in your creation and make this lost costume.
"Tomorrow is another day."
Beth Wilder of Louisville, KY's OOAK Fence Dress
(from the TonnerSpace Newsletter May 2008),
photoshopped to have a Tonner repainted Scarlett.

Great Sale on Gene Marshall Items at Integrity Toys Direct

Madra Lord "The Jeweled Cat" is on sale for $139.99. That is a bargain at 1/2 of retail. Many, many more dolls and fashions at very good prices. Go!

Integrity Toys

Added on August 18th:
There are other items on sale, too. But as Uriah commented below, none of us was notified by email or announcement that there was going to be a sale. I think they're afraid we'll crash the server - we've done it. Hehe. More power to the collectors!


Il lui mentait constamment, lui faisant croire elle était importante pour lui et qu'il vieillerait sur sa personne et savait parfaitement comment l'effrayer pour qu'elle soit suffisamment docile. Amélia s'était rapidement amourachée du vampire, persuadée que ses belles paroles étaient sincères. Elle accomplissait sans mot dire ses quatre volontés et attendait chaque nuit qu'il ne la rejoigne.

Crédits :
¤ Poupées de Leeke et Dollstown
¤ Cadre de Objekt-stock

Canon 7D vs. Barbie Video Girl

Picture of the Week Award ~ Al Gudka

I came upon this stunning photograph of the new Mini Avantguard doll Androgyny on the W Club board.

 Property of Al Gudka

Al's photography is  a favorite of mine. He's a master of composition. You will come across his posts not only on the W board but also on Doll Divas and BC.Com.
Here are the answers Al sent to my questionnaire:

-This gorgeous doll is the Mini-Clone Androgyny AvantGuards with her original wig
-No changes were made to the doll itself, but I did release the wig's ponytail
-She is wearing the Barbie by Jonathan Adler dress; corset and stockings from Aerodynamic Vanessa; shoes from last year's W Club Eugenia; jewelry from Flight Pattern Kyori
-The Hows:
  • The camera I used was a 15 megapixel Canon Powershot G10
  • For the backdrop I used a white foam-filled poster board; doll is leaning against it
  • The only prop was a little desk fan that doubled as a large industrial fan in 1/6th scale
  • For lighting I used a cluster of three 35 watt daylight florescent bulbs placed directly in front of, and slightly above the doll, at approx 6 ft away.  I hung a large sheet of tracing paper 2 feet in front of the lamps.  This diffused the light and made it look like natural light.
-My inspiration for this shot was some behind the scenes footage of model Gisele Bundchen during a photo shoot.
-The biggest suggestion I would give to budding photographers is to get acquainted with Photoshop.  It can transform a dull, lifeless photo into a brilliant, high contrast eye-catcher. It is also indispensible when it comes to white balancing your photos if your camera can't do it properly.  I see so many beautiful photos that have been unintentionally marred by green or yellow color casts. 
Thanks for sharing your expertise with us, Al. 

Instant Gratification Dolls

Every now and then you just need to have a new doll immediately. At 9:30 PM tonight I found myself in that situation and off to Walmart I went. I live in nowheresville and 9 miles away is a slightly larger nowheresville called Kingston, NY. We have dollar stores and CVS by the dozen. Our Walmart and Toys R Us are not mega stores so the pickings are usually quite slim. The Barbie fraction of an aisle was kind of barren as I expected. The aisle over had lots of big head Livs and Moxies and tiny pet thingies. But I spied some Monster High dolls and snatched up the two that I wanted. I almost ordered these several weeks ago but stopped at the last minute.

Four individual characters were there but I chose the two without fangs. They are Lagoona Blue , Daughter of the Sea Monster, and Frankie Stein, Daughter of Frankenstein (Duh.)

At under $38. for both (that includes NY tax), I got a kick out of them. They're more articulated than any Barbie doll ever made! Dressed in their platform heels, they measure 11". Add another 1/4 inch with the stand. Each girl has a pet. Lagoona Blue's pet is a piranha that goes inside her fishbowl handbag. So cute. Frankie Stein's pet is a dog who is stitched together, just like his owner. He also has angel wings. Does that mean he is dead and risen? 
The little details on their outfits are hilarious like the lightning bolt on Frankie's belt. Lagoona has webbed hands and lovely aqua streaks in her hair.
Their forearms are removable. These dolls are skinny with giant heads but it works and it's fun and now I want the Deuce Gorgon and Cleo de Nile gift set. It never ends.

Did I mention they're made by Mattel?

Integrity Toys Announces New Dynamite Girls for Fall/Winter

Three Dynamite Girls were announced yesterday. They are all LE 300 and the SRP is $54.99. The last wave of DG dolls were $40 each.

 From left to right they are:  Aria, Eltin, Neve,  Dressed in cute cold weather fashions they will be available at dealers late September/early October.  I wonder if the cute chair will be an item for sale. I like it.

It was also announced that there will be lower shipping rates. In their email Integrity says, "Integrity has been able to negotiate special online rates with both UPS and USPS, so you should see reduced shipping fees across the board on every order." I didn't know one could negotiate with the United States Postal Service.  I'm going to have to find out about that one. USPS and UPS have always had commercial rates.  What I think is more likely is that the service/handling charges have been added to the product prices so they won't show up in the shipping.

I ship cartons and packages all the time and I've shipped hundreds of items. I haven't negotiated lower rates.  When I weigh packages from Integrity they are always under the weight charged for. Last month (July) I received a carton containing 5 Gene Marshall replacement bodies. The carton weighed exactly 4.5 pounds although it said 6 pounds.  Via Priority Mail with $150. worth of insurance, the cost would be between $11.50 and $12.40 total. I was charged $23.95 for shipping.

Just to check, I logged into the Integrity store. The Gene Marshall (16") bodies are no longer available but the Fashion Royalty bodies are. Of course they weigh 25% less since they are for 12" dolls. I ordered 5 bodies and the USPS shipping came to $17.15. That's still way too high IMO.

However, it sounds like they are listening to the customers on this issue and it's a good sign that they are attempting to address the issue.

Tonner Fall/Winter 2010 Line ~ Part 4

There are many more new releases in the Fall/Winter Tonner line than I will post on my blog. In this final installment, I will just post some of the more notable ones.
Unfortunately there are no pictures yet of the "Vintage Revlon Collection - 10.5" Little Miss Revlon." Is the Tiny Kitty/Simone Rouge line done? I hope not.
Two great-looking male dolls have been added to the team.
From Firefly - Jayne Cobb, LE 1000,  $179.99 
Jayne Cobb/Adam Baldwin Head Sculpt; 17" Male Athletic Body w/ Blue Eyes and Brunette Wigged Hair

From Lord of the Rings - Legolas Greenleaf, LE 1500, $159.99
17" Matt Body, Pale Blonde Hair Hair/Blue Eyes
Orlando Bloom Head Sculpt w/ 17" Matt O'Neill™ Body

To the already fabulous Wizard of Oz line, Tonner has added three fantastic characters with a new interpretation: "Beauty and Brains" LE500,  $199.99
DeeAnna Denton™ Head Sculpt scaled to the 16" Antoinette™ Body w/ Brown Eyes and Cameo Skintone 
She looks like Lorena from True Blood.
"Heart on My Sleeve" LE500, $189.99
Duchess Head Sculpt and 16" Antoinette™ Body w/ Grey Eyes and Cameo Skintone 
I want this doll!
 "Hear Me Roar!" LE500, $199.99
Antoinette™ Head/Body Sculpt and Brown Eyes and Honey Skintone 

Wow! These are imaginative and creative and would be so much fun to have and display. I'd like to see them side by side with their 16" counterparts from 2007. 

All of the images in this post are the property of Tonner Doll Co. The last image is a combination of three.