Monday, January 31, 2011

Two days left to enter our Facebook fan contest...

Don't forget--you have till 11:59 PM PST, February 2, 2011 to become a fan of the Fashion Doll Review on Facebook at this link leave any comment on this link to be eligible to win our prize, which is shown in the photo!

As of this evening, I have twenty entrants. You have a one in twenty chance in winning this gorgeous Model #10 and her Gold accessory pack!

For detailed rules, check out this original post.

If you're not on Facebook, please don't have your feelings hurt--I didn't realize the drawings were so popular. I'll be sure to have another one soon, which will include everyone again. We just wanted to celebrate out new Facebook followers out there for this one!

Sneak peak at Peak's Woods new limited edition!

Photo property of Peak's Woods.
Two sisters. The above photo is showing up on Peak's Woods' website this morning. OMG OMG OMG!

I'm in a royal panic! Arrrrgh! I think it might be Lottie and a her sister, Wake-up Lottie. But don't quote me. I'll update you when more details are available.

Gorgeous and creepy. Love them!

Update: These will be available from February 12-20, as a limited edition dolls, so everyone should have a fair chance of owning one!

MetroDolls is back, and registration is open!

Photo copyright MetroDolls
Don't waste time... and save the date:

2011 MetroDolls™ Luncheon (UFDC Member)
October 2, 2011
10 am - 4 pm
The Wood Bridge Hilton
Iselin, New Jersey
Event to benefit Autism Speaks

Event costs $215, and includes an exclusive 16" fashion doll by Tonner Doll Company and special souvenirs. Attendees will also have access to the charity auction, competition table, door prizes, and lots of other goodies. Registration is open now.

$50 will hold your place now, plus all registrations paid in full will receive a $15 coupon toward purchases of the at the MetroDolls™ sales table.

Check out the MetroDolls™ website for more information. A limited number of absentee packages for this wonderful event are also available for $215 plus shipping and handling.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mattel made a Canadian Barbie, eh?

 They sure did - and she happened to be my Christmas present from my friend, Alison! It was news to me that Mattel's Dolls of the World Collection included a Canadian Barbie, as Canada seems so close to the United States, and not very "exotic." (Although, being a Canadian living in the US, I can testify that there are definitely differences between the two countries...and their inhabitants.) Besides having that beautiful 80s Barbie face, she makes me smile. Seeing the Canadian flag on her box makes me feel like she and I are sharing something special.

BJD tip of the day: How to de-yellow resin

Resin, before and after, originally uploaded by alington.
About the above photo: Jolly Plus Jise (SD size Asian ball-jointed doll, I'm at least the third owner). The top arm, before its cleansing treatment. The bottom arm, after its treatment. Notice how the wrist ball joint is really normal-looking, even before treatment, as it is rarely exposed to light.

Resin yellows naturally, as it's exposed to light. It's just a part of the deal with ball-jointed dolls made of resin. Your brand new BJD will yellow--some more evenly than others--no matter what you do to prevent it. When you buy dolls from the secondary market, you might end up with a very even, very yellow doll, and not even realize what the doll's color was originally. This tutorial can help you use household supplies safely to get your doll back to normal.

Not doll related: Meet Coco Chanel

Meet Coco Chanel, originally uploaded by alington.
Perhaps a slight bite into the doll budget last weekend...

Meet our new ocicat, Coco Chanel, or Chanel for short. She's five months. I swore I'd never "buy" a cat, when so many are in shelters. But then, we went to a cat show in Del Mar, and they had all these cuties around.

Chanel is so lovely and playful. She's wild-looking and gorgeous. Ocicat is a breed that was started by crossing abyssinians with siamese, and then adding a bit of American short hair for "heft." And oh, is she lovely.

She sort of slinks around the house--sometimes like a lioness, sometimes like a kitten. She has big feet, and will probably be the dominant kitty soon. But she will rule with a gentle touch, I think.

See more photos of her on my Flickr account.

She's a blast--she is everyone's best friend. Nico (the dominant cat in our house, 14 months), isn't so sure when she rubs all over him and purrs. And when she rubs on you and loves you, she really tries to knock you over, like my poor five year-old Jake. It's adorable!

Tonner updates from IDEX

These notes are translations from a Tonner dealer, Carolyn at Sweetheart Dolls, so they may be subject to interpretation and change.

Some important announcements from Tonner were made at IDEX's retailer breakfast on Friday morning:

  • Tyler is getting a new look for her 11th anniversary. New Mood Tyler will have inset eyes, wigs and interchangeable body parts: three hand sets, feet, torsos and more muscular upper arms.
  • The original full-sized Harry Potter line will be continued, and the line will expanded.
  • Robert Tonner has purchased 10 additional Theatre de la Mode costumes and will be releasing them three or four at a time. (I am so excited about this news!)
  • The dressed dolls will be on Antoinette bodies, but the costumes are designed to fit the Tyler body as well.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

FR2 preview from Integrity Toys

Integrity Toys has revealed its new line of FR2™ (Fashion Royalty Squared) dolls at IDEX. They are available for pre-order from your favorite IT dealers now. (These dolls are a different size than regular FR bodies, and their feet have a slightly higher arch as well.) All dolls have rooted eyelashes and hair, plus removable hands for easy dressing.

Several dressed dolls are new in the line, all limited to 300, $175 retail:
  • Modern Sensibility Dasha, red hair and blue eyes, early March
  • Flawless Elise Jolie, blonde hair, green eyes, early March
  • Engaging Elise Jolie, brunette hair, blue eyes, Spring 2011
  • Rare Appeal Dominique Makeda, brunette and brown eyes, Spring 2011
  • Impossibly Beautiful Dominique Makeda, brunette and brown eyes, Spring 2011
And several new fashions are also available, limited to 300, $100 retail:
  • Only Natural, early March
  • Sheer Bliss, early March
  • Metropolitan, Spring 2011
Renegade Dasha is a dressed doll with blonde hair and blue eyes, $175, is a W Club exclusive, with shipping details to be determined, but sometime in early spring.

The details in these promo photos are really nice--I hope the quality of the shoes, purses and accessories are at least half as good as they look! I have to confess, I've never bought a fashion doll or an outfit just for the accessories before, and I hadn't considered getting into another scale, just for the accessories. But I suppose there's a first time for everything!

Yikes--that green purse/yellow shoe/ring combo is just calling to me. I must stop looking!!

All photos are property of Integrity Toys.

Modern Sensibility Dasha™ dressed doll
Only Natural fashion 
Renegade Dasha™ W Club Exclusive dressed doll

Flawless Elise Jolie, dressed doll's accessories
Flawless Elise Jolie dressed doll

Sheer Bliss fashion

Engaging Elise Jolie dressed doll

Rare Appeal Dominique Makeda dressed doll

Metropolitan fashion

Impossibly Beautiful Dominique Makeda dressed doll

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rinsing hair...

Hair comparison, originally uploaded by alington.
Restyling hair isn't exactly my forte. However: when I received a birthday gift of this lovely Barbie Basic 2.0 Model 03 (Steffie!) from my friend Jen, I figured I'd have to give the hair rinsing and restyle another try.

I had already split the doll and outfit with another friend, so the Steffie (STEFFIE) on the right is all original. The left Steffie (STEFFIE!!) has had her hair washed, rinsed and conditioned. Plus I added a little bit of hot water to tame the curls a bit, and just touched them up as they dried.

You can see more side-by-side comparison photos of them on Flickr (from the side and front). This doll does have huge hair, so she might not be for everyone.

What about your dolls? Do you restyle them? Re-do their hair? Take down up-dos? (And in the process, find huge bald spots? Or is that just my luck?) ;)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Integrity Toys breaking news - Dracula and his Brides

Collection II of Dracula and His Brides
Forever and Ever, the Contessa
Integrity is pleased to announce the arrival of the Count and three new additions of his brides as part of the IDEX release today. Vaughn Sawyers and the IT Design team are the creative minds behind these dolls, and they are now being offered directly by Integrity Toys.
Eternally Together, Lucy

All are scheduled to ship in April 2011, and limited editions of just 500 pieces. The brides are priced at $125 each. The brides include fabulous matching boots, designer earrings and stands.

Forever and Ever, The Contessa, is a lovely blonde with yellow-green eyes and applied lashes, blue eyeshadow and a slate blue embroidered dress with chocolate over-the-knee boots.

Yours Evermore, Mina
Eternally Together, Lucy, is a gorgeous redhead with dark red eyes and applied lashes, runway style facial screening, and she's lost her wide-eyed look. Her cream colored chiffon dress is trimmed with ribbons and bows. Her metallic boots are to die for!

The Count
Yours Evermore, Mina, has chocolate brown hair and red eyes, dark smokey shadow and coral lips. She's wearing an off-the-shoulder peasant style dress, embroidered, with ruffled trim. She might be my favorite, though the Contessa is a hot second.

The Count is also fanged and dressed in a detailed suit with a vest, shirt, pinstriped pants and satin detailing. He has dark hair and red eyes.

The dolls have painted fangs, applied lashes (except for the Count), and excellent facial screening. Their eyes are unusually colored, as they should be--for vampires! And I'm not the best with Integrity sculpts, but the Brides look quite different than the original versions released in conjunction with Ashton Drake. I just had it confirmed that the Brides are indeed the original sculpts and use the original bodies. Ack! That makes them even more tempting!

All photos property of Integrity Toys.

She's back! Véronique Perrin makes her return to Integrity Toys!

Modern Comeback (Noir) Véronique
She's back! The moment I have been waiting for... Véro's return!

Her first edition is a limited W Club exclusive doll called Modern Comeback. Modern Comeback (Noir) debuts in a one-piece black lingerie outfit with matching black stockings. Rooted raven hair falls in soft waves at shoulder length. Stud earrings and black strappy sandals finish her look.
Modern Comeback Véronique (Blonde)

If you prefer a softer look, Modern Comeback (Blonde) may be the right choice for you. Her blonde hair fits her soft glimmering facial screening perfectly. Her lingerie is pink with black lace trim, black stockings, stud earrings and black strappy sandals.

For W Club Members, the lottery opened yesterday. Both dolls are limited editions of 500 dolls worldwide, retail at $90 and are scheduled to ship March 2011.

All photos property of Integrity Toys.

The Showgirl

The Showgirl, originally uploaded by alington.
A birthday present from my daughter Lauren--a very generous gift--to help me on my new habit of Silkstone Barbies.

Lauren is a great girl to have on my side--never one to scrimp on feathers and sequins. (I'm a little scared, since she's only seven.)

I love this doll, The Showgirl. Pink, satin, beads, glitter, feathers, you name it. A little like a gorgeous, more elegant flamingo. And her right glancing eyes are perfect.

She reminds me a little of Glinda. The very good witch of the north. Or something.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Beatnik REALLY Blues Poppy

Beatnik REALLY Blues Poppy, originally uploaded by alington.
My friend and fellow doll club member Sarah Smith did this reroot on Beatnik Blues Poppy. I'll let you know as soon as she starts to do professional reroots--she's excellent! (I just didn't care for the doll's original  bangs, and this color is just up my alley!) You can see Poppy's original styling on this blog post, and also Shuga-Shug's post of her Poppy with way more detailed (and frankly, way better) photos.

Her current outfit consists of Dynamite Girl pieces: Sooki's dress and fishnets from the 2009 Electro Pop collection, and her belt from the 2010 collection. Her bracelet is from Bewitching Hour Luchia Z, and the purse is Azone. Shoes are Momoko.

I am totally in love with her now. I can't decide on how to style her hair--I'm leaning towards either a traditional Barbie Marlo Flip (I know--it would be really styled and dated, but so perfect for a 1950s era Poppy!) or possibly a straight, sleek style, slightly longer. What do you think?

So far, I've gotten feedback on straight and sleek. But I can't keep it quite this long. It's a bit unmanageable. But so cool. Even if just for a while. Maybe a bit longer.

See a few more shots of her on Flickr, if you like!

Fashion Doll Review's latest drawing!

You can win this doll!
Barbie Basic 1.0 Model 10
No, it's not exactly a contest. And yes, you have to follow us on Facebook to enter this one. Here's how it works.

To win the prize, which consists of a Barbie Basics 1.0 Model #10 (my favorite controversial Barbie Basic), brand new in her box, and a 2.0 Gold Accessory pack from the new Jeans collection, you must post a comment on the photo album I've posted on our Facebook fan page.

You have one week. The drawing closes on Groundhog day, February 2, at 11:59 PM PST. Please make sure you've posted your comment by then. Please, only one entry per person.

To be clear, your comment needs to go here, to this link directly:

And you must be a fan of the Fashion Doll Review page, which you can do here:

On February 3, 2011, I will put all your names into a bowl and have a neutral party draw a single name. I'll post the winner's handle (your first name and last initial) on my blog and contact you through Facebook if you're the winner to get your shipping information. US and international players are welcome!

A note about the prizes:
Barbie Accessory Pack Collection 002 Look 02
  • The Barbie Basics doll has a small smudge of lipstick colored paint on the inside of the window box. It's not on the doll's face--just the box. Her lips look fine, but I thought I should mention it. 
  • The accessory pack is complete and NRFB. However, the sunglasses have slipped out of their packaging place, and onto the purse, as you can see in the photo.
  • My home is non-smoking. I do have cats, however, who stay away from my Barbies. But keep this in mind if you are highly allergic--you may want to sit out this contest.
No purchase is necessary. I'm sorry, but our blog contributors are not allowed to enter. Please remember The Fashion Doll Review is not in any way affiliated with Mattel, Barbie, Integrity Toys, Tonner Doll, or any other doll company. Views expressed in this blog are the opinions of the writers.

    New Iplehouse Limited E.I.D - Arvid

    Iplehouse recently announced the upcoming release of a new limited Elder Iplehouse Doll (E.I.D.) named Arvid.

    The sketch of Arvid depicts him as a rugged cowboy. Perhaps a nod to the recent resurgence in popularity of spaghetti westerns. Currently, Iplehouse has only released a concept sketch of Arvid. According to their website, he will be released soon.

    Image Copyright of Iplehouse

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    Some news and updates

    PukiPuki Ante
    dressed in Elfdoll Tiny Olivia's outfit
    Thanks for hanging in there with us the past week, dear readers. I feel like I, as the editor, owe you an explanation:

    First, I have the prize for reaching over 200 fans on Facebook--217 readers as of this post!--and I think you'll like it. Well, like them. I am hoping to have photos up on the blog later today, and I also am going to post how you all will have a chance to win this prize. This is a drawing, not a contest. So, no, I'm not going to ask you about my photo background, LOL!

    Second, let me just emphasize how important it is to stay and get in contact with real people in the doll world. It's totally worth it to post on your regular doll groups to see if there is a doll group who actually meets in your area, even if you think you will be too young or too old, or you feel like your collection is too shabby or too ornate, or if you're afraid to leave the house or talk about your dolls. You won't be sorry. I have been having some medical issues of late, and I have to say, my real-life doll friends have really been a saving grace for me.

    Third, I never did get a chance to introduce our newest blogger to you: Melissa. She collects Asian ball-jointed dolls (at this time), and she and I have a pretty notorious tendency to, well, sell each other dolls. I just bought her limited edition Dollzone Shoyo from her on Sunday. Eeek. Well, my daughter Kate did, but she is buying Shoyo from me on lay-away. (And no, I don't charge her interest.) ;)

    At any rate, I'm thrilled to be adding another BJD fan to our authors. I have some BJD info to be adding shortly, plus I've recently redone my doll shelves and redressed all my many Steffie sculpts--some who have been added since Christmas--and I think some new photos are due.

    In the coming weeks, Shuga-Shug is attending IDEX in Florida. I'm thrilled to announce she will be doing some blogging from there. I hope she also has the time to post to our site as well as her own blog, which you also should be following.

    I also have a few customer-experience stories to share with you on products, and these won't be as raving as some of the others I've had in previous posts. But when friends of mine buy items marketed as "will fit Antoinette, Tyler and Sybarite," and they don't, well, you ought to know. And, when BJDs appear on eBay that are being sold by a distributor other than the artist who created them, you ought to know that, too.

    I look forward to your feedback, and thank you for your patience and support.

    Barbie versus Bratz... again. Some more.

    If you haven't already heard, the battle between Mattel and Bratz is back on.

    According to a rather funny interpretation I read on the DollHead blog last week, Mattel was quoted as saying, and I'm not joking, "This is war and sides must be taken: Barbie stands for good. All others stand for evil."

    Click to read the DollHead's interpretation.

    Warning: To protect your computer screen and keyboard, please swallow your coffee first.

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    Fluffy First Snow Momoko

    The newest Momoko doll is up for preorder at BIC International. Fluffy First Snow is scheduled to be released at the end of March and retails for about $125. I love all the lace and her hair length, style, and color are quite different from previously released Momoko's.

    Wilde Imagination is clearing out winter items

    Photo Property of Wilde Imagination

    Wilde Imagination has put a lot of their winter stock on sale to make room for the upcoming Spring releases.

    Ellowyne Winter Specials:
    Dressed Dolls from $85
    Outfits from $54
    Wigs from $18

    Evangeline Ghastly "Almost Gone" Specials:
    Clothing Pieces from $22
    Outfits from $79

    These items are available until this Tuesday, January 25th @ 10pm EST, and ship for free within the continental U.S.

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Iplehouse Elemental Guardians

    My favorite BJD company just released two BID (baby iplehouse dolls) in their "Elemental Guardians" collection. These dolls are 26cm tall (about 10 1/4 inches). Although I prefer the older looking dolls, these babies were cute and I thought I'd share here since they're still beautiful dolls. If you're interested, check out the website HERE.

    First up is EFREET:

    Next up is ERZULIE:

    HJ Couture Fashion Show

    Just letting you know that the maison of HJ Couture will be having a fashion show this Sunday (through his Flickr site). The collection is titled “Heart Shaped Ribbon” and will be available for sale on ebay the following day (all fashions are OOAK). If you’d like to get on HJ’s email list, email him at: To see previous collections (he does amazing work!!) and to see the fashion show check out his flickr HERE.

    **photo below is property of HJ Couture**

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Focus on Fashion: Claire McCardle

    Continuing our look at American designers, we move from the world of high fashion and couture to the world of affordable, easy going style and ready to wear.  Claire McCardel paid her dues to the high fashion world and then turned her back on it to persue a career in fashion for the average American woman and became a legend doing it.

    Born on May 24, 1905 in Frederick, Maryland to Adrian and Eleanor McCardell, Claire McCardell took an early interest in fashion. As a child, she would cut figures from her mother's fashion magazines in order to create paper dolls and began sewing her own clothes as a teenager. In 1943 she married the Texas-born architect Irving Drought Harris, who had two children by an earlier marriage, and established a home base in Manhattan. From the 1930s to the 1950s, she was known for designing functional, affordable, and stylish women’s sportswear within the constraints of mass-production, and is today acknowledged as the creator of the “American Look”, a democratic and casual approach to fashion that rejected the formality of French couture.

    Piposdoll dreaming Mari to be released soon

    This morning, Piposdoll released their first teaser for a new basic tiny (Po-11) in their line-up. The sculpt's name is Dreaming Mari, and is a sleeping version of the popular Mari Po-11. This lovely lady is slated for a January release. I will post more information about Dreaming Mari as it becomes available!

    Piposdoll makes beautiful dolls, both anthropomorphic and human alike! Their website is available here.

    Image copyright of Piposdoll

    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    Are you a fan of the Fashion Doll Review on Facebook?

    We are up to 199 fans on Facebook! It's time for another prize! Go sign up there and become a fan if you want to play!

    When we get to 200 fans, I will do a random drawing on all names who wish to participate (on Facebook)--I'll have everyone make comments on a particular photo, say, of the prize--and give you a a few days to do it.

    I promise I will have a fabulous prize for you. I'm trying to decide which one it should be. Leave me a comment and let me know which you prefer? Barbie or Monster High?

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Save the date - Wednesday, January 19, 2011!

    TONNERDirect is having a virtual factory sale from noon to 11 PM, EST on January 19, 2011. A few words of advice to first-timers:

    • The website may run slowly, due to high volume.
    • Tonner does not combine orders. Make sure you have everything you want before you check out.
    • Check your log-in and password (and shipping address), or set up your account before the sale. Today would be a great time.
    • Order online for the best selection, but you can call 800-794-2107 (or 972-403-1810) between 8:30 am and 5 PM EST if you're having problems.
    • The item isn't yours until you've paid for it. All items are first-come, first served. So even if it's in your cart, and some one else pays for it before you do, the item may disappear from your cart.
    • The sale applies only to items at TONNERDirect, and not at the Tonner Company Store.
    • All items are sold as is; some do not include boxes, some have dinged boxes, some have ripped tissue paper, some are missing outer shipping boxes. 
    • All sales are final; no returns exchanges or order cancellations.

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Wilde Imagination at IDEX and a promo code to save 15%

    An Empty Thrill, Ellowyne Wilde
    Photo property of Wilde Imagination
    Use promo code WILDE03 at checkout to save 15% off any order of $75 or more. This offer expires at midnight EST on January 16.

    Other news from Wilde Imagination:
    Ellowyne will be hosting an Ice Cream Social on Saturday, January 29, 2011 as part of IDEX, held this year in Orlando, Florida. The cost is $99, and includes an exclusive Ellowyne outfit. Only 100 spaces are available.

    The evening of Saturday, January 29 will also be IDEX's 2nd Annual BJD Mixer and Meet-Up Event. Wilde Imagination designer Joe Petrollese and "Ms. Ghastly" will be in attendance.

    Click here for more infomation about IDEX.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Berdine Creedy letter and 2011 Around the World Collection

    I was thrilled to see a message from Berdine Creedy herself on the the AMericanBJD Yahoo group this morning. She has introduced her 2011 line of BJD girls, Around the World in 15 years, which includes 8 new beautiful 10.5" resin girls with face-ups hand-painted by Berdine herself, outfits created by American designers Gale Torres and Diana Lemieux, and premium soft glass eyes made in the USA. Additionally, these dolls now feature double joints.

    The girls are available for pre-order now, and the edition sizes are small--limited to just 25 each--and you may put down your $100 for a deposit now to secure yours.

    Here is the message she posted:
    Dear Collectors and Friends,
    This year is my 15th ANNIVERSARY. I cannot believe that it is 15 years ago where we as a family set foot in this awesome Country, USA. Thanks to each and every one of you, supporting me through the years. We became good friends through the years and I treasure you all opening your big hearts and homes for my "Creedy Girls".
    I have something very special for my Anniversary, it will be available at IDEX. This will be very exclusive for my celebration. Each and every one gets hand made by myself. Everyone will love it and will want one. It can be used every day, so it will be well worth waiting for.
    After IDEX, I will put it on the website for all to see or to buy.
    Please go to my website, to view my 2011 dolls. Some of the buttons is still under construction, but Charlene managed to do the NEW 8 x Dolls, that everyone waited so long for.
    For those interested to buy:
    Please go to my ONLINE STORE, to order the one who is calling you or put a deposit on or lay-a-way one. Whatever you want to do for adoption fees.
    For 2011, I will have very small limited editions; every single doll will be painted by myself. Delivery will be much slower this year. The highest edition will be 25 of each doll. Clothing will be more traditional, high quality materials like silk will be part of my 2011 series. Some one-of-a-kinds with antique laces, combined with silk, will also be included.
    I will have all my clothing done by American Artists in 2011. So I am supporting our American seamstresses and bring work opportunities back to the USA. We have wonderful and talented seamstresses amongst us and they need to be noticed and acknowledged.
    I am also using an Eye Company that does their manufacturing in the USA.
    As I started my story for 2011 and said "THIS YEAR I WILL GO FULL CIRCLE,"well I think I definitely did!!!! Read my story on "About us" to see how these dolls were born in my mind and then put to reality.
    Delivery times:
    Anya, Brianna, Lineo and Maleteka: January at IDEX, February, March.
    Fei Yen, Mei Li, Bonita and Arya: April, May
    Charlene did a Deposit of $100 PayPal button, so if you want to secure your doll for now, pay a deposit and then before delivery the rest.
    PayPal is also available. $100 deposit and then just as you can pay. E-mail me with your request.
    Much kindness and have a wonderful 2011. A Big thanks to Charlene that worked so hard to put this on the website and ONLINE store. Love you bunches!!!!
    See most of you at IDEX. Hope you enjoy my new line.
    Anya and Briana retail for $383. Fei Yen, Mei Li, Bonita and Arya retail for $398. Maleteka is $408, and Lineo is $415. Typically, darker toned resin is more difficult to work with and pour successfully. This is the first time I have seen Berdine Creedy work with darker skin tones, and I am thrilled to see it!

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Focus On Fashion: Hattie Carnegie

    We continue our look at the American designers with a woman who set the gold standard for American fashion during the War and post war years.  She successfully combined her love of Haute couture French fashion, furniture and accessories with American ingenuity and produced lines of stunningly beautiful high end fashions for her high class clientele.  She continued this successful marriage after the war by producing a moderately priced line of clothing for the American housewife who wanted that high end style.  She is of course, the one and only Hattie Carneige.

    Hattie Carnegie, was born Henrietta Kanengeiser on March 15, 1889 in Vienna, Austria.  She was one of the premier dress designers of the 1930s. Carnegie started her career as a milliner. Her father, an artist and designer, introduced her to the world of fashion and design, and by age fifteen she had found work trimming hats. Five years later she opened a shop on East Tenth Street in New York called Carnegie - Ladies Hatter. The shop was successful, and within a few years she moved to the Upper West Side, where she took up dress design. However, she never learned to sew. While she couldn’t sew she had a feeling about clothes and a personality to convey her ideas to the people who were to work them out." She changed the name of her business in 1914 to Hattie Carnegie, Inc., and by the 1920s was the toast of the fashion world from her new location in the Upper East Side at 42 East 49th street.

    Carnegie's belief in simplicity fit perfectly with the streamlining of 1930s design. She believed that "simple, beautiful clothes … enhance the charm of the woman who wears them. If you have a dress that is too often admired, be suspicious of it." The dress, she insisted, must fit and not overpower the woman who wears it. She was devoted to Paris fashion and made regular buying trips throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Yet while she was a self-declared Francophile, she adapted French style to American tastes by offering a blend of style and comfort that suited many fashion-conscious Americans who still wanted their clothes to have a French flair.

    Carnegie's expensive original designer clothes were out of reach for many Americans, but this did not limit her influence on American design. Hers were among some of the most widely copied designs by popularly priced designers. As the decade wore on, Carnegie added a modestly priced, ready-to-wear line of clothing that proved to be the most lucrative of her enterprises. She made her modestly priced clothes more available to the average consumer by permitting some department stores to carry the new line, breaking from her usual practice of selling her clothes at her own shop. This practice secured her influence over both haute couture and popular wear.

    Throughout the 1930s Carnegie's booming business attracted several young designers who trained under her. Norman Norell, Claire McCardell, Paula Trigére, Pauline De Rothschild, and Jean Louis, among others, spent years working under her. As her business grew, so did her interests. She added accessories, perfumes, handkerchiefs, silk hosery, and cosmetics. By the 1940s Carnegie was well established as one of America's top designers.

    For decades Hattie Carnegie's personal taste and fashion sense influenced the styles worn by countless American women. Whether they bought her imported Paris models, the custom designs, the ready-to-wear collections, or the mass market copies of her work, women welcomed Carnegie's discreet good taste as a guarantee of sophistication. Carnegie's business ability and fashion acumen enabled her to build a small millinery shop into a wholesale and retail clothing and accessory empire and made her name synonymous with American high fashion for almost half a century.

    Carnegie's place in fashion history was assured not because of her own designs, but because of her talent for choosing or refining the designs of others. Between the World Wars, the list of couturiers whose models she imported included Lanvin, Vionnet, Molyneux, and Mainbocher—classic stylists—but also select creations from Chanel, Patou, Schiaparelli, and Charles James.  Carnegie claimed that she had a three-year unauthorized exclusive on selling Vionnet models in the early 1920s, a few years before Vionnet started selling "to the trade."

    The Custom Salon was generally considered to be the heart of the Hattie Carnegie operation, since it was with made-to-order fashion that Carnegie began. The focus of her business was to interpret European style for American consumers.  Her approach to fashion emphasized polish in every outfit rather than minute design details. Norman Norell, who was with Carnegie from 1928 to 1940 (primarily as a ready-to-wear designer), remarked that he often worked from models that Miss Carnegie had brought back from Paris. He could legitimately claim, however, that he had imprinted his own signature on his designs for the firm, and it is often possible to make an informed attribution of Hattie Carnegie styles to her other designers.
    Carnegie was already established as a style setter by the time she added the ready-to-wear division to her company in the 1920s. Vogue magazine included her tips and fashion forecasts in a monthly column called "Vogue points from Hattie Carnegie". At the Hattie Carnegie salon, a customer could accessorize her day and evening ensembles with furs, hats, handbags, gloves, lingerie, jewelry, and even cosmetics and perfume— everything, in fact—but shoes.

     The Carnegie customer was neither girlish nor matronly, but possessed of a certain decorum. Even the casual clothing in the ready-to-wear departments was elegant rather than playful. The Carnegie Suit, usually an ensemble with dressmaker details in luxury fabrics, traditionally opened her seasonal showings. She stressed the importance of black as a wardrobe basic, both for day and evening, but was also famous for a shade known as "Carnegie blue." Perhaps Carnegie's preference for 18th-century furnishings in her home relates to the devotion of formality so clearly expressed in her business.

    During World War II Carnegie was an impressive bearer of the standard of the haute couture. French style leadership was unavailable, and designs from her custom salon took pride of place in fashion magazines and on the stage.  Carnegie's leadership was also important to other fashion industries. She had always used fabrics from the best American textile companies, and continued to patronize specialty firms. Only after Carnegie's death did the company claim to use exclusively imported fabrics.

    Hattie Carnegie enjoyed tremendous success throughout her career but the proudest moment came when she designed the Women's Army Corps (WAC) uniform in 1950. They were adopted for wear on New Year's Day 1951. On 1 June 1952, Hattie received the Congressional Medal of Freedom for the WAC uniform design and for her many other charitable and patriotic contributions. The WAC design was so timelessly elegant that it was still in use for women's U.S. Army uniforms in 1968.

    Hattie Carnegie died on February 22, 1956; the fashion empire she had built survived into the 1970s, but in 1965 the custom salon was closed and the company concentrated on wholesale businesses. The informal youth culture of the 1960s and 1970s was ill-suited to the type of clothing and client that had made Hattie Carnegie's reputation. The strength of her personal identification with the company made it difficult for it to succeed without her, and it quickly lost ground to the younger designers who emerged in the 1960s.
    Hattie Carnegie designs are in the collection holdings of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; and at the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History in Boynton Beach, Florida.

    Exciting Goodreau Doll update!

    Modern Doll Souvenir Doll
    Photo property of Goodreau Dolls, LLC.
    I found this probably older announcement on the AmericanBJD Yahoo group message board this morning, from Paulette Goodreau, regarding Goodreau Dolls:
    We have decided to end all manufacturing under the label of Goodreau Doll, and move it to our new company. I will head the design team in the new company, but there will be other designers. If you would like a Goodreau Doll, designed by me, they are still available on also at a few of our retailers. We received our last resin shipment this month, and our last doll will be the banquet doll at Modern Doll collectors convention in San Antonio fall 2011. You can witness the birth of the next generation of dolls in July 2011, as we debut our first line from our new company!! 
    Also, please save the date: September 14-17, 2011. You'll want to attend the Modern Doll Collectors Convention in San Antonio Texas. Registration is open, and costs $295, which includes the souvenir doll, the last doll created by Goodreau Dolls. She looks gorgeous! Unfortunately, no absentee packages are available for this event.

    Additionally, all convention registrants (who register before July 1, 2011) will be entered into a drawing for the last 25" resin BJD Aimee doll, donated by Goodreau Dolls. The drawing will be held at the Saturday night banquet at the convention.

    That alone makes me want to attend!


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