Sunday, February 7, 2016

New fashion doll from Europe: Luna Doll by Andymy Designs

Fashion dolls come in all shapes and sizes and from all over the world - but just a while ago we had the very first coming from Romania! Luna Doll is the project of Andrei Teican, better known to fashion doll collectors as Andymy Designs, his fashion doll clothing brand. Luna is a 13" doll with an articulated hard vinyl body and she comes in two editions for now, one with a casual outfit (Emely) and one in a gown (Amelie). They have hand painted faces,rooted hair and come with matching accessories and a stand. You can shop for them here. I had the pleasure of having him answer my questions about his doll, his doll clothes and himself, so here is the interview:

FDC: First give us a little background information about you, who are you, where do you live and what were you doing before fashion dolls came into the picture?

My full name is Andrei Teican, known in the doll industry by Andymy. I live in Romania, and before the fashion dolls I was an aspiring teenager looking to work in the fashion industry. I worked as a graphic designer before finding the current job as a designer at a clothing production company in Romania.

FDC: How did you discover fashion dolls?

Since I was a little kid I loved the dolls. I asked my mother to buy me one, and Santa was kind with me that year. I always had an attraction for the small things that look like humans, and this attraction is still valid. Collecting I only started 5 years ago when browsing through the internet I discovered that there are other dolls than Barbie. SURPRISE! And I managed to buy my first doll by selling some pictures that I took.

FDC: When did you decide to start making clothes for your dolls?

After I had to drop off college, due to family problems, I had a year in which I thought: well, what do I want to do for a living. My first dream to become a fashion designer was still there, but I didn't have the budget or knowledge to make patterns and sew. At one point it clicked! “I want to make fashion for dolls, or how do you call it.” And from there the road got paved little by little. Started to learn via internet pattern, started sewing, started a small blog. This passion took a break when I started to work as a graphic designer. But I knew that I needed to follow my dream. So I took my drawings, some pictures of my poor clothing, and went to a fashion factory in my city to present what I want to do, using their leftover fabrics. And everything started. I was taken in and during 2 years I learned the process of making a garment, I understood why there is a straight grain on a fabric, why you need to fuse a product, how a pattern is build, I learned how you sew a fully lined coat and all kinds of inside work that is done in a clothing factory.

FDC: When did you first start selling your doll clothes?

The first design I sold was 3 years ago, when I started working at the factory, and I did my first pieces. To be honest even now I can’t believe it that my designs are still selling. That means, I guess that I am doing something right. I know that a collector wants a good design, a good quality product, and I am doing my best to deliver. As a collector I understand and I want to deliver.

FDC: How did the clothes making evolve into doll making?

This is interesting. I guess I wanted to have a doll of my own, as a designer you want to evolve in the industry, become better, become greater. Make yourself known through your work. And Luna Doll is a project that started in a second. I had to go to China with work at a fashion fair. And when my boss told me this I said “ I want to make my own doll” and she approved. I sent some emails to unknown factories in China that could help me develop Luna Doll, but only one kept its interest and desire to work with me. So during my work travel to China, I had the opportunity to visit the factory that has produced my doll. And we signed the contract.
I was afraid, and I still am afraid, but I am keeping myself  positive with my dolls. I took a risk with the size of Luna Doll, but I wanted to be different, I wanted to make something that had not been done yet. And I do hope this is not a one time project, because I have big plans with this doll. 
What I can say is that I am happy that I made this step in the doll world. And I do not regret it.

FDC: How is living in your country affecting your passion for fashion dolls?

Romania, is a country as all the others. We all have bullies, we all have people that support you and your work, we all have people being jealous of our work. 
The most known Romanian doll collector is probably Ada from that is supporting me with all her love and good words of encouragement. We have a small doll community, and maybe there are more doll collectors out there that we are not aware of, or maybe they are hiding it. As I mentioned we all have bullies and there are people with closed mentality that are very judging. “You are a grown man and you play with doll… ha ha ha” 
I am not affected by these comments, I know that my work is appreciated and will be appreciated by open minded people, by collectors. My country is not a barrier. The infinitum is a barrier. 

FDC: Did you encounter any obstacles before selling/marketing your dolls/clothes? 

The doll community is very supportive, especially when you win their trust by presenting a good product. They will come for more. Maybe the only obstacles that I have is regarding the deliveries. I want to maintain a good price for the deliveries, but also be sure that the product arrives at its destination. So from time to time I am sending a message to those who brought from me: “have you got the package?! Is everything OK? Do you like it?” 
Knowing that the collector is satisfied by it’s purchase, that’s my goal. And when he is not I am satisfied because I know and I can improve. 

FDC: Where do you usually sell your dolls and fashion doll clothing?

I am happy to present to you
My own website (YES!) that got officially launched in January. Yet I must mention that the promotion announcements are done via newsletters ( for those subscribed), and also through Facebook, Flickr and Instagram. 

FDC: What inspires you? Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

My workplace is my inspiration, and also the internet. Usually for me the fabric speaks, and when it doesn't I use the internet for inspiration. if this is not working either, I keep the fabric in a corner and come back to it later. Usually when I get home the idea pops and the next day I have the drawing ready

FDC: How long does it usually take from conception to completion for any doll/outfit?

It depends on the time that I have. At work I am involved in almost 15 projects, including my designs. And each and every project requires my time, so the concept is done in 30 minutes. the rest when I get the time to meet with my team. I took me one year for the first “collection” , another year for the second “collection” , another year for the third “collection”. And when I say collection I mean a few pieces here and there. 
But this year I plan on releasing at least 1 design every 2 weeks, maybe less, maybe more.

FDC: Who is your fashion icon?

Is it OK to say I do not have one? Because I really don’t. I love fashion generally. My style of designing, for example can change in a second so I will never have an icon.
Maybe Fashion is my icon.

FDC: What is your favourite doll to design for? Apart from yours of course!

I really really love to design for the IT dolls. FR2, Nu.face. I collect them and I LOVE them.

FDC: What is your all-time favourite doll?

This is easy. My Holy Grail is: IT’s Eden – Style Mantra. I do not own her, but I love love love her. She’s absolute gorgeous. The make-up, the style, her hair. Maybe when I become a billionaire I can afford it. ( If that will ever happen.)

FDC: What is your most favourite fabric/material to work with and what is your least favourite fabric/material to work with?

I have no favourite I have no least favourite. I can say that I have fabrics that are giving me and my team a hard work because of the easy unravelling. But they look so good I cannot give up on them. 
To be more specific, whatever I get my hands on I’m trying to make it work.

FDC: What has been the most rewarding part of making dolls and fashions for them?

Seeing collectors taking pictures of my fashions on their dolls this is the best reward a designer can dream. And the latest reward was to have a tiny small appearance in a Romanian Fashion Magazine. That made my week.

FDC: What is the difficult part of making dolls and making doll-size clothes?

The most difficult part is to find locally tiny accessories for the dolls. You will never find them in Romania. The best solution is to get them from China, but you need to order like tons. So having supplies for the next 10 years is not an option.
The second one is having a complex pattern, and details that only a full size garment can have. Lucky for me I am more of a minimalist in fashion, so simple lines are working just fine. I might try some more complex designs, but if they do not succeed they will never be revealed.

FDC: What kind of details do you make sure to always incorporate into your clothes?

My designs will always be fully lined. Except when I have a good looking fabric that is not allowing it. This is an element that makes a good quality product.

FDC: What has been your favourite outfit/piece so far and why?

My favourite outfit is the one that I will make tomorrow. 

FDC: Are there any tips or advice for all the doll-clothing makers out there you'd like to share?

YES! Keep on dreaming, follow that dream of yours, work hard for it and at the end of the day the satisfaction will be immense. Without sweat there is nothing. I know this because I am living it.

FDC: Is there anything else you'd like to share about yourself, your dolls or your clothing?

I think that has all the information about my dolls and my clothing. This interview shows a part of me that is not visible through my website. And dear Stratos I thank you so much for it. 

All photos by Andymy Designs.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

W Club registration for 2016 has opened!

W Club is an exclusive Integrity Toys club that gives amazing perks and inside information to its members regarding all doll releases of IT. The much coveted  Club registration is now open for everyone - be sure to register until 9:00 PM ET (New York Time) on February 16th, 2016. otherwise you'll have to wait another year. So what's in it for members this year? You can download the full colour online brochure that outlines all deals and offers that becoming a member of the W Club in 2016 will bring you at the following link(Adobe Acrobat Reader required):

Alternately, there is a video brochure that outlines this year's program.

As in years past, there are no limits on memberships- you can register for as many memberships as you'd like at any time prior to the 2/16/16 at 9PM ET deadline. Membership is $50.00.

But there are the Club Exclusive Dolls as well. For 2016, every member will be able to pre-order at least 5 exclusive Club-only dolls, including 2 Fashion Royalty dolls (which may include NU. Face), 2 exclusive Poppy Parker dolls, and 1 JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS™ doll*, plus additional surprise items!

A free digital subscription to DOLLS and Haute Doll Magazine is also included in the membership.

Each W Club membership that you purchase will give you a special $25 coupon that can be used towards any IT Direct shopping cart purchase of $99 or more online only during the 2016 W Club year. So this year there are no restrictions to W Club exclusive items. Details and instructions for this coupon will be sent to 2016 W Club Members at a later date, including that a one coupon limit will be allowed per order.

JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS™ fans should notice that W Club members will get a priority 24-hour first-order window for all JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS™ collectibles sold through IT Direct for the entire club year. 

And now the upgrade dolls. Once again there are three dolls that can be ordered along with the membership, either one, two or all three of them. Multiple memberships mean one can add more dolls to their upgrade. The three dolls are Fashion Royalty, Nu Face and Poppy Parker.

Item #91390 
Take Me On 
Vanessa Perrin™ Dressed Doll
The Fashion Royalty® Collection
2016 W Club Upgrade Doll
Approximate Ship Date: Summer 2016
Edition Size: TBA (Determined by the total amount of orders received)

Doll Tech Specs:
Body Type: FR2013
Head Sculpt: Vanessa Perrin 3.0
Quick Switch Feature: No
Skin Tone: Japan
Color: Deep Brunette
Eyelashes: Yes, Hand-Applied

Vanessa Perrin is a 12.5-inch articulated vinyl doll featuring a rooted chignon and hand-applied eyelashes. She is wearing a two piece set composed of an  ruffled top and a high-waist skirt. Vanessa's look includes a jewellery set, shoes and embroidered clutch purse. Doll stand and certificate of authenticity included. For adult collectors ages 15 and up.

You can upgrade your membership immediately to include this doll. An additional $25 non-refundable deposit is due immediately at registration time and a balance of $105, (for a total of $130.00) + shipping, handling and taxes (if applicable) per each Vanessa doll you add to your membership will be due closer to the actual ship date of the doll, which will happen approximately during Summer 2016 once the dolls have been produced.

Wow, she's amazing. I love both the doll and the outfit. This is the proper way to make club upgrade dolls, which, up until now, were mostly basic versions. This one has it all. Smokey eyes with light coloured lips, a great hairstyle, a gorgeous outfit (love that rose ruffle, it is so reminiscent of the glory days of Ungaro) and full on accessories, including a plane ticket, passport and what looks like a credit card. Can she pay herself with that one please?

Item #PP097
Ma Petite Fleur 
Poppy Parker™ Dressed Doll
2016 W Club Upgrade Doll
Approximate Ship Date: Summer 2016
Edition Size: TBA (Determined by the total amount of orders received)

Doll Tech Specs:
Body Type: Poppy Parker™
Head Sculpt: Poppy Parker™
Quick Switch Feature: No 
Skin Tone: FR White
Hair Color: Light Blond Mix
Eyelashes: Yes, Hand-Applied

Poppy Parker™ is an 11.5-inch fully articulated fashion doll with hand-applied eyelashes and blond rooted hair. She comes in a fitted, pale pink micro checkered dress with a white ruched chiffon detail at the bust. Poppy comes complete with black faux patent leather kitten heel shoes, a bracelet, earrings and her miniature vinyl record. A doll stand is included. For adult collectors ages 15 and over.

You can upgrade your membership immediately to include this doll. An additional $25 non-refundable deposit is due immediately at registration time and a balance of $95, (for a total of $120.00) + shipping, handling and taxes (if applicable) per each Poppy Parker doll you add to your membership will be due closer to the actual ship date of the doll, which will happen approximately during Summer 2016 once the dolls have been produced.

She looks very kittenish and 60s starlet style but I think I will pass this one, too much pink for my taste. If I want Barbie, I will get Barbie. And the accessories are pretty basic, miniature vinyl record notwithstanding. What a contrast to Vanessa.

Item #82069 
Be Daring
Imogen Dressed Doll
The Nu. Face™ Collection
2016 W Club Upgrade Doll
Approximate Ship Date: Summer 2016
Edition Size: TBA (Determined by the total amount of orders received)

Doll Tech Specs:
Body Type: Nu. Face 2.0
Head Sculpt: Imogen
Quick Switch Feature: No
Skin Tone: Hungarian
Hair Color: Blond Mix
Eyelashes: Yes, Hand-applied

Imogen is a fully articulated 12.5-inch vinyl doll with rooted hair and hand-applied eyelashes. She wears a sleek two-piece pant suit with a cache coeur detail. There are little "skull" accent pieces on her wide faux-leather belt, cuff bracelet and matching custom made earrings. She also has a go-see presentation book and sunglasses. A doll stand and a certificate of authenticity are also included. For adult collectors ages 15 and up.

You can upgrade your membership immediately to include this doll. An additional $25 non-refundable deposit is due immediately at registration time and a balance of $95, (for a total of $120.00) + shipping, handling and taxes (if applicable) per each Imogen doll you add to your membership will be due closer to the actual ship date of the doll, which will happen approximately during Summer 2016 once the dolls have been produced.

What a great looking Imogen! Although the simple hairstyle could have been better, the rest is amazing, especially the skull detailed accessories, which of course will forever remind us of Alexander McQueen. The jacket is a Balmain resort 2016 inspiration (see photo below), which fits with the NuFace line previous styles. I will be getting her along with Vanessa for my upgrade.

Balmain Resort 2016, photo courtesy of Balmain 

So what do you think about the new upgrade dolls? Will you be registering? Let me know in the comments.

Note: Prototype dolls shown, final production may vary slightly. All photos and information contained herein is copyrighted Integrity Toys, Inc. and Intercap Merchant Partners, LLC 2016 and may not be reprinted or disseminated without express written permission.

HASBRO and its logo, JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS, < 3 MLP, My Little Pony and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro and are used with permission. ©2016 HASBRO. All rights reserved.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY is used under license with permission, © 2016 Fox.

Poppy Parker, Fashion Royalty, NU. Face and all other trademarks followed by ™ or ® are registered trademarks of Integrity Toys, Inc. Chesapeake City MD USA 21915. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A small tribute to David Bowie, 1947 - 2016

David Bowie was (is) one of the most influential and avant guard artists that ever walked this earth. As part of the tributes pouring out from all over the world in the wake of his death, I decided to re-make, with the help of a Fine Print Elise Jolie, two of his most iconic album covers: Aladdin Sane and Low. If you do not know who David Bowie is, please try and discover him, it will open a multitude of new worlds for you.

Alladin Sane cover tribute

Low cover tribute

The original Aladdin Sane album cover - Design Brian Duffy - Photography Brian Duffy/Celia Philo/Philip Castle - Design/Artwork Released April 1973

The original Low cover, Design Steve Schapiro - Photography Released January 1977

Sunday, January 10, 2016

First photos of the new articulated Silkstone Barbies are out!

The new year has begun and with it new fashion dolls are starting to appear. Some of the most anticipated dolls this year will be the articulated Silkstone dolls that were announced late last year. The first images have already appeared from three different sources: an interview in Wall Street Journal of Mary Jordan, stylist for Mattel (to read the interview google the article and read it from there as it is locked if you try to access it directly from the link), the instagram stream of another Barbie stylist and designer, Zlatan Zukanovic. and the official Barbie Collector site with a Robert Best interview. The dolls look really good and if the quality of the vinyl is the same as their non-articulated sisters, the bodies will be a hit for re-boding some of my Mattel dolls, depending on the final price of course.

The image above is from the Barbie Collector interview of Robert Best.

In this photo we can see four different versions of the new Silkstone.

The dolls seem to have two different bust sizes - or is it just an illusion?

Tools of a doll stylist - and the new articulated Silkstone as a red head.

Zukanovic posted this doll in his Instagram feed.

A close up.

And another shot - if I get more than one, I might keep one complete.

Photos courtesy of Wall Street Journal/Emily Berl (first three from top) and Zlatan Zukanovic (last three).