This year's Fashion Royalty main line, Cult Couture, had Asian as well as Gothic influences. The best doll from the whole line up is by far Pale Fire Vanessa, combining a beautifully done doll with an interesting outfit and accessories. Things are far from perfect though, as we shall see.
Her face is painted in dark plum colours, especially the lips. Heavy lidded and with real lashes added, her eyes look sultry - although many people got dolls with wonky eyes (either cross-eyed or looking too much upwards or both), a fact prevalent among recent Fashion Royalty produced dolls. Lets hope this gets fixed in future releases.
Her hair is dark brown, almost black, swept up and away from her face into a big chignon with a "knot" at the lower back. It looks elegant and graceful and it is the perfect setting for her hair ornaments: a mass of purple flowers at the crown of her head, with additional colourful jewels on each side of it - her right side, where you can also see her jewellery set:
As you can see, she has a big colourful stone and wire necklace, with matching chandelier earrings and bracelet. They are matched to her hair ornaments, adding a dash of colour to the monochromatic ensemble. Here she is from her left side:
Her dress is a big ball gown. And when I say big I mean BIG! Made of a gunmetal taffeta (synthetic) in two layers (both lined) with an overlay of iridescent transparent synthetic fabric, it looks glamorous but feels a bit cheap to touch. The skirt consists of a base full skirt, over which are sewn two panels of the same fabric, starting shorter at the front and cascading in waves to the back, where they make a train and end in points. Some collectors reported that the skirt panels did not match at the front. Mine do, but one seems to be jutting sidewards more than the other. The iridescent over-skirt falls over these panels in the same way. Here are the three layers exposed:
The bodice, shaped like a corset, has side panels embroidered with micro-sequins. They look nice for scale and are dark, fitting with the overall look of the gown.
And here is a back view of the gown. It closes with a tiny zipper:
Underneath the skirt, there is a petticoat made of tulle and lace, to support it. Unfortunately, it is too small and soft to be of any help with the massive layers on top of it.
Underneath all those layers of fabric, tulle and lace, she is wearing undies! Yes, a rare treat for dressed dolls, she has black panties, garters and mesh black stockings on:
Her shoes, disappointingly, are of the rubbery molded variety. They are black strappy sandals that slip on her stockinged feet. Some people mentioned that they were hard to put on, although mine slid on easily, without any hassle. They are sturdier than FR Eugenia Frost Face Time's but still they look and feel cheap.
Overall, Pale Fire Vanessa is a beautiful doll, although her outfit could have been better made. A sore point for me is the repetition of shape for FR gowns. All FR dolls wearing a gown seem to fall into two categories: the big ball gown and the mermaid skirt gown. I bet Mr. Wu, as a fashion designer , can design something different for his doll line. Also her shoes should have been of better quality (why not leave these for cheaper lines?). I hope details like these are taken care of in the future, as this line keeps getting more expensive by the season. Time will tell.