Friday, July 25, 2008

Fashion dolls are introduced to unsuspecting Greek public!

Last Monday, a major Greek newspaper published an article about my doll collection. The reporter found my blog on-line, liked it and asked me if I would be interested in doing a small interview for the collection, with photos of my dolls included. They also wanted one photo of me with some of my dolls. I promptly said yes, answered the questions that were sent by e-mail to me, and organised a small photo shoot in a seaside village. I wanted to have a new photo of me included with the interview, and if possible in a summer setting. By Saturday night I had sent all the material needed. The article was published in the Greece section of the paper on the 21st of July. I think it is the first time fashion dolls are mentioned in print in Greece. The only relative article I remember is one about dolls depicting famous persons - that mainly concentrated in dolls like Mattel's Elvis, Sinatra and Marilyn.

The article as printed in the actual newspaper.

Here is the translation in English:

"Collectible dolls signed by Versace" (referring to my Barbie Versace doll)-the big headline
Toys for big children - the smaller headline

Rare collection- a collector, from Thessaloniki, gathers history and big screen heroins in miniature. (text box)

"I am an Olivia Newton-John fan and found on-line a doll representing her as Sandy from the movie Grease. Of course I ordered her. When I received her, I knew I could not stop at one!" says to TA NEA (The News-the newspaper's name) Mr. Stratos Bacalis, fashion doll collector.

The 39 year old collector works as a designer and engineer in an architectural firm in Thessaloniki. He studied fashion design and civil engineering. But, as he claims, "I never got my degree as a civil engineer since design won me over completely because it was such a fascinating world". His love for style and fashion found an ideal expression in 2000 when he discovered that Sandy doll on the Internet.

This photograph was used in the contents section of the paper, page 2.

So a special hobby began, that today translates to approximately 100 fashion dolls. It's about dolls that can be from the well known to most of us Barbies, but in collector's editions, to pieces that represent historical persons or famous actors in roles that became legendary such as Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in the film Gone With The Wind. In fact some are creations of well known fashion designers such as Versace. His passion is such that for every piece in his collection, he knows almost everything related to it, from manufacturing details to the history of the person represented.

One of the unused photographs .

Even though every doll is indeed a particular creation, Mr. Bacalis, as any collector indeed, has a special weakness for his geishas. "There is a series of dolls inspired from the film "Memoirs of A Geisha". I have three of these dolls up to now. I find them particularly fascinating. They are all dressed in exquisite kimonos. They are wearing the shoes real geishas wear, down to the small bells hidden in their soles!", he characteristically mentions. his second big favourite is Scarlett O'Hara, for whose guardarobe he has bought two costumes from the film as well. (actually I have many more)

Mattel's Queen Elisabeth the 1st.

Historical persons

As for the one he always wanted to have: "Queen Elisabeth the first from Mattel. It was a limited edition and expensive. I like the Tudor era very much. So when Mattel put the doll on a very attractive offer, I could not resist..." he notes. Of course his wishes do not end there. As he admits, he would love to have quite a lot of dolls. "I wish I had the money to buy them all, even though then I would have to leave the house due to lack of space! I would like to obtain Elisabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, but she is expensive and hard to find as she has been discontinued. Maybe one day..." he characteristically says.

Fashion Royalty Agnes Von Weiss

These dolls are not sold widely in Europe as the shops importing them are few and mostly on-line. So if someone wants to buy one of them, he has to turn mainly to US on-line shops. Of course, as Mr. Bacalis points out " you need a lot of research to find the best place to buy one, as well as perseverance and patience". He adds that "one can find some real bargains and also make a research into relative forums and groups of people with the same hobby". Also of use are the manufacturers web sites for information about new releases.

From US$25 US$17,000!

Prices depend on many factors. Manufacturer, quality, doll and edition size are the most important. "A simple Barbie Collector's edition can start from US$25. While for a unique doll one can give many thousands of dollars. It is always a matter of supply and demand as with every collectible" he mentions.

There are some dolls that have been produced in One Of A Kind editions. Most of them are auctioned for charity purposes so their price can reach astronomical heights. For example, in 2006, a Barbie In Midnight Red was auctioned in London for US$17,000.

And the photographs of the article with their captions:

Olivia Newton-John as Sandy in Grease.

"The "Ghost of Christmas Future" doll from the Dickens' story "A Christmas Tale" is one of the many in my collection that I particularly like" says to "NEA" collector Mr. Stratos Bacalis.

Audrey Hepburn with the black dress in "Breakfast At Tiffany's"

The box in the centre of the article has a top-5 of fashion dolls.

Top-5 of fashion dolls:
  1. Fashion Royalty dolls, designed by a real fashion designer, Jason Wu.
  2. Barbie collector's editions.
  3. Sybarite dolls from the UK.
  4. The Tonner Doll company dolls.
  5. Mel Odom's Gene Marshall and Madra Lord dolls from Integrity.
I found the article generally good, the reporter made a nice text from the answers I send but she did not mention my blog even once! And the strange thing is she found me from the blog!!! Go figure. That omission not withstanding, everything else was great. And I got the chance to make fashion dolls known to a large section of the public here with a serious article.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vogue cover: Vanessa Perrin tells all!

I made this Vogue cover for a doll board; I think it works out fine. Tell me what you think!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fashion Royalty: Metal Maven Vanessa Perrin

Vanessa Perrin is one of the hottest faces in the Fashion Royalty roster. Each and every one of the dolls with her face become instant collectibles, dolls not to be missed by Jason Wu fans. The basic Vanessa doll from this year's Glamorous collection is not an exception.

Vanessa comes dressed in golden toned faux leather corset and shorts, much like Kyori and the other basic dolls of this collection. The already familiar from Kyori boots with laces complete the ensemble. Her rust blonde coloured hair match the outfit and make her look even more glamorous. Gathered in a high ponytail and cascading down her back in big curls, they look sensuous and sexy.

Her make up too is excellent. Based on golden and brown hues, with a pale pink lip colour, it gives her a look that can match many outfits. Her light blue eyes are enhanced by real eyelashes. The jewellery set, basic stud "diamond" earrings (golden) and a matching gold square cuff, look great and can work well with other ensembles. Matching coloured fingernails complete the picture.

So how does Vanessa look in another outfit? From the same Dressmaker Details Couture gift set that Kyori took her exquisite suit, I picked the black satin corset trimmed with tulle and the matching long skirt with train to put on her. Boy, does she look awesome! Topping the ensemble off with a long necklace of transparent beads, her own earrings and cuff and black mules, she is the embodiment of timeless glamour and sophistication. It is if it was made for her.

Metal Maven Vanessa is another great version of the Perrin younger sister to grace the Fashion Royalty catwalk. Her perfect face paint and hair colour with ideal colouring make her an excellent basic doll, ready to offer hours of enjoyment while she goes into outfit after outfit, mesmerising fashion doll collectors everywhere.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fashion Royalty: Quicksilver Kyori Sato

This year, the main collection of the Fashion Royalty dolls is named The Glamorous Collection. The four 2008 basic Fashion Royalty dolls from this collection are inspired by minerals! Wearing metallic bodysuits with coordinating shoes, they were launched with the slogan "Mineral Matters!". The four dolls are Kyori, Adele, Vanessa and Luchia. Here I present to you Kyori Sato - Quicksilver!

Kyori is a knock-out in this incarnation. The dolls have not changed from the past year in shape or size, but are getting definitely better hair and better face paint with each new collection. This time she has platinum hair, gathered in a long ponytail with lovely curls at the ends. There are no bangs (thankfully) and the platinum hair makes her pale complexion shine even more.

She is wearing a silver corset, in faux leather, with a ruffle trim on top and snaps at the back. A matching belt fastens around the waist. Under that she has shorts made from the same material. They could work well as separates, the corset surely having more of a life than the silver shorts (except if she is cast in a re-make of Kylie's "Spinning Around" video).

The rest of the accessories include nude panty-hose and silver leather laced platform sole short boots. The platforms give these dolls a terrific height, making them tower even in front of last year's dolls. A nice pair of stud "diamond" earrings and an amazing square metallic cuff bracelet are the jewellery included with the doll.

Her face paint is delicate, much more than I had expected, given that these dolls are inspired by minerals. So instead of glitter and glam, Kyori gets slightly shiny brown/grey eye shadow and deep pink lips combined with slightly blushed cheeks, a very good colouring that can accommodate many different styles and go with a number of outfits from day wear to evening. The only allusion to the metallic theme are the silver painted nails.

Basic doll means, what else, getting to wear lots of different stuff. Lucky for Kyori then that a very elegant suit was waiting for her upon arrival. Mary T's Dollhouse had released in 2007 with Dressmaker Details a great exclusive set of three outfits called Twinkle Tweed Giftset that could be combined between them to get many more different looks. So I photographed Kyori with the suit from that set. The results are stunning.

The tweed fabric is woven with metallic thread so that it catches the light in each move. The short boxy jacket is trimmed in black tulle ruffles at the hem and the cuffs of the elbow-length sleeves, while sequins adorn the lapels. The pencil skirt elegantly finishes off the silhouette. Accessories include a quilted bag (looking a lot like Chanel) with chain and black ribbon strap, a lovely pearl and black bead necklace and black stockings and black closed toe slingbacks (these are the ones shown here, the set included many more accessories, to be seen in later posts).

The silver bracelet and the stud diamond earrings that came with Kyori were of course perfect for this outfit, proving their versatility. No wonder Kyori dances with joy!!!

In conclusion, another great doll from Integrity's Fashion Royalty line. Her versatility means that there are lots of options for posing and re-dressing her. If you noticed in the photographs here, with a bit of re-arranging her long ponytail, you can get some different looks from her and that is before you even try un-doing it.