Thursday, December 24, 2009

Season's greetings!

It's this time of the year again to be with friends and loved ones and family and enjoy the warmth of love and steal a bit of well deserved rest to enter the new year with a renewed energy and zest! I wish all of you, my readers, a happy and healthy new year, full of love and joy and many many fulfilled desires!

I photographed Jason Wu's Androgyny Avantguard doll dressed in Mel Odom's Gene Marshall Criss Cross gown - wig by Facets by Marcia, jewellery by ...(if anyone recognizes these, I got them ages ago from a great lady in Prego and lost her card, cannot remember her name), shoes by Joe Tai, chair by Bella! Studios, ornament on her hand by Depot in Dusseldorf.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Black & white dollhouse by artist Janine Rewell

Janine Rewell is a Helsinki-based freelancing illustrator and graphic designer. She has studied illustration and graphic design in University of Art and Design Helsinki (UIAH, Finland) and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD, United States). Rewell has won several awards for her work, including a bronze Design Lion at the 2009 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. Her works have appeared for example in avertisements, product packaging, interior designs, book covers, magazines and posters. Rewell's clients are Nokia, Qatar Airways, Finlandia Vodka, Marimekko, just to name a few. As an illustrator she’s represented by illustration agency AGENT PEKKA. Janine’s computer-based vector style combines basic geometrical forms with small decorative elements. Inspired by by the geographical location of Finland, her illustrations represent an original mix of Scandinavian design and Slavic folk art. In the photo you can see her modern, black & white dollhouse, created for personal use, with imagery reminiscent of playing card illustrations. It looks incredible! Proof that a dollhouse does not have to be stuffy or old-styled to be appreciated!

Resume text and photo from the artist's website.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kensigton Dollhouse Festival 2009

Established in 1985 by Caroline Hamilton & Sue Atkinson, The Kensington Dollshouse Festival (formerly the London Dollshouse Festival), has become the top international show for quality dolls' houses, miniatures & models. this year it was held on the 21st of November (only one day unfortunately), attracting thousands of collectors and shop owners. Enjoy some photos of the festival, published by The Guardian. The next one will be held from the 14th to the 16th of May 2010, at the Kensigton Town Hall, Hornton Street, London.

Furniture is the obvious thing to see in a dollhouse...

...but how about some miniature cheese and ham!

Vegetables for the vegetarian dolls.

Of course no doll is ever without her handbag and shoes...

...but pickles are necessary too!

This photo gives you the sense of scale...

... and even on the hands of a child, things look small indeed.

Dinner is served! Notice how even the lids are hand-painted!

Everyone is charmed by beautiful doll houses!

Teddy bear anyone?

Flowers are always a welcome decoration at any home, real or miniature.

Toast anyone?

Friday, November 6, 2009

A sad day for Gene Marshall fans

Mel Odom has officially announced that he will not continue the Gene Marshall doll line any more. Read his letter below, where he explains his reasons for this and announces his plans for her farewell.

This is a letter I've been writing in my head for quite some time, but have not been able to actually put down on paper. It's a tough letter to write and I've been pretty emotional about it. (Big breath) I've been feeling lately like it's a perfect time for Gene and her friends to retire. I've been working on Gene since 1991. That's when the first drawings of her are dated and I'd probably had her in my head for some time before that. The point is, she's been a consuming interest of mine for close to 20 years. It's been the most detail intensive project of my life and certainly the most fun. I've been given much because of Gene; acclaim, financial security and the best bunch of friends and collectors anyone could ever expect from their profession. It's been an amazing journey for me- completely different than what I had imagined.

This year, we've had a really wonderful collection, with awards and popular triumphs and a great sense of energy among you guys. I've really enjoyed it. It's been amazing. And the Hollywood Royalty minis being a hit was just the sprinkles on the cupcake for me. I just think it's always better going out a winner, while you are on top.

This is the thing...I want to do something else. I'll be (gulp) 60 next year and feel like there are other things I can accomplish if I can devote my full attention to them, like I have done with Gene. I've practically ignored my first loves, drawing and painting, for far too long. For twenty years before Gene, I was known as an illustrator and graphic artist. I don't think I can go back to being an illustrator; that's over for me. But I'd like to be known as a painter and I'd like to maybe teach art. As some of you know, I've been knocking on the doors of art galleries with my paintings for the past few years and am not about to give up on that particular dream of mine. I feel like I have enough time for one more great phase in my career, even though I'm not positive what it is.

Gene is in my head and heart and nothing I can ever do will change that. She's always been with me in some form and will stay with me and very probably morph into another phase of whatever it is I do, paintings maybe. But I've always had to change every so often, like when I stopped focusing on illustrating and created a fashion doll. This is one of those times. So Gene and I are pulling a Garbo, and retiring, but not without a fabulous send-off.

I have gone over my plans with Integrity and we all want to make sure that we have a proper celebration for Gene and her friends (both plastic and human). I have really enjoyed working with Integrity and making these past few years some of Gene's best ever. The Integrity team and I are planning one last, big blow-out for all of us- a 15th Anniversary convention to celebrate Gene and all her friends, to be held in early June in Philadelphia. And for this special party we're creating one more collection, "The Stardust Collection", a curtain call of sorts for all of our characters, and get this... including Trent. Ashton Drake is graciously allowing us to use the original molds to create one more classic Trent for the party. So, Trent will be there and Oona and Ivy and Violet and Madra. I'll be there and hopefully everyone will be there, to celebrate 15 years of the coolest thing to happen to fashion dolls since high heel feet.

Facts and forms will be forthcoming, but I wanted to tell you all this personally. There will also be a special Gene happening in early 2010; you'll be privy to the information later on. It'll be fine, you'll see. Gene will be a perfect 15-year long phenomenon in the doll world, a story with a humble start and surprise ending- a beautiful arc of stories, characters and costumes that changed the doll world. And as long as Cher and Barbra Streisand are in this world, there's always a chance of a comeback somewhere down the road.

I'll still be blogging; the W Club has happily agreed to continue to send all of you my "Mel Mail updates", right through the big party in June. Later on, I'll be blogging from my own website, which should be completed and up soon. Any of you who are interested can come along with me for the rest of the journey as well. You're all invited. Thank you for everything and remember to always....

Play nice Kids,

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Jason Wu Event VI - Iconic: celebrating a decade of style

It is the time of the year again for the Fashion Royalty convention. It is the 6th Jason Wu event, taking place in Chicago, one of my favourite cities (and the only US one I have ever been to). Jason is celebrating the 10 years he has been in the fashion doll business and the concept of this convention is that iconic dolls and outfits of the past years will be re-done in a fresh style for this collection.

RE-Edition: LiveWire Clone, AvantGuards 1:6 Scale 12" Dressed Doll

The transformation of Gene into 12" dolls was apparently successful, so the next 16" line of Integrity received the same treatment. The LiveWire Clone is a good looking miniaturization of the LiveWire AvantGuards doll in 12 inches. This mini model has captured every detail of the original, from the afro wig down to the embellished platform shoes. The sculpt is Natalia's and the body is from the Monogram line. I would love to get this one since I do not have the original AG Livewire doll and also any Monogram ones but it depends on the price - and I already have a Natalia with this sculpt. I also think that the outfit does not translate well to this scale - the size of the sequins is enormous. The doll can wear the wigs from the Pompadour collection.

RE-Edition: Morning Dew, Giselle Diefendorf

Nu.Face's Giselle is wearing a beautiful re-interpretation of Véronique's Iconic lingerie from the first collection.

RE-Edition: Evening Glow, Dominique Makéda

Dominique is the cousin of Adèle Makéda, who modeled the original lingerie set. Dominique's lingerie is an updated version of the black set that her cousin wore.

RE-Edition: Diamond Society, Eugenia Perrin Frost

Eugenia has become a favourite character for many Fashion Royalty doll collectors. Eugenia pays tribute to her cousin in this updated version of Véronique's Silver Society fashion. Dressed in black from head to toe, Eugenia can go anywhere in this elegant fashion. The original Silver Society Véronique is a very sought after doll and fashion. Eugenia looks brilliant in this - both doll and outfit are exquisite.

RE-Edition: Luxe Life, Vanessa Perrin

Lush Life Véronique has been a holy grail of many Fashion Royalty doll collectors. This re-editioned version puts a totally modern spin on the gorgeous gown. Vanessa looks lovely and, together with Eugenia, make the best dolls of the convention collection.

RE-Edition: Poésie Enchantée, Agnes Von Weiss

With the Poésie Enchantée doll, Integrity mixes two collectors favourites: a re-invented Poésie Sans Couleur gown with event-exclusive character Baroness Agnes Von Weiss wearing an one-shouldered embellished gown. She looks great and reminds me a lot of Dressing The Part Agnes.

Thursday was the first day of the convention. Excitement filled the air when each convention guest was given a Fashion Royalty gift box as part of their registration swag. All were told that during each event they would receive a different component of a gift set as part of their table gifts. By the end of the convention, each guest will have built their very own full Fashion Royalty convention gift set (which is in addition to the main convention doll). Which Fashion Royalty character will star in this set? We will have to wait and see. My guess is Veronique or Adele (depends on which one will be the convention doll).

Each guest found the first part of the gift set, a darling pale blue cocktail dress, waiting for them as they sat down to the first event. Did the gifts stop there? No! There was also an ITBE doll, named Chic, given out to each attendee at the convention.

The Thursday night centrepiece was a huge crowd favourite, the Baroness Agnes Von Weiss in Silver Zinger (combining Agnes and Red Zinger Daria's outfit).

Baroness Agnes Von Weiss Silver Zinger

The guest speaker for Thursday's event was Mel Odom, who surprised everyone by unveiling another future style in the Hollywood Royalty Gene collection (another 12" mini). No pictures were released of this Gene.

Friday was another jam packed day for guests at the convention. The Friday luncheon was dedicated to one of the latest line of Integrity dolls, Poppy Parker. The mod styled doll made multiple appearances at this event. Poppy was the centrepiece doll: The Centre of Attention was presented during the Poppy Parker-themed luncheon. Then, every conventioneer got to walk away with their very own Poppy Parker Endless Summer doll as part of the event swag. A sneak peek photo for a future Poppy Parker Gift Set was also flashed across the screen for attendees to see.

Poppy Parker The Center of Attention

Poppy Parker Endless Summer

The Design-A-Doll Studio, a new addition to the schedule this year, was a huge hit! Convention guest "designers" proudly showed off their creations and many gorgeous dolls captured the hearts of the attendees. This year, a Friday night dinner was added to the convention agenda. Guests were encouraged to dress in their wildest couture creations. The centrepiece doll was a FR Monogram doll and she looked very elegant. The FR Monogram series has become very popular with collectors and the centrepiece doll, called Curiosity, was no exception.

FR Monogram Curiosity

Convention guests were given the exclusive convention fashion, Successful Ascension, at this event as well. Black lace on a red and black outfit - I love the bag. looks like accessories are returning to outfits.

Exclusive convention fashion Successful Ascension

The final day of the convention was another busy day, full of activities. Guests had workshops, the Museum, the Souvenir Shop, the raffle room and the Design-A-Doll Studio to take in on this final day of the convention. Guests also had the opportunity to view the incredible competition entries. Every attendee could vote for their favourite doll but had to wait until the final evening's event to know which entry won. The W Club luncheon proved to be, yet again, one of the highlights of the convention. After the ballroom doors were opened, members were able to discover the AvantGuards Vanishing Point centrepiece doll. Guests were given a wig and shoe set as a special gift for attending the event and the chance to purchase the centrepiece doll as well.

AvantGuards Vanishing Point

There were a number of items on display during the luncheon, including Fashion Fuel, the W Club exclusive AvantGuards fashion and a brand new Integrity Toys Direct Poppy Parker gift set (the one that was sneak-peeked at Friday's luncheon). Information on pricing and when the gift set will be released will be announced later; meanwhile here are a few photos for you.

Poppy Parker Gift Set

While some Poppy Parker dolls have yet to arrive (the Reluctant Débutante more than won her name), Integrity releases even more new Poppies. So, among some other sneaks (including a Jordan and a Natalia doll as Integrity Direct Exclusives), attendees were privy to some sneak peek photos of 3 new Poppy Parker dolls that are scheduled to arrive in January. Let's hope that they are not as reluctant as some others are!

The Saturday night ballroom looked magical as guests entered to see that the centrepiece doll was another new star in the Integrity Toys line up...Dania Zarr in Optic Clash. Every attendee wanted the chance to purchase this beauty - she looks smashing in this colouring. Check doll number three as the best of the convention (along with Eugenia and Vanessa). And she looks so YSL to me.

Dania Zarr Optic Clash

Not only did each table look incredible, but the final piece to the Fashion Royalty Gift Set was also waiting for each attendee. The character was none other than Natalia Fatalé! Natalia looked ravishing in her pale blue lingerie, her long, flowing mane of red and her fine porcelain complexion. The story goes that Natalia had been busy developing a skin lightening formula and decided to test the cream on herself (her assistant refused and was promptly fired, LOL). She looks great but to me, the main attraction to her is that she is a Latina girl - take that away and you have one more Caucasian girl in the line, no pizazz (does anyone else see Scarlet Johansson?). So while the experiment looks fine, could do without her.

This completed gift set is called Power Game Natalia Fatalé and contains a complete mix-and-match set of fashions and accessories for every convention attendee.

Natalia Fatalé Gift Set Power Game

So the moment all had been waiting for arrived. With thunderous applause, Jason unveiled the exclusive Jason Wu Event VI convention doll....Elise Jolie in Blue Blood! This new character has an important tie to Veronique's past. As the story goes, Elise is the daughter of Veronique's former finishing school teacher, Mademoiselle Jolie. This doll is a re-incarnation of the Voyages series, which explains the luggage. A corset-styled top is also included. She looks great in these official photos.

Elise Jolie in Blue Blood

So with the convention doll presented, everyone remained with the question: where is Veronique? Her info at the Integrity page says she will appear in 2010. And what about Adele and Kyori? These three ladies are the base of the Fashion Royalty collection and story and should have made an appearance in its 10-year anniversary celebration. But 2009 has not ended yet of course...

All photos courtesy of Integrity Toys.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Don't Ever Leave Me, Wilhemina...

Thanos Samaras is a Greek actor and avid doll collector. He is also an amazing artist. His video for the 2008 Blythe Beauty Contest, taking place annually in Tokyo, which you can see below, is incredible. More please Thanos! And here is the official Blythe site.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Vogue cover - Black & White

All the major ladies of the FR fashion universe converge on this Vogue fold-out cover! Inspired by this one! I hope you enjoy it! Wonder how long could the ladies last all together in the studio before catfights broke out!

Click on the pic to see a bigger version - the names of the ladies are on the right side of the photo!

Update: the photo got the Picture of the week Award from Terri's Collecting Fashion Dolls blog! Thank you Terri for the honour!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Best Dressed Dolls: Jeffrey Kalinsky’s Big Charity Event With Miniature Designer Looks

When Jeffrey Kalinsky began contemplating how best to mark the tenth anniversary of Jeffrey, his high-fashion store in the Meatpacking District, he knew he wanted to do something special. Not just a big party but something unique, a project that all the designers featured in the shop—a roster of virtually every big name from Stella McCartney to Dries Van Noten, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz to Phoebe Philo of Céline, Narciso Rodriguez to L’Wren Scott, Raf Simons to Miuccia Prada—could get involved with. And of course it would also have to support AIDS and breast cancer charities, causes that the retailer has championed for years. Something lovers of fashion couldn’t live without! Something designers could really have fun with!

Outfit by Jason Wu

So he called on Jason Wu, lately famous for dressing Michelle Obama in a one-shouldered chiffon Inaugural gown, but before that the go-to guy for fashion dolls. Together they decided to ask designers to dress dolls in miniature versions of their signature ensembles, and then Jeffrey would auction them off to benefit his favourite causes.

Outfits by Rick Owens

Almost 70 designers readily agreed. Jeffrey sent them the dolls, and in rapid order they returned the miniature mannequins resplendent in all the hallmarks of the season—peaked, pinched shoulders from Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, sexy slashed hemlines courtesy of Christophe Decarnin at Balmain, a pint-size suede maxi over a chiffon frock by Christopher Bailey at Burberry, a tiny Proenza Schouler fan sporting her own teeny-weeny purple PS1 handbag .

Outfit by Oscar De La Renta

Great care has been taken to attire these diminutive fashion plates in the looks of the season—in fact, viewing them gives you a crash course in high style circa fall 2009. On August 10, the dolls will be unveiled in their own area of the store in an installation that Kalinsky promises will evoke a dramatically scaled-down Jeffrey, with foot-high shoppers clad in Rodarte and de la Renta, Margiela and Mizrahi, strolling and lolling.

Outfit by Marni

Warning: You will want them all. Kalinsky expects the bidding to be quite swift (the starting bid is set at $250; call Jeffrey New York at 212-206-1272 for more information), especially during Fashion’s Night Out, the multi-city retail extravaganza planned for September 10, during Fashion Week, when virtually every chic shop is staying up late and hosting special events. The auction will close on the last day of Fashion Week, at which time, if you are very lucky, an exquisite little man resplendent in Thom Browne or Gucci and his equally itsy-bitsy consort in Rick Owens or RM by Roland Mouret will depart Jeffrey and come to live on a shelf in your house.
Set and outfit by Lanvin

Outfit and bag by Proenza Schouler

Outfits by YSL by Stefano Pilatti

Outfit by Balmain

Outfit by Chris Kane

(re-post from - photos courtesy of by Brian Fee)

I love the outfits and the dolls, just one minor complaint: couldn't they have hired a better photographer? Sorry Brian but your doll photography sucks big time.