Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tribute to Loulou De La Falaise, a fashion icon

Sad day for fashion today: Loulou De La Falaise, one of the most elegant women in the world died, age 63. A long time friend and collaborator of Yves Saint-Laurent, she has always been a huge inspiration for me. Her sense of style and fashion was always impeccable and she was a formidable person as well.
I wanted to capture her sense of style and elegance with a doll. I do not have one that looks remotely like her, so I picked one of my Monograms, Magnetism, for her French allure and feel. Picking the outfit, to resemble one of Loulou's iconic photos, was a bit easier. Of course it would not be complete without jewellery: Loulou was a jewellery designer herself, so she always wore lots of them. I tried to get the essence of her style, rather than copycat the photo. You can be the judge of the result. I did a back & white photo, added one in colour (Loulou was incredible in her colour mixes) and the original inspiration below. If you want to read more about Loulou, I wrote a tribute to her in my design blog.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Integrity Jet Set Convention Part IV: Convention Collection

Integrity has finally released the photos of the Jet Set convention collection dolls. These are the dolls available to all attendees to either pre-order or buy directly when attending the convention. Let us see what was in the lot this year.

Vivid Impact Agnes Von Weiss - defined as an event doll, Agnes always makes her appearance at the conventions. This year was no exception. Wearing a purple gown with matching make up and red hair, she is vivid indeed - but no impact whatsoever. I like her bracelet and brooch and that's it. Maybe as Giselle, her colouring would have been more fitting. Her hair is a small mess. Agnes should look poised and super elegant, this one looks like a trophy wife of a new-money eastern European oil czar.

Style Counsel Adèle Makéda and Véronique Perrin Dressed Dolls Gift Set - this gift set was much talked about not only because Adel and Vero are the original FR ladies, but also because Adele had a change of sculpt - for the 3rd time in her life. Each one of her sculpts was different from the others. Seeing this one, I think my favourite is her previous one. Before, she looked very glamorous, the kind of girl who could be a Hollywood star  or a pop music icon (Beyonce and Grace Jones) or a super model (Naomi), Now she looks more like Dominique - and I do not mean this as a compliment. She looks more latina than black to me. Maybe it is the screening and hair. I will wait for her next versions to see how she evolves. And her outfit reminds me of Spotted In The Park Gene. Veronique is boring here. Cute, beautiful but boring. And chains for belts? How un-fashionable right now.

Mission Control Imogen - she looks like Poppy Parker's older cousin. Her outfit looks like a half-baked flight attendant's uniform. Too many colours in one outfit for my taste - colour blocking is a tricky thing to accomplish. The doll is cute though.

High Toned Rayna - she was one of the most anticipated dolls of the convention, since her first incarnation as a post-modern Dorothy from Oz was first presented a while ago. There is nothing in this doll I really like but her sculpt - and that is ruined by her dreadful make up. I never liked pink on eyelids and here is the reason why. Worst part: the boots. 

Brightness Calls Isha - this could have been a lovely version of Isha. Her hair does look great, her outfit could have been gorgeous (minus the embroidery and a bit of skirt length). But then they slap her with that hideous make up. Why? Poor Bollywood star. Why don't they look to any contemporary Bollywood lady for inspiration?

Simply Simpatico Poppy Parker and Darla Daley giftset - Poppy is very popular, and paired with Darla they make for a smashing duo. Darla has a new sculpt - the old one was accidentally destroyed a the production factory so they had to make her a new one. She looks less cartoon-y now, which is good. I love her styling here, the men style looks good on her, although it hints more to the early 70s than late 60s. Poppy is cute like a school girl in her uniform. I love her face here.

FR2 Most Wanted Elise Jolie - I think her name fits her like a glove. The doll looks gorgeous (even though her sculpt is not a favourite with me), her gown is glamorous (still it could have been better draped) and her accessories fantastic. Elise along with Agnes are the only ones looking like they justify the term Jet Set. 

Overall this collection disappointed me. I was expecting more glam, more elements to fit the Jet Set concept: dolls looking like a million bucks ready to travel, with luggage, scarves and sunglasses and bags and hats and a dog for the day outfits, glamorous satin and silk frothy gowns for the evening outfits. If I was attending the convention, I would have gladly bought Elize and the Poppy/Darla giftset and maybe Imogen (giving the outfit away).

Photos are copyright of Integrity Toys, Inc.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tokidoki Barbie upsets parents in the US!

Matell released a few days ago a Collector's Barbie named Tokidoki. She is designed by Simone Legno of Tokidoki, a "liefstyle" company from Italy (funded by the Hard Candy make up brand owners from USA), with obvious Japanese influences. She is wearing a pink miniskirt, logo leggings and black top with signature skull heart and bones, carries a large bag from the brand, and accessorized with bracelets, a belt, and sky-high sparkly silvery shoes. The doll features trendy tattoos on her body (non-removable save using acetone) and a pink bob. She is also accompanied by her cactus friend, Bastardino (mongrel in Italian). Considered very trendy (bleh), she was a favourite of Barbie collectors everywhere.

You must have noticed that I rarely write about Barbie doll releases, unless they are something special (like the Pantone Barbie in the previous post). So why this one, since I do not even like her styling? Because she managed, in just a week, to become the bane of many parents in the US, even though she is not a toy. Mattel clearly sells her as a collector's doll, she's a Gold Label doll with no more than 7.400 dolls produced.  She even has a price tag of US$50, which makes her unavailable to most children. Still, many news outlets, from doll blogs, fashion blogs, twitter and even major fashion publications like Allure and news outfits like L.A. Times and CNN keep on reporting about parent's supposedly irate reactions to the doll.

The give-me-a-scandal-any-day UK newspaper Daily Mail even gets it all wrong as they mention that the doll is marketed to children. Sorry guys, get your facts right. Barbie Collector Dolls are for adult collectors and are not to be sold to anyone under 14 (written on the back of all Barbie Collector boxes). But who reads the fine print when they want to create controversy? Of course the doll is not only sold out (more are to be released in mid November from what I read) but her price in the secondary market has quadrupled. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Barbie Pink in Pantone - the graphic designer's doll?

Mattel is releasing the Pink in Pantone Barbie doll around December (she's available for pre-order from various on-line doll sellers). Pantone, for those outside the creative community, is a colour system that has set a very big standard for graphic designers, architects, photographers, anyone pretty much using colour in any way in his profession. For years now, pink 219 from Pantone was designeted as the Barbie pink. And Mattel finally decided to cement that with a doll dressed head to toe in it!

She is wearing a dress with a faux leather bustier that has a skirt made up of the famous Pantone colour chips, used as samples (see photo below). A flower on her lapel is made in the same way, while her shoes have the 219C code written on the side and their soles are coloured Pink 219!

This Barbie could be an ideal gift for graphic designers this Christmas! Now they surely must release the Barbie as Graphic Designer, complete with iMac and Pantone swatch book.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Most unforgettable fashion dolls

When I started buying fashion magazines back in the late 80's, there was one particular line of print ads that stood out from the rest: Revlon's Unforgettable series. Starting in 1987, featuring photography by Richard Avedon and some of the world's most beautiful models, they set a very high standard for make up advertising that is difficult to achieve even to this very day. 

One such example is the photo above, from 1987 - my favourite model Christy Turlington (so young!) featured alongside Kersti Bowser, a very young Cindy Crawford and Paulina Poriskova, then on her heyday. I was toying around with the idea of re-creating the style of these photos with my fashion dolls for quite a long time, so finally I decided to just try and see how it goes.

And here they are! I was inspired by W Cosmetics as well, the fictional company owned by the Perrin family in the Fashion Royalty world - so of course their girls had to pose for the photo. From left we have Vanessa Perrin, model, Veronique Perrin, CEO of W Cosmetics, Jordan, model and Eugenia Perrin Frost, cousin of Vero and Vanessa and working for the company as well. Their clothing is all Integrity Fashion Royalty as well as their jewellery. I hope you like them - I intend to do some more group shots like this.

Photography (C) Stratos Bacalis (bottom photo only), FR is a property of Integrity Toys and its logo and indicia is being used without permission. This is a fan project and cannot be resold or used in a profit generating manner of any kind. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Integrity Toys Jet Set Convention Part III

Last day of the Jet Set convention was Saturday. The day started with workshops, raffle room, Design-A-Doll studio, museum and the Souvenir Shop. The W Club luncheon was the afternoon's event, with a centrepiece doll of the new Tatyana Alexandrovna sculpt - now in the FR2 line. She looks quite different than her previous incarnation (better I might say). She is wearing a yellow dress with a straw hat, black strappy sandals and a beige bag. I am still on the fence about the fashion.

As intriguing as the newly re-sculpted Tatyana was, she quickly got upstaged by none other than Evermore Vanessa. The original sculpt on a FR2 body, wearing a red glamorous gown with black lace and deigned as the Official FR 10th Anniversary Celebration Doll. She was available to every attendee of the luncheon for buying. It was also announced that a similar version of Veronique would be offered via lottery to W Club members later in the year.

The event closing the convention was in the great ballroom of the hotel. The guests arrived to find a Monogram doll as the centrepiece. Beyond The Still Monogram doll is a very glamorous looking girl, reminding me of Mad Men a lot. She could fit with Poppy too (her aunt?). It looks like a new sculpt.

It was now time to find out what was the gift set doll - and it was Eugenia Perrin Frost - Point Of Departure. She was clad in a salmon rose bikini, contrasting perfectly with her other outfits, given to attendees in the previous days. Here are photos of her in all of them:

After dinner, Jason Wu himself unveiled the convention doll, a spot deservedly given to Veronique, who was absent for so many years from the collections throughout. Air Apparent Veronique looks very glamorous in her asymmetrical black skirt and white embroidered top, with her waist accented by a coral belt. Her shoes though leave much to be desired as they are simple plastic pumps with a fabric ribbon as a buckle at the front. With a skirt like that, leaving the shoes exposed, one would think that shoes would have to be much much better. Her silvery grey eye-brows might look weird but they make her stand apart and not look too cute, which is something I like.

I hope to be able to give you photos of the convention collection dolls in an upcoming post. The next Integrity Toys convention will be held in Orlando, FL, in fall 2012. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Integrity Toys Jet Set Convention 2011 Part II

Friday was a day dedicated to the Poppy Parker line (for the luncheon) and the Color Infusion line (dinner party). The final instalment of Design-A-Doll studio was also open, giving a chance to attendees to make their own doll. At the Poppy Parker luncheon, the centrepiece doll was a Poppy called Ready! Steady! Go! - a mod Poppy with long blonde hair. If she had a pixie haircut, she would have been so Twiggy.

But there was also a Poppy Parker doll handed out as a gift to all attendees: In The Air Poppy is a Basic dressed doll and looks lovely. She reminds me so much of my god-daughter!

But that was not the only gift - a second fashion for their gift-set box (Thursday night an embroidered bustier with pants was given as well) was handed out to all participants. And it looks great. From the fashion styling, I am guessing it might be a Les Shilouettes doll. Both outfits look 50s to me. People actually attending say that the plastic torso underneath feels FR body size. A sneak peek of an upcoming Dynamite Girls collection was also shown. It will be available soon for pre-orders.

The dinner on Friday night was Pucci-themed. Pucci is a venerable Italian fashion brand, famous for their extravagant and bold prints, so it made sense to have the Color Infusion line event inspired by it - and it fits the mod mood of the whole day too. Guests were encouraged to dress mod and prizes were given to the best dressed attendees! The table's centrepiece was Erin as Psychedelic Splash.

Of course there was also a gift for the attendees: another doll, Ayumi (her third incarnation so far) as Sunset Rave. Not my cup of tea but lots of people love this kind of doll so there is something for everyone here.

During the event, Vaughn unveiled a holiday season Monogram line that will be available for pre-order very soon. Three dolls in three different evening gowns, in basic colours (red, blue, green), ready to attend any glamorous party of the upcoming holiday season.

From the top we have: Fascination (red & fuchsia), Illumination (blue) and Jubilation (green). I love the green one (surprise, surprise) and think she will make a great contrasting match with my Monogram Magnetism doll. I hope I can get her. They are all on editions of 300 pieces and will be shipped late October. Tomorrow you will read about the convention collection and doll from the final day of the event.

All photos courtesy of Integrity Toys.

Integrity Toys Jet Set Convention 2011 - part I

Every year Integrity Toys hosts a convention in October for their fans, presenting their new lines, taking feedback from their die-hard customers and giving all an opportunity to get to know each other better. This year, marking Fashion Royalty's 10th anniversary, they named the convention Jet Set. Let us see what dolls are being presented there,either as exclusives or new lines (tomorrow there will be another post with the convention collection and convention doll).

At registration, each guest received a welcome swag bag that contained the ever popular "empty" surprise convention gift set box, a travel backpack suitable to stow all necessary gear for the weekend, a convention emergency survival pack (that has everything you need to survive at a convention, including doll shoes!), and a goody donated by Azone. There was a room available for viewing called the Museum, displaying several prototype dolls that have never seen before - this one must have been a big treat! The theme for the first evening's event was "Living the Jet Set Life" and mistress of mayhem Kyori Sato was the table cenetrpiece doll as "No Reservations". A very glamorous one I might say. This is probably the last Kyori in the original sculpt (my guess) since all the rest of the original dolls have been given a face lift. The late 50s-early 60s styling is great, although she should have had a bag and a pair of gloves to complete the nice outfit, which consists of a dress and a jacket.

There was also a gift doll for all attendees at their tables: Business Class Anja, wearing a lovely print sheath. She looks gorgeous - each new Anja looks better than the previous one! I am fond of green so the matching accessories look great to me. 

One of the big surprises of the evening, was the unveiling of a new ultra limited edition IT Direct Exclusive Collection at the convention, including the debut of a new line, "Les Silhouettes". In an onstage interview with host Alain Tremblay, IT designer Chris Stoeckel unveiled the details of the mini-collection which consists of two introduction collectibles, Victoire Roux, the main character, and a fashion.

People are still talking about who's sculpt is this. Most agree that it is the old Jasper sculpt. I think she looks great, love the outfits and styling but have a question: why another line that comes too close to the Monograms? Maybe this should have been part of that line. She is supposedly a 50s Parisian Haute Couture model, discovered by a couturier that has his atelier on Avenue Montaigne, but her name is Faubourg Saint Honore - the thing is both are streets of Paris that have most of the Couture and Pret-a-Porter big names boutiques and Houses but Avenue Montaigne was not a hip spot for couture in the 50s when this is supposedly going on. It became the hot spot for fashion in the 80s. The stand-alone fashion is called Avenue Montaigne and looks great. From what I can tell, the fit should be good for FR bodies, as Integrity mentioned that the fashions should fit most fashion dolls.

Integrity says that the IT Direct collection is meant to be a fun way to add dolls and costumes to your collection at a reasonable price, direct from the manufacturer. This introductory collection is done in low numbers, however the goal is to eventually adjust quantities based on demand and popularity to reach a maximum of collectors. Future editions will only be available directly from IT Direct online and at the conventions. The rest of the dolls presented in this collection were two basic underwear dolls, one dressed Basic doll and an Homme doll. The Bare Essentials basic dolls and "City Girl" feature the IT body (first seen on the Brides of Dracula Collection), removable hands for easy dressing, rooted hair and applied eyelashes, while "Backstage Ambition" features the "Homme" body.

The raven doll is called Bare Essentials Night, while the blonde is Day. Night is Dania's sculpt, while Day has  Natalia's old sculpt.

City Girl is Imogen with IT body. I do not like the outfit but the doll looks nice.

And here is the man of the collection, Backstage Ambition. He has the Count Dracula sculpt and I think it shows. I did not like it even for Dracula, let alone this one.

So this was the first night's dolls, on the next post I will feature the dolls presented on Friday.

Photos courtesy of Integrity Toys.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's shaking! Youthquake Poppy Parker rocks the house!

As you might have gathered from previous posts, I adore the Poppy Parker doll line from Integrity Toys. The doll reminds me of Jean Shrimpton, the famous 60's model and it gives me an opportunity to revisit that era's style and glamour, while having a slight connection to the Mad Men alluring ladies as well. When I first saw Youthquake Poppy Parker at the on-line presentation of Integrity doll lines, I knew she was the one doll from that line coming home. 

Being in Greece means that I get my dolls much later than most of the other collectors do, so I see actual photos of the dolls on other blogs and forums before they arrive to me. Imagine my surprise seeing that the actual Youthquake production doll's hair do had nothing to do with how she was presented to us way back in February.

As you can see in my photos, the Poppy that arrived to collectors had her hair gather snugly at the back, curled up, with a transparent elastic band keeping it in place. I do like this hairdo but it is not the doll I saw and fell in love with earlier this year. Beautiful, yes. But different. Should I sent her back? I think one would have been entitled to do so, and ask for their money back too - it is not a slightly different hairdo (and hair colour) but something else all together. Even so, giving her back would mean no Youthquake Poppy for me as there was not a replacement. I let the doll on my desk for quite a while, until I made up my mind.

Seeing the doll, I kept telling myself "she reminds me of someone" but I could not quite put my finger on it. The prototype was pure Shrimpton for me but this one was someone else. And then it hit me: "A young Joan Holloway!" (for those who do not watch TV, she's a character from Mad Men played by Christina Hendricks). Minus the breasts though. And that was it - I decided to keep her.

The doll is actually very beautiful and she is the first red head Poppy I own (the others are blonde, raven, brunette) and her make up compliments her hair colour quite nicely. I must say that this red is actually better than the prototype doll's colour, which was a lighter shade. Pale pink lips and a touch of yellow eye shadow (the actual colour on her eyelids is much paler than it photographs) with a nice blush on her cheeks fit her to a T.

Her outfit is quite funky: she is wearing a knit turtle-neck under a one-strap jumper dress that fastens around the neck. The black and camel colour combination looks great. The dress is not perfectly made though - there are some problems with the sewing on the strap and also at the back closure of the skirt. Fishnet tights compliment the outfit, along with a pair of ballet flats with bows.

I have some Barbie Fashion Model Collection outfits (for Silkstone dolls) for years and most of them still in their boxes. I wanted to put Poppy into one for quite a while and this time I decided to just go ahead and do it. The one I picked is True Brit: trench-coat, scarf, boots, hat, sunglasses, umbrella, bag, newspaper, passport, wallet and a Yorkie (Miss Honey) on a leash with her own food bowl! I thought her complexion and hair colour would compliment the outfit perfectly.

I think she looks great in it. I know I should have fastened her belt tighter but  I was afraid I would destroy the lovely tied knot at the front (and my big fingers are no use for this kind of work). I left her own turtle-neck and tights on to give her a beatnik edge. Miss Honey was really happy too!

Here she is without the glasses. The boots slid one quite easily - her ankles are articulated so they adopted to the Silkstone shoes quite nicely. They are slit at the back so they were easy to put on. 

She looks ready to step out in the rain! I love how the hat looks on her with this hairdo and hair colour - the green tartan contrasts the red hair so nicely!

I finally decided to let her hair down, remove the elastic band and comb it out. A transformation I did not expect! I like the fact that they can be styled in may different ways but it will probably take some time and lots of styling spray! She's definitely a keeper!

The chair shown is Integrity Toys from The Dynamite Girls collection.