Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wish Dresses for 16" dolls


Evening dress by Charles James (www.metmuseum.org)

Evening dress by Lanvin 

Cocktail dress by Cristobal Balenciaga 

Evening dress by Charles Frederick Worth 

*All images from www.metmuseum.org

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tonner Scarlett O' Hara Repaint: "In the Mist"








Was it the elegance of this costume? The silhouette that suddenly signaled the change in era of fashion in Gone with the Wind? Was it the symbol of tragedy that it represented? Whatever it is, the final mourning gown of Scarlett worn at the last scenes of Gone with the Wind seems to have captured my attention from  the first time I lay eyes on it. In it is found the irony of grace and turmoil, the mix of elegance and wildness of a woman torn and rejected. And yet, despite her sadness, she finds hope, a dark tormented figure, lying against the deep red carpet of the Peachtree Mansion's staircase.

It had been a wish (and a dream) that Franklin Mint would release this dress. At that time, no other doll could have carried it well than the Franklin Mint Scarlett. But when Tonner released in Fall of 2008 its "In the Mist" costume, collectors were awed by its elegance, smitten by its color (faithful deep purple found in the sketches of Walter Plunkett). The bustle is attached at its bottom and opens at the back for the doll to be dressed. My only gripe was the collar was closed and not open as the one we see on film. The Cameo on the collar has an amazing detail of the profile of a woman - it is not faithful to the cameo we see on film. The skirt is tight, almost forming a serpentina form. The bustle at the back is poufy and is reminiscent of the change of era from the big ballroom skirts to slimmer forms of the late Victorian era. 


The train is a double layer of black on purple. It seems much longer than the one we also see on film. A large bow is attached at the top of the train (also in velvet). Completing this look is a tulle veil and dark earrings for the doll. Something we also don't see on film. 

That time, no up-do-d Mrs. Butler was released. And so taking things on my hands again, I longed to have a doll as faithful to the image of Vivien Leigh as could be (at least in my eyes). Thus, the portraits of Tonner's Basic Scarlett wearing the In the Mist ensemble, repainted and wearing the In the Mist hairstyle (thanks to Eric C. of Montreal who shared with me close up shots of Vivien Leigh wearing this hairstyle). 

The hairstyle is 6 rolls surrounding the crown, all pulled up, each one tied, then gathered. I had to cut the hair and leave some curls at the top. An accident with the hairdryer however caused some burns on the hair which I covered with more curls from the sides and from behind (sigh). 

The doll has been repainted following the long, lost look of Scarlett. It was difficult erasing the paint. I do not have the special magic potion available in my country for that = ). It was painted with a 3/0 brush. Not the smallest as such it is not perfect as Noel Cruz or Laurie Leigh, or JACS would have made it. But I am happy.  

*Screencaps from Gone with the Wind, Turner Entertainment Video

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Will the real Rhett Butler please stand up!

Mattel's Timeless Treasures Rhett Butler -- 
by far (in my opinion) the best likeness of the actor. 
Just a suggestion:
Me playing around with photoshop on 
what I think 2009 Tonner's Rhett Butler could've been. 
Less lines on the face,
stronger jaw, sideburns added, beefy shoulders added.

Tonner's version of their new Rhett Butler (from Tonner Site)
Unanimous Choice: The man who brought Rhett to life.

The 2009 Gone with the Wind line of Tonner seems to make one admission: That the 2008 Rhett Butler doll interpretation was a mistake. Could it be that the purchases for this did not meet the Tonner target? Even so, it seems an expensive effort to rectify what had been presented as Rhett Butler. From the images seen on the site, this Rhett looks older, lacking the machismo and "hotness" that Gable inflected in the character (and for which he was the unanimous choice). The shoulders lack substance, the stance lacks suave-ness of the gentleman scoundrel that the character displayed in the novel and on film. 

In my honest opinion, the photo could have shown more of the character (without the hat as it does arouse ones curiosity: what does he look like under that). I don't know if Scarlett would mind, but I'm sure that a lot of the GWTW doll collectors would.

*Image from the Tonner doll website

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mattel's Alexandra Posen doll wearing Robert Best's "In the Pink" gown








I guess it all began with Barbie. After all, she's been the most popular doll in anyone's history (or just perhaps in mine). Mattel has come up with an interesting line of collectibles -- from its celebrity line to its Silkstone series. Among those that have captured my interest are the creations of Robert Best, a young genius in doll fashion. In my opinion, his is one of the most elegant choices of color and material for Barbie. Here, we see his "In The Pink" gown. It is a voluminous evening ensemble that comes with purse, stockings, shawl and a multi-layered "very" soft tulle gown in the palest of pinks. It is embellished with Swarovski crystals in clear and pink that gives it a very rich and luxurious look. The doll is Mattel's Alexandra Posen which I have retouched to soften its snobbish features. I was able to get this doll nude in ebay from a seller named "ecamarab" (one of the kindest and most professional sellers I've encountered). I was attracted to the Posen doll but was not able to get it earlier as it came in a set with its partner Zac Posen and now is very expensive (if you google him up his doll version kinda captures his look but not faithful to his features really). Luckily it was being sold in ebay separately (nude doll only). The Alexandra Posen doll was supposed to look like his sister. When I researched what she really looked like, the doll didn't look the least like her. Nevertheless, this doll has the "model muse" body mold which follows the frame and pose of today's Supermodels. She doesn't have the "hand on hip" but straight arms, elegantly stretched with hands and fingers which add to its sophistication. I like the mold of this body as it has less of the usual Barbie frame we all know. She is rooted with  rich red hair and a pout that is reminiscent of those models in high-end fashion. Notice too the cheekbones which are very un-Barbie like.  

What I like about this doll too is that its original features (retouched lips and eyes -- argh very hard on a small doll) which was soft. I am not much of a follower of heavily made up dolls. Femininity is always best with beautiful soft make-up. 

I hope you enjoy the portraits. It's just one of the few dolls of Mattel I've kept. = ) 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tonner Scarlett O' Hara Repaint: "Waiting for Pa" and Tonner's 2009 Gone with the Wind Line

             "Don't look back" dress (Tonner 2009 GWTW line) 
"Travelling with Mother to Savannah" (Tonner 2009 GWTW  line) 
"My Mother's Portieres" (Tonner 2009 GWTW line)
My personal portrait of Tonner "Waiting for Pa" doll (repainted)

(Apologies: I'm not all too familiar with editing in the blog so I kinda mixed this topic with my personal portrait of Scarlett) 
Portrait of Tonner Scarlett O' Hara "Waiting for Pa". Shot with available light on 10 Megapixel Canon Camera. Light has been enhanced by Photoshop. 


Tonner's 2009 Gone with the Wind line
Tonner recently announced its GWTW line for 2009. While there were some interesting additions such as the lost costume "Travelling with Mother to Savannah" (which seems not to capture the attention of Scarlett doll enthusiasts), most of the releases were not all too new in our eyes.  "My Mother's Portieres" is a recreation of the overly done versions of the "drapery" dress.  I think its because people like seeing an icon like Scarlett continuously refreshed -- just like any strong brand in the market. There is a point when a new version is not exciting anymore, no matter how new the interpretation may be.  But personally, I think the cut and the fit seems interesting although not persuasive enough for me to get it. Tonner's Drapery dress seems to boast of a full velvet look, unlike Franklin Mint's which uses shiny silk and IMHO, lacks the fit that GWTW shows on Vivien Leigh. The doll that comes together with the drapery dress seems to have loose curls which seems to be more interesting to some, than the dress itself. "Don't look back" is the blue and white ensemble which is worn briefly on the film and hardly for me a Civil War costume. Plunkett seems to get carried away with his designs often designing with a "hollywood-ish" look than adhering to reality; even if Ms. O'Hara was known for her ostentatious choice of clothing, the styles and choice of color are not reminiscent of the 1800 -- late 1800's era.  One would think that Scarlett on film was starring in a musicale.  Nevertheless, the "Don't Look Back" ensemble is an elegant piece that makes the doll look stunning. 

What shocked the GWTW doll collectors was the price of each doll/dress going over $200!! An inconsiderate move in face of a dark economic scenario, and way over the budget of a doll collector.  There were points raised -- valid i.e., to sell the dress separately which could lower the cost. Actually, both doll and dress come in a large box which increases shipping costs.The Basic Mrs. Butler could actually work for "Don't Look Back", and "Travelling with Mother to Savannah";   the Basic Scarlett on the other hand can work for the new Tonner version of the Drapery dress. Why they didn't sell it separately as Franklin Mint did is beyond me. I think it should have been a consideration in the Tonner meetings about pricing.   Should we all wait in ebay for these collections to be sold separately? And bid incessantly, be at the mercy of some sellers? Should we even get a dress even if we already have a similar one from Franklin Mint? Who knows what one can do when one is infected with "Scarlett fever". 

In 2008 Tonner released  6 Scarlett costumes with a surprise convention doll: "Receiving Guests with Melanie". Does this mean we're in for 3 more? My guess --

Either:
Rhett's Return from London -- the Paisley Robe
Mrs. Kennedy pretends to cry -- the beautiful Red ensemble dress
Honeymoon in New Orleans -- a recreation of the Black and White shopping dress
Walking with Rhett and Bonnie -- Franklin Mint's Peachtree Street

Or the unseen costume worn by Scarlett in the unseen ending. 

*images of  the new GWTW 2009 line are  from tonner.com site