Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cosmetic Takeover Natalia

I apologize for neglecting my blog for so long.  I've had these photos ready since just after my last post, but I was just having trouble getting the written part done.  One of my goals with this blog was to have something "new" to say about each doll -- whether it be some little known fact, or a new way of viewing a doll's importance or impact.  I don't really think I have achieved that goal with this installment, but I do hope you find something in it enjoyable.

Jill (Cosmetic Takeover Natalia) wearing
Miniature Couture, with jewelry from
Facets by Marcia.
Cosmetic Takeover Natalia introduced a new character to the Fashion Royalty universe, and a beautiful, stylish antagonist to propel the storyline.  Natalia was the convention doll for the very first Fashion Royalty/Jason Wu convention held November 12 - 14, 2004 in Toronto, put on by My Favorite Doll.  Natalia was a limited edition of 300, and she was included with the $199 registration fee.

How I found my NRFB CT
Natalia when I opened the box.
The dolls featured at the convention were among the last produced with the original FR body. There have been some quality issues with these first bodies. The plastic they are composed of has weakened over time and become brittle.  When I finally received this grail doll, in NRFB condition in November of 2011, I was shocked to find her neck broken, and her head rolling around in the box.  It wasn't the first time this had happened to me -- the first 
Jill, my Cosmetic Takeover
Natalia, showing off her new body.
 was my beloved Shock Bon Bon Vanessa.  So, while it was shocking to see her head severed from her body, I understood that it happens, and set about finding her a replacement body. 

Versace's "It" bag from 2004
Gwen Stefani in
Versace in 2004 
I did manage to find some fashions that could have inspired Natalia's much sought after ensemble -- her bag was most certainly inspired by a Versace bag in their 2004 line.  The dress, however, seems to be an combination of looks by both Versace and Gucci in their 2003 and 2004 lines.
Giselle, in a Gucci ad from 2003. True, she is naked, but the water
does give the illusion of Natalia's nude, shimmery dress.

Jess Walton, who plays Jill Abbott Fenmore
on The Young and the Restless.

Like all of my girls, CT Natalia has been renamed after a soap opera character. And while some dolls don't "tell" me their names right away, Natalia was very adamant that her name is Jill, after Jill Foster Reynolds Chancellor Brooks Thurston Abbott Sterling Atkinson Fenmore, on The Young and the Restless. Natalia has a lot in common with the character Jill, both trouble makers from the wrong side of the tracks, who through sheer drive and determination, have made success for themselves, in the cosmetics industry.
Jill, wearing Grand Gesture Dominique's gownand turban, with Most Wanted Elise's jewelry
Jill, wearing a gown of unknown origin.
Jill, wearing Mattel. Fur by Dimithia.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Future Bound Luchia

Future Bound Luchia
Photo property of Integrity Toys.
Used by permission
With this blog post, we get to what very well could be my biggest learning experience in doll collecting -- Future Bound Luchia. This version of Luchia was released in June 2009, as part of the Future.Perfect Collection. She was one of four basic dolls in the collection, each with a Limited Edition of 1200 worldwide. Each retailed for $79.99.  The other dolls in the basic collection were Aerodynamic Vanessa Perrin, Heat Seeker Natalia Fatale, and Bionica Jordan.  Luchia’s outfit consisted of a black spandex t-shirt and leggings, a black faux-leather corset with grommets, dark metal rhinestone earrings, and short, black boots with red soles. Vanessa’s fashion was identical, except hers came with short yellow boots with black soles. Natalia and Jordan’s fashions were the same, except white instead of black, and came with blue boots with black soles, and red boots with black soles, respectively. Probably the most remarkable thing about this collection is that it marked the introduction of the “handspeak” system -- Integrity’s newest innovation, and one that maintained their position on the cutting edge of fashion doll design.  
Delia, in Jazz Age Josephine Baker's robe.
Photo by Divafan. All rights reserved.
When I say that Luchia was a learning experience for me, it is because I didn’t exactly fall in love with her and have to have her.  I had just started collecting, and could not get my hands on new dolls quickly enough. FB Luchia was being sold by someone on one of the boards who was selling off his entire collection, and she was cheap. And when I say “cheap,” I mean she was inexpensive, relative to the other dolls I was finding listed on the secondary market.  I’m quite sure I got her for right about retail, give or take a few bucks. I am by no means a fashionista -- I shop at Brooks Brothers, after all, and this “edgy” fashion was pretty foreign to me. I was originally attracted to Fashion Royalty because of their retro-glamorous look, so I was’t exactly sure about this collection...they did not look like the other dolls I was acquiring.  But I didn’t dislike her...I thought she was pretty, in a dramatic, over-the-top sort of way; and I loved her platinum ponytail and her face mold.  Which brings me to something else that I had just learned about back then -- repainting.  And my thought was, that for the price I got her for, I could have her lip color changed, and her eye makeup softened without feeling like I was buying a doll twice...  And so I did.  Off Luchia went, to Vin Trapani, for my very first repaint. Vin really helped Luchia be more in line with what my idea of “beautiful” was, at the time. And he did such a fantastic job on her, there is still no denying that she is stunningly beautiful!

Delia, wearing Gwendolyn's Treasures.
Photo by Divafan. All rights reserved.
Collecting Fashion Royalty has educated me quite a bit on fashion, and helped me broaden my tastes as I’ve been exposed to more.  At this point, I look at Future Bound Luchia’s original face with newfound appreciation.  

I learned even more through Delia/Luchia in preparing to write this blog.  As I stated earlier, I really didn’t understand her original look, or how it “fit” with other Fashion Royalty dolls.  So I did some research.  What I discovered, is that I should have trusted that Integrity is always on the cutting edge of fashion, whether I’m aware of it or not.  In 2008/2009, most of the major fashion houses included black lipstick paired with stark fashions in their collections. Also, most of the major, upscale cosmetics companies introduced black/dark lipsticks in their lines, and without exception, they sold out. Once I learned all that, the look of these dolls made perfect sense to me.  I guess I just needed some perspective. 

YSL Fall 2008 Paris show, 2009 Chanel lipstick ad, 2008 Dior ad.

Ilene Kristen, as Delia Reid
Ryan Ryan Coleridge Crane
from ABC's Ryan's Hope
As soon as Luchia arrived back home from Vin’s, I opened her box, took her out, and fell in love. She reminded me of one of my favorite soap characters, Delia Reid Ryan Ryan Coleridge Crane, from Ryan’s Hope, as portrayed by Ilene Kristen, and so she was named.

Delia, wearing Femme du Monde.
Photo by Divafan. All rights reserved.
Delia wearing BIC Exclusive, Royale Material. 
Photo by Divafan. All rights reserved.

Delia, wearing Femme du Monde.
Photo by Divafan. All rights reserved.

Delia, in Jazz Age Josephine Baker's robe.
Photo by Divafan. All rights reserved.

Delia wearing "Animalia" by
Gwendolyn's Treasures.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

In Search of the Holy Grail

Photo courtesy of al'éxìto on Flickr.

This is not my usual post, but a special announcement of a new addition to the side bar -- In Search of the Holy Grail.  A friend of mine suggested that it might be interesting to follow my search for "the holy grail."  I have had, and been fortunate enough to find, many of my grails during my short time collecting. The one that I have probably been the most excited to find, thus far, is Optic Verve Agnes.  She was the most difficult to find (within my budget) and took the longest to find. Poesie Vanessa had never been at the top of my "grail" list, but there is apparently something about the hunt for a grail that I find somehow gratifying, no matter how much it frustrates me. And since my grail list has become so short, the search for Poesie Vanessa has taken on new importance. I have no idea how long this search will last -- with a Limited Edition of 500, and given her popularity among collectors, I might never find her.  I have found two that are listed on the auction and sales sites at the moment I am writing this, but at more than $1,200.00 for one NRFB, and more than $650.00 for a nude Poesie, they are not at a price-point that I am willing to pay.  I realize a doll (and houses and cars and clothes -- anything, really) is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, and there are probably collectors who are willing to pay those prices for Poesie Vanessa; but not this collector. For me, the price of the nude Vanessa ($650) is in the neighborhood of what I might consider for the NRFB Poesie Vanessa. Well, okay....it might be a bit of a stretch to say NRFB, but complete and Mint in Box, definitely. Am I being unrealistic? I really don't have to have her NRFB, or even MIB -- nude would be fine.  I do already have her cocktail dress (High Gloss Agnes has claimed as her own), and I do see the Poesie gown listed for sale from time to time, so I feel sure I could put together all the parts that are important to me. I just want her to have good hair....

So Poesie Vanessa is my new goal, and that is why you will notice her picture and the "counter" in the side bar -- measuring how long it takes me to find her. There really is no telling how long it will take, but I do know that my Poesie Vanessa is out there, and one day I will find her.  In the meantime, I will bring my readers along with me for the journey. I will periodically update you on what I've done to find her, where I've looked, and the near-misses I encounter along the way.

See you again in a few days, when I take a close-up look at Future Bound Luchia!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Girl of the Moment Veronique Perrin

Bianca wearing a Pink Ponytail exclusive sweater by Randall Craig.
It's only my second blog post, and I'm already behind schedule!  In the little Florida town where I live, we're in the middle of the Florida Strawberry Festival -- ten days each year filled with lots of food (and when I say LOTS.....), music (mostly country -- the big draw this year is Reba McEntire), parades, and carnival rides.  So I apologize for not staying on my self-imposed schedule, but I've been busy! LOL!

Bianca inspired by her original promo pictures.
This week I’m going even a little earlier into the FR line than I did last week, with Girl of the Moment Veronique.  She was an exlusive for MFD (My Favorite Doll) offered in conjunction with the 2004 FR Convention in Toronto (actually Mississauga). Girl of the Moment was sold to Convention attendees for $72.00, and then later that day was made available to the first 150 people attending the “public” sale at MFD for $83. She was a limited edition of 1000, and was part of a line-up of “basic” dolls that also included Graphic Language Adele (LE 1000), Glam Slam Kyori (LE 1200) and Shock Bon Bon Vanessa (LE 1200). 

A good friend told me her story of GOTM -- she was still in the very beginning of her collecting when that convention rolled around.  So early, in fact, that she didn't really know what a "doll convention" was, so she did not sign up to go.  But she did see an advertisement for Girl of the Moment, and that she would be available to the public. The advertisement she saw said, “As part of convention festivities, we will be offering an exclusive MFD Fashion Royalty Doll, Girl of the Moment Veronique ($83). The first 150 people to arrive for the Public Sale at 1 p.m. will be able to purchase this exciting new doll.” My friend continued,

I drove up to Toronto/Mississauga with my  husband (about 2.5 hours), and we lined up. We were nearly the first ones in line, and pretty soon, the line-up grew to about 100 people (at least, that’s how my hubby remembers it). We had to wait for the convention attendees to come out before they would let us (the public attendees) come in—the lines ups to the cash registers basically snaked through the whole store, and I think they had two or three line-ups (and it was a BIG store! lol). Conventioneers eventually started coming out with bags and bags of MFD merchandise—it was incredible!

This was the first time I had ever been able to purchase an FR doll for retail (keep in mind that the Black Lacquer collection came out a few months later, in early 2005). I couldn’t believe it. The limit was one per person, so I got one and my husband got one (I traded the 2nd one to a friend in NYC for Traveler By Nature, which of course I also couldn’t get!). I couldn’t believe how gorgeous she was—the pop of red, the intricate little case, gorgeous piercing blue eyes, the “leather” booties and headband, the chunky red bracelet with the “W” in diamonds—just stunning!

By the time we got [home] that night, the boards were already going crazy with people trying to buy one ...and people selling them for over $200—and of course, several had already sold on eBay for crazy prices!

Some people weren’t crazy about her, though—there [were] mixed reactions, mainly because of the makeup palette (the dark gold eye shadow with the light, piercing blue eyes). Also, not everyone “got” the whole hot pants thing, but pretty much everyone loved the perfect little red sweater—so detailed and so perfectly scaled.

I still have my GotM, although I’ve switched her to a tall body and changed the hot pants for a pair of the Future Perfect black leggings (the hot pants with attached black stockings are too short for the taller FR bodies). I can’t bear to change her outfit because she reminds me so much of that awesome day—the excitement of being one of the 150 people in the line up to get a chance at the special event doll!
Bianca, in original sweater & accessories with train case. 
Skirt by Karen Kolkman and shoes by Mattel.
A lot of my dolls came to me -- I found them, listed at good prices, without ever searching for them in particular -- in the very beginning, I often had not even seen a picture of them or known such a doll existed before seeing her picture in her “for sale” post!  But Girl of the Moment was one of the first that I actually looked for -- searched the auction/sales sites for her by name. I feel quite sure I had seen her listed earlier for a better price than I ended up getting her for (though possibly minus her train case). I was like some other people, though, and  initially I was unsure about her face-up palette, at least judging from the promo shots I’d seen of her.  But later, I fell so in love with her hair, and that little red train case, I decided I had to have her. I finally found her listed with a person from the boards who had LOTS of dolls listed, and at a price I could live with.  I didn’t want to pay too much for her, because I already knew I would give her a new, tall, articulated body, since she was originally on a very first generation body, with no elbow or wrist joints. 
Eden Riegel as Bianca
Montgomery on All My Children
And so, my Bianca came home.  She got the name Bianca after Erica Kane’s daughter on All My Children, played by Eden Riegel.  On her new, taller body, she couldn’t wear her black shorts/hose combo, but I have to admit that didn’t really break my heart.  I initially kept her in her wonderful little red sweater, and put her in a black pencil skirt (thank you, Karen Kolkman!) and some red stilettos. In person, I found her eye makeup to be much more subtle than I had expected, and I absolutely LOVE her piercing blue eyes! She has become one of my most played-with, most often redressed dolls.  

Bianca wearing an outfit by La Boutique.

Bianca, in FR Monogram fashion,
Beyond the Still.
Bianca in Lavish Threads.

Bianca in Lavish Threads.
Bianca wearing an outfit by La Boutique.

Bianca wearing a Pink Ponytail
exclusive sweater by 
Randall Craig

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My first time...

For my inaugural blog post, I decided to focus on my very first Fashion Royalty doll. She was Lustrous Silhouette Adele, and I got her on January 16, 2011.  I bought her from a very nice person I met through the Pink Parlor. I previously had a very few celebrity dolls, all by that "other" doll company, but once I stumbled across Pink Parlor and saw some of the photos people took with their Fashion Royalty dolls, I knew that was something I had to do. The picture that pushed me over the edge to buy my first doll was a picture of Paparazzi Bait Adele, who had been rerooted with long, reddish-blonde hair, similar to Lustrous Silhouette. That's why when I saw Lustrous Silhouette offered for sale, I jumped at it! When I really didn't know anything about the Fashion Royalty dolls, other than how beautiful they were. I didn't realize how rare she is, nor did I realize what a great price I had been given on her.

Nicole Kidman, at the 1997 Academy Awards.
Lustrous Silhouette was a limited edition of 500 dolls worldwide, and was released in 2005, as part of the Black Lacquer Collection.  In addition to Adele, the Black Lacquer Collection was comprised of Rare Creature Veronique (LE 1000), Fierce Subject Kyori (LE 1000), and the Foreign Affair Veronique gift set (LE 850). I've asked some long-time collectors how they remember the release of the Black Lacquer Collection, and have been told it was one of the most anticipated releases before or since. Black Lacquer was part of the Voyages Collection, which had debuted in 2004, and introduced the Expressive Articulated Body. So the Black Lacquer Collection was the second offering of dolls with the second generation body, with more articulation. Both collectors I talked to indicated that Adele and Veronique sold out immediately, and that Kyori was somewhat (but not much) easier to find. They both attribute Adele and Veronique's popularity in this set to their stunning fashions, intricate jewelry, and their intricate, high ponytails, with the chopsticks. Adele's gown was inspired by an absinthe John Galliano gown worn to the 1997 Academy Awards by Nicole Kidman.

The beading across the upper back of the Lustrous Silhouette gown  is a 
beautiful detail, and still remains one of the most-mentioned things about this doll.

Once I started getting more dolls, particularly more Adeles, I started giving them names.  Lustrous Silhouette Adele is now known to me as Drucilla, after a character on The Young & the Restless, Drucilla Barber Winters, played by Victoria Rowell.

Drucilla is a prized part of my collection. I have upgraded her to a tall, hand-speak body. Adele is one of my two favorite sculpts (with Veronique) and Lustrous Silhouette, as my first, will always be very special.

Drucilla, relaxing in the living room at the Veroniques' country home.

Drucilla, modeling Randall Craig's "Sunday Stroll."
That's it for this week.  I'll be back next week with a look at the Girl of the Moment Veronique Perrin.

The first picture I took of Drucilla, and one of my first attempts at doll photography ever.