Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Finding the Holy Grail

Kristen, as she originally showed up,
wearing Habilisdolls & Tokuya
The topic of "holy grails" came up in conversation the other day, and I thought about how I was way past due in updating everyone on my search for the holy grail, Poesie sans Couleur Vanessa Perrin. My original idea had been that I would document my search for this "holy grail." I thought finding her would be at least as long, drawn out, and difficult as finding Optic Verve Agnes had been. I thought people might find it interesting to go step by step through the process with me. With Agnes, I had many disappointments, several near misses, lots of frustration, and one seller who seemed to try and force me into buying her for a price that I thought was ridiculous (she has since sold for more, but I digress). Finding Poesie didn't actually take me all that long. Within a week or so of making my blog post that I was looking for her, I got an offer from someone for a nude Poesie, with hair that had been taken down and straightened. The price was right, so I went for it. Once she got here, I sent her to a friend who does amazing things with hair, and he returned her hair to factory-fresh perfection. He had quite a lot going on at that point, so that part took longer than actually acquiring her. But eventually, she got back to me, by which time I had acquired her fashions (except for her lingerie -- I'm not a huge lingerie person) and jewelry.
Kristen, in her original gown, jewelry by Mattel.

I am incredibly happy to have this doll in my collection, even if just from a Fashion Royalty historical standpoint. She was one of the coveted “Atelier” gift sets, and is still considered one of the "holiest" of grails in FR Land. She was also the first of the very few bridal dolls FR has done.

She has a rather dramatic makeup palette, but is still surprisingly versatile when it comes to redressing.

Entry form courtesy of Brent Adams.
Poesie sans Couleur was a Fashion Royalty exclusive for Fashion Doll Quarterly magazine, with an edition size of 500. The lottery to purchase the gift set was only open to subscribers of FDQ. Keep in mind that this was still in the relatively early days of the internet. An application to enter the lottery was included in the magazine, and had to be filled out by hand, and mailed in to the magazine. That’s the kind of mail that requires a stamp, a postal carrier, and days (or depending on where you were in the world, weeks) for said application to arrive and be processed. 

Used by permission of Alex Forbes, photographer.
But, I’ve been told that the collecting world was a kinder, gentler place in those days, and the pool of collectors was much smaller. At 500 dolls, most of the people who wanted a doll got her (so I’ve been told), and the people who entered to win a doll would actually have sold a vital organ to actually have and keep the doll. That is to say, people did not enter simply for the resale possibilities. 

I have never actually seen a NRFB Poesie, and had the exhilaration of opening that box, peeling back the paper, and uncovering the treasures that lie within. I debox and play with all my dolls, but nothing quite compares to that initial experience. It would be a dream come true to one day have a NRFB Poesie of my own, that I could open up and peer at her untarnished perfection. But my good friend, Brent Adams, actually has such a treasure, and was kind enough to share with me (and us) so we can see a little of what it was like for those lucky 500 who won Poesie. I’ve included Brent's photographs here, as a slideshow, so you can experience the “opening” for yourself.

I learned something from seeing Brent's pictures -- I didn't realize that the set came with two sets of shoes! I only have one. I guess there is something else I need to find!
Eileen Davidson, Kristen DiMera on
Days of Our Lives

I named this Vanessa "Kristen," after Eileen Davidson's character on Days of Our Lives, Kristen Blake DiMera. I didn't realize when I named her, that Kristen was a psychotic killer. I hadn't been watching DAYS when Kristen went off the rails. It's only now, that she's come back to DAYS that I've caught up with that character's history. I almost feel kind of guilty for naming a Vanessa after such a villainous character -- my Vanessas and Veroniques all tend to be pretty nice. But hey, Eileen Davidson is beautiful, and I'd already named a doll after her Young & Restless character, Ashley...

Kristen, wearing Pretty as a Pearl by Dressmaker Details.

Kristen, wearing Pretty as a Pearl by Dressmaker Details.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Best of 2012 - At long, long last!

Happy New Year!

Okay, so it's been a ridiculously long time since my last post.  I actually have taken pictures of several different dolls for the blog, but never quite managed to post them.  New year, new attitude, and new plan.

There has been a tag game on Flickr recently, as well as threads on the doll boards to name our favorite dolls from 2012. Since I tend to love just about every doll I see, that's a big challenge for me! So I started with a group shot of all the regular Fashion Royalty and NuFace dolls from the year that I got and kept.

FRONT ROW (L-R): Harley (Live, Work, Play Giselle), Nadine (World On a String Eugenia Perrin Frost), MIDDLE ROW (L-R): Michael (And Another Thing Kyori Sato), Jolene (Always On Her Mind Dania Zarr), Delilah (Wrap-Ture Anja), Zooey (High End Envy Erin Salston), Irene (High Point Vanessa Perrin), Mandy (Shake It Up Korinne Raven), Addison (Resort Restyles Workshop Veronique Perrin), Natalia (Ready to Dare Natalia Fatale), Randi (Fame by Frame Imogen), Norma (Giselle Diefendorf as Norma Desmond), BACK ROW (L-R): Summer (Haute Societe Veronique Perrin), Aubrey (Force of Nature Agnes von Weiss), Hannah (Sweet Victory Natalia Fatale), Frankie (Lead Singles Lilith), Maggie (Lead Singles Eden), Santana (High Profile Eugenia Perrin Frost), Meg (Glam Addict Giselle Diefendorf), Kitten (Lady In Red Erin Salston), Faith (Truly Madly Deeply Agnes von Weiss), Nina (Main Event Adele Makeda), Michaela (Main Attitude Adele Makeda), Lucy (Sweet Nothings Gretel Eden), Irina (Sweet Smell of Success Veronique Perrin), Leyla (Fame by Frame Imogen Raven), Ranelle (Trust Your Instincts Jordan), April (Shake It Up Korinne), Jo (Fresh Tropical Look Workshop Anja)

I automatically disqualified Workshop Anja from the running for "Best of the Year," since by design, she is a OOAK doll, and I only felt it was fair to include factory dolls. Her face was painted (and quite beautifully) by Jon Copeland.

From that point, in order to narrow my choices down to FIVE, which seemed nearly impossible to me, I started eliminating my lesser favorites.  By the time I got down to 10, I decided I couldn't narrow the field any more, so here are my Top 10 dolls for 2012 -- at the moment.

I am a little more surprised by who ended up not being in my Top 10 than I am who is actually here (no Agnes?! Unheard of! And I was quite sure Imogen and Lilith had secure spots near the top of my list). But like I said, this is the top 10 at the moment -- it's a very fluid list, and especially as you get to the middle and bottom of the list, the rankings change frequently.

10. Irene (High Point Vanessa Perrin)

I find this Vanessa to be incredibly beautiful -- glamorous golden blonde hair in my favorite hair style, sophisticated facial screening, and a return to the open-mouth Vanessa who was so beloved by so many of us. Irene got her name from actress Laura Stone, who played Irene Ellis on Days of Our Lives.

I don't really understand why this doll seems to be so under-appreciated. Sure, the dress she came in almost landed her on many Worst Dressed lists, but the doll herself is gorgeous.  And I actually quite liked her shoes and accessories.

9. Meg (Glam Addict Giselle)

This Giselle offering marked the return of Fashion Royalty to the gorgeous, glamorous gift sets that are such a part of their past -- gift sets like A Brighter Side Kyori and Fashion Plate Veronique. I love the fact that when this Giselle is standing beside the raven Head for Glamour Agnes, they look like sisters. 

I named her Meg after Meg Snyder on As the World Turns, played by Marie Wilson. 

8.  Jolene (Always On Her Mind Dania Zarr)

When we saw the promo pictures of the Spring line at the online event, I wasn't overly blown away by Dania. Still, I am a huge fan of the sculpt, so I ordered her anyway. When she arrived, she was better than I expected. But then, my friend, Elisa Cetera, posted pictures of Dania with her hair relaxed/straightened, and I was blown away.  There was the glamour girl I was looking for! I couldn't get her head into hot water fast enough -- and the result was fabulous! She looks great in absolutely anything -- glammed up or dressed down.  She is right at home in my Top 10 for the year. 

I named her Jolene after Amanda Baker's General Hospital character, Jolene Crowell. 

7. Santana (High Profile Eugenia Perrin Frost)

This doll is absolutely stunning.  I wasn't a fan of her original fashion, but redressed, she is amazing. I think she will be as sought after as Fine Jewel and Spectacular! Spectacular! Eugenia. I love her hair, her skin tone, those piercing eyes....  It was absolutely thrilling to see her for the first time, standing in the center of the final event tables at Convention.

She got her name from Santana Adrade on Santa Barbara, played by Wanda de Jesus.

6.  April (Shake It Up Korinne)

I loved this doll from the first moment I saw her promo pics from IFDC. I thought she was absolutely stunning.  Still, I expected to like the other IFDC dolls, Rayna and Kesenia, better. I did not. They have since left my collection. But this girl is one of the stars of my collection. I don't think I could love her more.  I named her April, after  Sheree Wilson's character on Dallas, April Stevens. 

I just want to point out that as the rankings get higher, the choices become more difficult. Not having the blonde Shake It Up Korinne in the Top 5 seems almost sacrilege.  Just know that these top dolls have pretty much interchangeable rankings.  If my house were on fire, I would try to grab all of them -- not just one of them.

5.  Nina (Main Event Adele Makeda)
I love her so much! I must say the new Adele sculpt has totally grown on me. By the time this past convention rolled around, I actually took Style Counsel Adele with me to Orlando. I had really grown to appreciate her beauty. She still didn't say "Adele" to me, but I loved her. But when I saw THIS Adele, I almost died. She is perfection! The only reason I decided to have her as low as #5 is that there is another Adele in the Top 5. 
I named her Nina after Nina Blackstone -- Iman's character in Exit to Eden.

4.  Addison (Resort Restyles Workshop Veronique Perrin)

I love me a redhead. And this Veronique also has my favorite doll hairstyle. Add to that her gorgeous screening (the same as Style Counsel Veronique) and the fact that she looks amazing in absolutely everything -- what's not to love? She photographs like a dream, and Veronique and Adele have always been my favorite characters. And yes, I will admit that with all the outstanding Veronique dolls we've been given this year, I have allowed myself to think of the new Veronique sculpt as Veronique. I absolutely adore Veronique v.1, and I have really liked Veronique v.2, but kept them categorized separately in my mind. But now, to me, they are a long line of gorgeous dolls that are the same character. 

She was named Addison after Kate Walsh's character, Addison Montgomery, on Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy.

3.    Kitten (Lady In Red Erin Salston)

I have never really been an Erin fan. I only had two in my collection -- Psychedelic Splash, the centerpiece doll from the 2011 Convention, and "Pure," the raven NuFantasy doll inspired by Snow White. But this is a sculpt "refresher" that Integrity hit right on the head. I think this re-sculpt looks more human, and fits in much better with the rest of my collection. I loved High End Envy Erin, and couldn't wait to see Lady In Red at convention. When I first saw her, I was completely underwhelmed. I thought she was pretty, but she reminded me of that girl we all knew in high school -- the sweet, painfully shy but pretty girl who sat alone in the corner at dances. Not the usual "glam" that I go for in my doll collecting. Luckily for me, I decided to redress her before I put her on the chopping block. Redressed, she really came to life.As you can see from her ranking, she is a definite favorite, and could just as easily be #1.

She was named Kitten after the Kirsten Dunst character, Kitten Margolis, on Sisters

Quick cell phone shot taken right on the shelf, with no thought to lighting or composition. Still, I think she looks fabulous!
2.  Mandy (Shake It Up Korinne Raven)

When we were first told that there would be "raffle dolls" at Convention, that would be color-variations of an IFDC dolls, I said out loud to a friend, "Oh, PLEASE let there be a raven Korinne!" Apparently, the universe was listening.  I bought so many raffle tickets I more than paid for the doll, but I have never been lucky at raffles or anything of the sort. So when my friend was lucky enough to win two of her, my first thought was that I might be able to buy her. But then I saw that amazing friend walking across the banquet room toward me. My heart was pounding in my ears. I was completly speechless when she placed her in my hands. You've heard people say "I almost fell out of my chair" -- but I literally thought I was going to. That moment is one of the highlights of my life -- not so much because of the doll herself, which I LOVE LOVE LOVE -- but because that was probably the most generous, kind, overwhelming gesture of love and friendship I've ever recieved. Truly something I will never forget, and a wonderful memory I get to relive every time I look at Mandy.

Photo by JennFL2. Used by permission.
Since her platinum twin was named after a character on Dallas, I thought it fitting to keep the theme  going for this doll. Hence she is named Mandy, after Deborah Shelton's character, Mandy Winger.

1.  Michaela (Main Attitude Adele Makeda)

Main Attitude is the perfect name for this doll.  I don't think I have ever opened a doll's box and been so struck with attitude in my life -- not even when I first opened Silver Zinger or Optic Verve Agnes!  I am guilty of assigning personalities to my dolls -- it's just fun. I keep wanting to write photo stories for them, but I can't imagine how much time would be involved with setting up scenes, etc. But I digress.  As I was deboxing this Adele, I was carefully and gently trying to loosen the laces on her fabulous shoes, and I tore up both shoes. The scenario that played out in my mind over those shoes was really funny to me. Does laughing out loud at my own thoughts make me crazier than having the thoughts in the first place? 

When this Adele saw her ruined shoes, she shrieked at me, "My Alexander McQueens! I never even got to wear them!" And that is when I made my big mistake -- I told her that they were Alexander McQueen-INSPIRED.


I could just picture her, flying at my face, as if drawn by a magnet, beating me and clawing at my eyes with her tiny hands.  The only thing that calmed her was my telling her that the shoes were Jason Wu. I don't think Jason actually personally designed those shoes, so it's not exactly the truth, but one must protect oneself at all costs.

I do love a doll that exudes attitude, but that's not where it ends with this doll. Absolutely everything about her is perfect (as, I'm sure, will be her replacement shoes, when they arrive). I love her suit, jewelry, and that wrap! TDF! To me, she is very Beverly Johnson -- and that's how she got her name -- from Beverly Johnson's role in the film, The Cover Girl Murders.

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.