|Come On Get Happy!|
Building on popular existing lines, and creating new sensations, the folks at Alexander have been hard at work for 2002. Among this year’s surprises, a beautiful Screen Legends series celebrating dynamic actresses of the silver screen, a new Coronation Collection marking the upcoming 50th anniversary of the ascension of Queen Elizabeth II, and an energetic new playdoll series–Hannah Pepper and Her Friends. Beautiful new additions for Cissy, Alex, and other Alexander favorites promise a good year for Alexander collectors of all stripes.
“You’ll also see a difference in the colors, fabric and makeup we’re using this year,” notes Jarvis. “You’re going to see a lot more of what you see in today’s world. Our long-time collectors appreciate the freshness, and it will also appeal to the next generation of collector.”
Alex Fairchild Ford–that paragon of style and editor-in-chief of Élan magazine–has a new friend: Jade Lee, a 16-inch, Asian-American vinyl beauty with flowing black hair and sleek good looks. Like Alex, Jade wears haute couture clothes, but hers incorporate a personal East Asian twist.
Each doll will feature a story, and a tiny copy of the magazine.Prices for the Alex series were not finalized at press time. “Jade is one of our biggest highlights this year,” says Jarvis. “Her character is that of a young hot architect out of San Francisco. A long-time friend of Alex, she’s been hired to design Élan’s sleek new SoHo offices.”
Alex debuted two years ago to great reviews, and was followed last year by Paris Williams, the entertainment editor for Élan. “Paris’ debut at Toy Fair last year was a huge hit,” enthuses Jarvis. “But Jade will be the new talk of Toy Fair. She is it!”
Although each doll is the same size, they have distinctly different wardrobe “personalities.” “Golden Lotus Jade,” for example, is resplendent in a kimono-inspired midriff-bearing outfit decorated with ornate butterflies. With her hair twisted in braids, the “modern traditional” look is completed with a necklace of miniature harmony beads. She is limited to an edition of 1,000.
In addition to “Golden Lotus,” Jade already has a variety of exciting looks, including “Cherry Blossom” and “Graphic Impact,” each wearing urban-chic outfits that will take them from the office to the nightclub, attracting attention along the way. Each is limited to an edition of 900.
Alex and Paris weren’t sitting idly by while Jade got all the new looks. They shine too in outfits like “Market Meeting” and “Techno Tweed.” Paris works her way into the boardrooms and green rooms of the entertainment world with “VIP” and limited edition “Backstage Pass.” Both dressed Paris dolls are limited to editions of 1,000.
“The thing that’s great about these dolls is that we use unique sculpts created for each character,” says Director of Marketing Jane Abrahams. “They’re all smart, savvy and wearing outfits that come straight off the runways. I would love to have Alex’s wardrobe!”
God Save the Queen
This year marks the beginning of the 50th anniversary Jubilee of the reign of England’s Queen Elizabeth II. Crowned on June 2, 1953, a year after the death of her father, King George VI, Elizabeth II and the royal family have captured headlines around the world. Alexander commemorates the event with an updated recreation of its original Coronation Collection, as well as two luxurious replicas of Elizabeth’s coronation attire.
The ten-inch “Queen Elizabeth II Processional” doll, depicting the new monarch marching towards her coronation ceremony, looks regal in a white brocade sleeveless gown featuring panels with the symbols of the United Kingdom embroidered in gold–leeks from Wales, clover from Ireland, thistle from Scotland and wheat from Great Britain. A vibrant red velvet cape trimmed in gold and faux ermine is secured with faux rubies and highlights recreations of the crown jewels Elizabeth wore that day. The doll is limited to an edition of 500 and costs about $350.
The “Queen Elizabeth II Recessional” doll, 21 inches, is equally splendid. She wears the same dress, but has exchanged her processional cape for a grand purple velvet one also trimmed in gold embroidery and faux ermine. Her Royal Highness now wears the majestic St. Edward’s Crown, set with jewels and trimmed in faux ermine. The $950 doll, limited to 250, holds the Royal Scepter in her left hand.
“The colors are amazing–exactly what you’d envision,” says Abrahams. “And the cape just drapes off of her. Her coronation crown is incredible.”
This isn’t the first time the company has honored the Royal Family with dolls. Madame Alexander created Princess Elizabeth dolls from about 1937 into the 1950s. In 1953, Madame Alexander also created a Coronation Collection depicting the royal family, which she donated to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. In tribute to both Queen Elizabeth II and Madame Alexander, the company has recreated the Coronation Collection, a series of eight-inch dolls. “Queen Elizabeth, Crowning Glory” (edition of 500, about $190) comes with ceremonial robe, the St. Edwards Crown, Royal Scepter and the Royal Orb. “Prince Philip, the Queen’s Royal Consort” (edition of 500, about $120) is dressed in a black military jacket and red cape. And the “Palace Guard” (edition of 1,000, about $80) stands watch in a traditional dress uniform. “Prince Charles” and “Princess Anne,” each eight inches and limited to editions of 1,000, are sold as a set and depicted as young children. They sell for about $160.
Today’s young girls have a keen fashion sense and an active sense of communal fun. “Hannah Pepper,” named after Madame Alexander’s mother, is a ten-inch bundle of fun for today’s girl-on-the-go.
Dressed in groovy colors and styles mirroring current fashions, “Hannah Pepper” and her friends, “Julia” and “Sophie,” provide hours of creative play and dress-up fun with a variety of outfits. “She’s someone a child can relate to, carry along and play with,” says Jarvis.
“The fun part is, it’s Madame Alexander, but people might not know it right up front,” Jarvis continues. “With trendier looks, new sculpts, new colors and even new packaging, Hannah and her friends are wonderfully different, but they’re still Madame Alexander. You can see that in the quality of their faces and clothing.”
“Hannah” in striped cardigan has her own sense of style and wears outfits in cheerful, vivid colors that look playful yet sophisticated. Her vibrantly striped cardigan and pink velveteen skirt complement a sunny yellow cotton t-shirt and matching tights. “Hangin’ with Hannah” finds the active Pepper ready for a busy Saturday in boot-cut jeans trimmed in pink, a fuchsia top and sporty denim hat.
Hannah’s best friends, “Julia” and “Sophie,” have their own distinct personalities and fashion sense. Shy and sweet “Sophie” is a brunette, grey-eyed cutie who is always ready with a smile. Her feminine gingham dress is trimmed with large buttons, floral hems and matching sandals. Always where the action is, sporty “Julia” is ready to go in Capri pants, a sleeveless button-down flower print shirt, and complementary espadrilles. “Julia” keeps her long, copper hair pulled back with a gingham headband.
Jarvis says more friends and new fashions will join the series as time goes on. Each dressed ten-inch doll sells for about $40. Additional fashions cost about $25.
Designs on Cissy
Cissy, the original modern fashion doll, has long been a collector favorite. Last year, Alexander introduced a special Designer Series (DOLLS, December 2001, “Designer Dreams”) and the response was so favorable, that the company has followed up with new designs for 2002. Part of its “Arts Section,” the Designer Series includes three new limited edition Cissy dolls dressed by top doll designers Timothy J. Alberts, Doug James and Laura Meisner. “They’re spectacular,” raves Abrahams. “It’s great to get the opportunity to work with outside artists. There’s so much talent among these three.” Each 21-inch creation is limited to editions of 200.
Alberts continues his seasonally themed exploration of 18th century style with “Madame de Pompadour, Spring” (about $800). The simple elegance and pastel colors of the costume are the perfect antidote to those end-of-winter blahs. The doll wears a noble shepherdess-style, form-fitting pale green jacket over a simple satin dress embroidered with spring flowers and lace. She carries a bouquet of handpicked wild flowers and shades her delicate features from the sun with a charming bonnet.
Inspired by the opera “The Ballad of Baby Doe”–a saga of 1880s Colorado mining, politics, class warfare, love, and tragedy–Doug James’ “Baby Doe” (about $650) captures the innocent strength of divorcee Baby Doe who falls for the married miner and U.S. Senator Horace Tabor. Dressed in a bronze, fitted jacket and brown-and-tan plaid bustle, the doll displays James’ flair for theatrical costumes (he is assistant head of wardrobe for Saturday Night Live).
Laura Meisner continues to find the sexy in the traditional with “Equestrian Cissy” (about $500). Dressed in tailored English riding togs, the doll wears a veiled black riding hat. Meisner has added extra flounce to the shirtfront and sleeves for a decidedly feminine touch, while the doll’s traditional riding boots are cuffed in tasteful tan leather.
Cissy fans will also want to keep an eye out for “Bluebird Cissy,” a very limited edition “Sitting Pretty Yardley Cissy,” “Renaissance Garden Cissy,” “Taffeta Romance Cissy” and “Cissy’s European Holiday Trunk Set,” an exciting new feature that includes a silk evening gown with separate petticoat, faux fur stole, rhinestone necklace, a black dress with white jacket, hats, three pairs of shoes, two handbags, two sets of pantyhose and more. The whole ensemble (no doll included) sells for about $550.
Forget Your Troubles
Hollywood in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s was known for outstanding actresses who had the opportunity to portray juicy, unforgettable roles. At a time when women were only beginning to have the chance to stand out in professional and political roles in real life, cinema elevated the intelligent working (and singing and dancing) woman to new heights, thanks to dynamic actresses who remain revered to this day. With this in mind, Alexander has introduced “Screen Legends,” a series of new dolls celebrating silver screen icons in some of the their most memorable roles.
First in the series is “Judy Garland in Summer Stock,” introduced in December at FAO Schwarz. Although doll collectors have long been able to possess Garland’s visage in the form of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, other images from her varied career have been harder to find. Created in collaboration with Garland’s daughters, Liza Minelli and Lorna Luft, and licensed through Warner Bros. and the Estate of Judy Garland, “Summer Stock” now provides Garland fans with an accurate and beautiful new addition.
The 1950 musical “Summer Stock,” Garland’s last for MGM, tells the story of Abigail Falbury, a sensible New England farmer who catches the showbiz bug when Gene Kelly and his ragtag acting troupe commandeer her barn for rehearsals.
“Judy Garland in Summer Stock,” exclusive to FAO Schwarz, is a 16-inch doll dressed in the sophisticated costume from Garland’s famous “Get Happy” number. She wears a tailored tuxedo jacket with pale pink taffeta lining over a black-and-white leotard, Lycra tap pants and black tights. A pale pink scarf with a crystal rhinestone, and matching rhinestone ring and earrings add a touch of Tinsel Town glitz. The black pumps and felt fedora, which became Garland signatures, complete the ensemble.
“It’s a fascinating project because it was so complex,” notes Abrahams. “We worked with FAO Schwarz, Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, Judy Garland’s daughters, Gray Horan (Greta Garbo’s grandniece) and Global Icon, which handles the estates for the actresses.”
“Summer Stock,” introduced last December in time for the holidays, is only the tip of the iceberg. The Screen Legends series will feature Garland as she appeared in some of her most memorable films, including “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “A Star is Born.” In addition, the beautiful and mysterious Greta Garbo will be hard to leave alone when her characters from “Camille” and “Grand Hotel” are immortalized in doll form. Alexander has also captured the exotic beauty and simmering sensuality of German chanteuse Marlene Deitrich in the roles she played in “Blonde Venus” and “Shanghai Express.”
Three of the dolls–Garland’s “Summer Stock,” Garbo’s “Camille” and Deitrich’s “Blonde Venus,” will be FAO Schwarz exclusives, limited to editions of 2,000. The other dolls in the series so far will be available through Alexander dealers and limited to editions of 1,500. All are expected to sell for around $160. And Abrahams hints that more actresses and more movie costumes are being considered for future releases.
If all of these treasures weren’t enough to shake the winter doldrums, the Alexander Doll Company also has new baby dolls, new designs in its Peanuts Gang, Wizard of Oz and Little Women series and, of course, a host of beautiful traditional Alexander styles to whet collectors’ appetites. Enjoy!
For more information, contact, Alexander Doll Company, 615 West 131st St., New York, NY 10027; (212) 283-5900.
The winners of the 2013 Industry’s Choice DOLLS Awards of Excellence (DAEs) were announced April 12 at the Debut of Dolls Banquet held at IDEX in Orlando, Fla. Each entry in this year’s competition was evaluated by our panel of judges: Doll industry consultant Pat Burns, doll writer and historian Penny Herbst, Simon Farnworth of DollObservers.com, author and DOLLS contributor Stephanie Finnegan,
DOLLS editor-at-large Jill Jackson, and Modern Doll President Patsy Moyer. This year’s Industry’s Choice winners go on to become the nominees for the Public’s Choice awards voted on by DOLLS readers. Look for photos of all the nominees, ballot, and online voting instructions in the July 2013 issue of DOLLS.
Iola, Wis. – Jan. 9, 2013 – DOLLS magazine publisher and former editor Carie Ferg received a special VIP Award for Outstanding Achievement in the 2012 Colliii Awards. The Colliii Awards are the largest online dollmaking competition in the world.
“We wanted to present the 2012 VIP Award to Carie Ferg as a recognition of the dynamism and innovation she has brought to the doll industry over the past few years,” said Colliii Awards Director James Carlsson. “The VIP Award is presented every year to a person or organisation that has made a significant contribution to the doll world. It was Colliii.com’s pleasure to present this to Carie as a token of appreciation for her hard work.”
Past VIP Award winners include DOLLS’ Editor-at-Large Jill Jackson for her work with "Doll Reader," the Biemann family from Schildkröt dolls in Germany, and such atists as Stephanie Sullivan.Registration for the 2013 Colliii Awards will begin in July. For more information about the competition, go to www.colliii.com/en.
The winners of the 2012 ProSculpt Annual Sculpting Contest have been chosen by collectors and artists from around the world. Winners this year are from England, Italy, Japan, South America, and the United States. Photos of all the winners can be viewed at the Johnston Original Art Dolls website. The winners are:
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Haute Doll introduces its new exclusive by Horsman Ltd., the modern-style “Heart Chair” perfect for 16-inch fashion dolls. The design was inspired by Verner Panton’s 1959 full-scale contemporary chair design.
The fourth Pullip and Dal Doll Lovers Event (PUDDLE) drew 60 doll lovers from 10 different states and Canada to the Elk Grove Village Holiday Inn in June. This year’s theme, cranes, was inspired by the sandhill cranes at the group's charity organization, the Willowbrook Wildlife Center. Six custom dolls and other items donated by sponsors like The Sleeping Elf and Denise's Dolls were raffled off at the event, raising $500 for the center.
The weekend started Friday night with dinner at Mitsuwa Japanese Mall in Arlington Heights, followed by a tea party at the hotel. PUDDLE officially kicked off at 9 a.m. Saturday, starting with an organized buy-sell-trade opportunity, and dozens of fans milled around trading and buying doll wigs, eye chips, bodies, clothing, and more.
Every attendee received a door prize, thanks to generous donations from many sponsors. Distribution of the door prizes was followed by a secret gift swap and lunch break. Afterwards, an informal Q&A-format customizing workshop answered questions for many fans new to the hobby, followed by a display of fully customized and modified dolls entered in the customization contest. Winners of an online photo/art contest which was held and judged before the event were announced along with the customization contest winners. The photo and art entries can be seen at www.puddlestyle.com/photoart.html.
Many fans continued the fun over dinner in the hotel restaurant and in the hotel lobby until the wee hours. Krista Farmer, who traveled from Toronto for the event, said “It was a crazy cool day.” Although the event officially ended Saturday night, 11 fans stayed for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Willowbrook Wildlife Center Sunday. — Jane EasterlyFor information on PUDDLE 2012, visit www.puddlestyle.com.read more
Attendees at the third annual R. John Wright Convention enjoyed the festivities of several major holidays coupled with outstanding dolls, all rolled into four fun-filled days! R. John and Susan Wright chose “Celebrations!” as the theme for their 2011 event held at the historic Desmond Hotel in Albany, N.Y., which was co-chaired by Loretta Nardone and Lillian Wright.
The convention opened with St. Patrick’s Day reception Wednesday evening, where everyone laid claim to being a wee bit Irish while enjoying a scrumptious dessert buffet. The sales room opened immediately after this kick-off event, with conventioneers hoping the “luck of the Irish” would help them find that perfect doll or dolls.
Thursday began early with the Easter Morning Breakfast; those attending this ticketed event didn’t have to search for large, beautifully decorated baskets serving as table centerpieces. They were filled with molded felt eggs in pastel colors. At the end of the breakfast, the eggs were distributed and the happy new owners opened them to find “Peep,” a 3-inch yellow mohair chick as their event souvenir. His companion, “Posey,” was available for sale. After breakfast the special and competitive exhibits opened, along with the helper room. This year’s special exhibit, arranged by John and Susan Wright’s daughter Emily, was titled “Happy Holidays” and showcased R. John Wright dolls and animal characters and the traditional holidays that inspired them.
That afternoon, attendees boarded buses for the short trip to Bennington, Vt., for a tour of the R. John Wright facility along with other local activities. The Wrights explained the development of their creations from concept through completion before everyone had the opportunity to visit with their employees as they made various doll parts and accessories and shopped in the R. John Wright store. The day culminated with a Fourth of July BBQ followed by fireworks at dusk.
Workshops by dollmaker Gail Wilson and a program by Alan Pate, a leading American expert on Japanese dolls, were offered on Friday, along with several roundtable discussions on various topics. Attendees dressed up for the frightfully fabulous costume parade leading into the Halloween Masquerade luncheon, with prizes awarded in five categories. After lunch, the newest piece from R. John Wright’s Wizard of Oz collection, “Wicked Witch of the West,” made her debut in front of an enthusiastic audience.
The ticketed Victorian Yuletide Dinner featured traditional table decorations and an enchanting program, “A Victorian Christmas,” presented by Nardone. The event souvenir was the 10-inch “Mary Frances,” the latest addition to the Victorian Children Collection. Available for purchase was her 7-inch little sister, “Baby Grace.”
Saturday morning’s activities included another program by Pate and a workshop conducted by Emily Wright. That afternoon, a Valentine’s Day High Tea charmed conventioneers with fine teas and delicacies. The newest addition to the Flower Fairies series, “Rose Fairy,” was available for purchase. The evening’s closing event was a New Year’s Eve Gala Celebration. This elegant banquet featured another entertaining program produced and presented by Nardone. When the souvenir dolls were distributed, delighted attendees found the adorable 12½-inch “Celebration Scootles” would be going home with them. As an added bonus, her delightful twin brother was available for purchase.As the convention ended, attendees were already making plans for next year’s “Around the World” event, which will be held at the same location June 20-23, 2012 and will celebrate the magic of children around the globe. There will also be an added treat as the first bear event held at an R. John Wright convention will be incorporated into the excursion to the Wrights’ facility in Vermont. For more information, visit www.rjohnwright.com or call (802) 447-7072. — Pat Burnsread more