|The Divine Devereaux Sisters|
Emerging from the bleak reality and sobering horrors of World War I, Americans during the 1920s were bursting with the need to celebrate life. Diversion became the order of the day. Established social mores were shed in favor of fun and frivolity. Rebellion and the desire for change were in the air. Americans—chafing at restrictive social traditions and laws such as Prohibition—became intoxicated with the idea of breaking loose. Jazz music thrilled the ears and stirred the soul; Art Deco reached its zenith; modern appliances and inventions added to leisure time; the automobile brought increased freedom and mobility; women won the right to vote; and social roles were redefined
Hear them roar! The Devereaux sisters are coming on the scene and—faster than you can cut a rug doing the Charleston or the Lindy Hop—they’re sure to set tongues wagging and imaginations soaring. Squired about town by the dashing and debonair Robert Tonner, the mysterious sisters have fashionistas, socialites, and other assorted girls and boys about town abuzz with speculation and excitement.
Whether they’re spotted enjoying a leisurely weekend at East Egg with “old money” types like Tom and Daisy Buchanan, making an entrance at one of Jay Gatsby’s over-the-top parties in his palatial mansion or being “naughty” at a riotous speakeasy scorning the no-alcohol mandate of Prohibition, the dishy Devereaux sisters command the scene, at ease in every milieu. And, of course, they’re always dressed to devastate the competition. Glamorous, playful, exuberant, vivacious and not afraid to defy convention, they embody the heady spirit of the Roaring ’20s.
Tonner was the first one caught in the sisters’ alluring spell. They took shape in his mind late last year. Inspired by a Vogue fashion spread with a 1920s vibe, Tonner played with the concept of his latest doll divas. “I thought that the look and feel, or idea, would make a wonderful line and Joe (Petrollese) was eager to design in the ’20s mode,” Tonner explains. “I found a vintage painting of a flapper that I gave to two different sculptors we work with and had each do his take of the face.
“That was the first time I’d done something like that,” Tonner says. “It was fun to see what happened.” Tonner, faced with two similar looks and pleased with both head sculpts, thought: Why choose between them? Two beauties were better than one, he reasoned, and so the concept of the “sisters” was born.
“It was a pretty straightforward process,” says designer Petrollese. “Robert came to me with this idea for a new group. He had the name and the direction he wanted to go with them. He then worked on the heads while I started working on ideas for silhouettes, colors, and fabrics. While I stopped short of actually putting on a flapper dress, I did do a lot of research into the period. I like to think the clothes we’ve designed reflect that period’s feel and look, yet also have a bit of a contemporary flavor. The biggest challenge for me was coming up with ways to make them look different while still having them share a similar feel.”
“Fortunately, the sisters have been good,” Tonner notes. “Up until now, they haven't been much trouble. I think the biggest challenge involved the head sculpts—working to suggest features that depict another time.
”Tonner, knowing that every true femme fatale closely guards her air of mystique, remains vague about the ladies’ background. “I can tell you they have this kind of French café society thing going on,” he volunteers. Rather than flask-carrying, fast and “easy” flappers who hobnob with gangsters and rogues in smoky honky-tonks, however, Tonner characterizes the Devereaux duo as “more like high society ladies.
”Pressed for more particulars—What makes them special and unique? Is there a “bad” girl and a “good” girl? Is there a bit of sibling rivalry going on? Any man on the scene who might be causing tension and competition between the siblings? Are they rich party girls, or do they have careers?—Tonner does offer additional tidbits. “I don’t think they work. ... And they are rich (wait till you see their clothes!). Of course, they are highly sought-after and, as of now, they get along very well. But we’re still getting to know them. You never know what surprises they might have in store. …
”Louise and Reneé are the same 16-inch size as “Tyler Wentworth” but with a smaller bust (perfectly suited for those divine ’20s frocks); they are composed of vinyl and hard plastic. They both come in different hair colors. “They don’t want to be cornered into one look,” Petrollese says.
As of press time, there was no definitive word on edition size or pricing. “We’ll do basic dolls, dressed dolls and outfits that can be purchased separately,” notes Tonner, who adds collectors can see for themselves when the dolls debut in late summer.
“There will be approximately 8 to 10 pieces all together,” Petrollese says. “While each sister will have her own distinct personality and style, I think the clothes will be interchangeable. After all, they’re sisters. Even if they don’t want to share, they steal pieces from each other while the other is not looking.
”Particularly striking are the outfits on the dressed dolls. Both suits, they’re adorned with fur accents and accessorized by complementary hats, gloves and handbags. Ladylike and refined, the ensembles have a similar look but are different, much like the sisters themselves. Reneé looks ultra chic in black while Louise looks equally sensational in elegant ivory.
“When collectors get a look at these dolls and their clothes, I hope they’ll fall in love with them,” Petrollese continues. “I’d really like to see them do well so the line can expand. These dolls have such a distinct look. They’re romantic and hark back to a time I personally love.”
“I’m bringing the same quality to Louise and Reneé as we do to our other dolls,” Tonner states, “but I love that we’re in another decade. I hope we’ve captured the beauty and decadence of the ’20s and that collectors will see and respond to that in the dolls. This is a line I’d love to build on, so I hope we get a positive response. It’s like entering another world.
”With its je ne sais quoi appeal, it’s a world into which collectors will likely clamor for entry. The Devereaux sisters are making a brief stop in St. Petersburg, Fla., at the 2008 Modern Doll Collectors Convention® Sept. 24-27 before returning to their beloved Paris.
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