|Ode to Heavenly Heroines: Odette and Gabrielle are OOAK twists on classic characters.|
“Odette” is Monica Reo’s latest variation on a beloved fairy-tale heroine. This 34-inch-tall doll celebrates the antics and adventures of Snow White. Also known as “Melodic Ode,” the character has gorgeous features and costuming.
Frank Sinatra crooned it best: “Fairy tales can come true/they can happen to you/if you’re young at heart.” I certainly believe that lyric, and I know that doll artist Monica Reo is a big fan as well. (http://creationsinporcelain.com/)
Recently Monica wrote to me about one of her new dolls. For several years now, she’s been tackling the classic heroines of children’s literature, but she’s been imbuing them with a level of maturity and costume sophistication.
The newest of her “Fairy Tales: All Grown Up” dolls is a breathtaking version of Snow White. What’s so great about this depiction of the raven-haired, fair-skinned beauty is that Monica gives this animated warbler an alternate identity: complete with new name, new togs, and a bold, passionate personality.
In Monica’s refashioning, Snow White is known as Odette, or “Melodic Ode.” Because she is famous for her crooning with wildlife and a bevy of devoted dwarves, the princess-in-disguise is known by the moniker of Odette.
Keeping consistent with the storybook tale and the classic Disney musical, an “insidious apple” is included in the vignette!
Monica Reo is a huge fan of opera and of classic Hollywood movies. It’s always fun to see how she mates these two components together. In this variation of Snow White, can’t you just see Gene Tierney or Vivien Leigh or Jean Simmons in the part? I can certainly envision one of those dark-tressed actresses from Hollywood’s Golden Age wearing the mantle of Odette? Can’t you?
Always looking for inspiration in books and in films, Monica watched “Snow White and the Huntsman,” but found it to be a tad too terrifying for her musing. The artist confides that “Ever After” is more her cup of tea!
I have to admit that I am partial to that Drew Barrymore flick as well. In fact, my sister, who is rather hard to please when it comes to movies, can watch that film whenever she needs a quick way to be cheered up.
Monica recently wrote to me that “Ever After” is also her go-to film for “spirit lifting.” That 1998 film stars a luminescent Drew Barrymore as a feisty, bright, eloquent, and brave heroine named Danielle. Set in the Renaissance, the plot unfolds in France and is tinged with historical allusions and references to real-life philosophers, artists, politicians, and royalty. (Leonardo da Vinci has a remarkable role in the narrative!)
It’s a clever, well-written twist on the Cinderella fable, which we all think we know by heart. This version of the “little cinder girl” is equal parts feminist and feminine. It shows that a woman can be both headstrong and smart, and beautiful and kind.
Inspired by the message of that movie, Monica Reo made her first grown-up fairy-tale heroine. It was inspired by Barrymore’s portrayal of Danielle, but Monica named her doll Gabrielle.
Talk about a “happy ending,” the Gabrielle doll ended up being bought by an aficionado who only collects Cinderella dolls. She reigns there as one of the queens of the roost!
Fairy tales are a great escape for all ages: especially when the news of the world can be so despondent and confusing. It’s always satisfying to find a moment in the day when you can unwind and disconnect from reality.
Of course, I’m not advocating flitting through life with earbuds on and blinkers. We all have to be aware of what is going on in the world today, but there is such a thing as knowing too much.
One of my pleasures is current events, and I am a bona fide news junkie. However, even I need to wean myself away from all of the breaking news and relentless headlines.
That’s why I’m glad there are movies like “Ever After” to be rented or caught on cable. And, certainly, I’m overjoyed that TCM (Turner Classic Movies) is part of my basic-cable package. I couldn’t make it through a summer without some of their momentous movie marathons.
Most of all, I am delighted that doll artists, like Monica Reo, continue to explore well-loved and well-regarded themes. They make dolls that key into the stories and fairy tales that accompanied our childhoods. But they also tweak these characters and tailor them to our adult sensibilities and palates.
Just like Sinatra said, “fairy tales can come true,” and collecting a doll that celebrates them keeps us young and wise at heart!
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The Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon one recipient per year. This award was created in 2002 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the teddy bear, with the first recipient being Steiff, a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality and prices.
The Lifetime Achievement recipient must be or have been involved in some aspect of the doll and/or teddy bear field for a minimum of 25 years. The recipient may be an individual, partnership, corporation, company, author, artist, marketer, historian or any other industry professional. Lifetime Achievement Award nominations may be made by previous recipients or members of the LAA committee.
To qualify as a nominee, entrants must meet the following criteria:
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to the following individuals and companies since its inception:
2003 Hildegard Gunzel
2004 Alexander Doll Company
2005 R. John Wright
2006 Wendy Lawton
2007 Virginia Turner
2008 Toy Shoppe
2009 no award presented
2010 Helen Kish
2011 no award presented
2012 Maggie Iacono
2013 Heidi Plusczok
2014 Jack Johnston
August 8, 2014 - Blackall Associates Inc. is proud to announce the winner of its Summer Heat Photo Contest. The contest drew entries from around the world. Masterpiece Doll collectors sent in a special photo showing how their Masterpiece Dolls were enjoying the summer heat.
You haven’t seen a toy show until you’ve seen this one. Six buildings! Over six hundred exhibitors! Exclusively toys and dolls and children’s playthings on display everywhere! This is the show everyone always says they intend to visit, and now is the time to do just that. Collectors say the Chicago Toy Show really is the largest in the entire world. They are correct. Collectors say they find toys at this show that are never seen anywhere else. Correct again.
19 April 2014 – 5 October 2014
A special exhibition will take place at the Toy Worlds Museum Basle to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Japanese-Swiss diplomacy and friendship.