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Hitting the Mark
Written by Joshua M. Bernstein   
Tuesday, 01 July 2008 00:00


Instead of scanning the runways for the latest in haute couture, dash to the doll shop and check out the newest luxe looks from Fashion Royalty—the Glamorous Collection, Integrity Toys’ line of cutting-edge fashion dolls.

Fabulous in fur, Natalie Fatale is a re-introduction with a twist: “She went to Switzerland to have a facelift,” says Alain Tremblay, executive marketing director of Integrity Toys. She’s limited to 1,000.“We’re going back to glamour,” says Alain Tremblay, Integrity’s executive marketing director. “Our entire theme is jewels or minerals.”

To that end, designer Jason Wu has crafted dolls with cheekbones as sharp as their styles. The poseable runway models are bedecked in glamorous, scandalously short metallic frocks and teetering high heels that wouldn’t be out of place in a Gucci showroom.

“Jason has his own line of clothing, so we’re always closely following the fashion industry,” Tremblay says. But they’re also channeling their own inspirations. “I’m a child of the ’80s, and so is Jason, and we’re working what we grew up with: lots of color. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

In a sense, though, they are. “Jason traditionally does many muted tones, but this year the colors are far brighter,” Tremblay says, naming dolls like blonde ice queen “Eugenia Perrin Frost,” who’s wearing a lightning-blue gown. Then there’s fire-haired “Vanessa Perrin,” looking dashing in a classy chartreuse frock. Tremblay’s most excited for Bollywood actress “Isha.”

“She’s absolutely phenomenal,” he says of the jewelry-adorned ingénue. “We usually have all of our dolls made in China, but for Isha, we had the garment handmade in India. It’s real Indian embroidery, so the gown is heavy with metal embroidery. She’s a stunning showstopper.”

Bollywood actress Isha stops the show in her handmade Indian number. She is limited to 300. Fashion Royalty’s most stunning news, however, may be someone’s unexpected return: “We brought back one of our retired characters, ‘Natalia Fatalé,’” Tremblay says of the severely stylish doll, wearing fur and a knee-length skirt. “It was a difficult decision. We thought, ‘Would this be realistic or not? Would people buy it?’ So we came up with a solution. We basically said she went to Switzerland to have a facelift, which would explain her new face. And people got a giggle out of that,” Tremblay says, laughing. He adds, “We have a dedication to quality and design that excites us, as well as our customers. The results speak for themselves.”

Like a butterfly from a cocoon, the masterminds behind legendary Kish & Co. have em­erged from their studio with another wow-worthy family of lovely little girls—emphasis on family.
“I’m proud to be able to respond to the collectors’ desire for some of the older sculpts while at the same time introducing new faces, sizes and innovations in body design,” says Tamas Kish, who along with his designer wife, Helen, runs Kish & Co. “Once the body and size were determined, I realized that we could integrate the 14-inch dolls with our 11-inch Bitty size and 7-inch Quint size to form a veritable family!”

To that end, Helen has designed such delights for the Chrysalis line as the red-haired 14-inch “Lark Creamsicle” wearing striped socks; colorful 14-inch boho-chic “Wren Pistachio”; 7-inch “Tatum” wearing a pink Onesie (ideally snuggled into Wren’s arms);11-inch blond-haired, blue-eyed “Brynne”; 14-inch curly brunette “Raven Cheeky”; 14-inch velvet party-dress clad “Lark Little Lady”; and adorable 7-inch “Tompkin” in a summer suit. “The fresh contemporary designs lend a great spin to the classic faces of these girls,” Kish says. “The inspiration for the Chrysalis line is the idea of the growth: a girl becoming a young woman. However, inspiration comes from many sources: The imagination, a photo or a certain pairing of fabrics can spark an idea for a doll.

”Kish & Co.’s latest idea was making dolls as bendable as Silly Putty. “The remarkable poseability of these new 14-inch dolls is the biggest difference,” Kish says. It wasn’t easy. “The biggest challenge was finding a jointing system that allowed the dolls to stand, sit and hold naturalistic poses without compromising the integrity of the body sculpt.”
It’s this commitment to innovation and detail that separates Kish’s Chrysalis line from the crowded doll pack. “This collection stands apart because it captures the sweetness of a young girl in a form that is equally at home on display or as a play doll,” Kish says. “The fashions are contemporary without being age-inappropriate, and the faces and eyes are warm, inviting and blend the classic influences with current trends.

“The collector response has been overwhelmingly positive; many of our collectors prefer to be hands-on with their dolls, and the three sizes of dolls in this collection allow not only the ability to create tableaus,” Kish says, “but also distinctive mod­els for their own creations.”

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