Monday, February 20, 2023

Mardi Gras with Gene

The saying “You never forget your first time” is so true…when it comes to Sandra Stillwell Conventions! My first was 2016’s Belle of New Orleans, held in (where else?) that fabled Louisiana city where Mardi Gras is celebrated annually. I hope you enjoy my parade of fashions that Sandra unveiled for her guests almost seven years ago. First up is Magic Season, which is probably my very favorite outfit from the convention) and its blue alternative, Merci Beaucoup:

The convention’s namesake outfit in silver and gray was what every girl would want to wear to the Mardi Gras Ball:

With the tiara, fur wrap, and scepter, it’s a total knockout! Sandra pluses her ensembles with the perfect accessories.

Queen of the Carnival was one of the highly coveted centerpiece fashions:

Oona wanted her chance to model this gown, too:

If ball gowns aren’t your thing, My Years and Seasons is a very elegant alternative:

For Under Her Spell, Gene dons the attire of a voodoo priestess:

A Mardi Gras post wouldn’t be complete without this non-Sandra outfit from Ashton Drake, appropriately named Mardi Gras Magic (modeled by Ivy Jordan):

Happy Mardi Gras! I think I’m going to see if I can find a good beignet nearby. Any suggestions?

See more Sandra Stillwell Gene Marshall Belle of New Orleans fashion doll photos at my website.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Ambassador’s Ball for Valentine's Day

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Gene dons Ambassador’s Ball, from the 2021 Sandra Stillwell Ambassador of Fashion convention. Inspired by the Jacques Griffe design shown below:

I agree with the ad copy: 100!

See more Sandra Stillwell Gene Marshall fashion doll photos at my website.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Shirley and The Red Cross

The Danbury Mint released a 17" tall porcelain doll commemorating Shirley Temple’s 1936 public service announcement for the American Red Cross.

Shirley’s hand has one finger pointing heavenward to signify the requested one dollar donation.

Officially authorized by the American Red Cross, the doll boasts plenty of beautifully crafted details, such as the one dollar donation bucket:

The lace tie-up shoes and stockings:

Who could deny this sweet little face one dollar?!?

Since I am not a fan of the synthetic wigs that Danbury used on Shirley, I replaced it with a softer mohair version:

Want to see the PSA for yourself? Here you go!

See more Shirley Temple doll photos at my main website.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Dangerous Curves

“Dangerous Curves” was a fashion for Gene Marshall released in 2007 by Integrity Toys as part of the  Rare Deal Convention (an FAO Schwarz exclusive). Inspired by a 1951 Ben Reig design in rayon crêpe, it fit in perfectly with the film noir theme of the convention. Here’s the Harper’s Bazaar vintage ad, with photo by Francesco Scavullo, modeled by Sunny Harnett:

Who better to model this outfit than JAMIEshow’s own Marlena?

With or without the chapeau, she looks incredible.

See more Gene Marshall Integrity fashion doll photos at my website.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

An Ingenue in New Orleans

In 2016, I attended my first Sandra Stillwell Convention which was held in New Orleans. One of the highlights was getting an inside peak at the Louisiana State Museum Archives. We were able to see a Ball dress from 1955, designed by James Galanos, who was known for designing clothing for America’s social elite, including Nancy Reagan, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor. From the exhibition catalog:

Silk faille with woven stripe. While the eye is immediately engaged by the flamboyantly striped, especially woven fabric of the skirt, in typical GALANOS fashion, the focus is quickly shifted to the beautifully cut and fitted bodice. Back and shoulders bared by the halter neckline with its faux surplice front closure, the woman emerges from the gorgeous billow of skirt like the figurehead of a sailing ship. The gloves were made to be sold with the dress.

The dress itself, all these years later:

Like the rest of us, it has some age spots:

In 2019, Sandra released this doll-sized version of the Galanos gown and titled it, “Ingenue.”

With the emotional appeal of having seen the original in person, I knew I had to have this one.

When I pulled it out of the bag and finally put it on a few of my Genes, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. Without being perfectly steamed or ironed, the doll-sized version does not hang as well as its inspiration. Few collectors realize the challenges of “shrinking” a design down to scale and the choices that must be made in order to do so effectively. The weight and drape of the fabric play a large part, as do the placement of buttons or hooks that can add unwanted bulk. Most want their doll outfits lined to help prevent staining, but that can also add to the issue of a gown now hanging on the doll correctly.

See more Gene Marshall Sandra Stillwell fashion doll photos at my website.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Gene Marshall: Ooh La La!

“Ooh-La-La!” was a limited edition of 300 released by Integrity Toys in 2007. One of the harder dolls to find on the secondary market, this Gene Marshall dressed doll is a stunner.

According to one of the Gene fan pages, the release was originally intended to be a Violet Waters doll, but ended up being cut from the line in 2002. This was when Ashton Drake was the manufacturer of the Gene and friends dolls.

The inspiration for this outfit was Vogue Paris Original pattern #1057 by Jeanne Paquin, released in 1949.

One-piece dress. Horizontal tucks release fullness in the bodice and drapery at each side of skirt front. Back of the skirt is bias; front crosswise. Skirt joins bodice at waist-line. Deep collarless neck-line. Short sleeves cut in one with bodice.

Here’s the Vogue Pattern Book cover from April/May 1949.

A photo by Clifford Coffin shows a “live” model wearing this Paquin creation:

Interestingly enough, it appears the fabric was intended to be wool:

This will probably be considered heresy, but while I like the outfit, I was never crazy about the face of the doll. Some of the Integrity Genes have a piggish look; not sure if it’s the nose or the overpainted lips, but I definitely prefer Red Parasol’s modeling of this fashion:

See more Gene Marshall fashion doll photos at my website.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Yves and Trapeze

At the 2017 Sandra Stillwell Eternal Style Convention in Richmond, I was able to see the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit at the VFMA (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts). Called “The Perfection of Style,” it was my first real introduction to the famed designer’s work. This post focuses on the dress called "L'Eléphant Blanc," which he created in 1958.

Here is the description from the catalog when it was on exhibition at The Met in New York:

Creating the trapeze silhouette for Dior, Saint Laurent has a rigid understructure veiled under a fly-away cage. A boned corset anchors the dress but allows the delusion of a free swinging cone. Seeking a shape for independence, though still tethered, the “Eléphant Blanc” dress also employs a shimmering embroidery on net that requires a finishing flourish to the thread work on a transparent surface. Thus, in both surface decoration and in structure, Saint Laurent gained the effect of ethereal, bouyant freedom while retaining the structure of the couture. From the earliest works at the house of Dior through the designer's accomplishments in his own house, Saint Laurent has practiced and perfected this modernist wielding of couture construction and proficiency to seem wholly unfettered. Manufacturer: Rébè. Date: spring/summer 1958. Culture: French Medium: silk, metallic thread, glass, plastic.

In short, it was nothing short of an architectural masterpiece in addition to being a groundbreaking piece of fashion.

Sandra Stillwell took on the daunting challenge of recreating this piece in miniature, despite the many challenges, such as the intricate beading. Here’s the promotional photo I took for Sandra at the convention:

What she had her “elves” put together is definitely a miracle in miniature.

One of the most difficult things about creating miniature is getting the fashion to hang properly without looking too bulky. This one does as well as can be expected, considering the amount of layers (there is an undergarment) and of course the lining.

The wig that was sold to go with Trapeze (Sandra’s title for the dress) was the perfect choice, beautifully executed by the famed doll wigmaker Ilaria Mazzoni.

See more Sandra Stillwell doll fashion photos at my website.