Monday, May 30, 2011

Après Ski

Released in 2004, this circa 1948 creation was designed by Tim Kennedy. The Gazebo used in these photos was an official Gene Marshall piece of merchandise released by Ashton Drake. I love the hairdo on this one, as it is similar to what my mom sported at the time. Kudos to the design team, as the turban fits PERFECTLY.

From the story card:

What luck! While on location in Italy, work on the film “Montage” was going so well that the producer declared a week-long break. And Gene was ebullient! And after a quick spin through the fashionable boutiques (and the good sporting good shops), Gene was ready to hit the slopes. So off she went to St Moritz…

After finding lodging in a quaint little chalet, Gene devoted her days to the local ski runs. Then, refreshed and exhausted, she would return to the chalet, enjoying steaming mugs of hot chocolate with the sweet Swiss couple who ran the little bed and breakfast.

One evening, warm from her bath, her hair tucked into a turban and dressed in a new ensemble just made for the fireside, she made her way to the chalet’s common room, with its roaring fire in the fireplace and the comfortable couches. But when she reached the foot of the staircase, her hostess was there, waiting for her with a huge smile.

“Ach, Fraulein Marshall! Du bist sehr schoen! I mean, oh, so lovely are you. You must know that your guest has arrived…”

Gene looked puzzled. “My guest?” And she followed her hostess’ gaze to the couch nearest the fire, where the back of a familiar head—blond, but familiar—was comfortably nestled on a pillow. Mustering her best exasperated tone, Gene sighed, “Trent! How ever did you find me here…?”

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Friday, May 27, 2011

MORE Gene Marshall Star Wardrobe Separates

More from the 2005 Star Wardrobe Separates collection. For the life of me, I can't tie a decent bow, so this particular polka-dot blouse is a challenge! Anybody care to send me a clear diagram of how to tie this *#$%^ thing?!?

This is one that I loved in the publicity photo, but not quite as much in person; the fit of the pink jacket seems a little boxy in the shoulders, and the scale seems a bit large thanks to the size of the buttons and polka dots. Maybe if I could tie the bow on the blouse properly that would help!

For a film noir effect:

Modeling this outfit is Butterfly Shadow Gene.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Iced Coffee

Released in 1997, this circa 1946 creation was designed by Laura Meisner. It is easy to see where it's name comes from, as it looks like the most delectable cup of java one could ever imagine! I used the Marceline Gene Marshall as the model, and had to eliminate the golden snood as it didn't look right with her hairdo.

From the story card:

Surely magic was in the air during the making of Voodoo Blues, one of the most beloved film classics of the 1940s.

The sound stages of Monolithic Studios were transformed into the sultry, sensuous city of New Orleans. Gene was never so bewitching than as the star chanteuse of a blues nightclub. Deeply in love with the handsome heir of a wealthy plantation family, Gene pours out her tale of unrequited love to the backstage assistant, a kindly but mysterious old man. He offers to cast a voodoo spell on her beloved. “Tonight, when you sing,” the eerie old man says, “he will be unable to resist you.” Believing in his hypnotic words, Gene steps on stage.

In the misty spotlight she glows like a creamy pearl, wearing a café-au-lait chiffon gown that pours over her slim curves in a liquid column of ivory satin. When she sings the first number—“My baby makes me nervous like…iced coffee”—she catches her lover’s eyes and holds him spellbound. She purrs into the mic in a sensuous, throaty alto as though whispering in his ear. Her gloved fingers lightly cup the mic during the song's heartrending refrain, the diamond jewels trembling with the passion of her singing.

Her love is enraptured and vows to marry her. Though his family fights their union, Gene wins them over by the movie's end. The old man was a fraud, but his wise trick gave Gene confidence in her own magic…the most irresistible of all…the timeless magic of a woman in love.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gene Marshall Star Wardrobe Separates

Mel Odom hit a home run with Gene Marshall; he created so many brilliant ideas that led to her success. In 2005, Star Wardrobe Separates were released. These "separates" allowed the creative collector to mix and match the different wardrobe pieces, thus making their own unique outfit. For quite some time I attempted to get this Pink Cardigan Sweater Set. It seemed so casually authentic; I could picture my mother wearing this one crisp autumn day just before winter hit. Not warm enough to turn on the heat, but definitely too cool to have the windows open.

This particular set came with the 2 pink sweaters; for this photo shoot, I added a gray skirt that was part of the Daily Threads gift set from the 2010 Convention.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Meet Poppy Parker

If it’s not modeled after a real person (AND a good likeness), then I’m not really very interested in dolls. A few years ago, Gene Marshall changed that. And then recently, I finally gave in to Poppy Parker. I loved her face sculpt; it seemed so genuinely retro. And, unlike most of the Integrity dolls that are released, she didn't look like an angry anorexic woman with eyes that were barely opened.

Here’s the story line created for her:

The story of Poppy Parker is set in New York in the late 50's / early 60's era, the time when glamour was all about the hair, simple elegance and having the perfect little "kit" for every occasion! You can take a girl out of the Midwest, but you can't take the Midwest out of the girl. Under her fashionable hair, perfect makeup and fancy couture clothes, Poppy is just a simple girl. Will she be able to dazzle the city that never sleeps? So far, the answer is "yes"!

Poppy has landed in New York. She nervously takes a seat in her first taxicab. During the long drive into the city, she wonders what life as a teen fashion model will be like. There are so many new things to discover about the city in which she now lives. The magic of New York, from its wonderful shopping districts, art galleries, landmarks and parks to its bohemian downtown, is unparalleled and Poppy wants to experience it all. Get ready New York, she's arrived! Will the city that never sleeps ever be the same again?

It's now 1964 and so many things have changed for Poppy Parker since she arrived in New York. She is now one of the most popular teenage models in New York. She has been on the cover of five fashion and teen magazines and recently scored a new gig as the face of McCalpin's Department Store for their Juniors' department.

Another new development is the arrival of Poppy's best friend, Darla Daley. They met in a record shop and now, they are inseparable. Darla is an upcoming young singer who just made her television debut on the Ted Mullivan show. Thanks to her appearance on the show, she now has her first hit single!

BTW: This story line was pieced together from a few pages on the Integrity/Poppy Parker website. The dolls themselves do not come with story cards. Instead, you have an assortment of warnings: how to avoid staining from the clothes, how to remove her hands so that her clothes can be removed (I wasn't about to try this...I had a feeling that the plastic would break as the hands DO NOT come off easily).

The one Poppy Parker I allowed myself to get is a gift set titled "I Love How You Love Me." The outfits were cool and her styling was perfect. The story for this particular outfit is limited:

She starts the day in a smart red jumper with white blouse and patterned tights, which is followed by her lovely white satin party dress and brocade coat evening ensemble. Finally, she crawls into bed wearing her adorable pink gingham nightie, matching bloomers and fuzzy slippers.

My take on Poppy once she arrived? Yes, the outfits looked as adorable in person as they did in the photos. The shoes are a bit of a pain and difficult to stay put on her feet. Gene and the other 16" dolls are truly just the right size for playing, posing, and being able to handle the clothes without difficulty. I have come to the conclusion that 12" dolls are not for me. It was extremely hard to get Poppy's beautifully sculpted hands in and out of her outfits. Even though she has plenty of articulation, at her small size and with clothes on, I found her poses became limited as the fabric constrained her limbs. The hooks on her clothes are also difficult to work with; the threads on a few already began to unravel, meaning at some point I will have to attempt to sew them back on. And the hair...a few stray clumps had come apart from the shellacked curls and required a ton of photoshop work. At some point, I will need to send her to Kathy in Oregon for a redo. The 3 curls in back are also odd; I believe Terri Gold (the one who enabled me on this one!) called them "three rolls and no butter." Had a great laugh out of that one. Instead of using the white bow that came with the set (which I had difficulty pinning into her clumped hair), I took one of the white bows from the packaging and tied it directly into her hair.

I'm all for creativity, but for the prices that Integrity charges for these sets, I don't feel I should have to get out the needle and thread or redo a doll's hair because of poor craftsmanship.

At this point, I'd say my association with the 12"-sized market are finito.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bon Bon

Released in 2003, this Fan Appreciation doll called “Bon Bon” was released in a limited edition of 500, designed by Van Craig. I prefer this circa 1944 showgirl costume over Birds of Paradise.

The doll shown here is actually the bald Integrity Convention Doll “Daily Threads.” I knew she'd come in handy! Gene now looks like she’s ready for The Moulin Rouge.

From the story card:

In the 1944 thriller Bon Bon, Gene Marshall once again surprised and thrilled her fans.

The film tells the story of a famous demimonde and cabaret artiste named Bon Bon. But although Bon Bon's public image is that of a high-living showgirl, Bon Bon has been secretly recruited as a freedom-fighter for the Underground and is one of its most dedicated members. Her mission is to pass information, coded into the musical numbers she performs for all her adoring fans—and for her one mysterious contact in the audience.

All goes well—until enemy agents uncover Bon Bon's double life. In a breath-catching, heart-clutching chase, Bon Bon races back to the theatre with vital information, pursued by her gun-wielding foes.

The chase climaxes with an incredible production number. Bon Bon breathlessly arrives in her dressing room, jams a chair against the door and snatches her costume from the hanger. As her pursuers pound on the door, Bon Bon hurries through a side door and down into the lower corridors under the stage.

Above, the show is in progress, as a large candy box center stage slowly opens to reveal its contents: frilled paper cups filled with “truffles”—a bevy of showgirls in spangled ruffles. Changed and ready, Bon Bon steps onto the platform that will lift her up and through the center of the candy box to deliver her coded message. But just as the lift starts, a shot rings out. Bon Bon clutches her shoulder as she rises up and out of sight, away from her pursuers—but has she the strength to perform—and deliver her precious information?

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