Thursday, February 23, 2012

Champagne Supper Revisited

Released in 1998, Champagne Supper ranks as one of my VERY favorite Genes and VERY favorite outfits. Designed by Tim Kennedy, this circa 1957 outfit seems so rich, thanks to the coppery colored fabric used and the beautiful faux fur trim.

This was one of the first dolls in my collection and also one of the first that I photographed. I figured it was time to revisit her and give her another session.

From the story card:

He flew to London all the way from Hollywood just to be with her. They had starred in a number of movies together, been the closest of friends for ages. But lately something new and profound had been dawning deep inside him whenever he thought of her…Gene Marshall.

He slipped the maître d' a generous tip to ensure the evening would be perfect—candlelight and iced champagne. When she appeared, pausing with a dancer's poise at the top of the hotel's grand staircase, he was as speechless as a boy with his first crush. She was so lovely, so incandescent, every inch a star…and a genuinely wonderful woman.

That look in his famous eyes as she stood at the top of the stairs set Gene's heart to fluttering. His reverent expression told her more in an instant of his tender new feelings than all the bouquets of roses he'd ever sent her. Her feet scarcely touched the ground, and as she took his hand in hers, she felt the warmth and gentle strength of his fingers through her gloves. From that moment on the evening passed in a rainbow-colored dream. They'd kissed dozens of times in the movies, but that was work. For the first time she found herself wondering what it would be like to truly kiss him. She wasn't sure what she drank or ate at supper. All she knew was that she was as giddy as a butterfly, and so lightheaded it must have been the champagne. Gene knew right then that this was the man her parents should meet…very soon.

Follow my Gene Marshall, Madra Lord, Zita Charles, Violet Waters, Trent Osborn, Poppy Parker, and other classic movie star doll updates on Twitter. See more Gene Marshall photos on my Gene Marshall web page.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Heart of Hollywood

Released in 2000, this circa 1950 outfit was designed by the talented Vince Nowell. Recently, doing a downsizing project to avoid being put on the show "Hoarders," I decided that this outfit had to go. In setting up a photoshoot to put it on ebay, I chose my Lucille Ball-Gene (hair courtesy of Kathy Johnson), figuring the red hair would go great with HOH's teal fabric.

Once I started shooting, I had a startling revelation.

This outfit is staying!

Something clicked (pun intended) when I started shooting and I really fell in love with this gown and jewelry set. Sometimes, the reverse occurs. I think I'm going to love an outfit, and then when I see how it drapes (or doesn't drape), I decide to sell it. You just never know.

Vince was kind enough to share with me some of the process that resulted in the outfit you see here today:

Out of all the outfits I designed for Gene during her Ashton Drake years, HOH went through the most changes. It was originally supposed to be lemon yellow chiffon that had silver polka dots, but then Joan Greene decided to change the color combination. She found the teal satin with black polka dots, and decided to add the evening coat. The original evening coat had puffed sleeves, and was not split up the back. Instead the coat had a bustle effect in the back, which was held full by the bow and streamers on the back of the gown. Joan decided she wanted the coat to be split up the back so the bow and streamers could peek out. She also made the decision to change the shape of the coat's sleeves. There were two elements that were omitted in the production process—my guess is that it was to cut cost. The original design had opera gloves, and a satin petticoat underneath the gown. Also the original doll was supposed to have the same haircolor as Destiny, but was changed to a lemon blonde.

Sadly I don't have a sketch of the original design for HOH. We worked off a photo that Joan sent of an evening gown that had an apron effect in the front that gathered to a bustle with bow and streamers in the back. The photograph was shot from the back of the gown, so I kind of had to do some guessing as to what the front might look like. The coat was adapted from a photo of some Charles James evening coats that I saw online. Definitely not one of my original ideas, just inspired by the photos that I was given to work with. Most of the Gene designs you had from the Ashton Drake years were interpretations of vintage designs from other designers. Occasionally an original idea was chosen. Out of my original ideas were Bridge Club (an adaption of a dress my oldest sister had in her wardrobe), Pool Party, Sunset Celebration, Meet Me in Paris and Little Blessings. Out of those 5, the only 2 designs that went through without any changes were Sunset Celebrations and Little Blessings. The other 3 had changes that were decided by Joan and Mel.

See more Gene Marshall photos on my Gene Marshall web page.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Lady Knows: Before And After

Based on a design by Pierre Balmain (famous French fashion designer), Bob Lange's outfit was released in 2001. Parts of the outfit really seemed cool; others, not so much. Supposedly for a film noir, the look of this outfit seemed a bit dowdy and more turn-of-the-century than 1940's femme fatale.

I loved the hat, loved the fur stole (check out the faux fox head!), and even liked the top. But something about the long taffeta skirt and black ankle boots that put me off.

Inspired by all of the creative mix-and-match photos of The Couture Touch blog, I decided to stray a bit and put Gene in a shorter black skirt.

Now Gene seems like she belongs in a film noir thriller.

The taffeta skirt has gone to that great ebay heaven. Adieu!

See more Gene Marshall photos on my Gene Marshall web page.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Love, Paris

I don't know what took so long for me to shoot this gorgeous outfit! José Ferrand's circa 1947 outfit perfectly captures Parisian Couture. Released in 1999, this was one of my first Genes...and she is still in my collection!

From the story card:

Henry, the kindly doorman at her New York apartment, greeted Gene with interesting news as she stepped from the studio's limo. "Two large packages from Paris arrived for you today, Miss Marshall," he said. "I'll send them right up to you."

Curious, for she wasn't expecting anything, Gene opened the first box and gasped with wonder. There, neatly folded amid colorful sheaves of tissue, was a jacket and circle skirt of the softest dove gray silk tweed with dashing black accents. Drawing it out, she gasped again...what an innovative fashion design! So flattering, so feminine, such a new, fresh look! A fine vellum letter fluttered out from the sweeping folds of the skirt, and with mounting curiosity, Gene read the brief note: "You are an inspiration, a breath of fresh air. I hope you like wearing my newest fashion. Love, Paris."

The second box contained an elegant rose suede hat and accessories to complement the outfit perfectly. Gene immediately decided she would wear this remarkable fashion creation the orphans' charity fundraiser the next afternoon. As she had hoped, the press went wild over this revolutionary new fashion when she walked into the room. The media attention brought a storm of publicity to the orphans' charity, making this fundraiser their most successful ever. Gene's secret admirer never came forward...but every year after that, Gene unfailingly sent a bouquet of perfect pink roses to a certain famous Paris designer in gratitude and admiration.

See more Gene Marshall photos on my Gene Marshall web page.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

True Love At The Prom

Sorting through my Gene trunks and trying to figure out what stays and what goes, I discovered this vintage style prom dress. I have no recollection of where it came from, nor much information about who made it, other than a handwritten tag that appears to say Marieta Designs 1999 Gene Convention. I added the shoes, jewelry, and fur wrap.

With Trent in his Derby Dreams tux, the two look ready for the prom.

My favorite from the session—the two appear to be enjoying the last dance of the evening.

Follow my Gene Marshall, Madra Lord, Zita Charles, Violet Waters, Trent Osborn, Poppy Parker, and other classic movie star doll updates on Twitter. See more Gene Marshall photos on my Gene Marshall web page.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shirley Temple: The Classic Stand Up And Cheer

For Shirley Temple doll collectors, the most popular outfit is most likely the one known as the red coin dot dress from Shirley's 1934 movie, "Stand Up And Cheer." Even though she only had one number ("Baby Take A Bow"), she stole the spotlight and kept a fairly ho-hom movie from being a stinker.

The doll shown here is one of the Danbury Mint porcelain antique replicas that they produced years ago in a 14" size. The current one for sale actually measures closer to 12", even though it is listed as 14".

I removed the synthetic wig that came with the doll and replaced it with a mohair one that does an excellent job of replicating the wigs that came with the classic 1930's Shirley composition dolls.

Add a replica dress from Dollspart Supply and voila—a beautiful porcelain Shirley Temple doll that captures the magic of the original!

See more Shirley Temple doll photos on my Shirley Temple doll web page.