Friday, February 28, 2014

Urban Vita: Rodeo Drive

When I first saw photos of Rodeo Drive, I decided to take a pass on it. I didn't care for the doll's face, and the faux monkey fur cape turned me off a bit. After getting Equestrienne though, I changed my mind. I think I should have listened to my first instincts.

Whereas the Equestrienne face had a pleasing vintage look, Rodeo Drive's looks like she is either constantly perplexed or even a bit annoyed. The eyebrows are painted too low for where the doll's physical brow is sculpted. I knew immediately that this doll was headed to ebay; I had planned on keeping one Vita, assuming that both dolls would be the same. I made the unfortunate choice of selling Equestrienne before receiving Rodeo Drive.

On the plus side, I do like this outfit; it just screams vintage in its styling. The shoes are absolutely beautiful and so is the purse. The jewelry seems to be well made, too.

On the negative side, as it was with Equestrienne, I found the tailoring to be poor. The buttons on the top were placed too far to the right, meaning that when fastened, you could still see them. For most of these photos, I removed them digitally.

The monkey fur seemed like an odd choice, too. This "negative" is probably more a matter of taste; perhaps it is truly authentic to the time period. In the future, when Gene wears this outfit, I will most likely swap the monkey fur out for one of her regular black furs.

I'm not sure what is next for Vita, but I will be keeping my eye on her. I do so badly want her to succeed, as it would be nice to have another option when it comes to well-made articulated 16" vintage fashion dolls. Hopefully Horsman can improve her with each release.

See more Urban Vita photos on my regular website.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Gene: Be Mine!

Today's tribute to Valentine's Day starts with an image of Phoenix Gene modeling the Ashton Drake outfit, Ransom in Red. Phoenix's original platinum wig has been expertly restyled by Kathy Johnson. She's got the best doll salon in town!

Trent hands over the goods to his sweetie, beginning with a box of flowers from Etta's:

Gene opens the box and reads the card inside:

Boy do they smell good!

Trent didn't just stop at flowers, though. A huge red heart-shaped box of candy is also part of the deal:

To maintain her girlish figure, Gene only eats one. Talk about willpower!

Looking into his eyes, Gene lets Trent know that he's the best boyfriend ever!

Happy Valentine's Day; hope you all find the romance you are looking for.

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 doll photos on my regular website.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Celebration of Shirley Temple Black

Sadly, America's Legendary Sweetheart of the 1930's has passed away. Shirley Temple Black was a ray of sunshine for a Depression-weary nation, who helped people forget their troubles while she sang, danced, and solved the problems of everyone around her in less than 80 minutes. Actress, wife, mother, and politician, she lived a very full life during every single one of her 85 years. In the doll world, the Shirley Temple doll is still legendary, 80 years after it was first introduced by the Ideal Toy Company in 1934.

With expressive eyes and soft blonde mohair curls, Shirley's likeness flew off the shelves at a time when people didn't have the money for frivolous items such as a doll. The desire to have a little Shirley at home overcame any financial reservations, and the sales put the Ideal Toy Company back in the black.

Today, a vintage composition Shirley Temple doll represents warm memories and happiness to so many.

In later years, Shirley licensed the manufacturing of the doll to the Danbury Mint, who released a whole slew of porcelain Shirleys for new generations to cherish and treasure. This 75th Anniversary Shirley, representing her as she looked in "The Little Princess," is one of my favorites.

Over the years, there have been large Shirleys (36") and small Shirleys that measure less than 6":

Some of the dolls, like this 1980s vinyl edition by Ideal are downright creepy:

While others are so lifelike you almost expect to hear them say, "Oh My Goodness!"

It will be interesting to see if new Shirley Temple dolls will continue to be released now that Shirley is gone, or if their popularity has merely peaked. I would think that as long as her movies are made available to new generations, Shirley Temple will continue to charm with her message of love and positivity.

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 Shirley Temple doll photos on my regular website.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Gene in Main Feature

Enabled by Melissa from The Couture Touch, once I saw this outfit (Elsa Lin's Main Feature from Integrity) on her blog, I was on a mission to find it. As you can see, it didn't take long.

It was just too Art Deco to pass up, and it fit her like a glove.

Although you can't see them, I didn't bother putting on the shoes that came with the outfit. The straps and attempting to figure out how to put them together made me go cross-eyed, so out came the perfect Jamieshow black velvet pumps from J'Adore.

The earrings and bracelet are original to the outfit, but the gloves are from Jamieshow. What a beautiful way to pose Gene!

See more Gene Marshall doll photos on my regular website.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Urban Vita: Equestrienne

When I first began seeing Horsman's Urban Vita line, I liked the clothes, but was not crazy about the doll's face or the look of the plastic. It just looked cheap. Happily for my wallet, I was able to avoid both doll and outfits. Things changed though when I saw the promotional photos for "Equestrienne." The outfit really piqued my interest, looking like a cool blend of Kentucky Derby, Auntie Mame, and a high-class circus. I couldn't resist. Patience was required though, as it took 9 months from payment for the doll to be released. My initial plan was to ditch the doll and keep the outfit.

Once the doll arrived though, I was pleasantly surprised. The outfit was packaged separately from the doll, which was a bit odd, as typically I am used to having a dressed doll arrive...well, dressed. Call me lazy, but I like to see her arrive dressed exactly as she is in the promo photos. Still, not a real big issue.

The doll itself impressed upon first glance. The face was MUCH better in person. I actually decided to keep her. And with 19 points of articulation, my mind was reeling from the possibilities. I still wasn't crazy about the plastic, but in person, it looked much better than the photos I'd seen. Yup...I thought I had a keeper.

The costume fits snugly on Vita; no room for give at all. The white blouse had one part in the front that refused to lay flat; it puckered out no matter how I pulled on it. The jacket fastens to the blouse, but it too refused to lay flat, which kept the decorative buttons from being seen and showed the inside fasteners. I was beginning to get annoyed. Once I attempted to pose the doll for photos, I got further annoyed. My visions of JAMIEshow Gene getting replaced as a favorite quickly faded away. The poses didn't really hold as well as I expected (or as I had read about), and the doll had a difficult time standing up without continually falling over. On the plus side, she does fit into Gene's outfits.

On the negative side, her pizza-sized feet prevent her from wearing all of Gene's shoes (the Integrity ones seem to fit, but the AD ones do not).

Phoenix came out of her box to model the outfit, which fit her just fine. The hat is perfect (one of the best doll hats ever) and I love the little riding crop. What a cool accessory! Much better than the molded one that the Franklin Mint made years ago for Jackie Kennedy.

Final decision: the outfit stays, but the doll goes.

When I turned the doll around to get a bit of the back detail of the outfit, I noticed that one of the buttons was missing and the other one was dangling.

I contacted Sharon at MM Treasures, who I bought the doll from, and asked if the jacket could be replaced. She IMMEDIATELY responded, apologized, and put me in touch directly with Horsman. Their response? A very terse:

"We are at a trade show until 2/13. Will address issue upon return."

I am hoping that "address" means "replace" as far as the jacket goes. Rodeo Drive Vita is supposed to arrive tomorrow. Look for further updates!

See more Urban Vita photos on my regular website.