Friday, July 9, 2021

East 59th Street and the Doll Drought of 2021

I have been a fan of the Victoire Roux/East 59th Street line since it was first introduced with Faubourg Saint Honore Victoire Roux at the Integrity Toys (IT) Jet Set Convention in 2011.  (Here she is wearing an earlier FR ensemble, Apertif at the Balthazar.) 

I have owned almost every version of Victoire Roux and immediately got on board the East 59th Street line in 2017.  Luxurious Leisure Constance Madssen remains a favorite in my collection.  (She is actually wearing a Silkstone ensemble!)

Even with the extremely talented, Chris Stoeckel, designing this line, Victoire Roux/East 59th Street has always seemed to lag behind other IT collections.  Maybe it is due to the focus on fashions from the 1940's - 1960's.  Maybe it's because the dolls have always been very stylized in their faces and hair.  Maybe it's because a different body shape was used for these characters.  Whatever the reason, collectors could usually pick these dolls up on sale at most dealers.  That is ... until 2021!

Could the new found popularity be attributed to the fact that it has been a very lean year for IT doll collectors?  

So far in 2021, not including dolls introduced in previous years, there have only been a handful of new dolls announced:  Fashion Royalty - 3 (None of these were available retail and none have actually shipped), NuFace - 4 (1 Open Edition Doll, 1 W Club Upgrade, 2 Retail), Meteor - 2 (Both Open Edition), Poppy Parker - 2 (1 Open Edition, 1 W Club Upgrade), Misaki (1 Retail).  That's less than a dozen dolls in all the other IT lines (excluding Jem) and only 7 of those have even made their way into collectors' hands!

Or, and I prefer this scenario, could the new found popularity be due to collectors finally realizing the quality of the ensembles and dolls?  It's probably a combination of the two.  Regardless, the secondary market prices of the Victoire Roux/East 59th Street line seem to have skyrocketed within the past few weeks.   Some of the older Victoire Roux dolls are now demanding $250+.  Depart L'Orient recently sold for $295, Buenos Aires $378, La Grand Seduction $355, and Story of My Life $350.  The Americano recently sold for $325.  Afternoon Intrigue fetched $275.  Nude dolls are bringing prices usually reserved for desirable FR and Nuface girls!

The newfound popularity could be, in part, due to the fact that eight different dolls have been made available in 2021; the East 59th Street line has given us three dolls from 2020:

#13 of 2021 in my collection, Merry & Bright Della Roux (edition size 550)

#14 of 2021 in my collection, Festive Lights Constance Madssen (edition size 550)

#15 of 2021 in my collection, Sparkling New Year Victoire Roux (edition size 550)

There were two Open Edition dolls in 2021:

#6 of 2021 in my collection, Pin Up Allure Victoire Roux

#7 of 2021 in my collection, Summer Glamour Victoire Roux

Unfortunately, mainly due to my organizing my collection and putting everything in my Detolf cabinets, Summer Glamour is the only doll from the East 59th Street line to make it out of the box and get redressed.  I really like this version A LOT!

There was also a 2021 Mini-Collection, Traveling in Style:

#28 of 2021 in my collection, New York Bound Victoire Roux

This doll has extraordinary screening and hair!  For some reason New York Bound seems reminiscent of the earlier Gene line.  Maybe IT is pulling in those collectors now?

#29 of 2021 in my collection, Home At Last Lady Aurelia Gray

I purchased this doll with reservation.  I wanted the complete collection, but I didn't think I would like this version of the character.  The screening on Home At Last is beautiful!  What a pleasant surprise!

#30 of 2021 in my collection, Romance In The Air Augustus "Gus" Blake

Chris Stoeckel showed some serious wisdom in grabbing up the retired FR Darius Reid mold and using it as a new male character in the East 59th Street line!

I read where some collectors chose to not pre-order these dolls, opting to "pick them up when they go 'on sale' at dealers."  They are probably kicking themselves right now.  None of these dolls made it to the sale bin this time.  As a matter of fact the most recent doll, New York Bound Victoire, actually sold for $475 at a recent e-bay auction and seems to bring between $275 - $332 consistently.

I am very happy for Chris Stoeckel and the popularity he is finally realizing for this line.  I am also very happy that I was able to acquire all of my dolls at regular retail prices!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

#23 of 2021 - Such A Gem Dania Zarr

Most Integrity doll collectors know Ryan Liang.  He is doll couturier who designs under the name "Shantomo".   It was only a matter of time for him to win the IT Design Competition and have one of his designs created for Fashion Royalty collectors.

Such A Gem Dania Zarr was the winner in 2019.  The purchase of this doll was a no-brainer for most collectors (made to order edition size of 1205).  Dania Zarr is a favored character mold and the ensemble is truly wonderful with lots of pieces for mix and match potential.

Here is a picture in the box.

And a closeup.

Such A Gem Dania Zarr is one of those rarer dolls that needs to be released from the box to be truly appreciated.  For some reason, that forward-glancing dead stare in her pale Japan complexion is truly off putting.  She reminds me of Mrs. Danvers from the movie Rebecca!  (Without the mole of course)

Out of the box, you realize the beauty and craftsmanship involved in the production of Such A Gem Dania Zarr.

There really is A LOT going on in this ensemble.  Here is a picture of the accessories (property of Integrity Toys).  I am very happy that the mesh portion of this ensemble is actually a separate underskirt.  (The bow is also detachable, but I really like it quite a bit.)

Since Mrs. Danvers was on my mind, I decided to try a little redressing and see if I could create a more modern version (even more so than Kristin Scott Thomas).  Here is Such A Gem Dania Zarr wearing the lace gown from Sister Moguls.

So, what about that mesh skirt?  I've been toying with the idea of using it with other designs.  How about A Fabulous Life Rayna Ahmadi?  She's been hanging around in her summer ensemble of 2011's Veronique Breaking the Mold blouse and Randall Craig slacks.  For some reason this version has always reminded me of Angelina Jolie.

Let's put her back in her original dress and try to mesh skirt.  What do you think?  Maybe I should keep looking...

As part of my summer organization plan, I decided to change the bodies of some of my dolls.  Sweet Nothings Gretel Eden Blair is one of my very favorite versions of that character mold.  I put her on a Nuface2 body.  How would she look in the Such A Gem dress with train?

What do you think?  I don't know why, but all of the dolls in this blog are reminding me of actresses.  Does anyone else see a younger Lisa Hartman Black in this doll?

So, what's my final opinion of Such A Gem Dania Zarr?  Love the flexibility of the ensemble and it will allow a great deal of redress options (if I can get it off Eden Blair).  The doll is so elegant and refined.  Such A Gem is definitely a keeper!