Thursday, July 13, 2017

Charlotte Olympia Barbie

When this Charlotte Olympia Giftset was released at Barbie Collector last fall, it sold out in minutes.  I didn't even try to get one.  A "Gold Label' Barbie means that less than 10,000 are produced.  In this case, the box states "No more than 2,700 Worldwide".   In Barbie terms, that's a truly limited edition!

Charlotte Olympia Barbie immediately started its eBay run, selling for up to 4x its original retail cost of $125.   I gave up hope.   The prices have come down quite a bit, but the average is still almost double.

Earlier this month, I thought I would do a random eBay search.  You cannot imagine how excited I was to find a seller offering her at original retail price.  Yes, dear reader, that's right!  I actually bought a NRFB Charlotte Olympia Barbie for $125.  And it actually arrived in perfect condition!  I was almost afraid to open it.
But open I did!
Charlotte Olympia is a London based designer who started her business in 2008.  Her products are produced in Italy and are inspired by "old Hollywood Glamour".   They are quite expensive! (If you haven't figured out the spider web connection, think "Charlotte's Web". )  

Here is a photo of the Barbie.  She uses the "Shani" body which is like a twist n turn waist doll with legs that click at the knee.  The head looks like s silkstone head!  She is quite a lovely doll.
Then you have all the accessories that are included.   There is a the small clutch and the iconic banana shoulder bag (that's 3 purses).  There is a pair of cat eye sunglasses and a "web" fascinator/hat.   You get the red shoes which are a miniature version of the "Dolly Shoe" which sells for $795.
Then there are the green "Eve" shoes.  Which are just gorgeous!
Constance couldn't resist the green shoes!
And then there's the iconic kitten flats that can also be purchased on her website.  (Do yourself a favor and just go browse the official website.  It's some very special eye-candy.)
These shoes actually look good on the Made To Move Barbie foot.  Here is a photo.
And then a closeup.
Her earrings are also web-inspired.  She is wearing some very lovely red "leather" gloves that match the purse, but the coolest part is there are plastic protectors inside the gloves!  Love this idea.  (Pay attention IT)
There is also a torso protector under the jacket!  The packaging on this collector's edition is amazing! The details are intricate and superb.  The leopard is the Charlotte Olympia mascot whose name is Bruce.  He has a shopping bag in his teeth.  The set also contains a shoe box with shoe protector bag.
Now, the important question:  Can this ensemble can be shared with IT dolls?  The sheath is closed with velcro, so there is some "give and take".  It looks amazing on Shapeshifter Natalia Fatale.  "Nice kitty!"

This is an exceptional giftset with a lot of fun play time!  Had I been able to secure one last fall, it would have easily made it into my top 10 of 2016.  If you can find one at retail, jump on it!  It's worth every penny!

Monday, June 26, 2017

East 59th Street - Part Deux - Ladies Who Lunch

I've not made up my mind about keeping Evelyn Weaverton.  If I do, I'm afraid I may have to put her head on a different body.  This will sound weird, but I think she is "too lovely" to fit in with my Victoire dolls.  With that in mind, I opted to release Constance Madssen.  (I don't have another Victoire with the cream skin tone and I believe she also shares a highly stylized palette.)

Here is what Constance looks like in her box ...
And, again, the accessories were generous.

The shoes for Luxurious Leisure are not plastic like the shoes that came with the other ensembles.  The straw purse reminds me of the purses that used to come with Dressmaker Details ensembles; it is minimal and the little flowers just cheapen it.  The earrings are small loops.  She does have several bracelets, a hat, second set of hands, pack of Marlboro (?) cigarettes, a cigarette holder, red sunglasses, and a red pillow.  I would've liked a ring and necklace to make it feel a little more substantial.

Faubourg, who reigns supreme among my Victoire ladies, decided to welcome her to the clan.
"Constance, darling, welcome to Athens.  I've come to take you shopping and to lunch."

"We're in Greece?  That's fabulous!  I know just the place."

"Not Greece, sweetheart.  Athens, Georgia.  You know, home of the Bulldogs!"

"Well, I guess I am dressed in the right colors then.  Where are we going?"

"Darling, you can't wear that to lunch.  The driver is taking us in to Atlanta today.   ... And please put away that cigarette before you singe my fur!  The human lost her mother to lung cancer and she has been putting dolls on the chopping block left and right!"
"Is this better?"

"Ack!  We're going to Lenox, not Jonesboro!  You'll be in Buckhead!  Please put on something more appropriate ... and don't forget your fur and fascinator!  ...

... Since you are getting undressed, I am very eager to see the revisions in the Victoire body.  I hope you don't mind; I've brought Number Two to compare."

"Number Two?"

"That's what I call her.  She was the second doll int the Victoire series.  See what being the first to arrive does for you.  You will always be Constance!"

"Well ... I hadn't planned on undressing for the camera ... but in the interest of knowledge ..."
"It's wonderful to see that the changes are very subtle.  That means we can all share the same wardrobe.  May I see a view from behind, please?"

"I better be getting more than lunch for this ..."

"Wait until you see our closet!"

"Okay ... now from the side ...."
"I can see the difference in the way the thigh joins the hip.  It may be time for me to invest in a little plastic surgery for myself after seeing how much firmer the tummy appears ...  Now, hurry and get dressed."  (STAIN ALERT:  The red has already lightly stained the thighs and torso!)
"I didn't realize you had such an amazing closet here.  Why do we even need to go shopping?"

"Oh my!  ... And I didn't realize how much you resemble Karen Walker from the television series Will and Grace.

"Wait for me!"  Number Two yells from off stage.

"Does she have to go, too?  I am just getting the hang of all of this ..."  Constance is already beginning to develop into her true divalicious self.

"Well she did take off her clothes and show her bits."

"I'm not going to wait for her to redress.  I bet she's not ready."

"Number Two never makes mistakes when we go out.  Just wait and see."
"I told you.; Number Two is always on point!  Ready girls?  Buckhead awaits!"

.... I hope someone else is paying ... I wasn't packed with lunch money ....

Saturday, June 24, 2017

East 59th - Vintage Feeling

One of the reasons I've been playing with my vintage items is the anticipation of the East 59th dolls' arrival.  When these dolls were revealed in early April, many collectors who love Victoire Roux were excited about adding additional characters to her line.   The designer is Chris Stoekel who is famous for his vintage flair with fashions.  There were four dolls revealed with two different NEW face molds.

The first face mold is Constance Madssen.  She came in two versions:  Captivating Cocktails (this fabric reminds me of the skirt for Venus Secret Eugenia).
and Luxurious Leisure.
The second face mold is Evelyn Weaverton.  She also came in two versions:  Classic Glamour:
and Glittering Gala:
Integrity Toys reported that these ensembles could be shared with the current Victoire Roux line, so I decided to take a chance and purchase one of each face mold.  I've been collecting Integrity products for a very long time.   I remember how much I loved opening the boxes because there was so much detail involved in the packaging.  They have brought that back!  I actually squealed when I pulled the box out!

Here is the back.
And the box opens to look like a little dressing room!!
And the little "card stock paper" doors actually pull open with ribbon tabs to reveal areas for the accessories!
I guess you realized that Glittering Gala was my first choice to purchase!  Here is a closeup of her face.  (I'm afraid she does suffer from a "suspiciously large woman head".)   But her makeup palette is gorgeous!  I wish her eyes were a couple mm farther apart; she would be perfect.  Her head mold is a tad bigger than Victoire's and even Constance's.  It's not "huge" or even "too big"; it's just a little bigger.  I think she would rock a Color Infusion body!  I may even put her on a FR2 body!
Look at all those accessories!  You get a lot for your money!!
My second choice was Luxurious Leisure Constance Madssen...
This ensemble is exceptional quality.   Here is a closeup.
She photographs better than she looks in hand.  She is a very pale skin tone.  Her sculpt is a closer to the scale of Victoire's.

I'm trying to decide if I am going to keep the dolls, redress them, etc.  What do you think?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Spinning My Wheels ...

It seems there has been a lot of "going nowhere fast" around here.  The past twelve months have really got in the way of my blogging.  As followers may remember, I changed school districts last summer and had the daunting task of moving 20 years of teaching materials from one school to another.  It was a smart decision, although an expensive one.   Even though I am still teaching a similar curriculum, there was a great deal of logistics to learn.  The system where I work now is very different from my previous employer.

In September, my fur baby "Millie" was diagnosed with heart problems.  We went to a dog cardiologist and started her on a regimen of expensive drugs.  Then over Thanksgiving she was diagnosed with cancer.  She has required much of my time and I wanted to give her the best quality of life I could provide.  Unfortunately, she lost her battle on May 8.  Here is a photo of my little girl when she was healthy.  I miss her terribly.
Since my car accident over the Christmas holiday, I've been battling with the other driver's insurance company.  My knee was injured, but because I have rheumatoid arthritis the insurance company kept claiming pre-existing condition.  We finally settled and have moved forward - I guess it's just a given that bad drivers have bad insurance.

Last year, I missed my annual "doll purge", so I've been trying my best to get back on track.  It hasn't been easy.  I considered selling my vintage Barbie collection.  Unfortunately, when I took out the clothing I decided to try some of it on my Integrity character.

The Royal Weiss saw the clothing and immediately took over for modeling.  She selected the ensemble "Outdoor Art Show"(#1650 1966-1967).
I was surprised the ensemble fit the tall FR body so well.  I decided to try some of these on my earliest versions of each character.  Fete Accompli was the first released issue of character Tatyana Alexandrova (she was the 2008 Integrity Convention gift doll).  She is wearing "Career Girl" (#954 1963-1964).
How about Spectacular Spectacular Eugenia Frost from 2007.  She is wearing "Busy Gal" (#981 1960-1961 Reproduction Version).  I like how her ponytail comes through the little hole in the hat!
I remember how excited I was to finally acquire the first version of Elyse Jolie, Blue Blood, from the 2009 Integrity Toys Convention.   She is modeling a reproduction version of "Easter Parade" (#971 1959).
Next up is one of my very favorite Integrity Dolls, Cosmetic Takeover Natalia from the 2004 Convention.  She is wearing "Crisp 'n Cool" (#1604 1964-1965).  Cosmetic Takeover Natalia is the first issue of the Natalia Fatale character and has been put on a FR2 body!
The vintage clothing is little loose in the bust of the FR2 bodies (just like the regular FR clothing).  The same is probably the case for the NuFace dolls.  I thought I would try something where the top was knit.  How about Costume Drama Giselle, her first issue was a W Club Exclusive in 2007.  She is wearing "Resort Set" (#963 1959-1962).
I love my Victoire Roux dolls and how the vintage clothing is perfect for them.  Here is the first issue of Victoire from the 2011 Integrity Convention Faubourg Saint Honore.  She is wearing "Dinner at Eight" (#946 1963-1964).  Even the shoes fit her tiny little feet.
Let's get Miss Poppy Parker in on the fun.  I believe Summer Magic and Pillow Talk were released first in 2009.  Summer Magic Poppy Parker is wearing "Open Road" (#985 1961-1962).
After all of this work, I decided I couldn't sell my Vintage items ... I'm not even sure I can figure out which dolls to re-home .... those wheels just keep spinning!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sadly, Some Good Things Do Come To An End ...

It's taken me a long time processing the news that Robert Tonner has discontinued all his commercial doll lines.  Many years ago, I collected Sydney Chase and Tyler Wentworth dolls.  When Integrity Toys came out with their taller dolls with better bodies and articulation, I sold all of my Tonner girls even though some of them were designed with the most beautiful and detailed clothing!

I remember losing my mind over Tonner's Tiny Kitty line which appealed to the classic side of my collecting.  Sadly, those, too, have gone to new homes as I have narrowed my collecting focus.

I was very impressed with the Deja Vu line and have added one to my collection.  I keep thinking about finding her a new home, but she just seems to like living here.  I posted a blog about her in 2015: Deja Vu Blog Post .  Agatha Primrose, a relatively new line, captured my attention; however, I somehow managed to resist.

One line that continues to pull on my heart strings is Ellowyne Wilde.  For some reason this doll holds a very special place in my collection.  I had to sell many of my Ellowyne dolls when I remarried.  Those I managed to keep were boxed and stored until they were unearthed in 2014.  I blogged about them at that time:  Ellowyne Wilde Collection .

Once I resuscitated my Ellowynes, I added a few additional versions to "flesh out" my collection.  Since Tonner's announcement, it is becoming more difficult to find Ellowyne on secondary market at a decent price.  One doll that I had been looking to add to my collection was All Natural Lizette (2014).  She is a friend of Ellowyne's and a collector favorite.  I finally got one this spring.  Here's Lizette wearing Spring Awakening (2010),  an Ellowyne exclusive ensemble.
I couldn't believe my luck when I opened the package and found several outfits included in the purchase!  One of these was a Woeful Green Dress (2009) that I had been trying to find.  I even found the tights that went with them at a sale!  I knew there was only one model for this, Sweetly Sullen (2009).  Sweetly Sullen has been here a few years and is named Brie - short for Brystol.
Another doll that has been on my watch list is Essential Ellowyne 4-Brunette (2011).  You cannot imagine my excitement at finding her on e-bay enhanced by Bev of Enchantment with a good BIN price!  She is named Daelyn.
I often visit the doll board Ellowyne's Ennui, and the members there are very kind and generous.  One of them helped me acquire another doll I felt I couldn't live without, Always Playing Solitaire (2008).
One of my 2017 goals was to bring my number of Ellowyne dolls down to 12.  It just doesn't look like that is going to happen.  With Tonner's decision to no longer produce this line of dolls, I don't think I want to let any more of them go!  I definitely wanted to keep at least one of each of her friends.  In addition to Lizette (above), I have my favorite Amber, A Dark and Stormy Night (2011 -wearing her stock ensemble).
She has such phenomenal eyes and redresses so well!
And then there is Ennui & Me Prudence (2010 - she has never been redressed!)
And some of my favorite Ellowynes (by year produced) ...

The first ever, Chills (2006).  When this is your first experience with a doll line, you know you are a "goner".  She is wearing Tea & Ennui (also from 2006).
My first Essential Ellowyne (2006) was the original blonde version.  Look at the intricate detail in that hair!
I remember when I saw this doll on the cover of the very first Ellowyne Wilde catalog ... there was no doubting that Tatters (2007) was going to live here (another that has never been taken out of her original ensemble) ....
Then came Pale Memories (2008 - I just can't bring myself to redress this flower child either) ...
I can't leave out Lonely Heart (2008)!
I realized I was beginning to have too many blondes, so Essential Ellowyne Too Brunette (2008) came along.
Then, of course, we have the first "wigged" Ellowyne I ever purchased.  She is Wigged Out Too (2009).  She is also the first Ellowyne with inset eyes to join my collection.
Even though she is blonde, Mistakenly Sad (Brittany - 2010) became an instant favorite here.  She is my only doll that wears glasses all the time!
Also arriving in 2010 was Prudence Dressed Me.  Unfortunately, I purchased her nude on secondary market, so I don't have her original ensemble.
I also got An Empy Thrill (2010) on secondary market, nude.  I wish I could find her complete ensemble at a good price.

And Tonner started experimenting with inset eyes with the Essential Line, I adore Essential Ellowyne 3 (2010) who is the first wigged essential doll.  I was lucky enough to purchase her wearing this Woeful Pink Dress, correct Woeful Light Tights, and some super nice pink boots.   I got her, An Empty Thrill and Lonely Heart from the same collector!
Then I decided I needed to add another redhead.  Here's Essential Ellowyne 4 (2011).  I have all versions of this Essential doll.
In addition to the brunette above (Daelyn), I also  have the Essential Ellowyne Blonde 4.
How about Dark Shadows (2011) ...
Next to come along was Essential Ellowyne 5 Brunette who we call Fern (2012).
Excluding All Natural Lizette above (2014), only two other Ellowynes came to live here from recent productions (both from 2015).  Here is Romance and Whipped Cream with her beautiful strawberry blonde curly hair.
And New Year, New Look (called Noelle).
Do you think this was enough?   Before Tonner announced the demise of the line, I had started trying to add a few dolls that I had missed over the past several years.   I am lucky to have ten NRFB girls for those moments of ennui that I experience myself.  (I am still looking for four dolls and I will consider my collection complete:  EE2 Blonde, EE2 Red Head, I Wait Alone, and Tears of Endearment.  Who am I kidding, there are several others I wouldn't mind adding to my collection!)
The original story behind Ellowyne is that she lives in her grandmother's house which sits on a fault line in San Francisco.  She loves frequenting Thrift Stores and often visits her psychiatrist, Dr. Bantam, because she suffers from chronic ennui.  I believe the first several years of production were magical.

Although there were exceptions, I found most dolls produced after 2012 less interesting.  There were often production issues with eye placement or staining from clothes.  Quality control seemed to drop a little and many of the cute little details began to disappear.

Then the line began to wander from its original storyline; we started seeing dolls with names like "Ship Shape," "Summer Breeze," "Rock Royal," "Right on White,""Totally Coolness," "Delicate Balance," and "Seventies Sweet".   I don't know if this was attempt to reach more mainstream collectors, but those of us who are drawn to Ellowyne began to miss our bored girl who was constantly dissatisfied with the world.

It is difficult to accept that there will be no more Ellowyne Wilde dolls offered to collectors; this makes those currently residing here only more precious.   Fortunately, there are many wonderful artisans that support the Ellowyne line.  I don't anticipate my love for her fading any time soon.