Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013 - Number 1

I've never had a tie on my "Best of" list before, but there's always a first!  And, in this case, the tie is actually for first place.  I waffled back and forth for several days when I was doing my Best of 2013.   Finally, I came to the conclusion that I just couldn't decide between these two dolls.  Since I had a "non-doll" (the Mattel Wardrobe) holding a spot in the top 10, that still meant only 10 dolls are listed.  (Isn't it amazing how we can justify things!)

First up is the best ever, in my opinion, Integrity "Convention Doll".    Hands down.  No argument.  Engaging Elise was on my list of most wanted dolls for two years.  She always sells for ridiculous secondary market prices, so I had given up hope of ever owning her.  I guess I don't need her now.  I was so excited when my friend texted me the photo of the Jason Wu Convention X doll - Midnight Star Elise.
Here are the accessories.
These shoes are amazing.  The stiletto heels are extreme.  There are little pearls on the tops of the shoes in front.  Midnight Star came with a square diamond ring, another set of hands (notice the blue manicure!), earrings, and a bracelet.
The dress is actual 1:6 scale replica of one of Jason's personal favorites of his designs.  How amazing is that!
She is so beautiful.   Just exquisite.

Next up, was the centerpiece dolls from Monday's opening ceremonies.  When my friend texted me that both her number and my proxy's number was called, I couldn't believe my luck!  I squealed with delight.  Eugenia a personal favorite around her.  After Tonight Eugenia does not disappoint.
She came with an extra set of hands, earrings, bracelet, extremely high heels, and a little fascinator.
This dress is equally impressive out of box.
Another perfect doll.
How could you pick one over the other?  I couldn't!

Number 1
Midnight Star Elise
After Tonight Eugenia
I played around a little in photo shop and decided to make the picture true "old hollywood" …

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Best of 2013 - Number 2

I have been waiting for this doll to be produced for years.

All collectors have a list of their “Grail Dolls”.  Those elusive dolls that are near impossible to purchase.  They rarely come available, and when they do, they are almost impossible to afford.  My number 1 grail doll would have to be Saks Fifth Avenue Agnes.

The last one that came available on E-bay sold for over $1600.  Saks was produced wearing an ensemble that looks to be almost an exact replica of Dressing the Part Agnes.  Since I already own Dressing the Part and know that the skirt stains the body,  I would be purchasing this doll for the head only.   I just can't justify spending that kind of money on a doll head.

When I saw October Issue Agnes, I immediately thought of Saks Fifth Avenue.  They may not be exactly alike, but I can live with the difference enough to be content.
Here is closeup in the box:
I really like the detail in the eyebrows.  The suit is very nicely designed and well-constructed.   Her accessories were nice (especially the shoes) though minimal.  I believe she needs a purse.
Although I had every intention of pulling ultimate sacrilege of rebodying this Agnes to a regular FR body so I could put her in the Dressing the Part outfit, I really like the way she looks in her stock.
My favorite doll of 2013
Number 2
October Issue Agnes 

Best of 2013 - Number 3

I don't usually open my blog with a youtube video, but I believe this video is wonderfully delightful.   I love it when Ms. Azria corrects Robert Best and says, "Barbie would be a Herve Leger elite client."

This gift set shows a collaboration between true couture designers and Mattel.  We come to expect this from Integrity Toys, but it is surprising to find such attention to detail in 1:6 scale for Barbie.  Herve Leger is definitely not your daughter's or your mother's Barbie.  It is for the modern adult collector.
I loved this doll when the first European photos sneaked into the collecting community. It cannot be denied that this is an expensive Barbie.  Even with the fact that you get two ensembles, the price is steep.  However, Mattel had a 20% off sale recently with free shipping.  My Mother-in-law got me this one Christmas.  (Gotta love that kind of Mother-in-law!)

The red ribbon dress slips on over Barbie's hips (as does the bandage dress).  There are no snaps, loops, or velcro.  The black leather bustier zips up in the back with a working zipper.  The boots are plastic, but are have quite a bit of detail with gold embellishment where the buckles would be.  The little gold and black plastic purse actually opens.
Although this doll will appeal to the NRFB crowd, the doll looks great out of the box.  Her hair is very elaborate.  Her face up subtle and lovely.

It was a pity there was no jewelry included in this gift set.  That is an unfortunate oversight for such a great doll.  I decided to pierce my doll's ears and give her some earrings.  What the heck?  Why not give her articulation while I'm at it?  Her skin tone matches the "caramel" skin tone produced by IT for Poppy and Dynamite Girls.  Throw in some nicer shoes and let's see what we get...
Now she can pose with the best of the dolls in my collection.  These dresses are showing up on Fashion Royalty and Nu Face dolls all over Flickr.  They are very versatile.  Here is Fame by Frame Imogen in the bandage dress.

These are definitely dresses that belong in any doll's closet.   However, the doll cannot be easily dismissed.  With articulation she truly carries her own in my collection.  What a lovely surprise coming from Mattel.

Number 3
Herve Leger Barbie

Friday, December 27, 2013

Best of 2013 - Number 4

Many collectors were very disappointed that Integrity Toys did not include the NuFace dolls in any of their 2013 releases.  IT has announced that the body will receive some minor changes before their re-introduction in 2014.

Convention attendees had fingers crossed for the appearance of some NuFace characters .   It wasn’t until the Integrity-Direct tickets were received that collectors found out there would be only one NuFace offering in 2013.

But what an offering she was!   She is called “Hard Metal” and uses the Lilith/Eden mold.  
One of the things that is so special about this doll is that it is the first time Lilith/Eden has been produced in a "Caucasian" skin tone.  In the past they've always used the "Japan" skin tone.

She sold for $65 and only 300 tickets were given out.  Although my convention packet did not contain a ticket, I got one secondary market before the prices skyrocketed to close to $400. 

I needed this doll.  She is definitely the “Lilith” to my Gretel “Eden” from last year.  I now feel like I have the perfect set of twins.  
NuFace dolls is my second favorite FR line.   My NuFace dolls probably get more redress time than any other dolls in my collection.  So, the proof is in the pudding.  How does Hard Metal look redressed?
She is wearing the coat from Old is New Giselle, the "leather" pants from Rock Me Baby Rayna, the blouse is hand crafted, the shoes are FR, and the jewelry a mish-mash of items from my collection.

I believe she looks quite smart and will fit in very well with my collection.  Personally, I believe she is the softest looking Lilith which is strange since she is called Hard Metal.   She is my favorite Lilith produced to date.

Number 4
Heavy Metal
ITBE using Lilith/Eden Mold

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best of 2013 - Number 5

Where do I begin?  Tomorrow I celebrate the three-year anniversary of my blog.  Although I am fairly new at this, I have never included a “non-doll” in my “Best of” list and was worried about doing it.  Then I saw another collector who had done the same thing.  I had already photographed this item for my “Best of” list when I saw theirs.   I was surprised, but it encouraged me to continue with my plan.

Number 5
The Barbie Look Wardrobe

In my opinion, Mattel really knocked it out of the park with this one.   The back of the wardrobe slides out and you can change the wallpaper.  You can even put your own in if you are creative enough!  It is very well constructed and sturdy.   I love the little shelves, the working drawers, and the compartments for dresses, slacks, and tops.  It came with several hangers.  

You simply cannot go wrong with such a sturdy, well-designed piece of furniture.  I could’ve easily put this #1 on my list; I enjoy using it that much!  The dolls look fantastic photographed with it.  

It was reasonably priced at $69.95.  By watching for "Free Shipping Offers" + Special Sales + Using my coupons, I was able to acquire TWO for less than $75.   This was the best value item of 2013 and well worth a spot on any "Best of" list.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Blue Christmas - Best of 2013 - Number 6

Integrity Toys usually does one BIG reveal of the year’s dolls.  In 2013, they announced they were going to do “mini-reveals” using a webinair format.  

The first mini-reveal included the third installment of dolls from Audrey Hepburn movies.   This line has struggled in the past.   The first year, they used a new mold which collectors did not care for.   In 2012 they used Poppy Parker which was much favored, but some of the collection still struggled to attract collectors.    

At the 2012 Convention, the IT team shared that they would be “mixing it up” in 2013.

I was very impressed with how they combined head molds from one character with a different body type.  It was nice to have shorter versions of Anja, Vanessa, Veronique, and Imogen.   This opened up a new world of re-dress possibility.   The best of this group was “A Woman Who Thinks” Marion/Dovima which uses the Anja mold and a monogram body with Bride of Dracula legs.

This is another doll for which I have already blogged.  I absolutely LOVE Dovima.   She can wear Mattel, Nuface, Monogram, FR2, and many FR outfits.   Sheer perfection.

She is wearing blue for a "Blue Christmas".  Hope you like her.

Number 6
A Woman Who Thinks
Funny Face Marion/Dovima 
Using Anja Face Mold.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

I know Natalia is not dressed in traditional holiday attire, but she is wearing an ensemble that was on my top 10 most wanted list.   I opened it for Christmas and she is just hot-blooded enough to wear it!  It's been really warm in the South, and even though today is cooler, the sun is shining in a bright blue sky.

I want to take this time to say "thank you" to all of those who have followed and commented on my blog.   (I still haven't figured out how to respond to comments on bloodspot, so I've not been ignoring anyone - just not savvy enough.)   My blog hit 100,000 views this month.   I would've never thought it possible.   I started this blog when my mother passed away, and I miss her terribly this year.   I guess we never get over the loss of our moms.

At this special time of year, I hope you have peace in being safe and spending your holiday with loved ones.  I hope you have joy in the delight of the new memories you make and remembrance of those past.   I hope you have good health now and throughout 2014.   May your worries be few and your heart be filled with love.  God bless each and every one of you!

Merry Christmas!

Best of 2013 - Number 7

I believe Integrity always gives collectors great IFDC dolls.   I have owned many of them.  This year they did the “NuFantasy” line again which is a personal favorite of mine.  (Hansel and Gretel appeared as my Number 2 on the Best of 2012 list.) 

The 2013 IFDC theme was “Horror High”.   I was expecting NuFace dolls along the lines of Bratzilla and Monster High.  I guess that would’ve been too obvious.  Instead Integrity gave us modern interpretations of classic female horror characters.

My favorite was easily Bloodlines Tatyana, and I didn't even take my chances with the W Club lottery on this one.  I grabbed her up from a doll friend at a great price.
It's been a while since we've seen a face this extraordinary.  Just look at those eyes!
The necklace is an actual miniature of a designer necklace!   The earrings are minimal, but anything else would just get tangled in all that luxurious hair.  Even with my OCD, I am somehow handling the strays okay.  The shoes are little works of art - they are white, covered in lace, with really high heels.
Did you notice the white streaks in that raven hair?   I grew up watching Lily Munster on television.   This was a “no brainer” for me.   Integrity Toys did a great job giving us a modern interpretation of this television icon.
This doll is just wonderful.  I love her stock.  

Number 7
Bloodlines Tatyana

Monday, December 23, 2013

Best of 2013 - Number 8

At the very same Webinair where the “Classics” line was unveiled, Integrity Toys previewed their Poppy Parker collection.  It was called “At The 1965 International Fair”. 
Having attended the 2012 Integrity Convention in Orlando, I had already received information about this collection.  As a W Club member, I had the opportunity to purchase To the Fair Poppy which was another “teaser” for this future lineup.  Although I have claimed to “not collect Poppy Parker”, I had been anxiously awaiting this collection and the To the Fair Poppy.

When To The Fair arrived, I was surprised by how much I really loved this doll.   Her arrival helped me to let go of the Baby, It's You Poppy/Chip Giftset.
Most collectors, myself included, had assumed the mainline dolls would be dressed in 1965 fashions.  Au contraire – the design team at IT decided to give us dolls dressed in costumes like the international pavilion at the fair.   (This was the inspiration for Disney’s “It’s A Small World .)

At first I wasn’t happy – comparing these dolls to the Mattel “Dolls of the World” which has been overdone.  Furthermore, the costumes did not have the flexibility for mix n match wardrobes.  Sulking like a kid, I tried to ignore this line.  This was my biggest doll mistake of 2013.  When the line was actually released, I had to purchase two of these dolls on secondary market - breaking one of my collecting rules.

I have already reviewed Irresistible In India - whom I believe will appear on many "Best of" lists this year.   The other doll I bought secondary market was Sweet in Switzerland; again, another shoe-in for "Best of" lists.   I was able to get Spicy in Spain, Pretty in Polynesia, and Joyful in Japan at retail.  The six dolls make a beautiful grouping.

Here is To The Fair with Irresistible in India.  Don't they look great together?   I love all six of the dolls in this group and have never redressed them.  They tell a story and I really love it.

With all of these Poppy dolls and the four others released in 2013, I still find To The Fair the most beautiful of the bunch.  I love her whole ensemble - hat, scarf, bag, shoes.
Number 8
To The Fair Poppy Parker

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Best of 2013 - Number 9

Collectors of the Integrity Toys Fashion Royalty line experienced a year of drought in 2013.   The first FR dolls weren’t even released until almost midyear.

At one of the most eagerly anticipated webinairs this past spring, IT previewed the FR line called “Classic Collection”.  The strange thing was that none of the FR regular lineup of dolls was shown – sort of an oxymoron on the word "classic", don't you think?.  There was no Veronique, no Adele, no Vanessa, no Natalia, no Kyori - not even an Agnes or Eugenia.   Additionally, the face-ups were missing lower eyeliner.  What a disappointment!

The five dolls released in this line did not sell well.  I felt sorry for retailers.   (Not so much for scalpers though!)  

Following the webinair, W Club members were allowed to purchase an exclusive which turned out to be the best of the “Classic” line.  I don’t know if this doll is beautiful or if she is merely the best of the worst, but she was the most popular FR mainline doll of 2013. 

Number 9
Fashion Royalty Classic
Irresistible Dania
Since I reviewed this doll in a past blog entry, I will keep this brief.   She is the only tan version of Dania.  She makes a good sibling for Force of Nature Agnes, Glow Vanessa, Paparazzi Bait Adele, and Going Public Eugenia.   

I know that I took many photos of this doll.  I believe she is quite lovely; however, her hairstyle is near impossible to maintain.   I decided to boil perm her hair straight and found that most of the allure of this girl is actually her hair.  I purchased a second one from IT at retail to keep pristine.  

Her stock ensemble is fantastic.  That leather coat will be a “wardrobe standard” in my dolls’ closets.   She really is a lovely doll and the time she spent in front of the camera makes her worthy of spot Number 9 in my countdown.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Best of 2013 - Number 10

This was a weird year for fashion doll collecting. For me, personally, it started out strange and kept getting more and more odd as it progressed.

 I joined the Barbie Collector Club in 1997 and remained a member for the first four years - it became the Barbie Fan Club in the early 2000's.

Barbie collectors remember the fiasco of the 1990's when Mattel over-produced their "collectible" dolls.    Prices on the secondary market plummeted quickly.   It caused quite a stir and left some seriously bad tastes in a number of mouths - mine included.

I left the rubber mainline dolls and moved to the Silkstones (and eventually to Fashion Royalty). In 2012 I sold most of my Silkstone collection - only keeping about a dozen of my favorites.

Somehow, Silkstone seduced me back during 2013. When I saw Boater Ensemble Silkstone, I couldn't resist. This doll is so different from anything in my collection. It's so modern, yet retro chic at the same time. 
I joined the Barbie Fan Club (for the first time in over a decade) just so I could purchase this doll.
Here she is on my "Best of 2013" list.

Silkstones of 2013
Boater Ensemble
Other Silkstones who made it into my collection in 2013 were Luncheon Ensemble.
What can I say?  I am a sucker for a redhead.  I think the construction of this ensemble is gorgeous.   It is one of my favorite ensembles of the year.

Although she hasn't been released from her box yet, Cocktail Dress Ensemble is here also.
I believe Mattel did a fantastic job with the Silkstones of 2013.  I do not own the Mermaid Gown or Ball Gown.

But for now, I can't stop looking at my Number 10 - Boater Ensemble.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It's A Conspiracy ...

Today, I caught Chaundra delivering a letter to Santa. It was being sent Special Delivery.
Let's get a better look at that letter …

 "Chaundra! How could you??"

 "Don't shoot the messenger …. your husband wrote it."