Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best of 2014 - Number 1

When I started my countdown over 10 days ago, I had every intention of making Vanessa Perrin Number 1.   After all, there were six versions from two different molds released.  For the first time ever, collectors were actually paying high secondary market prices for mold 3.0 versions and buying multiples of single versions.

The character that I placed at Number 1 is Elise Jolie.   Until 2014, my favorite version of Elise Jolie was Blue Blood from the 2009 Iconic Convention.  The only version of Elise that is on my grail list is Engaging.

2014 added three new versions.  The mainline doll was called On The Rise.   She had an edition size of 700 and sold for $135.  I had originally passed on this doll but wound up getting a nude one on secondary market.  There is something special about this face up.  I really like the smaller lips.  I don't know how I missed this doll (it was probably the mustard yellow dress that was throwing me).
Ms. Jolie also caused quite a stir at the Gloss Convention.  Intrigue Elise Jolie was the centerpiece doll at the banquet.  250 lucky attendees were given the opportunity to purchase this doll.  She totally rocks my world!
I think she definitely has that Karl Lagerfeld aura.  I like that she has a caucasian skin tone for a change.  She is truly amazing, and I can't wait to debox her.
Intrigue Elise was a hair's width away from being my Number 1 choice, but, the truth of the matter is that the next doll has gotten more camera time than any other doll added to my collection in 2014.  At first, I did not like this doll and even stated the doll didn't impress me. She only joined my collection because someone offered a nude version of Montaigne Market for sale at a good price; I figured I'd give her a try.

Best of 2014
Number 1
Montaigne Market Elise Jolie
May the New Year be one filled with love, joy, happiness, and adventure.  I wish you only the best for the next 365 days!  Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Best of 2014 - Number 2

This doll character was so close to becoming Number 1 in my countdown.  If I didn't love my Number 1 choice so much, I could have switched the two characters easily.

2014 was definitely the year of Vanessa Perrin.   It started when she was announced as the W Club upgrade doll.  According to the release, she was a preview of the theme for the mainline.   If you are a completist, she was a must purchase.  Unfortunately, when Fashion Explorer Vanessa started arriving, it quickly became apparent that the quality control at IT was seriously suffering.  Collectors were receiving dolls with all sorts of problems with the predominant being eyelash glue globs on the iris and cornea area of the doll.  Fortunately, my girl arrived pretty much perfect.
Fashion Explorer Vanessa uses mold 3.0 which, up to 2014, has had a very lukewarm reception from collectors.
At the end of each year, individuals on Flickr often post a compilation of photos that receive the most attention from the public.  My "In The Box Closeup" of the next doll has received almost 4000 views;  The most of any photo I've ever posted on Flickr.   Earlier in 2014, collectors had the opportunity, through a W Club lottery, of purchasing Second Skin Vanessa Perrin using mold 1.0.
This version was limited to 300 dolls and cost only $75.  She was the only doll I entered the lottery to win, and I literally jumped up and down in my kitchen when my number was drawn.  This doll is very special because it is the first time Vanessa Perrin has been produced in the black skin tone.  I LOVE SECOND SKIN VANESSA!
The next time we saw Vanessa Perrin was in the production of Lisa Ramsammy's winning entry from the 2013 IT Design Competition.  Her name is Edge.  Unfortunately, I do have this doll, so I am using a photo from IT.  This doll also utilizes mold 3.0.
It was announced that Ms. Vanessa Perrin would be one of the Gloss Convention dolls.  Here is Adorned Vanessa Perrin.
I broke down and purchased this doll.  She reminds me so much of Jaclyn Smith in Charlie's Angels!  Many collectors consider her one of the very best dolls from the convention.  Here is a close up from IT.

I mentioned earlier that Second Skin Vanessa has received the most views on Flickr.   The next doll has received the most "favorites" from my posts.   To everyone's surprise, mold 1.0 Vanessa Perrin showed up at the Gloss Convention Welcome Banquet.    Sheer Sensuality Vanessa Perrin was a no-brainer purchase for me.
I do not have a mold 1.0 similar to this doll.  She was an edition size of 250 and could only be purchased by attendees whose lottery numbers were drawn.  (For some reason, this doll is completely overshadowed by other convention dolls; however, I think she is one of the very best mold 1.0 dolls ever produced.)
And just when one thinks the credit card is safe … the Gloss Convention Helper doll is released.  It is called Illustrious Vanessa Perrin.  This is mold 3.0 and was only given to helpers at the convention; only 100 were produced.  Fortunately, I was able to swap my second High Profile Eugenia Frost from the 2012 convention for this doll.  Illustrious Vanessa looks like a blonde version of Night Warrior to me,  For some reason, I could never bond with Night Warrior, but I fell in love with this blonde version.   Unfortunately, she is still in her box.

If you were counting, you realized IT produced six version of the character Vanessa Perrin in 2014.  Two were using mold 1.0 (which was retired but has always been a favorite with many collectors) and four used mold 3.0 which went from the "bastard stepchild" to the top of many lists this year.   It must be nice for IT designers to have their "I told you so" moment.  Choosing among the six was near impossible, but I have to go with the most dramatic of the six ...

Best of 2014 
Number 2
Illustrious Vanessa Perrin

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Best of 2014 - Number 3

This doll should be higher on my list, but it falls at Number 3 because I'm listing the last few spots by their character representations of 2014.   Agnes Von Weiss is easily one of collectors' favorite FR characters and has never been offered for purchase through retail.  She has always been deemed as "An Event Doll".

This year, collectors only saw two versions of Agnes.  One was High Visibility Agnes, an online event exclusive.   She was a mini-giftset that supported the Urban Safari theme of the mainline collection.  She sold for $135.
Although the concept may have been spot on, the execution during production was off somehow.  I did not care for this doll at all.  The fabric choices just did not work for me.  I have never been fond of Agnes with red hair, and my doll's hair is thinly rooted.  I didn't care for the lip color or the fact that the coloring does not follow the mold lines.  The eye screening is a little off.  She's still in her box.  I've thought of trying to get a replacement through Patient Care, but I've bothered them so much already this year.
After such a let down earlier in the year, I had high hopes for the Gloss Convention.  To say the least, I wasn't let down.  Intimate Reveal Agnes Von Weiss was everything anyone could've asked for in the convention doll.  (The following two photos are property of Integrity Toys).
This doll provided all attendees the opportunity to own a reasonable substitute for three grail girls: Optic Verve, Silver Zinger, and High Gloss.  Intimate Reveal Agnes Von Weiss is almost an amalgamation of these three.  It doesn't hurt that she is wearing a miniature version of an actual Jason Wu original design!
Unfortunately, my doll is still in her box.  Her price has soared on the secondary market.  She was another Christmas gift I found under my tree on Christmas morning.  She will have a proper de-boxing in a future blog entry.

As I mentioned earlier, this doll would be much higher on my list had there been more than one good version offered this year.  My doll is just about perfect to the promo pictures, and I find her mesmerizing.

Best of 2014
Number 3
Intimate Reveal Agnes Von Weiss

Best of 2014 - Number 4

I can't begin to tell you how sad I was to see this doll's mold retired in 2011.   She is in my top five of all doll molds.   I have owned almost every version of her released.   You can only imagine my excitement when she was offered in a lottery of Integrity Toys Basic Edition dolls last December.

There were only 300 in her edition size and she cost $75.   I was so ecstatic that my lottery number was drawn.  Even though she was listed as a 2013 doll, she did not arrive until 2014.  She was the first doll added to my collection in 2014 and remains a favorite.  She is Gold Glam Adele Makeda.
This doll reminds me so much of Beyonce.   She has been redressed and photographed several times over the last twelve months.

The mainline Adele Makeda, Vivid Encounter, used mold 3.0.  At first, I wasn't going to order this doll, but collectors were very vocal about how much they loved the dress.  I was able to acquire one at retail, $135.  There were only 400 in her edition.
I have never warmed to mold 3.0.  I've owned every version, but most have found new homes.   Although I'm not fond of this doll's lip color, she's not a bad representation of the mold.
The third Adele Makeda released in 2014 was a gift doll at Integrity Toy's Gloss Convention Welcome Banquet.  She is Le Smoking Adele.  Again, I've not had the time to give her a proper deboxing.
I was so excited to see mold 2.0 again in 2014.   This time she has the richer skin tone of The Muse.   (Many collectors have purchased multiples of this doll to provide a donor for The Muse, so Le Smoking demands a solid price on the secondary market.)  Personally, I love the ensemble and the face!
Even with three strong offerings of Adele Makeda, it wasn't difficult to choose my favorite.

Best of 2014
Number 4
Gold Glam Adele Makeda/Beyonce

Friday, December 26, 2014

Best of 2014 - Number 5

My very favorite dolls molds were so well represented this year.    I do have more of one mold, though, than any other.   So the rest of my "Best of 2014" list will be given to characters, with my favorite version featured on my list.

The character today would have fared higher on my "Best of 2014" list had I not experienced so many problems with her issues this year.

The last W Club doll from 2013 was Touch of Frost Eugenia.  She arrived in late spring of 2014.   This edition slipped right through Quality Control with more eye issues than any IT product in recent memory.   I had to send mine to a friend who is a repaint artist to have her pupils corrected.  With the enhancement, she is perfect.
When Integrity Toys revealed their mainline collection, I knew City Prowl Eugenia was easily my favorite.  Those who have been following my blog, know that I had to return the first doll for a replacement, then the replacement had screening problems.  In fear that I would never get a good replacement, I even purchased an additional doll on secondary market.   When the third head arrived, I was so relieved.
Although I don't care for the sheer skirt, I love everything about this doll.  She has more of a scowl than some of the more recent Eugenia versions.

The third version of Eugenia was Cold Shoulder.  She part of the Gloss Convention Collection.  (I have to admit that I was surprised that she didn't show up on a table this year!)   I still haven't released mine from her box yet.  She will be the subject of a future blog, but here is a closeup.  She has a facial screening very similar to Fine Jewel while her coloring is similar to Most Desired.  Both of these dolls are "grails" for many collectors which has made Cold Shoulder very popular.   (I truly like this doll quite a bit and love the highlight and lowlight tones used in her hair! that is a very nice symmetry to her.)

Eugenia Perrin Frost is my Number 5 doll of 2014.   From the three offerings this year, my favorite would have to be ...

Best of 2014
Number 5
City Prowl Eugenia

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Best of 2014 - Number 6

Santa knows that, even at my advanced age, he is supposed to put a couple dolls under the tree for me.   This year was no different.   I was so excited to open my first present.

At the 2014 Integrity Toys Gloss Convention, NuFace dolls were re-introduced with a revised body.   It was quite a surprise that Ayumi showed up as an Integrity Toys Direct Exclusive.   Ayumi has had quite a history.  She started out as Nuface, then switched over to FR2 with a second mold.  Now she has a third mold and has returned as NuFace character.  (The original Ayumi mold showed up as an ITBE with a Misaki body.  Go figure?)

Here is Evening Siren Ayumi Nakamura still in her box.
And a closeup.  I love how accurate IT was able to get the Asian face up on this doll.
These are the accessories.  I really like the shoes.
When she is out of the box, she is quite lovely.  I am surprised by how nicely this sequin dress fits.
This doll is exquisite.
But she truly comes alive only when you release her hair.  How sensuous!
Best of 2014
Number 6
Evening Siren Ayumi Nakumara

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Best of 2014 - Number 7

I've collected Integrity products for a very long time.  There have been many changes during that time.  One of the things that originally attracted collectors to Fashion Royalty was the story cards that used to come with dolls.  It helped develop their characters and made the dolls more appealing.   Many collectors were upset when the cards were discontinued.

The very first Integrity doll I purchased was Veronique.  She was portrayed as a business woman running a fashion industry.  I loved the early clothing with power suits and glamorous gowns.  

Veronique has had quite a wild ride with IT.  When I received the next doll in the countdown, I felt a little melancholy.  She seemed to take me back to the Vero of my early collecting.  At this time of the year as we reflect back, it seems only fitting that this doll represent Christmas Eve.  

I wish my readers joy, peace, and happiness.   I wish you good health.  I wish you hope for a better life and world.

Best of 2014
Number 7
Full Spectrum Veronique Perrin

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Best of 2014 - Number 8

I have only attended one doll convention, the 2012 Integrity Toys Tropicalia Convention in Orlando.  It was at this convention that IT introduced their new Color Infusion line and "Build-A-Doll Workshop". This workshop is very popular with collectors.   They usually have several different male and female dolls and outfits.  Conventioneers get to choose which doll(s) they want and then choose which outfit to purchase for the doll to wear.  In 2012 there were 10 female and 4 males.

Color Infusion dolls share the Jem body style.  It is a little bigger than FR2 and has bigger feet.  I decided not to add another body type to my collection; however, some of these dolls have gorgeous face ups.   If I was going to keep any dolls, they would require a different body.  Somehow the heads didn't look right on the original FR body, and FR2 bodies are hard to come by, selling for $75+ on the secondary market.

I decided to limit myself to one doll only, Subject C.
At the 2013 Premier Convention, the Color Infusion Workshop again included 10 female and 4 male dolls.  This time the dolls had character names.  I decided that since I only kept one CI from 2012, then I would only allow myself one from 2013.   It turned out to be an easy choice; that doll was collectors' favorite, Tilda Bisby.
I was hoping there would be one stand-out doll at the 2014 Gloss Convention.  It turns out that it was very difficult to make a decision this year.  This year there were eight females and six males.   It was probably because I was so excited that we were getting NuFace characters again, but I went for a doll that has a much younger look.

Here she is looking like a college student home for the holidays.

Number 8
Best of 2014
Blue Burkhart

Monday, December 22, 2014

Best of 2014 - Number 9

If Victoire Roux fans left the collecting table feeling more than satisfied, Poppy Parker collectors were absolutely stuffed!   I was very worried about 2014 because I've had a "love/hate" relationship with Poppy Parker.   I started collecting Poppy with her very first releases in 2009.   Unfortunately Poppy Parker causes quite a frenzy with collectors and individuals can get quite mean when it comes to their favorite girl.  The secondary market values on some Poppy dolls made it impossible for me to enjoy mine, so they found new homes.

I swore that I wouldn't add any Poppy girls to my collection in 2013 but fell completely in love with the World's Fair theme.  I purchased every single doll from that collection!  Since this was the fifth anniversary of Poppy Parker, I was afraid I was done for.

That didn't happen.

(This blog uses many images that are the property of Integrity Toys since only one Poppy came to live with me this year.)  The mainline theme for Poppy Parker this year was spy related - not my cup of tea (or should I say not my "shaker of martini").   The year started with the W Club upgrade Poppy, The Girl from I.N.T.E.G.R.I.T.Y.  Although I passed on this version of Poppy, I think she was probably the best of theme.
When the mainline was released, it turned out there were three Poppy Parkers, three friends, and two hommes in the collection.  It was almost overwhelming.  All three of the Poppys were released in an edition size of 800 and cost $120 each. The first of the Poppy girls, was Agent Lotta Danger.  The catsuit was cute and the doll, itself, was surprisingly sweet.

Next up was Spy A-Go-Go.
The third doll was Mayhem in Monte Carlo.
Unfortunately, this doll reminds me a great deal of Corie Bratter Poppy from 2013.
The fourth Poppy in this collection was just a head that was included with another doll, Sebina Havoc Mistress of Mayhem.  I had hoped to purchase this later, but, as it turns out, this was the most popular doll from the collection.
Collectors were beginning to feel like there wasn't enough fanfare for their favorite doll's anniversary, until the first W Club Exclusive Poppy was revealed.  It truly represented what collectors were waiting for.  It was Joyous Celebration Poppy Parker.  This doll had the vintage look of earlier Poppy dolls, even the screening of Fashion Night Out.  The dress was very reminiscent of a Japanese exclusive Francie dress from the 1960's.
It turned out Joyous Celebration was just getting the ball rolling.   For the first time, three different Poppy Parker dolls showed up at the IFDC.  There was a red haired version, IT Girl, in an edition size of 300 and a price point of $150.
Then there was a blonde, Evening Ingenue, also an edition size of 300 and a price of $150.
Finally there was a brunette, Glamorous Darling.  She was released in an edition size of 300 and cost $175.

These three dolls were instant successes and demand high prices on the secondary market.  With such beautiful Poppy dolls being released, collectors couldn't wait until the Convention to see what was offered.  Some of them may have been a little surprised that the theme turned to 1970's disco.

The luncheon centerpiece was Angel in Blue.  300 attendees got the opportunity to purchase this doll.
While all 500 attendees received Starlight Poppy as a gift.
Two other versions showed up at the convention.   There was Dark Moon.
And Wild Thing.   (I actually liked the kookiness of the Jodi Foster "Taxi" ensemble.)
And if that wasn't enough Poppy Parker for one year, the W Club had one last lottery for an exclusive, Holiday Feeling.   With over 800 dolls and a price tag of $120, there still weren't enough to go around.
With 14 Poppy Parker releases in 2014, it was near impossible to choose one for my countdown.  My personal favorite was Joyous Celebration.  I believe this version stayed true to the original story and character of Poppy Parker.  This is my photo of Joyous Celebration in her box.

Number 9
Best of 2014
Joyous Celebration
Poppy Parker