Saturday, October 28, 2017

Oh no! Not A Tulabelle!

One of my "Guidelines for Collecting" is that I not add any more lines to what I am collecting.  I have been very careful to stay away from "The Industry" line for fear of having to buy separate clothing for those dolls.

When I reviewed the Style Lab from the Integrity Toys Fairytale Convention, I wrote that my favorite doll from this line was the AA Tulabelle.  Leandro offered this doll for sell, and when I inquired about her, he said he could ship her for free inside Erin's box.  I caved ...

The good news is that The Industry body can wear a great deal of the clothing I already have here.  That is very exciting!  The better Mattel and Silkstone clothing fits, as does some of the Dynamite Girl, NuFace, and Poppy Parker clothing.

Here is AA Tulabelle wearing the Hudson Bay Barbie ensemble with the little dog!
And here is a closeup.
I REALLY LOVE this doll's faceup and hair.  This doll is gorgeous in person and she is still selling on secondary market at prices the fraction of the other Fairytale dolls.  I believe she is going to be the "sleeper hit" of this year's collection.

Girls around here tend to get casual quickly.  She looks very nice in this older FR sweater.

I can't wait for more photo opportunities with her!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

2017 Fairytale Convention - Event Dolls

Attending an Integrity Toys Convention is not for the faint of heart.  Collecting these dolls is not a cheap hobby.  I know many individuals choose to eat-in rather than dine out, buy less expensive items rather than name brand, and try their best to stretch their dollars as far as possible to be able to afford their collections.  But, oh the joy of a new Integrity Toys doll!

The registration fee for the IT Convention is $550.  That fee includes one lunch and two dinners, the Convention doll at the banquet, any gifts at the Welcome Dinner, and any gifts from the "Poppy Parker" luncheon.  Sometimes there is welcome doll.  There was also an upgrade cocktail party for an additional $85 and a W Club Luncheon option for an addition $130 (which guaranteed an extra NuFace doll).

When guests arrived they received the box for their "Build-A-Doll" giftset.  This is always a favorite of collectors.  At different events you get different parts of the giftset!  At the Welcome Dinner attendees received the doll, Sweet Dreams Nadja Rhymes, wearing a blue dress.  At the Poppy Parker luncheon on Friday, the sleeping head and lingerie were received, and the final pink ensemble was given out at the Banquet.  She represents Sleeping Beauty
I have the Vanity & Glamour Nadja ordered from the mainline collection.  She, too, is blonde.  I would be very tempted by this doll had I not already paid for the mainline version.  I think she is lovely and one of the best welcome dolls produced (next to Glamour to Go Agnes).

The theme of the Welcome Party was "Snow White".  All convention attendees received Fairest of All Poppy Parker as Snow White.  It seems there were 600 attendees this year and that is the edition size of each gift doll.
Oh ... this is everything Snow White should be.  Look at that pale complexion.  Look at that raven hair.  Look at those red lips.  Wonderful.  I am as tempted by this doll as Snow White was tempted by the apple!  I wish I had more money.  For me, personally, I believe this was the best version of Poppy Parker at the convention this year AND IT WAS A GIFT TO ALL ATTENDEES!

Since we have Snow White, we need the Evil Queen.  At every meal there is a centerpiece doll.  It is produced in limited quantity and each person is assigned a number at their table when they sit down.  Numbers are drawn for each meal and the corresponding attendee gets the opportunity to purchase the doll (almost always $150).  One number is identified as the individual who can purchase the actual centerpiece and then additional numbers may purchase a doll NRFB.  This year the table centerpieces were limited to 420 dolls.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Agnes Von Weiss as "The Queen of Everything".
And yes, she is!  I can just hear the name Agnes Von Weiss and I start salivating like Pavlov's dog.  It's embarrassing.  I was a goner the minute I saw the first photo on flickr.  Shamelessly, I watched until one was offered at a decent price and grabbed it up.  I can't wait to get this doll.  She is perfection in my eyes.  I think she will become a "grail" and her price will only continue to skyrocket.  Look at the accordion pleated collar!  The leather bustier.  It's hard to tell from the photos but her ensemble is deep purple.

Following the Welcome Dinner there was an upgrade Cocktail Party.  It cost $85.  The dolls were from the East 59th Street Collection that debuted earlier this year.  The doll received was Constance Madssen representing Lady Tremaine, the wicked stepmother from Cinderella, wearing "Wicked Glamour" (edition size of only 200).
Although I like both the doll and the ensemble, the doll reminds me a great deal like Luxurious Leisure and the dress is reminiscent of 2013's Victoire Roux "Story of My Life".  I have to admit I do prefer "Wicked Glamour" and would pursue this doll had I not owned both the doll and I ensemble I referenced.

Cinderella was not available at the convention, but she will be represented by Evelyn Weaverton wearing "Midnight Glimmer".
I was so excited to learn that this will be offered through the W Club.  Convention attendees will get a discount at purchase, but all W Club members get the opportunity to purchase her.  Another great reward for joining the W Club!  Already ordered!

The next day is typically the "Poppy Parker Luncheon".  It is included in the registration price.  I was wondering how they were going to get around the fact that most fairytales have an element of evil and there is just no way to make Poppy Parker evil!  The solution was simple.  The centerpiece doll was Poppy Parker as Little Red Riding Hood wearing "Through the Woods" (edition size 420, cost $150).
As much as I can appreciate this interpretation, it can't hold a candle to IT's 2008 Yuri as Little Red Riding Hood.  However, it is a lovely alternative to that version which is extremely rare.

So, who's the big bad wolf?  Eugenia Perrin Frost shows up in "Bite Out of Life".  Each attendee received her as free gift.
I love me some Eugenia.  I have owned every version of her.   I'm not sure about this one.  I like my Eugenia fierce, not evil.  If there are any remaining after the convention, I may enter the W Club lottery.  For me, she's not worth the secondary market prices (even though I am in love with the ensemble, especially the cloak).

On Friday Night they have a big sales bazaar, so there are no convention items that night.

The next day is the optional luncheon for W Club members only.  It costs $130 to attend, but each member gets a doll.  The theme was NuFace and the dolls were from Aladdin.  I squealed when I saw my first photo of the table centerpiece, Rayna Ahmadi as Jasmine in "Natural Wonder".  Edition size 420, cost $150.
Things sure have changed in the Middle East when a girl can go around exposing that much chest!  There was simply no resisting this doll.   I hated paying secondary market price on this doll, but I know she will not go down in price.  She is just amazing and will easily become a holy grail!

I held my breath.  Aladdin was portrayed by Giselle Diefendorf wearing "Wanderlust".  This was the doll included in the price of the luncheon.
That's an interesting twist.  I really like this version of Giselle, but I have too many of this mold already.  Unfortunately, she reminds me of a young Cher.   I may have to chase her down when I get my bank account built back up a little.

There's always time for a last minute visit to the salesroom and room sales to spend any last bit of cash before the Farewell Banquet!

As guests entered the banquet hall, who should be waiting for them but Adele Makeda (mold 2.0 - my favorite!) as the Ice Queen dressed in "Frosted Glamour".
Gasp!  That dress is perfection!  The hair!  I totally get the whole concept, but they should have stopped when they were way ahead.   I do not like the frosted lips or frosted eye makeup.  She's too shiny for my personal tastes, and I'm not sure how she will redress.   I am going to have to wait and see IRL photos of this doll redressed and in collectors' hands.

And the moment everyone has been waiting for ... By this time, everyone has figured out it must be Elyse Jolie or Kyori Sato since they were the only dolls in the "core group" who has not made an appearance.   Since we have Sleeping Beauty in Nadja Rhymes, it's only fitting the missing Evil Queen, Maleficent, be the last to show up.  (Maybe she wasn't invited.)   Here we have Elyse Jolie wearing "Malefique".
As much as I can get on board with this whole look, I do not like the purple hair at all.  I already own Midnight Star who is similar.  I also own Dark Romance Giselle's gown which reminds me of this one, so I can almost create this look.  Malefique is a very beautiful doll; I just don't need to pay secondary market prices to add her to my collection.  Sigh of relief.

As a recap:

Hommes:  4 from the Industry + 3 Color Infusion from the salesroom = 7
Color Infusion Females:  2 in the salesroom
The Industry Females:  4
Poppy Parker:  2 Convention Collection, 1 Salesroom, 1 Centerpiece, 1 Gift, + 2 Style Lab = 7
NuFace:  2 Convention Collection, 1 Salesroom, 2 gifts, + 1 Centerpiece = 6
Misaki:  2 doll giftset in salesroom
East 59th:  2 dolls
FR2:  4 Convention Collection, 2 Gifts, + 2 Centerpieces = 8

Grand total:  38 dolls

I think this deluge of dolls is one of the things that may be burning out collectors.  I have already received 22 dolls this year and have still six on order.  That's added to all the dolls I've purchased and held onto in the past 10 years.   Why do I feel like I need more?  I need counseling.

2017 Fairytale Convention Collection

The "Convention Collection" is the group of dolls attendees can purchase prior to convention.  IT announcees the list of dolls (without photos) and they can be purchased as a bundle and either picked up at the convention or shipped directly to the attendees home after the convention is over.  Even though there are merits to doing this, the collector is actually purchasing dolls sight-unseen.

In 2015, W Club members got the opportunity to direct purchase a doll from the convention collection from a sketch, Reigning Grace Eugenia.   Attendees got a discounted price, but every W Club member got the right to buy her.  It was a big hit with W Club members, and we were excited to get that opportunity again in 2017.

This year's Direct Purchase Fairytale Convention doll was based on Cruella Deville's character from 101 Dalmatians.  (Not an actual fairytale character but one from a Disney film based on a 1956 novel by Dodie Smith.)  The doll was Tatyana Alexandrova and the version was a giftset called "Fashionably Ruthless" ($175 or $200 at Convention).  The actual production doll could be picked up by the convention attendees since they paid a discounted price for her as an upgrade to their convention package.  (W Club members will be billed balances next week and the doll will be shipped directly to them).
I am so glad I had the foresight to purchase this doll.  I think she is going to be a big hit with collectors.  Fortunately, I have Bloodlines Tatyana from the 2013 IFDC Convention to go with her!

Other dolls in the Convention Collection included Veronique Perrin (mold 2.0) wearing "Sea Devil" representing Ursula from "The Little Mermaid" ($150).
I'm on the fence with this doll.  I was expecting blacks and purples or maybe shades of ocean blue.  The platinum hair was a surprise as well.  I'm just not sure about adding her to my collection.  I think the doll will redress well, but I've seen a lack of consistency with the hairstyle.  I don't think I would purchase one unless it was an actual photo of the doll and the hair was exactly the way I wanted it.  (She also makes an interesting companion doll to the table centerpiece Agnes)

You simply cannot have a Fairytale theme without The Wizard of Oz.  It just can't be done.  The designers, fortunately, looked to the musical Wicked for inspiration.  First up is Natalia Fatale (mold 2.0) as the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, wearing "Wicked Behavior" ($140).
I really want to love this doll -  the Natalia 2.0 mold is a favorite of mine, but I'm totally on the fence.  I love the dress!  The doll reminds me of 2009's Heat Seeker, but I like Heat Seeker's screening a lot better. I think this doll will redress beautifully though.

You can't have the Wicked Witch without her sister, Good Witch of the North, Glenda.  Vanessa Perrin (mold 1.0) wearing "Spell of Kindness" ($150).
Again, I'm not feeling this one even though Vanessa mold 1.0 is one of my very favorite molds.   I already have the silkstone dress that is similar and the Poppy Parker "Miss Amour" from last year.  The screening is a lot like 2007 Vanessa Perrin "In Bloom".  The doll is gorgeous, but when you've been collecting a while it seems to be getting harder and harder to add dolls with a "special quality" to your collection.

That gives us four Fashion Royalty characters in the main Convention Collection.  It was a sure bet that Poppy Parker was going to show up as Dorothy ($135).  She is wearing "Rainbow Connection" (try getting Kermit out of your head all day!)
I so long for a little dog with this!   It's super cute.  I even like the tighter curls.  This is a very cute and accurate interpretation with some mix and match possibilities.  (The purse reminds me of Vivacite Eugenia's)

The other Poppy Parker in the Convention Collection represented Rapunzel and she is wearing "Shining the Starlight" ($135).
I Love that Poppy Parker is in a different skin tone!  Love the hair (it's a long braid almost down to the floor).  Don't love the ensemble!  I wouldn't mind picking this one up nude on secondary market, but I don't think it will happen because I sense she will quickly become very popular and difficult to get.  (Some collectors have remarked that it looks like she is wearing dust ruffle.)

The NuFace line was well-represented in the Convention Collection this year.  First up is Ayumi Nakamura as Mulan wearing "Rarest of All" ($140).
This is quite an extraordinary doll.  I really like her, but I am passing since I already have an oriental  Ayumi in my collection.  The ensemble, faceup, hair, and fascinator are all amazing.   I love the eyebrows!  It was a difficult pass.

The next doll was the first to sell out in the salesroom.  Eden Blair (I'm not sure why it is Eden since Lilith is usually the dark-haired version) appears as Pocahontas wearing "Changing Winds" ($140).
The twins are always a fan favorite.  As much as I want to love this version, I'm not feeling it for some reason.  I really like the hair a great deal.  The faceup isn't bad.  The ensemble is ok (I am old enough to remember chenille bedspreads!).   The accessories are fantastic.  I think I passed because she reminds me a great deal of 2012's Fame by Frame Imogen which is a favorite of mine and already living here.

Each doll in the Convention Collection had an edition size of 600.   As lovely as they were, I didn't dip my toe in the secondary market pool for any of them.  I feel comfortable waiting to see if the prices come down or if there are any left for W Club lotteries.

In addition to the Convention Collection, there are "salesroom" dolls offered to collectors with purchase tickets randomly put in their convention packets.  This year there were three.

The first was a tremendous surprise.  This is the first time the IT Nippon line has been made available at a convention.  (It is only the second time Nippon has been sold domestically - the first being a Haute Doll Magazine exclusive in 2006 "Metallic Moment".)   This was a giftset of Miaki and Amelie called "Drawn to You".  It had an edition size of 500 and retailed for $175.
They represent Mickey and Minnie Mouse!  What a wonderful giftset.  Amelie's hair even has two buns to look like mouse ears (had the buns been larger and more exaggerated, I may have taken the plunge on this one)!  I have been a fan of Misaki since the very beginning and own many of them.  As cute as they are, they were, with regrets, a pass for me.  My dolly budget is very tight lately.

Poppy Parker made another appearance in the salesroom.   This time she is Tinkerbell wearing "Believe in Me" ($135).
As cute as this one is, the dress reminded me of Lash Out's from a couple years ago.

The final advertised doll in the salesroom was Erin Salston as Rumpelstiltskin wearing "24K" ($140).
Holy Brothers Grimm Batman ... stop the Batmobile ... I cannot put into words how I feel about this doll.  She is amazing and was the second doll to sell out in the salesroom.  I have to give a shout out to Leandro Romero on this one.  I was able to get one from him at a very reasonable and fair price.  Thank you!  You have no idea how happy you made this old schoolmarm.

In addition to the advertised dolls there were five color infusion dolls were sold in the salesroom that had never been previously.  Three of them were male and two were female.  IT did not release photos of them.

Love the direction IT went with this theme.  There is a little something for everyone.  I think all of the dolls will redress beautifully.  Faces and hair look better than they have in many years.  It looks like quality control is back!  Great job IT!

Through the Eyes of a Spectator

I wasn't sure about the "Fairytale" theme of the 2017 Integrity Convention.  After all, those among us who have been collecting for any length of time have seen this one done to death - just about every doll designer has produced one version or more.

The Style Lab opened early Friday morning.  Integrity Toys (IT) opted this year to return to the old way of letting collectors in according to their place when they line up in the morning.  (In the past couple years, collectors were assigned a random "cue number" that decided when they got to enter the lab.)

The Style Lab has gone through several changes over the years.  It originally supported the "Dynamite Girls" line, moved to "Color Infusion" in 2012, and has now progressed to "The Industry". Collectors purchase nude dolls and can choose among different ensembles sold a la carte.  The theme this year was an amalgamation of the movie cult classic "Clueless" with the Lewis Carroll fairytales Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  I can think of nothing more original than pairing these two storylines.

All photos are the property of Integrity Toys and are provided for informational purposes only.

First up, we have Alice.  This is Tulabelle True wearing "I'm Curious".
Merging the Lewis Carroll storyline with Clueless was definitely a challenge for creating the Alice character.  Although I love the modern interpretation (and the doll's face-up is gorgeous), there is really nothing here that says "Alice in Wonderland" to me; it is very dark and sinister which may support the story more than the Alice character herself.  I think the ensemble is extremely well made and I wouldn't mind having it in my collection; however, Alice is always portrayed as very innocent, wearing multiple layers of petticoats and an apron.  I guess IT was trying to be careful to stay away their earlier interpretation with 2010's IFDC Convention Companion Doll, "Curiouser and Curiouser Alice" worn by Dynamite Girl Gavin.

We also got Tulabelle True in African American skin tone wearing "Who Are You" as the caterpillar.
My favorite nude doll of the collection. but the ensemble is just way over the top.  This concept is quite fascinating.  The doll, though, remains one of the very best from the entire convention.

Next up is Binx Barone as the Queen of Hearts.  The ensemble is called "Heartache".
She is wearing what looks like a sandwich board fuzzy heart which is actually a faux fur coat.   I appreciate the broken heart bustier and wouldn't mind having this piece in my dolls' closet.  The pants are very similar to a DG pair used in the Style Lab several years ago.  Although very modern and edgy, I'm not a fan of this interpretation of The Queen of Hearts.  However, I LOVE the Tatyana "Checkmate" version from 2010.

Liu Liu Lang showed up as the Rabbit, wearing "Just A Second".
I do love the mask!!  Again, I think it is unfortunate IT has already produced a better version of this character with "Red Rabbit Misaki" from 2008.  (Liu Liu does remind me of Quicksilver Kyori Sato, who is one of my very favorite IT dolls.)

Something that was very exciting for collectors was that Poppy Parker made an appearance in the Style Lab this year.   Her first character is The White Queen wearing "Your Move".
This is obviously the character "Sher".   I always considered the 2008 Misaki Pure Evil IT's interpretation of the The White Queen (since she came with "Red Rabbit") and think the Misaki version is superior.

The second character portrayed by Poppy was one of the Tweedle Twins (not sure which is which and am not sure how I feel about them being fraternal).   She is wearing "Clueless".
I really like both the doll and the ensemble.  From the collection, this is my favorite combination.

The other Tweedle Twin seems to be an homme character, Milo Montez, wearing "Dim the Lights."
The same fabrics are used and both have the black striped accessories.  I think the twins are the best of the concepts here and I am sorely tempted to add them to my collection wearing these exact ensembles!  The designers really got this set right!

The last three characters were also male dolls.  Going left to right, we have Tate Tanaka as the Mad Hatter wearing "Completely Mad",  Cabot Clark as the Knave of Hearts wearing "Lover Boy", and Daley Daniels as the Cheshire Cat wearing "Not All There".
There were also two accessory packs.  One for the ladies called "Eat Me" and one for the gents called "Totally Bonkers."

I really appreciate the fact that designers were being mindful to stay away from "costumes".  I like the fabrics chosen and the design ideas a great deal.  It was weird combining the themes, but I guess it's like the characters from Clueless decided to put on a play of Lewis Carroll's books but read the Cliff Notes version and decided to use clothing from their closets??

As a collector, had I been attending, I wouldn't have been disappointed in the least.  The entire collection is quite cohesive and well made.  The screenings are great and there are many mix and match possibilities with clothing.  Had I been there, I would've unfortunately been pulled into collecting The Industry line.

It has been reported that The Industry clothing can be shared with the NuFace dolls to a point; however, the shoes will not fit.  Personally, I don't have any Industry dolls or clothing.  I no longer collect hommes, so that temptation no longer exists.  Although I really like both Poppy Parker versions, I passed at this time.  Fortunately, I was able to walk away from this performance financially unscathed.