Monday, December 31, 2018

Best of 2018 - Poppy Parker - A Year in Review

Although I tease that "I Do NOT Collect Poppy Parker", I am actually one of the original collectors from back in 2009.  Summer Magic was my very first Poppy and she still resides in my collection.  It's hard to believe but she is the closest thing to a "mini-me" that has ever been produced in doll form (circa my 30's which was a very long time ago).   

I've owned many of the earlier versions of Poppy, including the elusive Bergdorf Goodman
Somehow this Integrity Toys (IT) line is like a revolving door around here.   I had originally hoped Poppy would be a good companion for Misaki, but they just don't work well together for me.   It seems I have extremely specific taste when it comes to our girl Poppy.

Of course there are some staples from the earlier years:  I Love How You Love Me, She's Not There, Hot Dots, To The Fair, and Irresistible in India.  And there's the occasional girl that steals my heart and requires a frankendolly body like Angel In Blue.
But it wasn't until 2016 that David Butry made Poppy Parker a more prominent fixture in my collection.  The Poppy Parker versions that year were AMAZING.  Poppy Parker was actually my #1 of 2016 - here is the post #1 of 2016 - Poppy Parker  Most of these dolls still reside in my collection.  It was official in 2016 that "I AM a Poppy Parker Collector".

Even though I collect Poppy, I rarely buy one on secondary market.  Almost all of my Poppy girls have either been purchased at retail, or close to convention prices.  This year, I found myself turning to secondary market to acquire some special dolls.

I actually sold 18 versions of Poppy that had been languishing in their boxes and finally secured Agent Lotta Danger, a personal favorite.  She is amazing redressed but is the most I've ever spent on a Poppy - $225.
In 2017, I found myself preferring the IT Fairytale Convention Poppy versions to the mainline releases.  Excluding Through the Woods and Believe in Me, Welcome to Misty Hollows is the only 2017 Poppy in my collection.  She was also in my countdown last year Best of 2017- Number 7 - Welcome to Misty Hollows Poppy Parker

I'm not sure about other collectors, but 2017's W Club Exclusive Golden Holiday arriving in April 2018 was a downer for me.  Why offer a holiday doll and send it out in April?  She left almost immediately upon arrival.  Nonetheless, she is a lovely version of Poppy.
The W Club Registration Poppy, Soda Pop Saturday, was also a miss for me.  Although she is a really cute doll, she looked too generic to me.  Photo by Integrity Toys.

In 2018, we saw dolls arrive from The Swinging London Collection (Wave II) that was also announced in 2017.  Photos by Integrity Toys.
I initially passed on all of these, but I realized I made a mistake with one of them.  (And have been sorely tempted by a second, Friday Night Frug.)  Unfortunately, I had to pay secondary market for Hold that Tiger.  No regrets!  She is one of the most photographed dolls from my collection this year and was the subject of my 2018 Christmas Card!.  Here is the link to my review Hold That Tiger Poppy Parker Review

The W Club Registration Poppy, Soda Pop Saturday, was also a miss for me.  Although she is a really cute doll, she looked too generic for my tastes.  Photo by Integrity Toys.
It turned out that Poppy was a very busy girl in 2018!  Somehow that little vixen made her way to the Italian Doll Convention in May!  (LE 250 in blonde and an additional 250 in PINK hair!)  Both these versions, referred to as Ciao! Poppy,  have been very sought after and demand more than I am willing to pay on secondary market. (Being a teacher, this was announced at the end of the school year for me and I was just too exhausted to hunt them down!)  Photos by Integrity Toys.

Poppy made her way back to the U.S. just in time to appear at the IFDC in one of the most popular collections ever produced Psyche A Dollic.   Photos by Integrity Toys.
Although I won the lottery right to purchase Free Spirit, I couldn't bond with her and sent her to live with another collector.  My favorite from the collection was Summer of Love, but, once again, I refuse to pay her ridiculous secondary market prices; however,  I was able to acquire Time of the Season with an e-bay 15% off coupon at a price I could handle.  
She is another favorite in my collection and has received a lot of redress.  I reviewed her at Time of the Season Poppy Review

It seemed Ms. Poppy Parker was really on a roll!   The Mainline collection in 2018 was called City Sweetheart.  Photos by Integrity Toys.  
I actually passed on all these dolls.  There were some nice versions of Poppy in this collection, but I was spoiled by the Limited Release versions and was expecting some lovely dolls from the 2018 IT Luxe Life Convention.  Although Co-ed Cutie was a collector's favorite, it seems Peach Parfait is a sleeper hit!

Well, the Luxe Life Convention rolled around and Poppy Parker delivered in a major way.  (While attendees and collectors were complaining about the "lack of luxe", I could almost hear David Butry saying under his breath, "Just you wait, I'll show you luxe!"  And "luxe" he showed us!)

The Luxe Life Poppies had metallic boots, metallic gloves, coats, sunglasses, amazing jewelry.  They even had little pieces of metallic luggage!  One version of Poppy even turned up hidden in the Style Lab The Industry packaging!  If a collector purchased the entire Style Lab (that's 10 dolls and 10 ensembles), they would find enough pieces to put together a Poppy Parker in cream skin tone, complete with ensemble!  Photo by Integrity Toys.
This version has been called Miss Behave Poppy and sells on the secondary market at $500 and up!  (I think she should be called "Brilliant Marketing Concept Poppy Parker").  Obviously, Miss Behave does not reside here!  I can't afford her.  

I did manage to get three of the remaining four versions though.  The one that continues to elude me is the Poppy Luncheon centerpiece, Snow Stopper Poppy.  She will be mine one day! Photo by Integrity Toys.
I was able to get both Luxe Life Convention Poppies at very decent prices!  The first was Chiller Thriller.  I'm not sure why this doll isn't more popular.  I really like her hair/face up combination.  That silver suitcase is awesome!
The other Convention Poppy was Gold Snap.  She is beginning to gain momentum on e-bay.  I love the ensemble.  I have been pining for 2016's Model Living, and I think this one is similar but has better hair and screening.
The last Convention Poppy was the gift doll at the Poppy luncheon named Lemon Frost.  I am completely confused by why this doll isn't sky rocketing.  I think she is amazing.  She's the darkest skin tone produced in Poppy Parker to date.
So ... who's your favorite?  There are 23 Poppies that were received in 2018 (and a two-doll giftset announced that won't get to collectors until 2019).   I believe this year's collections actually rival that of 2016 (and may even be better!).   If Poppy Parker was the focus of my collecting, I would've had some serious fiscal problems!  One could easily come up with a Top 10 list just with Poppy Parker!  Unfortunately, I don't own the best ones - Miss Behave, Ciao! Pink Hair, Summer of Love, or Peace of My Heart.  

It was a truly difficult decision choosing my favorite.  Hold That Tiger has gotten the most redress and camera time of all the dolls arriving here in 2018.  The accessories, hair, and screening on Gold Snap quickly moved her to the top of the pack!  But the doll that combines these two together was the one who has stolen my heart!

Based on the Poppy Parkers actually residing here, my favorite and #19 of 2018 in my collection would be Lemon Frost Poppy Parker.
Look at those adorable shoes!  Had she come with a yellow purse or piece of luggage, she would've been total perfection!  

This doll is amazing redressed!  Here she is dressed up for "The Best of 2018 - Poppy Parker" Photo.
And since it is December 31, Lemon Frost would like to wish all of my followers and readers of this blog a New Year filled with good health and blessings beyond measure!  Happy New Year 2019!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Best of 2018 - East 59th Street/Victoire Roux - A Year in Review

I have been a tremendous fan of the Victoire Roux line since its introduction in 2011.  I LOVE the vintage clothing styles.  I love the body and how it can wear Vintage Barbie and the oldest Integrity Toys (IT) ensembles, even the pants.  Here is Avenue George V wearing the Mattel Christian Dior Walking Suit.
And here is Faubourg St. Honore wearing Vintage Barbie Saturday Matinee.
St.  Tropez is wearing the IT Lustrous Silhouette gown from 2005.   The length still works!
I actually own eleven versions of Victoire Roux and have the newest on pre-order.   She is due to arrive in early 2019.  I was very excited that she was returning after a four year hiatus.

NOTE: From this point on, I only include photos of dolls that either joined my collection in 2018 or were actually shipped to consumers in 2018.

Convention attendees were able to purchase a version this year, Divine Evening. (Photo property of Integrity Toys)
There have been so many beautiful dolls this year, Divine Evening was not a "must have" for me.

While Victoire was "getting work done", IT introduced a supporting line called East 59th Street in 2017 which gave us two additional characters to the Victoire line, Constance Madssen and Evelyn Weaverton.  I purchased one of each that year and was very pleased with my choices.  I reviewed this line; here is the link East 59th Street 2017

In 2018, I played "catch up" and purchased Wicked Glamour Constance Madssen from the 2017 Fairytale Convention.
I just couldn't live without that gorgeous purple cocktail dress and she was selling very reasonably on secondary market (and still is if you can catch one!).  Additionally, I needed her to go with Midnight Glimmer Evelyn Weaverton which W Club members were allowed to purchase following the 2017 Fairytale Convention.  She didn't arrive until 2018.
In 2018, The Cocktails Collection was released and introduced us to a male character named Laird Drake wearing Cocktails for Men.  (Photo by Integrity Toys)
Another female character was introduced later in the year named Aurelia Gray, the first black character in the Victoire Roux/East 59th Street line.  She will not be shipped until 2019.  The other dolls from the The Cocktail Collection that I did not purchase were Mai Tai Sizzle Constance Madssen.  (Photo by Integrity Toys).  She also came a cute yellow shorts/jacket combination.
And Turquoise Sparkler Evelyn Weaverton.
For some reason, I think of Evelyn Weaverton and Constance Madssen as twinsies.  They always show up in pairs in my collection!  The two I ordered from this collection were The Americano Evelyn Weaverton.
And Tangier Tangerine Constance Madssen.
The only reason I purchased these two dolls were I took a chance on an eBay seller that was selling them for $80 each, NRFB.  I thought it was gimmick, but they arrived in perfect condition.  Great deal on some beautiful dolls!

... So who is the Best Victoire Roux/East 59th Street of 2018?  I have been completely smitten with Tangier Tangerine Constance Madssen.  Here she redressed with a change in her hair.
And representing Doll #18 of 2018 wearing Mattel's Fabulous Forties ensemble.
Definitely a Best of 2018 doll.  Tangier Tangerine is gorgeous!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Best of 2018 - The Industry - A Year in Review

I am doing my countdown a little differently this year.   Since there are so many different Integrity Toys (IT) lines that have somehow managed to suck me in, I am going to do the lines separately.  Trying to combine the lines into one countdown of 10 was just too confusing and exhausting!

The Industry is IT's newest line of dolls.  A little history ... 

The Dynamite Girls line was a staple of IT Conventions (2007-2014) and even introduced the Style Lab "Build a-Doll" concept in 2011.  You could buy a nude doll and dress it from options available only in the Style Lab.  It was a very popular concept.   In 2012, IT replaced the DG Style Lab with a new line called Color Infusion (CI).   The CI dolls were noticeably larger, especially their hands and feet.  Many collectors were hesitant to get onboard, although some purchased dolls and rebodied them (me included).  CI only served as the Style Lab line for four years (2012 - 2016).

Many collectors missed the Dynamite Girls and the Color Infusion line wasn't selling as well as expected, so IT decided to start a doll line in 2016, The Industry, with a similar size body to the final version of the DG dolls.  There were only two dolls in the original line using the same new mold, character Tulabelle.  It got a lukewarm reception.  

In 2017 IT added two new female characters to the line (Binx and Liu Liu) and included four males (Tate, Cabot, Milo, and Daley).  The 2017 Style Lab even included the Poppy Parker mold on The Industry bodies (no ankle joint!).  Saying the 2017 Style Lab was a sensation would be an understatement.  

In 2018, IT introduced three new female characters (Janay, Alysa, and Jade) and a new male character (Bellamy).   IT started moving characters from other lines into The Industry fold!
Everyone was very eager to see what the 2018 "Luxe Life" Convention would have in store for the Style Lab line.  Although there were photos, the actual dolls did not make it to the convention - apparently they were delayed in customs.  (I think this must have been horrible for convention attendees.  Many collectors opt to purchase the convention line ahead of time and have it shipped to their home following convention, using the Style Lab dolls and clothing for redress and play at the convention.  This year that didn't happen, and it ruined a lot of the creative fun of combining dolls/ensembles and sharing photos with the general public.  Not to mention there is usually a whole block of time set aside to spend browsing and shopping in the Style Lab.)

There were six nude girl dolls that could be purchased - Janay, Alysa, and Jade (molds already introduced earlier in the year) and five new characters - Gavin, Rufus, Lark, Ellery and Hollis.  Also included were two nude male dolls - Bellamy and Milo.   Each doll was paired with individual ensembles that had to purchased separately.  The whole concept was very "street smart".   

I actually purchased four of these ensembles (photos property of Integrity Toys):

1.  Cherry Bomb Fashion - So many individual items that will mix n match wonderfully.  Imagine the top with the silver pants below! or the shorts with the denim boots! (The doll is Lark Lawrence.)
2.  My favorite ensemble, Punk Rock being worn by Rufus Blue.
3.  I had to own those denim distressed boots!  This is Not Your Puppet with Janay.
4.  I really wanted the sweater from the next ensemble, but I found the dress to be quite nice.  This is Glitterati worn by Ellery Eames.
The remaining six dolls are below:
I also purchased both accessory sets.  The first is called Skirt The Issues.
The second one is Top This.
For me personally, this could've been the best part of the whole convention.  Too bad, customs wouldn't release the items.

There is currently a conspiracy theory that IT withheld the Style Lab on purpose.  Collectors could order the entire Style Lab line in advance.  This would guarantee them a special Poppy Parker, released for the first time in a cream skin tone.  It turns out this Poppy Parker, aptly named Miss Behave, was deconstructed and each body part and ensemble piece was included in a different package from the Style Lab!  You had to purchase the entire line to complete the Poppy and ensemble.
This is one of the most desirable dolls of 2018!  She is selling on secondary market for over $500.  Some collectors have mused that, had the Style Lab been present for purchase, buyers would've quickly figured out which item had the Poppy head and focused on that one item.  For me, I think the individual ensembles are pretty amazing and would've sold out regardless!

The collection sold very well.  In fact, it is now completely sold out.  There were only 400 in the edition size.  I was able to snag the top with attached train at a great price.  I decided to try and recreate the look as best as I could on my own.  This is one of my favorite dolls from last year, Poetic Beauty Lilith wearing my recreation.
Jewelry from 2016 Fabulous Fields Luchia
Gloves from 2018 Fame & Fortune Vanessa
Pants from 2012 Rock Me Baby Rayna Ahmadi
Shoes from 2016 AKA Gigi Giselle
Black hat 2010 Monogram Escapade

So, which doll from 2018 is my personal favorite?  That was an easy choice for me.  

Best The Industry doll for 2018 is Hollis Hughes.
I love the skin tone combined with this hair and face up.  My dolls were told they had to dress appropriately for their "Best of" photos this year.
Here she is wearing the Mattel Audrey Hepburn Silkstone Givenchy Sabrina gown.
Hollis Hughes looks great in so many different ensembles!  She definitely deserves the title "Best The Industry Doll of 2018" and Number 17 of 2018 in my collection!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

... Before the Countdown Begins

This has been the strangest collecting year for me.   I decided that I simply would no longer allow myself to be stressed out by my hobby.   I did some very serious re-evaluation and came to some startling discoveries.

1.  I realized I had been "cheating" on my guidelines.  I had so many dolls coming into my home in previous years that I wasn't listing them all.  I rationalized this by telling myself, "If they may not stay, I shouldn't add them to the list."  As long as they were NRFB, in the closet, and in the "consideration" stage, they were in Limbo Land.  This freed me to buy as many dolls as I wanted without any accountability.  Good for me, right?

2.  But bad for my bank account.   After remarrying, my husband and I focused on getting out of debt as part of plan for upcoming retirement.  We got very serious and cut out many luxuries from our lives.  We both actually paid off all of our credit cards!  Somehow over the past three years, I had gotten myself back into credit card debt to the tune of several thousand dollars.  ACK!  I decided to sell a lot of dolls that weren't being enjoyed.  By July, I had paid off my credit card and haven't carried a balance since.  

3.  This made me make some major collecting decisions.

  • I would not purchase dolls unless I had the money at the end of the month to pay for them.
  • I had to sell dolls in order to buy dolls.  
  • Any new doll had to be more desirable than the ones that I was selling.
  • I would not pay high secondary market prices for any retail doll.  CAP:  $50 over original cost.
  • I would never pay more than $325 for any doll.
     This put some serious restrictions on purchases.  This is one of the reasons that several dolls released in 2018 will not appear in my countdown.  
  • Jason Wu Special Release Elyse dolls are not included in my countdown because they cost too much on secondary market. 
  • The same is true for Summer of Love,  Peace of My Heart, and Miss Behave Style Lab versions of Poppy Parker. 
  • Affluent Demeanor Agnes Von Weiss will not appear in my countdown because I prefer Queen of Everything which is currently in my collection.
  • Public Adoration Eden Blair does not appear because her secondary market price is out of reach.  I'm also not sure about the texture of pink hair.  It usually feels coarser than other hair.
EDIT:  One of my Christmas gifts was an empty box with an "I.O.U." in it from my husband.  He explained that he had purchased me something that didn't get delivered before the holiday.  It arrived this week and was Public Adoration Eden Blair, so she may appear in my list after all.
  • Optic Illusion Giselle Diefendorf is not on my list because I'm still waiting on an e-bay coupon and didn't have the cash to pay for her this month.
Do I regret my decisions?  Not at all.  For once in a very long time, I am beginning to feel more in control of my hobby.  I am less stressed and happier with my choices.  All of the dolls I added to my collection this year were purchased at original cost (or less than $50 over retail).  Using e-bay coupons, I was even able to add a couple dolls to my collection that I had missed over the years.  I have managed to actually put some money in my savings account.  I was able to be more generous this Christmas with family and friends.  It feels good!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

Each year I try my best to post a digital holiday card for those friends who share their joy of collecting dolls.  May you each be richly blessed this season and find peace and happiness.   Hopefully there will be something special under your tree that will bring a smile and many, many hours of creative play.  I appreciate each and every one of you!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Love of Luxe Veronique Perrin - #16 of 2018

I resisted this doll.  I really tried.   I had purchased her ensemble separately for Walking On Gold Adele Makeda, so I wouldn't be tempted by the doll herself.   Unfortunately, the more photos that are showing up post-convention, the more I had to have her.

This year's Welcome Gift Doll was Love of Luxe Veronique Perrin.   She has red hair (which is a shade that is difficult to catch in photos - it often photographs brighter than it actually is in person).  The hair is a high ponytail which was one of the hair themes this year.  It is straight and easy to maintain - you have no idea my fear of flyaway curly hair!

Love of Luxe shares the same screening with many other Veronique versions.  The first time this screening showed up was Sweet Smell of Success for 2012 and the convention Veroniques that year, Haute Societe and Workshop.  It turned up again in 2013 at the convention with Breathless and at the 2015 convention with Stage Presence.  This year we saw it again in the spring with Fetish Fatale.  Although it is a favorite among collectors, I think it needs to be retired for a  period of time.

Here is Love of Luxe Veronique Perrin in the box.
And a closeup.  I finally found a version with a hairline I could live with.  Most versions of this doll have truly messed up hairlines.  I think this issue needs to be addressed by IT.
She came with black shoes that tie up her ankles (not sure why because it totally ruins the look of the dress).   She is wearing cute pink lace panties (one of my favorite things about the ensemble).  The jewelry is a simple bracelet and flower shaped dangle earrings with a "green" stone in the middle.  It isn't a cohesive look, but I like the pieces separate for other uses.
As has been the case with most of the dolls from the Luxe Life Convention, they look much better redressed.  (I will probably be selling the extra ensemble on e-bay.)   It is cold and rainy here, so Vero had to put on a sweater.

She's a very cute doll and I think she will redress quite well.   I like the pale skin tone with the coppery red hair.  (When she is in the pink the dress, the camera wants to make her hair brighter red.) I thought the doll I was purchasing had a better hairline.  This one isn't horrible, but I it could be better.  She is easy to pick up around the $125 mark.   The ensemble and body are worth that.