Thursday, December 31, 2020

Best of 2020 - Number 1: The Enchantress Nadja Rhymes

As much as I love Petite Robe Classique Jour Adele Makeda, mold 2.0, I just couldn't ignore the effect the Number 1 doll has had on me.   I actually gasped the first time I saw a photo of this doll! 

It isn't easy to capture her inside the purple neon box liner.

Removing this doll and her accessories from the box was an out-of-body experience.   Upon releasing the doll and removing the plastic liner of the bodice, you realize the intricate details of the beading, under net, and fringe skirt.  My doll actually has twenty loops of beading.  There are 10 loops at the top and ten strands in the bodice.  This is where the inconsistency at the factory becomes apparent.  Some versions have less beading and it causes the top to look less "finished".   

Then there are the accessories ... the jewelry - where did they find these earring hoops?  Such lovely tiny little etchings.  The bracelets!  

Here is a full length photo (please know that I apologize for my lack of photographic skills with this nubian skin tone).

Then you move on to the shoes!  The neon yellow (which shouldn't work, but it does!)  The leopard print detail on the back which matches the lining of the purple faux fur.   It's hard to take in all the visual beauty of the different layers.   It's like they took the Byron Lars Barbie dolls and filled one with steroids!

I took her outside hoping to get a better picture.

I believe The Enchantress Nadja Rhymes elevated my doll collecting directly into art.  This isn't simply a beautifully dressed doll, it is truly an expression of creativity.   I am gobsmacked.  Speechless.  There just aren't words.  

I keep photographing her, hoping to get a perfect shot.

This doll makes me want to be a better photographer.

I only wish I could afford two - one to redress and one to stand forever in my collection as presented. 

This doll is truly a feast for the eyes.

Best of 2020 - Number 1:  The Enchantress Nadja Rhymes.  

Best of 2020 - The Runners Up

When I got out of school for winter break, I decided to jump right on the task of developing my Best of 2020 list.  I pulled all the dolls that joined my collection this year and looked carefully at the reference sites.  

For such a lean year, I was completely surprised by how many beautiful dolls were produced in 2020.  As I made my choices for my countdown, I decided that I didn't want to have any mold represented more than once (in my mind it was only fair), which eliminated some amazing dolls.

Number 8's Little Day Ensemble Veronique eliminated Cover Story Veronique Perrin from the countdown - #40 added to collection in 2020.  (Collectors have waited almost 15 years for the production of this doll - and she did not disappoint!)

Number 7's Miami Glam Kesenia eliminated Ferocious Kesenia Valentinova (number 3 added to my collection in 2020):

Number 6's Retro Dimensional Vanessa eliminated Violet Obsidian Vanessa Perrin (one of my top 6 favorite dolls from the Legendary Convention and Number 38 added to my collection in 2020):

Number 5's Ocean Drive Agnes Von Weiss eliminated Intimate Soiree Agnes (I still haven't added her to my collection due to secondary market pricing.  Photo property of IT.)

Number 3's Mademoiselle Eden and Lilith eliminated Not Pretending Eden Blair (most difficult choice to leave off the countdown - my doll is taking the scenic route through the USPS and hasn't arrived yet.  Photo property of IT.  She was Number 45 added to my collection in 2020.)

Number 2's Petite Robe Classique Jour Adele Makeda took Neo Look Adele (Number 57 added to my collection in 2020) out of the countdown.

Other notable omissions were Your Motivation Erin Salston (Number 9 added to my collection in 2020)

Fashion Darling Giselle Diefendorf (one of my very favorite versions of this mold and another difficult doll to not include; Number 51 added to my collection in 2020):

In My Skin Colette Duranger (Number 48 added to my collection in 2020):

Make Me Blush Natalia Fatale (Number 4 added to my collection in 2020):

Sweet Venom Jordan Duvall (Number 2 added to my collection in 2020):

Le Tuxedo Eugenia Frost (how did I leave her off - Number 46 added to my collection in 2020):

Celebration Aymeline (I'm finding it difficult to locate a version with perfect eye screening and smaller forehead at a price I am willing to pay), 

Style Legacy Isabelle Alves:

and Like No Other Nadja Rhymes (Number 8 added to my collection in 2020):

All of these dolls are quite good.  If a collector were careful and able to choose dolls with great eye screenings and hairlines, they could amass quite the remarkable collection. 

At one time, I had considered giving Poppy Parker a separate post off the Best of 2020 list.   I left out dolls from "The Industry" and "Meteor" lines because there just wasn't enough room.  I didn't feel justified not including Late Night Dream Victoire Roux - Number 10 - since she got over 55,000 views in my Flickr account which is something I've never had happen before.    After finding their way into collectors' hands, the Legendary Style Lab dolls turned out to be much better than anticipated; however, I was unable to include one on my list.  

Although a lean year, it definitely left collectors feeling sated and satisfied.

Honestly, had I the time or energy, I could've created a Top 20 Countdown this year!  

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Best of 2020 - Number 2: Petite Robe Classique Jour Adele Makeda (mold 2.0)

I need to begin this post by stressing that I have been struggling with my top 2 decision all day.  I love each of these dolls for various reasons.  My Number 2 doll was just barely edged out of first place, which I will explain in my next post.

One of the perks of joining the W Club is the opportunity to purchase dolls offered exclusively to members.  Starting in 2015, Integrity Toys (IT) has partnered with the W Club to offer a special "upgrade" doll(s) for their annual convention.   If the member has purchased a convention registration, they get a discount on the cost.  The dolls are usually offered in the form of sketches to keep the actual production dolls as secret as possible.

This year, the W Club offered two dolls as reimaginations of the 2004 La Petite Robe Noire and La Petite Robe Blanche (Little Black Dress and Little White Dress).  I gave a mini-review of these dolls when I wrote a recap of the Legendary Convention: Legendary Convention Souvenir Dolls

Petite Robe Classique Jour (Little Classic Day Dress) Adele Makeda, mold 2.0, became an instant success.   Here she is in the box:

Adele Makeda (mold 2.0) is my second most favorite doll mold produced by IT.  Counting Petite Robe Classique Jour, there are 20 versions of her living here!

It is rare for a W Club Upgrade Exclusive to "steal the show" at a convention, but there is little doubt this doll was perfect from head to toe.

What an incredible screening!  The hairstyle is amazing. 

My very favorite FR doll of the past year.  She is number 36 added to my collection in 2020.  Best of 2020 - Number 2:  Petite Robe Classique Jour Adele Makeda.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Best of 2020 - Number 3: Mademoiselle Twins

Ever since their debut in 2008, the twins usually travel together.  Even when sold separately, they sometimes mirror each other.  In the past 10 years "Best of" countdowns, they've shown up seven times.

Although a W Club Exclusive for 2019, I didn't receive Mademoiselle Eden Blair until July 2020.  Here is a closeup photo of her in the box

And a full length shot

When she is out of the box she comes to life!  

Those shoes are some of the best ever produced for 12" dolls, but it took forever to get them on.  Fortunately, I had read warning posts and used my jewelry pliers and a darning needle.  I did not include the white socks with the shoes.  I also had to add an extra jump ring to the choker.  

Such an exquisite doll!  Number 34 added to my collection in 2020, Mademoiselle Eden Blair.

A month later, her sister arrived.  Mademoiselle Lilith Blair was a W Club membership upgrade doll.

Closeup in the box

Full length in the box

A lot of collectors did not like her ensemble.  (Her shoes had zippers!)

Eden's equally beautiful sister, Mademoiselle Lilith Blair, was added to my 2020 collection as number 35.

Here are individual photos side by side.

Two shots of them together.

Best of 2020 - Number 3:  Mademoiselle Eden and Lilith Blair

Monday, December 28, 2020

Best of 2020 - Number 4: Haute Desire Dania Zarr

This doll has been so confused.  I can't believe there isn't more excitement about her.  I think she is totally stunning.   (I apologize up front because this doll's gown is very difficult to capture the color correctly.  It's a rich jewel tone purple - almost grape colored.)

Here is a photo of Haute Desire Dania Zarr in the box:

Those hazel eyes are phenomenal.   Let's see what that dress looks like?  

I think this is one of my very favorite gowns ever produced by Integrity Toys.  The color is so rich and luxurious.   The details are amazing.  The folds and train are perfect.   The intricacy reminds me of 2008's High Gloss gown worn by Agnes Von Weiss.  It's almost like origami.  

I hate to say this, but in my opinion, Jessy Ayala produced the better doll from the gala celebration.  The shoes are so beautiful.  The jewelry is amazing.  I'm so glad the gloves were already put on!

Added to my collection as number 33 and Best of 2020 - Number 4: Haute Desire Dania Zarr.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Best of 2020 - Number 5: Ocean Drive Agnes Von Weiss

The next doll in my countdown was a 2019 W Club Exclusive that didn't arrive until January 2020.  (She was #5 of dolls added to my collection in 2020.)

In the past 10 years of my "Best of" countdowns, this character is tied with most appearances at eight times.   When you give us this mold in a giftset, it is a no-brainer.  And it doesn't hurt that this is the first time Agnes Von Weiss has appeared in this skin tone!

Here is Ocean Drive Agnes Von Weiss in her box:

And a full length photo.  

She comes with the most wonderful lavender colored bathing suit and wrap.  She even had shoes that matched her swimsuit!

Integrity Toys was not stingy with the accessories on this one!  She had two sets of jewelry!  The swim wear is just fantastic!

... And the gown fits her like a glove.

Best of 2020 - Number 5: Ocean Drive Agnes Von Weiss