Saturday, February 27, 2021

It's That Time Of The Year Again

Registration for the W Club has been officially open for about a week, so I figured I needed to go ahead and share that information with anyone who is living under a rock.  The advertisements and announcements are all over social media, doll boards, and photo hosting sites.  

I can say with pride that I have actually been a member of The W Club since its beginning in 2006 - I still have my membership pin.   I also still have Dressing the Part Agnes von Weiss from that club year.

There are a lot of benefits to joining The W Club.  The most obvious one is having access to the W Club Message Forum.  It's a great place to share information, find answers to questions, get tips for dioramas, and just make some good doll friends.   It is an amazing resource and a must for anyone who collects Integrity Toys products. There is even a "Buy, Sale, and Trade Thread".

Another wonderful thing about the W Club is that you get on the "First To Know" list.  Whenever a new line of dolls is going to be introduced and sold publicly through dealers, The W Club hosts a "Reveal Event".   The W Club has an agreement with dealers that W Club members get an advance ordering window before the dolls become available to the general public.  (Most dolls are sold out before they even get advertised on websites!)

Whenever there is a W Club Reveal, there is usually an exclusive "Event Doll" that is offered to all W Club members.  That makes it very exciting.  Some of these dolls are the most sought after dolls in collections.   

Speaking of "Event Exclusives", The W Club guarantees five "made-to-order" exclusives sold only to W Club Members.  Some of these are phenomenal giftsets like:  Fame & Fortune Vanessa Perrin, The Faces of Adele Makeda, Split Decision Poppy Parker, Looks A Plenty Poppy Parker, Metamorphosis Erin Salston, etc.  Even dolls that aren't part of gift sets can be quite phenomenal.  Last year's Mademoiselle Lilith and Eden Blair dolls (sold separately) were #2 in my Best of 2020 Countdown.

In addition to "made-to-order" W Club Exclusives, there are W Club Lottery Opportunities of very limited dolls.  That's how Optic Verve Agnes Von Weiss made her way to my collection.  

Since there are several lottery opportunities offered throughout the year, most collectors choose to purchase multiple memberships.  It increases one's odds of winning.  I usually purchase two memberships, one for me and one for my spouse, in case we go to the convention together.  That way we both can attend The W Club Luncheon.  Did I forget to mention that another perk was there is a special luncheon at the IT Convention just for W Club members?  It always includes one doll in the cost of the luncheon and the opportunity to purchase the centerpiece!

And all of this can be yours for the paltry fee of $50.  But wait!  There's more!

When you register for The W Club, you get a $25 gift certificate for each membership that can be used for any purchase over $99.   (So your membership really only costs $25!)

And when you register, you get the option to purchase "Upgrade Dolls".   That's right!  From the very start you are given the opportunity to get new dolls!  For the past few years, there have been three different opportunities:  1 Fashion Royalty, 1 NuFace, and 1 Poppy Parker.  Two of my very favorite dolls in my collection were upgrades dolls:  Going Public Eugenia Frost and To The Fair Poppy Parker. When you register you can choose to buy any or all of these dolls.  If you purchase multiple memberships, you can purchase multiple upgrade dolls.  Registrants are required to pay a $25 deposit for each doll with their registration payment.  They are billed the remainder of the cost + shipping when the dolls are ready to ship.

Here are the Upgrade Dolls for 2021.  (All photos are property of Integrity Toys/IT)

First up, we have the Fashion Royalty Upgrade, Bijou Elyse Jolie.  

There was a lot of discontent last year because Elyse didn't show up at the convention.  Designer Jessy Ayala made up for that by bringing her to collectors as an upgrade.  Bijou Elyse Jolie is an interpretation of model Iman.  This is the first time Elyse has been produced in the A-Tone skin color.    She comes with some pretty cute accessories.

Her price is $140.  I really like the elegance of this version of Elyse.  In my opinion, the taste level of the ensemble is questionable.  Unless they lower the hem, my girl's gown will probably be sold on secondary market.  The doll, however, is breathtaking.  I knew I didn't want to take the chance of passing on this doll and then having to seek her out on secondary market after "in real life" photos started showing up when she was released.

The Nuface offering got me very excited!  This version is called Fit To Print Nadja Rhymes.  Nadja Rhymes has appeared in so many different skin tones!  This is her first time in Hungarian, and it is the first time "Cinnamon" has been used for a hair color.

A photo of her accessories.

Her price is also $140.  This purchase a "no-brainer".   Ever since Jessy Ayala started designing the NuFace line, my NuFace collection has tripled in size!  The Enchantress Nadja Rhymes from the 2020 IT Convention was my favorite doll of last year.  The "baby hair" is very on-trend right now.

The final doll is Pink Lemonade Poppy Parker.

This doll represents the pink haired companion doll to the 2019 Style Lab "Heads Up" doll with lemon yellow hair.   (She often sells upwards of $1000 when she can be found secondary market.)    I love the ensemble and the fact that she has high heel feet/ankles.  

Like her sister, she is in the Japan skin tone.  Her price is also $140.  Although I am a little concerned about the "nylon" hair, I need this ensemble in my life!

... So what are you waiting for?  You only have until March 8, at 5:00 p.m. EST to join.   I actually ordered all three dolls.  I'm rarely disappointed with W Club Exclusives.  Hope to see you in the forum!

Oops!  I guess it would help to have the website.  It's W Club Registration

Sunday, February 21, 2021

#4 of 2021 - Mothership Dania Zarr

To say this doll took her sweet time arriving, would be an understatement.   Mothership Dania Zarr was a W Club Exclusive that took over a year getting into the hands of collectors; the Retro Future line was previewed in mid December 2019.  I have read that the metal pieces had to be tooled multiple times to get everything fitting correctly.

After completing my Best of 2020 Countdown, I was saturated with new dolls that had just been deboxed.  It was a blessing in disguise that my first three dolls shipped in 2021 were held captive by the USPS for almost a month.

Here is a quick closeup photo of Dania in her box.

And a full length photo.

This doll's selling point is the accessories and ensemble.   (Photo property of Integrity Toys/IT)

The boots are Tom Ford, the visor is Alexander McQueen, the coat is a nod to Balenciaga, the belt is a Dior piece, and the metal corset is from the iconic Thierry Mugler.

I have heard that collectors have trouble getting the belt to close once it has been unhooked.  I looked at it and there is enough room to sew in additional loops to let it out a little.

So, here she is out of box in the coat ...

These boots are amazing.   I have read horror stories from collectors who have broken the straps trying to get them on.  I noticed that they do seem quite fragile.  This raises concerns about the life expectancy for them.  I don't think they would hold up to multiple redress uses.  That's why my Dania will be wearing them for a while.

Another closeup.

I'm not very fond of the hair.  I've seen a couple versions where the skunk stripes look well done.  Mine is sort of all over the place.  My doll's Certificate of Authenticity states it was product #20.  (We all know these number really don't mean anything, but it always feels nice to get a low number for some reason.)  I LOVE that they have returned to the Optic Clash lips.

The thing about Mothership Dania Zarr that elevates her above your average Fashion Royalty doll is the chrome bodysuit.  (Both the bodysuit and the necklace use magnets to hold them together.  VERY NICE!)

It is very difficult to photograph this ensemble because the chrome reflects the light so much.  For a better view here is the IT promo photo.

Let's answer my two collecting questions.

1) Does this release rank in the top 3 versions of this mold/character? There are currently six other versions of Dania Zarr in my collection.  

I actually like the Dania Zarr mold quite a bit and have owned many other versions, including Red Zinger, Exclusive Interview, Optic Clash, Day, Irresistible, and Nostalgic.  I also owned the Iconic and Perfectly Suited versions of the Dania Zarr mold as Lana Turner.

The thing that truly makes Mothership stand out is that iconic ensemble.   It leave me speechless.  I applaud IT (and especially designer Jessy Ayala) for successfully translating it into 1:6 scale.  It is spectacular.  If you take the doll presented in stock, the answer would be a definitive "yes".  Not including the ensemble, I'm not sure.  

2) Would it be possible for this doll to make my Top 10 Countdown at the end of the year?  Again, if you take Mothership Dania Zarr as "presented", it would be near impossible to leave her off the Top 10 list (if there are 10 better, this is going to be an amazing year for collectors).  Separate from her ensemble, she's a lovely doll, but I'm not sure she would make the Top 10.

Because I do not plan to redress her any time soon, Mothership Dania Zarr will be staying here, in stock, for a while!