Saturday, May 21, 2016

If Movie Stars Were Dolls...

We're having one DOLLICIOUS time in Paris this time around! Dolls of all types, sizes and shapes have literally invaded the French capital, appearing here, there and everywhere. In addition to the humongous Barbie exhibition we covered two posts ago, there are vintage dolls with their wardrobes on display across the way at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs' exhibition's "300 Years of Fashion." In another part of town, 12" dolls and action figures have come together at the city's Doll Museum for an exhibition focusing on "Hollywood Stars as Dolls."

On view through September 3, La Musee des Poupees is featuring over a hundred dolls and action figures, all fashioned in the image of iconic stars representing the glory days of the silent film era to the blockbusters of today. Many are familiar faces you know from Mattel's collector series like Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, and Audrey Hepburn Barbies. But there are a few surprises.

Grace Kelly
The James Bond series with 12-inch effigies of Sean Conner and Roger Moore, complete with martini fixings and handguns as well as a few of the film's Bond girls and notorious villains are a few examples of merchandise produced to promote the franchise. Other not-so-familiar figurines include a John Wayne cowboy, Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction), Rock Hudson and Doris Day, Jessica Lange complete with the gorilla (King Kong), Shirley Temple, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and even Laurel & Hardie and Groucho Marx. There are dolls representing the films, Titanic, Twilight Batman, Star Wars, Star Trek, Grease, Wizard of Oz, Cinderella and even The Adams Family! We also appreciated seeing pop stars in miniature: Diana Ross, Cher, Barbara Streisand and Elvis. In all, there are 24 Windows all populated with these 12" stars encircled with posters and photos of their namesakes. In addition to Mattel, there are also dolls from the Tonner Doll Company, Disney, Hasbro, DC Comics and Mego.
Roger Moore

Sean Connery

James Bond girls

While this is not the over-the-top Barbie exhibit we saw across town, it is a more intimate event doll lovers will find to be charming and worth the trip. For those of ou unfamiliar with this museum, the price of admission also includes a stroll through their "history of dolls" permanent exhibition.
Adams family, Jim Carey

Laurel & Hardy, Groucho Marx, Josephine Baker

Once again I have posted a great deal of photos for those of you who cannot make it to Paris to see this. I've also noted below, the museum's website so that you can keep up with all the museum's activities should you ever visit this neck of the woods. There is also a resale shop for vintage dolls (on site and online), clothes & accessories, books and cards. Appraisal and restoration service is also available here.
Catwoman, Batman

Charlie's Angels
"Hollywood Stars as Dolls." Musee de la Poupee. Impasse Berthaud. 75003 Paris. (Metro: Rambuteau or Les Halles). Open Tuesday-Saturday 1-6pm (last entry at 5:30pm) except holidays. Entrance: 8 Euros

Doris Day, Rock Hudson

Gone with the wind


Greta Garbo

Jessica Lange

Johnny Depp

Dick van Dyke, Julie Andrews

Marilyn Monroe

I Love Lucy

Cher, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Elvis

Shirley Temple

Star Trek

Star Wars
All photos taken by Fashion Doll Stylist. 2016.

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Stardust Memories

A few of the girls are in France for the Cannes Film Festival and somehow I got roped into making a few dresses for them! (Yes, they have more than enough clothes already but you know how it is....they say they can't be seen in the same dress twice!) Nonetheless the seeds of this project were originally planted in my mind upon the sight of a black Versace gown Jennifer Garner wore at the last Oscars Award Ceremony.
Jennifer Garner in Versace (center). My rendition using beads (left). The same dress but with black glitter (right). Glitter works better in this case!
The dress had beads over one breast and in my attempt to recreate the look, I added beads to mine. But the scale was off. The beads were simply not small enough. This haunted me which prompted more research as to how I could more faithfully reproduce the look.

In the three and a half years I've been making these tiny clothes, what I've learned is that scale is important, but achieving a look often times involves.....illusion. There's lots of glitter on the streets of Paris. It's mostly contained to sneakers and T-shirts, but looking at it had me thinking that for the doll, the tiny sparkles could be interpreted as...BEADS! And yes, glitter is messy (but not always), and yes it can look really tacky very quickly. But by exploring the possibilities, I discovered that glitter can be used to create a sophisticated high fashion garment for the12 inch glamour girl.
There are three sizes of glitter: Super fine--just the right scale for doll shoes and accessories; Regular size--usually the cheapest, this is great for giving the illusion of tiny rhinestones--and; Large flakes--not easy to find, not so easy to glue, but gives the illusion of small sequins a doll's dress. There is also a way to work with glitter without the mess...iron-on sheets of fine glitter. It's really best for cutting out shapes or trims than using over large areas of a garment..

To keep glitter looking fashion rather than kiddie crafts, consider using unexpected fabrics like neutral tone wools, cotton or linen or go overboard like I did by putting glitter on shiny or sparkling fabrics. Here, I've used stretch lurex. As for glue, do NOT use craft glue as it will harden the fabric. Textile glue is better. If you can find it, there is a textile glue specifically designed for applying glitter.

For the first dress, I made a sheath dress out of grey wool.

1. I stitched one side of the garment together and turned under the hem. Mark the area of your design with tape.
2. Working quickly, spread the glue over this area.
3. Generously sprinkle the glue.

4. Allow to dry and shake off the excess.
5. Remove the tape. I used a soft brush to remove stray glitter from the body of the dress. Finish sewing the dress together.
6. I made leggings out of lurex to accessorize the dress.

My red carpet gown is both glamorous and easy to make.

1. It begins with a strapless sheath. I have added glitter to the dress down to the top of the hips. And I have added small straps made from glittered lurex strips.
2. I cut a full circle skirt from the lurex. There is only a slit in the middle the size of her waist circumference and it is cut down the back seam. Nothing is hemmed so that the fabric blends in with the dress underneath. Should your lurex fray, use a bit of fray-check product.

3. Create a pleat by grabbing a bit of the fabric from the left side of the doll and wrap it to the right and pin.
4. You can add as many pleats as you want simply by repeating step 3. Here, I've made three pleats. Hand stitch them to the dress underneath.
5. Here is what my dress looks like in the back. You can leave it open or stitch down the center back seam, leaving an opening near the waist, closing it with a hook&eye.

Since Veronique was appearing on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, I added a small rhinestone brooch on her hip.

If you hate the mess but love the sparkle, iron one glitter is worth a try. There is a uniformity to this medium that you will either love or not. Here, I wanted to maintain the purity of line with this tunic and straight skirt.

1. Again, I put together a shortened tent dress, sewing one side then turning under the hem, but leaving it flat. I do the same for the skirt.
2. I try the outfit on the doll to determine how deep the border should be.
3. Using tracing paper, I draw the shape of the border, then put my draping on the back of the glitter sheet and trace. Cut it out.
3b. You can create any sort of design you desire. For the lurex dress to follow, I created this star.

4. Follow directions for your glitter sheet. For the one I bought, the glitter is placed shiny side up on the right side of the garment.
5. It's then flipped over and you iron everything together on the wrong side of the garment. You may have to iron longer than the instructions require.
6. Here is what the skirt looks like. Since you don't see the entire skirt, it is only necessary to put the glitter on part of the skirt.

Voila the result. I've kept it simple. Silver on beige sand on the beach!

Here, I was more creative. I drew a huge star which I placed on one side of a lurex shift dress.

When I place to two techniques side by side, you see the difference. The loose glitter has a more "organic" or uneven look (though I could have added a second layer of glitter). It also looks more like tiny rhinestones! The iron-on glitter is finer, sharper, almost as if the design was woven into the fabric.

This is a bra and leggings that I have quickly draped a piece of black satin over Anna's form. The black glitter on black fabric gave me just the right discreet look of beads I was shooting for. I used the wrong (less silver) side of the lurex for the leggings and added a light layer of black glitter.

All text and images property of Fashion Doll Stylist 2016.

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Friday, May 6, 2016

BARBIE!!! (The Expo)

This is an exhibition that me and the girls were most anxious to see. "Barbie" arrived in Paris in March and plans to stick around all summer long through September 18. This is the first time ever, a major French museum has dedicated its walls to the most famous doll ever....Barbie! And we can say unequivocally, Barbie is in her element at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs (a wing of the famed Louvre museum). Some 700 dolls--from the early bathing suit beauty to the most recent "Curvy" and "Made to Move" Barbies are all present over 1500 square meters (4500 square feet) of exhibition space. In dolly talk...every Barbie who's any Barbie is there!

The ultimate Barbie Haute Couture show in Paris!!!!
There are many dolls you know but some you've probably never seen (like Marie Antoinette Barbie), all of which make for a most exhilarating experience. However, this is a cultural exhibition and not a toy store display (though critics beg to differ), so naturally, the museum's curators were diligent in its focus on the historical and sociological context of the icon. As a subject, dolls have their own history, and they also play an important role in fashion history. Though initially created as toys for wealthy children, they did not resemble juvenile bodies, but rather, those of grown women. (Keep in mind that childrenswear is a modern invention and prior to the 20th century, adult clothes were simply scaled down to fit kids.) The doll's body was not faithful to the human form. It existed primarily to show off the clothes...much in the same way as the early Barbies.
Marie Antoinette Barbie. And no, I don't know if her head comes off!!!

The couturiers of the 19th-early 20th centuries often used dolls as an economical way to display concepts or as a means to present their fashions abroad. This exhibition begins on this point by displaying a few historical French dolls. After a brief explanation, the spotlight is clearly handed over to Barbie, the main focus of the show.
These photos from Barbie's Instagram page. Courtesy of Mattel.
As you enter the exhibition, there are several cubicles each with Barbie clad in a contemporary outfit completely accessorized right down to the Hermes or Chanel inspired handbag. These were made especially for this show and have been appearing on Barbie's own Instagram account. In another space the entire design process from face and body to clothing is explained.
In a recent interview for this show, Mattel designer, Robert Best provided a bit of insight. "Barbie represents a collaborative effort amongst everyone working for her." He goes on to say, "The first step consists of creating sketches of proposals for clothing as well as hair and makeup. We are inspired by global trends, color, a motif, a feeling but nothing specific. The proposals evolve before we act on anything.

"We then collaborate with fabric manufacturers and make samples of clothes which are more or less finished. But nothing can go into production without the accord of everyone involved in the chain of command including those working in our factories abroad." Best has worked for Mattel for 20 years, though admitted, "I took this job thinking I'd only stay one year."

Created in 1959 by Ruth and Elliot Handler, Barbie was inspired by a German doll, Lilli. Ruth designed her doll with an ample bustline (remember, Marilyn Monroe's curvy figure was all the rage in the 1950's!) The executives at Mattel as well as those participating in the New York toy fair were quite skeptical. They feared little girls would be put off by the doll's mature physical dimensions as well as her sophisticated wardrobe at a time when baby dolls were plentiful and all the rage. But once stores agreed to take a chance on Barbie, she flew off the shelves, proving to be a top selling toy both before and after Christmas. By 1962, Handler who planned to produce 20,000 dolls per week, was forced to triple the production to meet demand.
Family Portrait: mommy, daddy and Barbie. Photo courtesy of Mattel
What differentiated Barbie from other dolls of those times, was that she evolved as lifestyles changed. She was a fashion doll certainly, but she was also designed to assume many professional roles: nurse, secretary, stewardess, teacher, in beginning, then more ambitious careers afterwards.

As times and women's roles in society changed, so did Barbie. John Glenn went to space in 1963. So went Barbie in her own 1/6 scale space suit! The exhibition visualizes all 150 careers Barbie has had, each presented separately under a glass bell. Did you know that Barbie has been a police officer, deep sea diver, race car driver, McDonald's waitress, construction worker or Cabaret performer? And long before there was a Hillary Clinton running for office, there was Barbie (a candidate four times already!!!)

As women tossed their high heels aside in favor of sports gear, so did Barbie. She plays tennis, skis, swims, dances, and today's Made-to-Move Barbie practices yoga all over the globe!

Barbie Babyfoot
Globalization has led to Barbie morphing into a rainbow of multiracial, multicultural communities, all of which reflect life as we know it today. Women's bodies have changed, so it is befitting that curvy Barbie and short Barbie have come into being.
Barbies of the world
But first and foremost, Barbie is a supermodel extraordinaire and the museum went to great measures to illustrate this.
The famous "Little Black Dress" collection is where many of us began our doll collecting.
A small catwalk show is populated with dolls wearing fashions created by some of the most distinguished design houses on the planet. Some reflect familiar collaborations (Burberry, Coach, Lagerfeld, Christian Louboutin, Herve Leger), while others borrowed one-of-a-kind garments designed by iconic designers (Christian Lacroix, Paco Rabanne, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent) from previous exhibitions and private collections. There are also vintage fashions from the early years inspired by full scaled garments. The difference in quality between the wardrobe of Barbie's early years and those from today's "fast fashion" is startling!

On with the show!

Christian Lacroix, Jean-Claude de Castelbajac, Thierry Mugler, Paco Rabanne

Moschino, Coach, Diane von Furstenberg, Lancon

Christian Louboutin

Jean Paul Gaultier

Herve Leger, Sonia Rykiel, Marchesa

After you've passed by the display of Barbies inspired by popular TV shows (like Mad Men or X-Files), Movies (like Hitchcock's "The Birds" or "Some Like It Hot" with Marilyn Monroe) or even an artist (Warhol), you wonder...what more could there be??!!
Tippie Hendrin Barbie relives Hitchcock's "The Birds"

Barbie Warhol

Barbie Marilyn
Brace yourself. The most amazing dioramas you've every seen  are upstairs! It all begins with the Couture Atelier populated with "petits mains" (seamstresses), working on their minuscule power sewing machines, arranging the supplies or fitting the model. It is amazing in its attention to detail.

Next door, is a photo studio where a Silkstone Barbie poses for the camera in the glare of a tiny strobe light.

In front there is another set with Barbie is standing next to a wrought iron door, inviting in a gentleman who has parked his scooter outside.

Barbie nuns look on!

But the piece de la resistance is...the Haute Couture show. Within a breathtaking setting that could have been lifted from the house of Christian Dior, patrons sit while analyzing a fashion show of Silkstone Barbies on the podium. Outside, more dolls are arriving with handsome Ken dolls on their arms. Honestly, I could have looked at this all day long.

The exhibition ends with a wall of Barbie clothes. Some 7000 articles of clothes and accessories from playline collections are organized by color and mounted onto this ginormous installation. As children entered the room and saw this, they screamed in delight. While I am not into these kinds of Barbie clothes, I could totally relate to how they felt!
Wall of clothes.
I have posted as many photos as possible for the benefit you who cannot be here in person. However, if you are planning a trip to Paris (or somewhere nearby), I highly recommend this as a MUST-SEE event for all doll collectors....with or without your children!

Barbie. Musee des Arts Decoratifs. 107, rue de Rivoli. 75001 Paris. Open Tues-Sun 11am-6pm (Thurs. till 9pm). Admission 11 Euros.

Wow, what a great show. That was really enjoyable!!!
Unless otherwise indicated, all photos (taken with my Iphone) and text property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2016.

There's another show in town. "Hollywood Stars as Dolls," currently on at the Musee de la Poupee (Paris Doll Museum). We're preparing a new tutorial but the girls will be bringing you a report on that exhibition very soon!!!

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