Sunday, August 11, 2019

We Don't Mean Rhinestones

Last July 31 to August 3, 2019, Barbie doll fans had their yearly apotheosis, one that felt particularly important, as this year, the Barbie doll turned 60-years old. It was the iconic character's diamond jubilee. 

Every year, at the Saturday night banquet, Mattel regales fans with the most special gift of an convention-exclusive Barbie doll. This year, it had been revealed, the doll would be a Silkstone Barbie Fashion Model designed by Robert Best. And Dolldom must say that Best left his best for this occasion. The doll, "Diamond Jubilee", is a groundbreaking design for it forgoes BFMC's classic mid-20th century fashion formulas and ventures into contemporary fashion, not unlike "Proudly Pink". But "Diamond Jubilee" takes if to a higher level with an attitude that feels revitalizing for this amazing line of dolls. Dolldom cannot but wonder if this look anticipates what may be a new era for the Silkstone Barbie doll. We can only hope.

"Diamond Jubilee" Barbie models a mini dress of voluptuous ruffles in off-white moiré (the same color used on the early BFMC boxes), black silk satin skirt, united by a shiny faux patent leather belt, and bold faux-suede thigh-high boots. At 60, Barbie is rocking the look cleverly complemented by a beautiful face-up boasting gold eyeliner, silver glitter eye shadow, and pale pink lips. A luscious ponytail is a nod to the original model from 1959.

Dolldom was honored to host "Diamond Jubilee" Barbie in our studios for a photographic session that yielded this exclusive portfolio. Together, dear readers, let's  celebrate Barbie on her 60th anniversary!

Fashion illustration by Robert Best from his Instagram feed

 Note: Dolldom's editors styled "Dimaond Jubilee" with past Barbie Fashion Model Collection jewelry designs.  As such, the pin and the bracelet in our photos were not issued with the ensemble.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Black and White: Together, Forever

The iconic look of a faux zebra skin swimsuit inspires a celebratory gesture from Robert Best for The Barbie Fashion Model Collection. "Black and White Forever" Barbie goes all out to emphasize the impact of contrast and scale - the white an black stripes are now bands in gradating widths. And what better but a bow, large and voluminous, to add an element of surprise to the back?

Barbie is as sparkling as ever with deep blue eyes, vivid red lips and a sprinkling of silver glitter on her eyelids. Her platinum hair is also streaked with raven black, gathered in an elegant chignon.

The questions is: is this a total look where doll and fashion are forever joined or can "Black and White Forever" Barbie rock other looks? We think that you already known the answer, as any teen-age fashion model worth her salt - regardless of the fact that she is 60- will jump at the opportunity to model a selection of fashions in the same evocative color scheme.

Happy 60th, Barbie doll! Here's to black and white together and forever!

A glamorous black raw silk coat and dotted tulle chapeau by Bogue's Vogues is ideal Barbie style. Add a pair of classic cat-eyes glasses and Barbie is on the go. She's vintage and she's now. Who else can meld the past and present so seamlessly? Just Barbie.

Underneath, a slender sheath in a black and white floral print with attached ruched cummerbund is seriously elegant.

Mid-century classic, reproduced by Integrity Toys for their Funny Face line, and Barbie gives Dovima a run for the money. Mother Ruth approves. Godmother Charlotte would have too.

A suit of pied-de-poule tweed - it's almost a cliché - but this time, Barbie gives Fashion Royalty's "Time and Again" duo-tone cropped jacket and skirt an unexpectedly fresh vibe.

Black and white, you say? Revisited in a cozy warm knit by HillCrestBarbies and Barbie is a delish as the eponymous cookie.

Life lesson: be simple, be elegant. When the cut is as beautiful as in this Vince Nowell asymmetrical LBD, it's easy to avoid excessive ornamentation. 

Classic cocktail: mix one part black, one part white, a good sprinkling of stars and, voilà, you get the slinky moonlit grey bias-cut "Starry Nights Mood" by Integrity Toys, made unforgettable by Barbie.

At home, relaxed, Barbie wears a comfortable silk robe by Rosina Haskell. A day of modeling done well deserves a break.

"Black and White Forever" Barbie by Robert Best - for the Barbie doll's 60th anniversary.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Defiantly Unique

Faces. Never forgotten for their character, their defiance, their pride, their uniqueness. Since beauty (and art) is as as relative as nature is absolute, who is to judge with superficial impulse these countenances, created by the inspired Julian Kalinowski using his three dimensional hard plastic canvases? As Kalinowski experiments with the doll form and continues to push the boundaries of what is beautiful, Dolldom confirms his daring genius.

This exclusive photo portfolio of his newest collection of OOAK dolls, dressed in fashions by Tania Lawrence, is paired with delectably playful imagery - by the ever-unique Dame Edith Sitwell.

Edith Sitwell by Pavel Tchelitchew, circa 1935

"By Candlelight"
by Edith Sitwell

Houses red as flower of bean,
Flickering leaves and shadows lean!

Pantalone, like a parrot,
Sat and grumbled in the garret—
Sat and growled and grumbled till
Moon upon the window-sill
Like a red geranium
Scented his bald cranium.

Said Brighella, meaning well:
“Pack your box and—go to Hell!
Heat will cure your rheumatism!” . . .

Silence crowned this optimism—
Not a sound and not a wail:
But the fire (lush leafy vales)
Watched the angry feathers fly.
Pantalone ’gan to cry-

Could not, would not, pack his box!
Shadows (curtseying hens and cocks)
Pecking in the attic gloom
Tried to smother his tail-plume . . .

Till a cockscomb candle-flame
Crowing loudly, died: Dawn came.

Dolls by Julian S. Kalinowski
Fashions by Tania Lawrence
Millinery by Tania Lawrence and Bestiaire
Purses by LizRetros

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Pink Pride, Pink Power

As time passes, our perception of the color pink continues to evolve and connotations of a type of femininity contrived by outmoded patriarchal values disappear. As she turns 60-years old, the Barbie doll is the consummate representative of the ever controversial hue, poetically defined by the also-iconic Elsa Schiaparelli as “bright, impossible, impudent, becoming, life-giving, like all the light and the birds and the fish in the world put together.”

Designer Robert Best regales the Silkstone Barbie Fashion Model Collection with a look that would make the legendary Schiap proud and it's called "Proudly Pink". In a feat of monochromatic daring, the Barbie doll wears pink, PMS 219 - its official Pantone denomination, from head to toe. Too much pink? Absolutely no. For this is a look that epitomizes what the Barbie doll has come to signify: she is, in her unapologetic pinkness, a symbol of personal empowerment while having had to weather many a storm of criticism, ridicule, and scapegoating. With utmost pride she comes out of her dressing room exclaiming that strength comes from accepting who you are - pink, blue, green, or purple. "Proudly Pink" Barbie exhorts us to own our true colors, to be true to them, and to inspire others to do the same.

In this Dolldom exclusive, "Proudly Pink" Silkstone Barbie from the Barbie Fashion Model Collection celebrates her essential glow while demonstrating how versatile the color is when paired with black, silver, turquoise, and, of course, more pink! Be proud, be powerful, be pink!

A look for the ages - "Proudly Pink" adds another jewel to the crown of iconic Barbie doll fashion moments.

"Coquette" is all about volume - from the pouf sleeves of the blouse by Tania Lawrence to the full faille skirt by Bogue's Vogues.

"Bloomers" matches the roses from Fashionistas #92's "Retro Garden Party" and "Proudly Pink's" stretch stiletto boots.

"Night Angel" is evocative of 1980s Claude Montana. Suit by Tania Lawrence.

"Watusi" is for a night out disco dancing! In a fabulous-cause-it's-faux-fur coat from Mattel's 1996 Clueless collection, Barbie heads out to Studio 54.

Underneath, a silver mesh mini by Francesca Pigliapoco for Lotus Dolls reflects the light like the mirrored ball.

The show closes with a traditional gesture - white. But this is not a wedding dress in spite of it being Poppy Parker's "Wedding Belle's" wedding dress! Barbie edits out the veil and goes places with the polka-dotted net over satin wonder.