Thursday, June 26, 2014
Glitter Girls. They dance and parade in exquisite anonymity. Perfect depictions of an ideal created in a space of time that continues changing every day. But it does not hurt to revisit the fantasy and in so doing, acknowledge the hard work of the many ladies of stage and screen who danced and sang with a smile hoping perhaps that one day they would be the star of the show.
In 1997, Ashton-Drake produced artist Mel Odom's "Bird of Paradise" Gene Marshall doll in a costume based on a William Ivey Long design of a circa-1949-showgirl bathed in diamonds and perfectly accessorized with the grandest of millinery plumes. The final production substituted the dramatic feathers with pink tulle for reasons- we assume- of cost and difficulty in packaging. Nonetheless, the costume captures the essence of a rich tradition of show business and spellbinding spectacle.
Dolldom revisits the original this time modeled by the exquisite resin ball-jointed "Phoenix" Gene Marshall produced by JAMIEshow Dolls. Dolldom's stylists edited the turban out and substituted it with a JAMIEshow Dolls' rooted wigcap styled with the iconic Undulation Marcel (Marcel Wave) so popular worldwide in the 1920s-30s. She wears earrings designed by Joy Jarred.
Story from the story card packaged with the doll:
"Beautiful showgirls are a dime a dozen in Hollywood. Dressed in fantastical costumes of spangles and glitter, together they are a dizzying dazzle of lookalikes. And each and every one of them cherishes a dream of discovery and stardom.
But Bird of Paradise is a script about a showgirl who didn't want to be discovered. It was this uniquely whimsical twist that charmed Gene about this light romantic comedy.
In the script, a famous director treats showgirls with contempt--if he notices them at all. When he meets Gene at the commissary he believes her to be a respected scriptwriter and is enchanted by her pretty face, lively wit, and warm heart. But Gene is actually a showgirl in his own show and fears losing him if he learns the truth. Meanwhile, the leading man wants Gene to be the "spotlight girl", the one the camera focuses on at the start of the spectacle. A hilarious cat-and-mouse chase ensues on stage as Gene tries to avoid the pursuing spotlight so her love won't notice her.
Suddenly she's caught in the brilliant spotlight, the crystal beads flashing in a dazzling rainbow of light. Like the wings of a fairytale bird, triple-beaded swags of crystal and a misty cloud of pink tulle sweep from waist to wrist. Crystal drops glisten on the shimmering feathered turban. At the lavish finale, the director has learned a valuable lesson: that under all the fancy plumage, a bird of paradise can be the sweetest, most loving songbird of all."