Sunday, February 3, 2019

A Brave, New, Non-Toxic World: The Numina's Argent

Last September 2018, The Numina's Discophelia event bore a rich harvest of photos on social media. Among the many reveals at the annual event, hosted by sculptor Paul Pham, were two new characters, the artist's first venture into the world of the doll-coded-as-male. And Dolldom took note. In fact, Dolldom went on high alert as it was - even in photos - palpable that the artist was not only making the ultimate accessory for his uniquely gorgeous and racially diverse female counterparts; these personnages, Aurum and Argent, were coming to life at a time when masculinity and femininity are being redefined by non-patriarchal standards and in the same way that gender binarism is no longer the norm.

And what are these new standards? We hope that any new standard is applicable to all human beings: empathy, patience, nurturing, attention to detail, spirituality. At the very least, these are the qualities with which The Numina's Argent is being gifted as he is welcomed to Dolldom. His face and body - his outward appearance - and what we as dollectors code by our own set of standards, will be perceived differently - just like beauty is the eye of the beholder. But as we continue to examine and explore the new options Argent will be our guide.

Argent's face (he identifies as male and his pronouns are he/him/his) has a special quality, perhaps what Susan Sontag calls "the haunting androgynous vacancy behind the perfect beauty of Greta Garbo." Depending on the angle, the identity reveals itself: deep in thought, solemn, intense. Argent has a mission and the agency to undertake a plan. His body is a sensitive examination of sinuous musculature developed via physical activity: "mens sana in corpore sano".

In this first feature, Argent takes the time to play basketball, to wear a skirt (a kilt is nothing but), and to show off the beauty of garments that have become part of the lexicon of universal fashion: classics that anyone can (and in Dolldom's view should) wear.

Track shorts and tank by The Numina/Dollcis. Wig by Chewin.

Kilt by Ayal Armon Doll Couture. Shirt by Tonner Doll. Wig by Chewin.

Hooded knit by Tonner Doll. Pants by Esefdoll on Etsy.

Coat and slacks by Tonner Doll. Turtleneck by Dollsviewpoint on Etsy.

Cap by Petit Tricotage.

Much gratitude to Paul Pham and Dollcis/The Numina for creating new opportunities to explore the world via dolls.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Meets The Captivating Miss Collier

With the success of Amazon Prime's fabulous The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, interest in 1950s fashion style was inevitable. The shows heroine is, after all, a fashion plate of the iconic kind in costumes designed by über talented Donna Kakowska.

Dolldom's editors enjoy and recommend the show not only for its storyline and excellent acting (Rachel Brosnahan is tops!) but also for its connections to one of their much beloved characters: the captivating 18-inch Kitty Collier by Tonner Doll Company. Who knew that, 17 years after her introduction, her fashion style would be evoked in a hit show?

"In a make-believe time and place, Kitty opens up her dress shop, which boasts the most beautiful clothing and accessories. Always the height of elegance, Kitty wears her highly detailed ensembles with great feminine flair. In 2000, Kitty Collier™ made her debut, marching onto the fashion doll scene as an unprecedented 18” full vinyl fashion doll with a vintage touch, bringing a breath of fresh air to collectors everywhere." - Tonner Doll Company catalog, 2000

No fashion doll collector can deny that Robert Tonner has given collectors dolls of amazing beauty and the 18-inch Kitty Collier embodies his creative integrity. Meant to portray the idealized beauty of mid-century American fashion design, the Kitty Collier line offered very high standards of manufacture at a very inviting price point. Kitty Collier's sculpt is based on Mr. Tonner's limited and much more expensive porcelain Decades of Fashion line from 1996. Yet, the inset eyes give the vinyl Kitty Collier undeniable depth of emotion.

The company allowed Kitty, so reminiscent of vintage grande dames such as Ideal's Revlon and American Character's Fashion Toni, to remain relatively unencumbered by a complex storyline, inviting collectors to build their own, pretty much in the same way that Ruth Handler did with Mattel's Barbie doll. The line was discontinued after 2006, but in retrospect, Kitty Collier stands proudly elegant amongst the plethora of fashions dolls created during the renaissance of the fashion doll ushered by Mel Odom's dreamy Gene Marshall and Mr. Tonner's own Tyler Wentworth.

Here's to marvelous Midge and captivating Kitty!

The Golden Hour 
"Cocktails at Five" from 2000 and "Grand Occasion" from 2006 illustrate the powerful glamour of gold brocade.

Not a Cloud in the Sky 
"My Blue Heaven" from 2001 could be taken out of a Douglas Sirk movie.

"Enchantée's" navy blue organza and satin cocktail ensemble is reminiscent of Barbie's "Dinner at Eight".

"Lilac Cotillion" is tour de force in doll making. Fabric, draping, face-up all combine in a perfect total look offering.

On the Avenue! 
"Fifth Avenue" is another perfect example of a total look offering, this time in a luxurious bouclé. The wool dress and coat set is from 2002.

Ladies Who Lunch "Park Avenue's" sober charcoal suit with plumed chapeau is a perfect counterpoint to "Lunch at the Ritz's" hot pink wool tailleur. Both are from 2003

Jungle Red! 
"Shopping Chic" is a classic red velvet coat with animal print collar and cuffs from 2000. An iconic look for an iconic doll.

Seeing Red 
Kitty Collier makes a grand entrance in "Scarlett Glamour's" figure-hugging red velvet gown from 2001.

Champagne Bubble 
The red bubble dress contained in the exclusive and very limited FAO Schwarz from 2002 is an unforgettably flirtatious confection.

A Rose Is... 
Evoking a fragrant rose garden, "Parfait Promenade" from 2002 is quintessential Kitty Collier style.

American Classic 
The ultrachic "American Beauty" is inspired by a Norman Norrell design.

Bon Voyage 
A traveling suit of inimitable elegance, "First Class" established Kitty Collier as major fashion plate.

For more on The Marvelous Mrs' Maisel's fashions. make sure to read this article from The Daily Beast.

All photos of the Kitty Collier doll by ©Dolldom / Ernesto Padro-Campos Photography