Saturday, May 9, 2020

Her Own Signature, Her Own Style

A Tribute to Tyler Wentworth

One of the many beauties of doll collecting is remembering the first impression that a doll leaves engraved in one's memory. For Robert Tonner's Tyler Wentworth's 20th anniversary, it seems fitting to put into words Dolldom's initial meeting with the now legendary fashion designer. It was late in December 1999, when Dolldom went by MUNI bus to downtown San Francisco's FAO Schwarz to pick up a pre-ordered brunette Tyler Wentworth "Signature Style" doll. Once home, Dolldom opened the slender purple box and moved the silky tissue away. There she was - Miss Tyler Wentworth!

Surprisingly different from the haughty and more mature-looking prototype doll advertised on-line and in every doll magazine at the time, the actual production Tyler was a young woman with an idealized yet realistic sculpt enhanced minimally with a subtle face-up. Where Mel Odom's Gene Marshall was the exuberant Hollywood beauty with the ethereal gaze, dressed to the nines, Tyler was the no non-sense, fresh-faced youngster in a sober uniform and dark glasses, a nod to the always impeccable Carolina Herrera.

Dolldom was immediately captivated by the aesthetic. Once out of the box - the ease of untying those white ribbons! - and on her hefty Lucite stand, Tyler beckoned the viewer to study her as the light in the room played with her features and revealed her character. From that moment on, Tyler Wentworth and her ever-growing group of friends, family, and even foes continued to populate Dolldom's collection, but it has always been that first "Signature Style" brunette the doll that has held our heart.

Tyler Wentworth's story and story line are both now part of the history of the fashion doll and its renaissance at the turn of the 21th century. Lucky are those who lived the excitement of the times - a period when collectors went to stores to hand-select their newest babe, paying attention to little variations in face-paint and hair. As for the legacy of Miss Wentworth and her creator Robert Tonner, it's undeniable given the depth and breadth of her collection, one that delighted us for more than fifteen years.

But on a personal level, "Signature Style" Tyler Wentworth impacted Dolldom more than just in my collecting pursuits. To this day, Dolldom voluntarily wears a uniform to work - our own version of her "Signature Style". For such is, dear collector friends, the real power of play.

"Signature Style" Tyler Wentworth redefined the concept of a basic doll. In her luxurious wool and crisp cotton uniform and her high ponytail made of the finest Saran fibers, she was a fully-developed character with a strong work ethic and commitment to the House of Wentworth started by her aunt Regina.


  1. Wasn't it a halcyon time, the growth of fashion dolls, and being able to browse and drink everything in at a brick and mortar store?

  2. The set dressing on this shoot was impeccable! And that closeup is just magical.