Friday, August 26, 2022

Her Name is Neema

Nothing imparts more excitement to a doll line than the introduction of a new character. For what would Barbie do without Midge? Or Gene without Madra? Or Tyler without Sydney? (We are unabashedly dropping first names, here, we know).

Ellowyne Wilde is not an exception. Back in 2006, when she debuted as the star on Wilde Imagination's cast, Ellowyne Wilde opened up a world where ennui, earthquake faults and vintage clothing store finds melded; a richly defined enclave that would soon be inhabited by an eclectic cast of characters: Prudence, Amber, Rufus, Lizette, and Penn. Fast forward to 2022, and Ellowyne, enjoying a much deserved renaissance, is ready to get her ongoing storyline rolling. And it will come to happen on August 26-28 at Virtual Doll Convention's upcoming "Better Together" Pop-Up event where Neema, Ellowyne's new acquaintance (is she friend or foe?) will be presented by Robert Tonner and Rachel Hoffman.

The event will have both live and virtual components so that every interested collector may partake of the fun. 

Dolldom was honored to produce photography as well as copy and poetry to accompany the introductory line of Neema, all of which we share with you in this exclusive entry. 

"Life's a Beach"

The sea, the sun!
I love the fun
Of going to the seashore.
As water sparkles
And seagulls circle,
I gaze at all the blue.
My hair is dancing,
In the breeze prancing!
The beach! I just adore!
Whenever someone’s sad I’ll say:
“Come on, oh, love, what’s up?
Bring that pretty chin-up!
A little joy’s within our reach
Cause, baby, ‘Life’s a Beach!’”

Behold the utterly fabulous “Life’s a Beach” basic Neema! Basic, you say? We are not sure of that! Neema’s long, luxuriously soft, wavy hair looks windblown and is perfect for creative styling. Neema’s short and ever-so-sassy sky-blue and white striped romper boasts three to-scale decorative buttons down the front, a cotton canvas belt with gold tone buckle, and white high-heeled sandals. Long, flirty eyelashes add even more depth to Neema’s sable-colored eyes.

"Straight and Narrow"

The urban vibe,
I feel alive
While greeting all my neighbors.
That’s how I get to craft my art,
My people are my inspiration.
I love to walk the bustling streets
Of my beloved community.
As I pass by, in this cool style,
I hear ten enthusiastic bravos.
I turn to wave and with a smile
Exclaim: “I’m wearing ‘Straight and Narrow!’
Take not all glam aficionados!"

Cause a girl has every right to rock the block, “Straight and Narrow” Neema arrives in a coral soft-as-silk cotton-knit jumper that’s hugging her every curve. An ultra-versatile light pink long sleeved turtleneck lets Neema keep her cool in case it turns chilly, while her fire-engine red, high heeled, lace-up boots communicate that Neema is going places. Big gold tone hoops add restrained bling. “Straight and Narrow” Neema debuts a rooted plaited hairstyle boasting wires in each braid, an open invitation for hair play! Eyelashes, long and dark, finish the urban vibe look.

"Shining Example"

An invitation with gold seal read:
“You are most cordially invited.”
Quite an event, but what to wear?
I surely wish to sparkle!
Sequins of gold, beads caramel,
Like magic gems shine on my dress!
In such fashion effervescence
The room I enter, prideful.
My hostess smiles, revelers rise
I’m a “Shining Example”.

Evocative of Yves Saint Laurent’s Spring-Summer 1967 African Collection, “Shining Example” Neema is a sight to behold and a must in any fashion doll collection! A silk little black dress peeks from underneath a sensationally luxurious black net overdress embroidered with abandon in copper and honey-colored sequins and beads. Statement-making beaded necklaces and bracelets augment the glow, while sexy black faux patent leather boots play foil to this fashion extravaganza. Marcel waves and soft curls create a hairstyle sophisticated yet playful. Black eyelashes emphasize the serenity of Neema’s gaze.

"Charmed, I'm Sure" 

The nighttime sky, all velvet black,
Enveloped stars like diamonds.
An evening grand and magical
Began with music classical.
I needed no crown in my regal gown.
It was an evening enchanted!
Aside, I watched dance and romance
Of partiers in luscious velour
When suddenly, a voice demure
Surprised me with: “‘Charmed, I Am Sure’,
A gem, your gown, of haute couture!”

Unadulterated and undiluted glamour is what “Charmed, I’m Sure” Neema is all about. And to be frank, we were not expecting anything but from the creative mind of Robert Tonner for his very first Neema doll in a formal gown. The one-shoulder bodice of silk shantung is appliquéd with embroidered and beaded lace. A billowing skirt of cut-to-look-like-feathers yarn adds textural balance and is made for dancing the evening away! Pink net gauntlet gloves receive the same embroidered and beaded appliqued treatment as the bodice. Pendant earrings of pink-champagne faceted beads drop elegantly from Neema’s ears. Two braided buns crown the side-gathered, long haired rooted hairstyle. Velvety-black eyelashes, of course!

"Charmed, I'm Sure" (Ellowyne's version)

Those who know my ennui,
My moods, and all my sighing,
Are quite aware that I find peace
Indulging in high fashion remedies!
Last evening was the opposite
Of alleviating sadness, for at the ball
What do I see? My gown, its exact likeness!
But not reflected on a mirror grand
But rather on another partier!
The fear of feeling ridiculed,
For this was not on April Fools’,
Hastened my Cinderella’s exit!
My host, confused and most surprised
“‘Charmed? I’m Sure’” in haste inquired.
With tears cascading, I did reply:
“I wish I were, my dear sire,
But every time that I see double
Most surely means I’ll get in trouble!”

“Charmed, I’m Sure” Ellowyne’s Version
Just like her Neema counterpart, “Charmed, I’m Sure” Ellowyne is the epitome of glamorous dressing. Robert Tonner’s idea for his very first Neema doll in a formal gown is built on a dramatic storyline that calls for Ellowyne to arrive at the ball wearing the same gown with one-shoulder bodice of silk shantung appliquéd with embroidered and beaded lace and billowing skirt of cut-to-look-like-feathers yarn. Pink net gauntlet gloves receive the same embroidered and beaded appliqued treatment as the bodice. Pendant earrings of pink-champagne faceted beads cascade from Ellowyne’s ears like her tears later will. Two braided buns crown the side-gathered, long haired rooted hairstyle. Velvety-black eyelashes frame her soon-to-be-wet eyes. The drama!

It's not every day that such a luxurious line with a new fashion doll character is offered to collectors. Kudos to Robert Tonner and Rachel Hoffman for realizing this dream doll project. Make sure that you bookmark Virtual Doll Convention's Ellowyne Boutique. 


Monday, August 22, 2022

Ceci n'est pas (seulement) une poupée

We at Dolldom are of the opinion that there is nothing but pleasure in being surrounded by dolls. And while many enjoy living, cooking, shaving, dressing up and sleeping in the company of their dolls, others prefer to devote a separate space that functions as a realm of dolly delight.

But when codes are challenged and, as a result, broken, our consciousness evolves and appreciation for expression via the doll form augments. For it is not everyday that the dollector can combine doll and décor in a harmoniously seamless manner. 

Hvala Dolls' Mi is such a code breaker. Although very much a doll, Mi is designed to express a message of universal appeal: humanity (as young as it is) is being studied by an older (more experienced) form of intelligence. Mi is an intergalactic traveler who with every OOAK iteration brings an invitation to ponder such an illuminating and humbling idea. 

In this Dolldom entry, two Mi dolls hang out among a collection of vases. Two are Puerto Rican ceramic vessels designed to evoke the Cemí of Taíno people in the Caribbean. The third is a Jonathan Adler minimalist creature. As if trying to be incognito, the Mi and the vases function as observers that we, in turn, observe, perhaps completing a circle. But is it truly complete when, in the background, we discover eyes watching us watching Mi?   

Visit Mi by Hvala Dolls

Mi and their clothing by Hvala Dolls

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Redefining Being

The current dialogue concerning fashion, patriarchal traditions and the expression of the self fascinates Dolldom. And it is in the realm of ball-jointed dolls where the exchange of ideas is robust and energetic, perhaps due to the extent to which doll sculptors are realizing their visions of human beauty.

Doll Menagerie MarmiteSue exemplifies the trend. Although offered as female and male presenting, the denizens of Elli Effenberger's realm implicitly invite us to explore what constitutes fashion at a time when evolved mindsets about gender expression push for a redefinition.

Three MarmiteSue characters, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus (Baby iteration), model styles based on three ideals: comfort, practicality, and glamour. Dolldom believes that all dolls (and human beings for that matter) should enjoy the pleasures of sartorial decoration as they define it: paillette-encrusted illusion netting, 1940's tailored pin-striped slacks with suspenders, combat boots, or a silvery silk vest, for example. The point is to be as you wish to be in both your personal as well as professional lives while partaking of the best that fashion has to offer. It's not feminine, it's not masculine: it's just you.

In an early fall look, Saturn rocks a metallic silk vest and jersey knit tights designed by Tyler Wentworth for her "Urban Sport" ensemble.  A feathered fez from Tonner Doll Company's Théâtre de la Mode "Fleurs du Mal" replaces the usual knit cap. Boots by NuminaDoll. 

Fifth and Biggest
Jupiter loves the classic styling of these high-waisted, pin-striped trousers as the suspenders enhance the vintage feel. A jersey knit turtleneck and a hyperbolic houndstooth wool scarf bring practicality to the cool weather look. Trousers by Ashton-Drake for Mel Odom's Trent Osborn. Turtleneck and scarf by Tyler Wentworth. Wig by NuminaDoll. Shoes by Paul Zhangby on e-Bay.

Your Fire and Your Desire
Venus (Baby iteration) goes minimalist in this elevation of the ubiquitous T-shirt and jeans. The T-shirt is replaced by an illusion netting body suit embroidered with lace appliqués and black paillettes. VDC's Grace Boutique provides the democratic pants in black leatherette. Combat boots by JAMIEshow Doll made for Mel Odom's Trent Osborn. Wig by NuminaDoll. 

Face-up designs by Steos Studios
Thank you to lynlovesdollcollecting for making the adoption of this trio possible.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

All Creatures Great and Small

As a child, Joey Versaw had a huge fascination with troll dolls. To him they were different and magical! Versaw explains: "They were me! In all of the ways I felt I did not fit into the restraints of society, for some strange reason I felt free and in a peaceful place when I played with a troll doll."

Years later, Versaw finds himself going back to the roots of what made him the individual that he is today. He still holds on to his very first troll dolls being the only things that have survived his life journey from childhood. It's only logical that as a doll artist and toy designer, Versaw found himself wanting to recreate these beloved childhood creatures maintaining the nostalgic feel but updating them just enough to bring in his style and creative ideas. And it all starts with the name: Troglyns

               Illustration by Branimagination

Versaw describes the first of two Troglyn offerings, Sea Trolls: “Deep down in the depths of the sea, tiny sea trolls dance and swim free. Each little troll is as different as can be! Just like you! & just like me!” Available in both female and male presenting. Each Sea Troll will come to you with a stand and a comb. The Sea Trolls are frozen Charlotte style, except that having  a ball jointed neck, the head can swivel. They will be available to be customized with your choice of hair color, eye color, and tail color. Also available as a separate accessory is their adorable friend Mr. Neigh, the seahorse."

The second offering is called Earth Trolls. Versaw elaborates: “Oh how we dance and how we sing, nothing but joy are we here to bring! So put on the music and that smile on your face, for when you visit us you bring magic to your place!” Available in both female and male presenting. These little 3-inch trolls are articulated at the neck, shoulders, and hips. Each troll will come with a comb and clothing patterns so you can make your own easy felt clothing for them! They will be available to customize with your choice of hair and eye colors."

Dolldom is delighted to get to know these fun friends from imaginary forests and seas. For more information and to preorder, visit Versaw's website. Two more offerings will be debuting later in October!