Custom Esme

This is a former Cover Girl Esme (2000) that I bought nude to customize. By the time I had painstakingly rerooted her, Tonner had issued a factory Esme with a similar hair tone and even hairstyle (so I could have saved myself all that work… grrr.) On the other hand, all that work I put into her made her special to me, and while she´s far from perfect, she still makes me proud.

I made her sheath from a Gene pattern in Dolls In Print magazine. The magazine was, sadly, short-lived but it contained one of my all-time favourite patterns.

And here´s Tonner´s Sumptuous Esme (2004). Not identical, but similar enough that I wouldn´t have re-rooted mine if Sumptous had been available when I started.

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Vivien, after

Here´s Vivien (Milano Alex) after I had darkened her eyebrows. (See her before modeling the “Trousseau for Cherry Blossom”). I think she looks a lot better now!

“Kiss Me Gene”

To attend the Broadway revival premiere of “Kiss Me Kate”, Vivien picked a vintage gown that Gene Marshall had worn 50 years before to the original premiere of the same musical.

 

Kozy knit

Sunset Grille Alex in a sweater that I knit from a pattern in Faszination Fashion Doll.

Here´s Allie (Capital Investment Tyler, 2002) in the same sweater. The pants were also from a pattern in Faszination Fashion Doll.

A Cheongsam for Jade

The doll in pink is May Wong (Cheongsam Jade Lee from 2004) in her original outfit. The girl in blue is Simone (Lunch at Two Alex), with her hair restyled and a slight enhancement. I made the blue cheongsam from a dress in Faszination Fashion Doll, a German fashion doll fanzine.

Here´s Mod Jadde Lee (2004) modeling the same cheongsam. With her bangs removed, she looks so much like the girls in antique Asian art!

Trousseau for Cherry Blossom Jade

Way back in 2002, I participated in a swap on one of the doll boards. My swap partner was just waiting for her first 16″ doll – Cherry Blossom Jade (later spelt with double d) from Madame Alexander´s Alex line – to be relased and I designed the things I made for her with this doll and her colouring in mind, trying to compile a small but versatile basic trousseau. I didn´t have a Jade myself to model the outfits before I sent them off so my Alex girls had to help out. I´m sorry about the quality of the pictures but these are actually the only ones I have of these outfits. I rediscovered them a while ago in a folder.

A picture I grabbed from the internet to show you which girl these outfits were made for:

Lunch at Two Alex wears a velvet cheongsam with a white cherry blossom pattern made from a Simplicity Gene pattern. Lunch was one of the first Alex dolls from the 2000 collection. In keeping with the Chinese theme, I made a takeaway lunch box with noodles and chopsticks.

Vivien (Milano Alex from 2001) is the model for a grey sweater and red silk pencil skirt made from Tonner´s Tyler Wentworth fall pattern (I think). I repainted Vivien´s eyebrows to match her hair color somewhat later on. It irritates me when the brows are so much lighter.

Vivien dresses up by swapping the sweater for a corset (also from Tyler´s pattern) and accessorizes with a matching handbag.

For a hot summer day, Vivien dons a mod graphic print sheath. I forget which pattern I used.

Finally, Sunset Grille Alex, also from 2001, shows a simple but elegant nightgown (made from an enlarged Barbie pattern in Barbie Bazaar) that can also double as an evening gown if you want it to.

Flashback:

Dolls This Week– January 5, 2000

NEWS

NEW 16″ MADAME ALEXANDER FASHION DOLL
Madame Alexander is getting ready to unveil a new, 16″ fashion doll at toy fair in February!  The company has been running a mysterious ad with the new doll in silhouette in several of the current doll magazines.  The doll will have separate outfits available and will be along the lines of Gene, Sommers and Field, and Tyler Wentworth. (About.com)

Madame Alexander is one of the oldest and most prestigious doll companies in the US. Founded by Madame Alexander (d´oh!), they have been producing collectible and play dolls since 1923, including Cissy, the first fashion doll that had a “teen” body rather than a little girl´s. Following the success of Mel Odom´s Gene doll, the first modern 16″ fashion doll marketed to adult collectors, and the successful introduction of Robert Tonner´s Tyler Wentworth doll, MADC introduced Alexandra (sometimes misspelled Alexander) Fairchild Ford in 2000. While Gene Marshall is a movie star in the heyday of Hollywood and Tyler is a contemporary fashion designer, Alex is the editor of ELAN fashion magazine and her world was built up around this.

AA Paris Williams, the entertainment editor, was added in 2001. Chinese Jade Lee was introduced in 2002 as an award-winning architect initially hired by Alex to redecorate her office and New York flat and later given a column in ELAN. “Discussing the marriage of “Form and Function”, Jade’s “On Image” column explains her approach to both fashion and architecture as being informed by cultural influences and creative vision, and describes a few examples of recent outfits that illustrate her philosophy.” (MADC press release). Latina Sofia Cruz joined the crew in 2004 as the editor of the Spanish edition of ELAN. French-educated “ELAN´s It Girl” Suzette Morgan followed in 2005, as the author of a regular feature on lifestyle and domestic subjects.

Alex´aunt Amanda Fairchild was also introduced to the line in 2004 which permitted MADC to include fashions from different decades in the line.  “Always the epitome of glamour and beauty; from her heyday in the late 50’s and 60’s right through a new century, Amanda Fairchild, was raised in the languid gentility of New Orleans. From her, Alex received an overview of fashion history and an eye for clothes that few young women are fortunate to have. To this day, Alex credits this informal training as the source of her success as an editor. And it is certainly why she has hired her Aunt Amanda as an adjunct editor of Élan, and why Amanda is featured on a regular basis in the magazine. With her panache and flair for fashion over five decades, Amanda Fairchild has become a legend in the fashion world and something as a Grand Dame in the best of the couture houses.”  Finally, Sienna Evans joined in 2006 as the new beauty editor.

Fun facts:

  • Fairchild was also the surname of Barbie´s mod cousin Francie, who was issued between 1966 and 1976. As Francie simply vanished from Barbie´s world without an explanation, perhaps Alex Fairchild Ford is, in fact, Francie´s secret lovechild?
  • The AA man in Tonner´s Tyler line, Russell, also goes by the surname Williams. Cpuld he be Paris Williams´ brother, cousin, husband (oh noes! Poor Esme!)…?
  • Besides MADC´s Jade Lee, there is also an Asian character named Jade in the Bratz line, and one in Integrity´s play line. Tonner introduced Suzette Dubois into Tyler´s world in 2004. Why can´t companies be a bit more original?
  • Alex and friends have also cameo´d as other characters. In MADCs Hollywood line, Alex played Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face and as Sabrina and Holly Golightly; Sienna played Leslie Caron as Gigi, Grace Kelly, and Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods; Amanda played Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund and Marilyn Monroe as Lorelei Lee. The Desperate Housewives dolls also featured the Alex line sculpts, among them a blonde Jade. The scupts were also used for the History of Fashion line.