Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ringing in the New Year: Vintage Barbie Style

Well....A vintage reproduction anyway!  I think it's fitting to end the year with the doll that started my magnificent obsession of doll collecting and eventually, vintage fashion:  Barbie!    Ringing in the New Year in style is "Solo In The Spotlight" Barbie, an early Mattel vintage reproduction doll.  Her hair was re-rooted into an American Girl style (artist unknown).  May the New Year bring you peace, happiness, and a wealth of new dolls!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tis the Season!

To give!   To Celebrate!   To Enjoy!  

Happy Holidays

Queen of Hearts Gene Marshall in Bonnie & Blythe
Hat, gloves, & belt by The Couture Touch
Shoes from Integrity
Dress, fur, & jewelry from Ashton Drake

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Violet Waters Makes Her Holiday Entrance

Integrity's Heat Wave Violet Waters enjoys a Holiday cocktail in Gene Marshall's "Star Entrance" evening ensemble.  OOAK feathered headpiece from The Couture Touch,  jewelry from Tonner's Tyler Wentworth collection.  Violet's long locks have been restyled into a chignon.

I found this ad for Foreman Fabrics in my copy of the Dec/Jan 1944-45 issue of Vogue Pattern Book.  This chic rayon crepe day ensemble was designed by Nettie Rosenstein and utilizes the same bodice treatment as Gene's "Star Entrance" gown.  I love the beautiful draping of this long-sleeved version, and there are even matching gauntlet gloves!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Hats I Wished They Had Made

Accessories can do wonders to change the look of a costume, and hats can provide the ultimate drama to any ensemble.  Here are 3 examples utilizing costumes designed exclusively for The Gene Marshall Collection by Ashton Drake. 

"Paradise in Pink" was a faithful recreation of Marsha Hunt's 1946 wedding suit for the 2004 Annual Gene Hollywood Convention.  It is a simple yet stunning dusty pink wool crepe 2-piece suit with fabulous pink "fox" trim at the sleeves.

From "The Way We Wore" by Marsha Hunt
The original floral hat accented with layers of pink netting was designed by Sydney Guilaroff, Chief Hairstylist at MGM.

A striped toque accented with black marabou feathers gives this ensemble a dramatic turn.  The marcasite clips at the neckline were made from an old piece of jewelry.  Hat and jewelry from The Couture Touch.  Scarlet Temptress Madra Lord from Ashton Drake is my model/muse.

Courtesy of Ashton Drake
The ensemble for "Scarlet Temptress" Madra Lord was designed by Tim Kennedy and was an exact copy of a 1947 Christian Dior design.  The original cocktail hat was a ribbon rose and veiling.

Here's my take on this iconic design with a complete change of accessories.  The dramatic black suede hat and beaded "lucite" purse are from The Couture Touch,  jewelry and gloves from Ashton Drake,  the belt buckle is from a Barbie doll gown.  Integrity's "Flame" Madra Lord is my model/muse.

I never thought the original hat for "Press Conference" did the ensemble justice.  It was a braided headband accented with organza bows.  Recently I came across what may have been the inspiration for this mid 1940's 2-piece suit designed for Ashton Drake's Gene Marshall Collection by Dolly Cipolla.  It was accessorized with a turban style hat accented with flowers.  I decided to do a turban style but with a fur accent that matches the fur drape from PD Root.  The gauntlet gloves are borrowed from "Winged Inspiration" by Ashton Drake.  I added peach colored gems to dress up an Integrity goldtone cuff bracelet.  My model/muse is "Symphony in G" Gene Marshall from Ashton Drake.

This Rose Barrack Original from 1945 was done in pink and brown.  I just love this look!  Photo is courtesy of  my vintage   If you haven't visited this site, you are in for a treat.  You will be inspired by the best in mid-century classic fashion and photography.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Art Deco Hair: Those Fabulous Finger Waves of the 1930's

Myrna Loy

A finger wave is a method of setting the hair into a wave shape that was popular during the Art Deco period of the 1920's and 1930's.  Finger waves are similar in appearance to the Marcel wave.  The main difference is how the waves are achieved.  Finger waves are molded into S shaped undulations with the fingers and a comb while the hair is wet.  Usually a lotion is used to help hold the shape.  The Marcel wave is achieved with a heated curling iron and was named after the 19th Century French hairdresser, Francois Marcel, who invented the process in 1872.  It revolutionized the art of hairdressing for years to come.

Bette Davis

Many Hollywood movie stars wore the latest in finger wave styles which contributed to its wide appeal.  It was a popular alternative to the bobbed hairstyles of the flapper period (think Louise Brooks) as it gave a softer and stylish look to evening wear as well as day wear.

Finger wave hairstyles also worked particularly well with the small, close to the head, hat styles of the 1930's.  Skull caps were seen with evening ensembles, and the small brimmed slouch hat became the perfect daytime accessory.  They were often tilted to one side and brims were tilted up in the back to reveal the neatly curled waves.

I was thrilled when Integrity introduced 1930's Madra Lord in 2008 and later Zita Charles to their line-up, complete with those fabulous finger wave hairstyles!  Pictured above on the left is Evening Mist Zita Charles wearing Integrity's "Dangerous Curves" frock.   The OOAK hat and gloves are from The Couture Touch, pin from Facets by Marcia,  fur and bracelet from Ashton Drake.  On the right is C'est Moi Madra Lord wearing Robert Tonner's "Mad About the Hat" suit ensemble from the Joan Crawford Collection.

Silhouette of the 1930's Zita Charles poses in Ashton Drake's "Fascination", a Violet Water's Art Deco inspired evening gown. 

Gene Marshall is truly a "Cinema Siren" in Tonner's Joan Crawford Deco evening ensemble.  Earrings and bracelet from Ashton Drake, cigarette holder from The Couture Touch.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Traveling in Tweed and Mink

Miss Gene Marshall will travel in style this Holiday season in Ashton Drake's classic "Travel in Tweed" navy suit.  The silk cape is accented with mink trim recycled from a vintage dress.  A dramatic boucle hat and suede gloves complete the ensemble.  Cape, hat, gloves, and jewelry are from The Couture Touch.  Hatbox and cigarette holder are from Ashton Drake.  My model/muse is a restyled "To Have and To Hold" Gene Marshall from Ashton Drake with an Integrity articulated body.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend

What's Madra Lord's favorite accessory?  Why diamonds of course!  And diamonds are the perfect choice to accessorize this enchanting gown by Madame Alexander created exclusively for the 2003 Paris Fashion Doll Festival.  This stunning gown resembles another famous diva's early 1960's ensemble called "Enchanted Evening".  I couldn't resist adding the floral accent to the waist and the luxurious fur wrap.  Gloves and fur are from Ashton Drake's Gene Marshall Collection.  The shoes are from Integrity.  The clutch purse from Dressmaker Details. 

Recognize Madra?  She's "Postcards from Cannes" Madra Lord by Integrity.  She now rules the 1950's in her new Johnny wig from Facets by Marcia.  I just love her attitude!   Look for more of her in upcoming posts.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Colorful Autumn

Gene Marshall is ready to make a colorful Autumn entrance in this 1950's era cocktail suit by The Couture Touch.  A rich burgundy Ultrasuede pillbox hat and matching structured handbag complete the ensemble.  Gloves are from Ashton Drake and the jewelry and shoes from Integrity.  My model/muse is "Symphony in G" Gene Marshall by Ashton Drake.  I find I am falling in love all over again with these early Gene dolls.  Although not articulated, these bodies have a beautiful silky feel and graceful look to them.  And I love the gorgeous, Vargas-like faces of Ashton Drake's version of Gene.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Vignette Inspiration

I love browsing flea markets and antique malls for items I can use in my fashion doll display vignettes.   Recently I came across a pair of wall display shelves that would be perfect for my "Couture Salon" vignette for my larger fashion dolls such as Gene Marshall and Madra Lord.  They were just the right size to display some of Gene's many fabulous accessories, and they didn't have to be mounted on a wall.

Aren't these shelves fabulous?  I couldn't believe my luck in finding them.  After the Holidays I plan to cover some thin cardboard with scrapbook paper in an elegant design to insert behind the shelves for a different look. 

Here's a full view of my "Couture Salon" vignette dressed for the Holidays.  The display is located on top of a bureau in my studio/office/doll room.  I may eventually cover a cardboard tri-fold display board with wallpaper for a proper backdrop.  The sofa and ottoman were display pieces from a local jewelry store that went out of business.  I added the pillows which I made from silk scraps.  The flooring is simply wrapping paper that covers the top of the bureau.  A vintage bottle brush tree surrounded with miniature packages is placed on a glass top table.  The glass top is from Gene's Patio Set table and the legs are a candle stand.  The dress form is from Ashton Drake's Gene Marshall Collection.  The gown on display is from the Devil May Care Madra Lord costume by Ashton Drake.

I found this mirrored credenza a few years ago at local doll shop.  The drawer is perfect for added storage.  The hat stands are actually place card holders from the Bridal section of Hobby Lobby.

Evening Mist Zita Charles models Joan Crawford's Portrait evening ensemble from Robert Tonner for Golden Gala Madra Lord.  After all, Miss Lord needs a new gown for the Holidays!

I hope this inspires you to create your own vignettes for your favorite fashion doll. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

High Style Madra Lord

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Scarlet Temptress Madra Lord from Ashton Drake is seen out for a stroll in a high style 40's daywear ensemble highlighted by the fabulous fur cape from D.A.E. Original's Starmaker evening costume.  The OOAK dress and purse are from PD Root,  gloves from Integrity, umbrella from Fashion Blvd., and shoes from Ashton Drake.  OOAK wool felt topper, dotted silk crepe de chine jabot, and jewelry are from The Couture Touch.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A New Look for Violet

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Heat Wave Violet Waters sizzles in PD Root's OOAK 2-piece suit ensemble, circa 1940's.  Gloves are from Ashton Drake, and the fur drape is borrowed from Integrity's Marceline Gene Marshall.  Violet's hair has been re-styled into a poodle hairdo.  Perhaps she was inspired by Linda Darnell's fabulous 40's style. 

Linda Darnell

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

First Stop: The Hat Salon

Dateline: Chicago 1941.....Madra Lord, Monolithic Studio's diva extraordinaire, arrives in the Windy City for a day of sightseeing and shopping.  Wearing a striking new hat she just purchased at the legendary flagship store of Marshall Field's & Company, she briefly stops to pose for reporters and fans.  Now it's off to Union Station to catch her train to New York.  We wish you the best Ms. Lord.

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Siren of the Night Madra Lord wears my all-time favorite suit called "First Stop Chicago" designed by Lynne Day for Ashton Drake's 2000 Gene Marshall Collection.  Of course a change of accessories is always the best way to update the look of an ensemble.  The original hat to this costume is a delightful autumnal floral confection, but I wanted to do something more tailored yet dramatic.  The result is this molded wool felt topper with matching felt "feather" accent guaranteed to turn heads.  The embroidered gloves are from Ashton Drake's Star Wardrobe Collection.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


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A beautiful elegant soiree....betrayal and murder.  Did she, or didn't she?  Well, that's what our handsome detective must uncover.  Madra Lord plays the protagonist to the hilt dressed in Madame Alexander's sophisticated "Betrayal" black satin gown, circa 1930's.  Fur and gloves are from Ashton Drake, jewelry and purse from Integrity.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

OOAK Suit Ensembles, Late 1930's

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This nubby tweed, belted suit ensemble is a great example of the sophisticated, yet witty look of the 1930's.  Nipped-in waists were accented with belts as the natural waistline returned.  The period between 1934-40 was also the heyday for unusual buttons.  I found these unique antique buttons at a local flea market.  Of course, no daywear look is complete without a fabulous suede topper.  Gloves and belt are from Ashton Drake, shoes from Integrity.  My model/muse is USO Gene Marshall from Ashton Drake.

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Another popular suit style in the 1930's featured short, fitted jackets with either a notched or shawl collar, or as in this case, a rever [sometimes referred to as a reverse lapel].  Paired with a longer length, bias-cut skirt, this suit style was the epitome of 1930's elegance.  Appliqued suede leaves lend a surreal accent to the jacket.  A grand, high-crown topper, matching gauntlet gloves and scarf, and spectator pumps complete the look.  Shoes from D.A.E. Originals.  My model/muse is C'est Moi Madra Lord by Integrity.

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Here is a variation of the same pattern, this time utilizing an oversized shaped rever accented with a vintage flower and feather corsage.  Additional 1930's details include a silk velvet ascot, matching suede gauntlet gloves, navy suede purse, and a felt swagger-brimmed, slouch hat.  Shoes from Integrity.  My model/muse is Night Memories Madra Lord from Ashton Drake enhanced with an Integrity articulated body.

All OOAK suit ensembles are by The Couture Touch and are from my private collection.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Re-take on Fresh Take

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Flame Madra Lord from Integrity's "Stepping High Collection" shows off her new hat to complement her stylish 1940's suit from The Anne Harper Collection by Robert Tonner.  OOAK felt hat, blouse, earrings, and corsage are from The Couture Touch.  Bracelet from Madame Alexander, fur muff from Ashton Drake's "Dark Desire" ensemble.  Telephone and script from "A Hot Day in Hollywood" Accessory Set by Ashton Drake.  Table from Liz Cole/Retros.  Flame's bangs have been re-combed into a pompadour-style roll. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Here Comes Fall

There's a cool crispness in the air that signals it's time to pull out those fabulous fall wardrobe must-have pieces, circa 1940's.

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Capes have long been a favorite for style and warmth.  Ashton Drake's "Secret Sleuth" costume, designed by Tim Kennedy, was based on an authentic 1940's design from Valentino's in Hollywood.  The chrome yellow scarf brings a splash of color to this wonderfully delightful black and white ensemble.  I replaced the original yellow gloves with black ones.  Hatbox and shoes are from Tonner.  A restyled "Siren of the Night" Madra Lord is my model/muse.

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An impeccably cut, notched-collar jacket is a fall wardrobe staple in any era.  This versatile plaid jacket from Ashton Drake's Star Wardrobe Collection pant suit ensemble is paired with the blouse from "Hello Hollywood Hello", and a velveteen skirt borrowed from an early convention ensemble.  A change of buttons provide an update to this classic jacket.  OOAK hat from The Couture Touch, fur drape and purse from PD Root, shoes from Parfait Zita Charles, jewelry and gloves from Ashton Drake.  A restyled To Have and To Hold Gene Marshall is my model/muse.

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When the temperatures plunge, what better way to stay warm and cozy is in Robert Tonner's "Cashmere Noir" coat from the Tyler Wentworth Collection.  OOAK hat and pin from The Couture Touch, shoes from D.A.E. Originals, jewelry and gloves from Ashton Drake.  Integrity's "Cocoa Crisp" Gene Marshall is my model/muse.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

After The Rehearsal

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What better way to relax after a hard day of rehearsals?  Why with a cup of tea and the latest fan magazine of course!  Ashton Drake's "Fascination" Violet Waters (with an Integrity articulated body) borrows Deep Rose Madra Lord's delightful 2-piece short set from Integrity's "Stepping High" Collection.  Shoes from Integrity, phone from Ashton Drake's "A Hot Day in Hollywood" Accessory Set.  One of my favorite props is the "glass" top from Gene's Patio Set table (Ashton Drake) placed on top of a candle holder.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

1950's Balenciaga-Inspired Glamour

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Miss Gene Marshall (Ashton Drake's "USO" Gene) heads to the couture salon for the latest in 1950's cocktail and evening attire inspired by some of the fabulous designs of Balenciaga from Sandra Stillwell's Golden Gate Glamour Event.  Here she models a classic sheath with matching reversible wrap from The Couture Touch.  Accessories include a burgandy Ultrasuede cocktail hat and matching structured handbag (also from The Couture Touch), jewelry from D.A.E. Originals, and gloves from Ashton Drake's "Lotta Moola" convention ensemble. 

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The same burgandy Ultrasuede cocktail hat and handbag accents this dramatic coat from FAO's "Noble Invitation" Gene Marshall ensemble.  Underneath is the burgandy velvet gown from Franklin Mint's Liz Taylor Collection.  OOAK jewelry from The Couture Touch.  Ashton Drake's "Love Paris" Gene Marshall is my model/muse.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Striped Delight

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Mattel's Reproduction "Friday Night Date" Barbie enjoys a late summer stroll in my take on the vintage classic, "Let's Dance" (Mattel #978, 1960-62).  I love the unexpected color combination of aqua and pumpkin. OOAK dress and jewelry from The Couture Touch.  Straw handbag from Mattel's BFMC.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blue Silk Cocktailer

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Muffy Roberts is ready for the cocktail hour in this sensational blue silk dress and matching floral hat from The Couture Touch.  Gloves, bracelet, and shoes are from Mattel.  Purse from Integrity.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tailored Evening Wear, 1940

Supper at La Rue
Jewel tones for late night snacking.  Left:  Silk jersey from Milgrim.  Right:  Prune crepe by Henri Bendel.

Seeing Cole Porter's newest musical hit, "Panama Hattie"
Quiet elegance for the theatre by Henri Bendel.  Coat of Stroock'e camel's-hair lined with cerise and green taffeta, beige crepe dress.

Illustration Credits:  Rene Bouet-Willaumez for Vogue, 1940