The return of a legend: Modern comeback Veronique Perrin

It has been two years since Integrity Toys decided to withdraw the original face sculpt of Veronique Perrin, the first Fashion Royalty doll and the "matriarch" not only of the doll line but of the Perrin family in the "saga" that the doll story cards used to tell. There was much speculation about the final outcome, we even saw some of the reject dolls appear as other characters in the Integrity doll lines. At last it was announced that the first Veronique dolls would be sold through a lottery to the W Club members: a blonde and a raven version of the doll were released to the club members, so the cat was out of the box.

I was lucky to get a chance to purchase the raven doll. She arrived in a tight corset, garters, slip, stockings and a pair of strappy heels. Sexy to the hilt. So how does the new sculpt look?

Actually she looks gorgeous. I was never a fan of the original, smiling sculpt and had only one Veronique with it, Lights Camera Royal. I never warmed up to her and wanted to wipe that out of her face. Guess what? Integrity did just that. To me she looks like it is Veronique indeed but not smiling, just pouting a bit. Sexy and sweet at the same time. I love the pink/mauve tones of her make up - it is subdued enough to look great with many different coloured outfits. Her raven long wavy hair are fabulously shiny and hold their curl tight enough to look great without much of a fuss. Major playability factor here.

Her lace corset is great - it buttons up the front with hooks and is really tight. I like that the stockings have a wider finish band than the prototype showed but I would prefer that it had the same lace as a garnish, it would add that touch of high class fitting to a Perrin lady.

The only jewellery she is wearing is a pair of black stud earrings. The whole styling is that of a basic series doll but the quality of the corset is a bit above that compared with other similar outfits from years past. Here are a couple of shots with Veronique in a sultry mood. 

So how does she look dressed? I picked for her the purple suit that was part of the gift set Festive Decadence Agnes. The jacket has puffed sleeves with great detail, the pencil skirt has a big rosette at the side and the sleeveless blouse is two-toned. There was a bag in the gift set and she borrowed Agnes' shoes as well (she must be fuming!).

This particular outfit was picked because of the colouring - it matches Vero's make up. I love how she looks chic and elegant in it. Classy.

The shoes are gorgeous (I love the red insole) and the chain-handled bag is nice and stylish. I should have borrowed Agnes' jewellery set as well but she looked at me with THAT look and I decided to leave her alone. Here is a closer shot of the shoes. 

Without the jacket the outfit becomes more relaxed and summery and Veronique truly shines in it like the star that she is. I really like her new incarnation and hope to see her getting better in her future releases!

Regal Solstice Anja

Anja was an FR doll that premièred at last year's Integrity Toys convention. Based on the Simi sculpt, it is only natural that her face reminds people of Veronique. She was also the second W Club doll for 2010, although she arrived in 2011 to those that ordered her. So here is my Regal Solstice Anja, an edition of 700 pieces, according to her certificate. Below you can see how she arrived to me, in a new type FR box (without the ribbon) with the accessories and extra hands in a a nice holder securing the doll inside.

This doll was much discussed in the forums and blogs for her eccentric outfit as well as her totally different look than her first incarnation. The dress is inspired (or copied, what do you think?) from a Dolce & Cabbana gown from their Spring/Summer 2008 collection, as a reader of Terri's blog found out.  The major difference is that Anja's dress is embroidered while the real gown has a printed fabric (with hand painted or appliquéd flowers). The silhouette and hairdo remind me of the ones Claude Montana used when he did Lanvin Couture

So how is the actual doll coming out of the box? A real beauty! Her face is gorgeous - the sculpt does remind me a lot of Veronique and now that I have the new Ms Perrin doll in my hands I am more convinced that Anja's sculpt was one of the rejects for the part. I love her face paint: the combination of nude lips with intense eyes (but thankfully not overdone) is almost always a winner. Her red hair is parted on the side and gathered at the back and their flame red colour reminds me of Linda Evangelista back in her heyday in early 90s when she changed hair colour almost every three months.

Her jewellery is incredible - a jet black Victorian-style necklace that covers her entire décolletage without looking too much (cannot think of anything else save something transparent that could survive this dress) for her outfit. It is complemented by dangling earrings in the same style - mine are asymmetrical but the dolls I have seen on other sites have same length earrings (the longer one is the proper length). I think a ring should have been included to balance it our. Check out her French manicure, it is impeccable.

Her dress is a multi layered gown with the top layer in a moire lime green fabric with embroidered pink and lilac flowers in a scattering pattern. Beyond the obvious comparisons, it captures the spirit of one of the Indian couture outfits I shot for Grazia years ago. The bodice is double - the green embroidered top that protrudes to the front (crump catcher is a way I have seen this style described) is over a dark blue corset-like top with straps - check it out below.

The back of the top leaves the dark blue to come out. 

The skirt is asymmetrical - the front is shorter than the back, which ends in a small train. There are three layers here: the lime green with the embroidery, a soft dark blue tulle with ruching at the hem under the green and below this one, another tulle layer, this one stiff, dark blue again and short, worn like a petticoat to make the gown puff out better. You can see the three layers below:

The construction looks good, especially considering the layers of fabric and the various textures and lengths - what could have looked like a pile up turns out to be a light and feathery confection that looks definitely like it came out of a couture salon.

So now we come to the last part of the outfit, the one that finishes off the ensemble and makes he final statement: the shoes. Although the pink and blue colour scheme, the straps and the platform heel looked like a good idea, the result is disastrous. The shoes are not well proportioned to the leg, they are not cut well at the sole and heel, leaving the doll balancing precariously on them, with their points looking up instead of front. I still have not found a way to make them look presentable enough. Would have preferred a strappy heeled sandal for this.

So what we have here is a very good doll, with a gorgeous dress, a bad pair of shoes and a ring that should have been included to make this one a more rounded offering. I do not know what the possibilities for re-dressing this doll are but I bet she will look good in suits too. We will find out, promise!

Barbie and Ken split over rain-forest destruction

Barbie has a nasty deforestation habit - she is trashing rainforests in Indonesia, including areas that are home to some of the last tiger, orang-utans and elephants, just so she can wrap herself in pretty packaging.
Mattel, the manufacturer of Barbie, is feeding this nasty habit by using paper packaging for the world's most famous toy from Indonesia's most notorious rainforest destroyer Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). Critical wildlife habitat and carbon-rich rainforests and peatlands are being wrecked for cheap, throw-away toy packaging. 

Creating the future of play, shouldn't mean no future for rainforests.

Tell Mattel to stop destroying rainforests for toy packaging.