Dolls in museums: Worms

Visiting the German city of Worms in the last months, I went, among other places, to the city museum, housed in an old abbey. In the diverse collection of artefacts housed there, there were some antique dolls and a big doll house. I felt I had to post them here.

In this glass display you can see a porcelain doll and many miniature household items and doll furniture along with a toy train:

Here is the doll house exhibited - I wonder how rich was the family that owned this.

And a close up to see the outstanding detail involved:

If I had the space at home, and could afford it, I'd love to own such a doll house! Wouldn't you?

Essentially Ivy “Vee” Jordan by Mel Odom & Jason Wu

Back to our doll reviews, I am happy to be able to present a brand new character in the Gene Marshall Collection: her best friend, Ivy "Vee" Jordan. According to the Gene storyline, Ivy is

"Gene Marshall’s wise-cracking best friend, always one with a punch-line or witty observation. A child of Hollywood with both of her parents in ‘the biz’ Ivy, or “Vee” as Gene nicknamed her, is Gene’s truest friend and closest ally in Hollywood. A character actress with an eye towards directing someday, Ivy Jordan is a girl to watch."

So the Gene fans got their wish: last year there had been a competition on the official Gene Yahoo group, where members had to write a paragraph explaining which new character should be introduced to the series. So this year, as part of the Colour Deal collection (basic dolls with brightly coloured 50s inspired outfits), Ivy was introduced to the public (there is a second Ivy as a club membership doll).

So how does Ivy come to us? She wears a coral dress with a lovely fitted bodice and tulip skirt sporting tiny pleats at the hips. It looks very 50s, both in colour and cut. The tulip skirt with the pleats looks very interesting, although the shape does not flatter the doll's silhouette as it should have. The pleats though are a work of art, especially for a basic doll's dress.

The accessories are not many but are very nice - short white gloves with pearl side buttons, as any proper lady in the 50s would have worn, along with a white scarf and white ribbon sling backs that are very well made. She wears pantyhose too! You can put the scarf on her anyway you like - I tried one classic 50s look on her - she reminds me of Audrey Hepburn a bit here.

And her face? A brand new sculpt from Mel, she looks like a cross of a very young Joan Crawford with Lauren Bacall. Her face paint is typical of the era as is her brunette bob and bangs. They do compliment her warm brown eyes and exquisite features so much. I must report that the bob is extra stiff, much like the old Gene doll's hair was. Not that far apart from 50s real life hairdos I must say!

Being a basic doll means one thing: versatility in re-dressing! So I tried to pick some outfits from my Gene collection to see how she fared in them. I could have tried more on her but I did not have that much time - I promise to do it again in the near future. It would give me an opportunity to present more outfits from the Ashton Drake Gene years.

Rummaging through one of the doll trunks where I keep many Gene outfits, I came across the Savanna outfit. This was released in 1999 as a dressed doll. It supposedly was a costume from an epic film about an old family of the South. As we can read on the card accompanying the doll

"Gene in Savannah"
"Gene is a charmer in this green and dusty peach gown sprigged with lace, ribbons and roses. Includes earrings, rosette hairpins, shoes, and hose. Her rich dark brown hair falls in coquettish curls. Designed by Katie McHale of Santa Barbara, California - winner of the Young Designers of America Competition."

Well, I only have the outfit - I always wanted to try it on the Scarlett O'Hara doll to see how she would look in another southern style gown. I never did get around doing that, so Ivy is the first one to wear this (I think). Despite the fact that her hairdo is totally wrong for the era it supposedly comes from, she looks great in it. Her face paint and hair colour help a lot of course. The rosette hairpins fit nicely in her bob too!

The dress does not look faithful to the period if one looks at the details with a scrutinizing eye, but the overall impression is that of a plantation belle, and the mint green does look very nice on her. Plus I got to use the underskirt in another fashion all together.

If you remove the over dress from the Savannah outfit, you are left with the underskirt, a beige pleated affair that should have had a bustle but only alludes to one. It does look very nice by itself though. So, draping the scarf from the Ivy outfit as a blouse across her torso, Ivy got a new outfit to show off, looking like a million bucks. I can see her in a film noire dressed in this one.

After our de-tour to the south, back to Hollywood with a purple satin and black lace number (released in 1998), appropriately called "Creme De Cassis". Again from the description card that came with the doll:

"Gene's elegant cocktail ensemble epitomizes the tasteful couture of the era. Her lilac chemise is overlaid with black lace, while four layers of black and lilac tulle add feminine fullness. Her titian-red hair is styled in an artful tumble of curls that frame her lovely, heart-shaped face. Circa 1953"

The colour suits her a lot, but the dress does look a bit overbearing on her, with the four-layered petticoat, even though the era matches perfectly. The veiled hat gives her a noire-ish feel that frames her fierce personality. The shoes are great too, little elegant black velvet V-straps.

Back to the 40's, the "Blue Goddess" gown was so striking on Ivy, I decided to keep her in this for a while. Both cut and colour suit her perfectly and even though the hairdo is wrong for 1945, it does not detract from the total.

The dress is very intricately made, with various snaps and hooks to fasten and panels to drape over until it gets the desired shape. Once all fall into place though, a mesmerizing vision appears before your eyes: Ivy the seductress. From the description card that came with the original doll:

"Gene in Blue Goddess" comes dressed in an aqua chiffon strapless gown with an attached stole. It is beautifully draped to flatter Gene's figure, and is accented with a hint of hand beading. Comes complete with matching shoes, hose, an aqua necklace, drop "diamond" earrings and a rhinestone and aqua bracelet. "Blue Goddess" is circa 1945, and was designed exclusively for Gene by Tim Kennedy."

And finally, still in a high glamour mode but more at home now, I put Ivy in "At Home For The Holidays". I have dressed other dolls in this one before (most notably Vivien Leigh, looking amazing), but Ivy came through with this one again: elegant, beautiful and stylish, she becomes the perfect hostess, ready to present a wonderful evening to her guests.

From the description card that came with the outfit:

"This shimmering cocktail pant suit is an iridescent lavender and ruby taffeta, highlighted with multi-stone 'ruby' and 'gold' earrings and necklace. Circa 1957. Designed by Tim Kennedy. Dealer Exclusive Costume. Production limited to 9,999 worldwide."

The dramatic sweep of the overcoat makes for a very interestingly photographed outfit.

And of course the pants can be combined with any matching top. Here they are with another version of the scarf from the original Ivy outfit:

I liked Ivy very much, she is a brilliantly designed doll, fits the spirit of the Gene line and is very versatile, even with older Gene outfits. I wonder who the next character to be introduced will be: if it's half as successful as Ivy is, we're in for a great Gene year.

P.S.1- The wonderful chair that was used in the photograph is from Clea Bella Productions - they have amazing furniture for 16" and 12" dolls.

P.S.2 - The Ashton Drake Gene outfit links are from the excellent web site dedicated to Gene by Devonne.