Friday, March 17, 2000

Twilight Rumba Gene Doll Outfit Review


Twilight Rumba made her grand entrance at the FAO event in Feruary at the swanky Fifth Avenue store. When I first saw the photos of the competition doll that inspired this outfit, I was not enthused, but when I went to the Gene event at the Landmark, I got my first look at the finished product.

There she was, a vibrant red head with a sexy attitude. From the intricate twisted coiffe with its HHH curls  that graced her head to the dainty silver strappy shoes that adorned her feet, Twilight Rumba was a portrait of elegant detail.

Designed by Doug James in a dazzling lavender sarong, open on the side to allow freedom on the dance floor. Both the sarong and its matching crop top feature an intricate pattern of lavender, white, gold and crystal beads and lavender sequins that cascade down the front of the sarong from the flower cluster at the waist all the way to the hem. The top is similarly beaded. The delectable outfit features Gene’s first hair comb, a floral pattern that matches the flower cluster at the sarong’s waist. The overall effect is stunning and every detail works to make this a terrific doll and outfit.

Nance Walker shared her opinion saying, "I think Twilight Rumba is beautiful, and especially her clothes, which I think is the best thing that Ashton Drake does.  The irridescent beading is exquisite, and the costume fits the body well. lavender color of this outfit really complements the bright red hair of this Gene.  Her hair is really red, and is a pretty set, except that I tend to like my Gene's with softer hair, so I will do something to fluff up her curls to make them look more like the picture, rather than having the glued on spray netted feeling.   The silver shoes with the cross-the-toes straps and matching ankle strap fit the outfit.  All in all, I am really pleased with this doll. "

Friday, March 10, 2000

Meet Madra Lord from Ashton-Drake

by Kathryn Darden

Look out, Gene! There's a new girl in town! Ashton-Drake is releasing a new character doll to step into Gene’s world, the infamous Madra Lord. Combining “Beauty, Talent and Temper,” Madra, although slightly taller than Gene, is the same scale, so their outfits will be interchangeable. However, there the similarities cease.

Gene is sweet and innocent; Madra is bold and brassy, with just a hint of evil in her nature. If you don’t believe me, read the names of her costumes! Madra is a 15 3/4" doll inspired by the more flamboyant and temperamental divas of Hollywood’s golden age. To further pique collectors interest, Madra comes with bend knees and elbows, another first for the Gene collection, as well as her own provocative storyline. 

Madra's "story" is of a hard working, self-assured woman who knew what she wanted from an early age - stardom - and she wasn't afraid to do whatever it took to get to the top. Growing up in Milwaukee during WWI, Mabel Lorkovic left the west coast of Lake Michigan for the West Coast, and somewhere between the pines of Wisconsin and the palms of California, Madra Lord was born. Once she hit Hollywood, she slowly worked her way to the top, using her beauty, brains, talent - and guts. Madra Lord reigned as one of the undisputed stars of Hollywood, consistently pleasing fans with her dynamic performances and giving directors ulcers with her volatile temper. But no one could disagree that Madra had what it took and was every inch a star. Who could blame her if Gene's sudden skyrocket to success left Madra green with envy - almost as green as her famous, flashing eyes. 
The premiere Madra collection includes "First Encounter," a costumed doll wearing a sumptuous full-length white "mink" coat over a dramatic ball gown; six couture outfits - and a pair of beautifully sculpted white porcelain Saluki dogs (Madra would never own REAL dogs - they shed!). There will also be one limited-edition costumed Madra doll called “Black Widow” with an issue of 2,500 and one limited-edition costume produced, “Highland Fling”, limited to an issue of 3,500. Other ensembles which are not limited included:  Heartless, Catwalk, Devil May Care, So Evil My Love, and Pink with Envy which was reportedly one of Mel's favorite dolls at the 1999 Gene convention competition. Intricate details, from lavish handbeading, fully lined dresses, right down to the seams on the back of her sheer stockings, all add to Madra's appeal.

Thursday, March 9, 2000

House of Wentworth Unveils Spring 2000 Line

©2000 by Kathryn E. Darden

The House of Wentworth unveiled their elegant fashion designs in New York, but if you think this unveiling took place in a chic fasion salon, guess again! These divine fashions were presented at Toy Fair and at a very posh party two days before Toy Fair. As most readers are aware, the House of Wentworth is the fictitious fashion design business run by Robert Tonner’s hit new doll, Tyler Wentworth. Tyler took the world by storm when she premiered in late December/early January, and her new line leaves nothing to be desired.
The basic doll for 2000 is Something Sleek. For swimming laps at the health club Tyler dons her sleek black maillot swimsuit trimmed in white with accessories: sunglasses, black slides, and a monogrammed towel. Dressed doll.
In 2000 Tyler gets a friend, the lovely African American Esmé. While shopping in a bookstore Tyler is struck by the natural beauty of the clerk, a pre-med student named Esmé. Tyler signs the ethnic beauty to a career with the House of Wentworth. Esmé comes wearing a simple belted red dress with black pumps and shoulder bag. Dressed doll.
For one night only attendees of a special Tyler event on February 12 were offered the opportunity to purchase the extremely limited Market Week. This is the snazzy ensemble which Tyler wears to meet with the fashion buyers on 7th Avenue: a fitted black wool jersey jacket with velvet collar and cuffs, over a black bodysuit and straight faux leopard skirt. Black tights and short black boots add dash to the tailored outfit. After the outfits were sold at the Tonner event, a few were sent to dealers who then offered the elusive ensemble for $80 or more to people who purchased the entire line. The outfit has an unfortunate amount of white thread used for snaps and seams, and one of the boots on mine broke when I tried to put it on Tyler's foot. See review below. LE 1,000. Outfit.
One of the loveliest dresses in the spring 2000 line is Champagne Bubble. Attending the Chase Modeling Agency’s annual spring cocktail party, Tyler makes a memorable entrance wearing a champagne-colored silk bubble dress with its bodice hand-beaded with gold and pearls and matching beaded bag. Gold sandals and jewelry complete the elegant look. LE 3,000. Outfit
Beverly Hills Chic - For a business meeting with a client in Beverly Hills Tylers wears a classic white linen jacket, matching white linen trouser skirt and a fitted man-tailored shirt with handbag and matching brown “leather” belt and sandals. Outfit.
Madison Avenue Afternoon - When meeting with Madison Avenue realtors to find the perfect location to house the flagship boutique of House of Wentworth, Tyler puts on a persimmon red cropped coat over a tank top of melon silk worn over burnished gold pants. Contemporary jewelry, gold sunglasses, shoes and bag finish the ensemble. Outfit.
My personal favorite is the limited dressed doll White House Dinner.  The First Lady invites Tyler to the White House to thank the young designer for designing the First Lady’s inaugural gown. Tyler is radiant in her elegant magenta silk gown with beaded black lace overlay and matching jet jewelry. This gorgeous outfit comes with a “gift” to Tyler from the First Lady. The prototype shows Tyler with a lovely brunette updo with bangs.  LE 3,000. Dressed doll.
Casual Luxury -  When Jack Frost is nipping noses in New York, Tyler throws on her luxurious double-breasted camel hair coat over her heather gray turtleneck top and winter white flannel pants. Accessories include a faux alligator belt, bag and boots. LE 3,000. Dressed doll.
Shakespeare in the Park - Tyler looks like a heavenly vision in a silver silk lamé gown with a tiered skirt of pleated organza which borrows its lines from classic Greek design. Her  matching stole, silver shoes, jewelry and bouquet of roses. LE 3,000. Outfit.
Sweet Indulgence - Relishing a stolen moment relaxing at home, Tyler wears a glamorous nightgown of pale violet silk-satin and re-embroidered lace. Her robe of pure silk chiffon with matching lace enhances the allure of this elegant night wear. Outfit.
Some other tantalizing outfits were premiered for a release in fall  2000: Opera Gala, a stunning portrait in red; Russian Renaissance, a vibrant brocade ensemble with smart beret; Premiere Pink, a demure full-length raw silk pink formal skirt and matching pink angora sweater with embroidery, limtied to 3,000 pieces and costing around $90; Weekend Retreat, sporty jeans, sweater, and a red peajacket with duffel bag; Manhattan Music Awards, a black lace and blue sating formal; Cashmere Rouge, red coat of soft cashmere with black pumps, bag and gloves.  Also new for 2000 are Tyler paper dolls, and the book, TheRobert Tonner Story.
The spring line is already a hit and the fall line is being looked to with much anticipation. The year 2000 should prove to be a good one for the House of Wentworth!

Sunday, February 27, 2000

Tyler Market Week Outfit by Robert Tonner

by Kathryn Darden

One of the highlights of Toy Fair Week was the Tonner Fashion Show at Parson's School of Design, located in the garment district of New York City. Robert Tonner's alma mater played host to several hundred Tyler fans as fashion models donned Tyler's fashionable duds. Those in attendance for the evening's festivities were permitted to purchase a special limited Tyler ensemble, Market Week, a trendy little number comprised of a black body suit, a leopard print mini skirt and a black jacket, along with black hose and black "suede" boots.

 I waited until today to put my outfit on Tyler, and I am sharing my first impressions as I remove the outfit from the box and put it on Tyler. The body suit is not anything to brag about IMHO. As was noted with A Little Night Music, the male snaps were sewn on with black thread while the female snaps were sewn on with WHITE thread. In addition, the seams are finished with white thread. The collar is faced with beige fabric, but the rest of the black top remains black so there is the possibility (likelihood?) of staining. The fit is good, but there are odd little white threads poking out here and there at the crotch and seams. Once the leopard skirt is put on over the top, the loose threads don't show, but the white seam stitching and the white threads used on the snaps are visible behind her ponytail until you put the jacket on.

The jacket features velvet collar and cuffs, plus four gold-tone buttons and an attached belt with a gold-tone buckle. The "bag trick" is needed to get her hands through the sleeves easily. Unlike the top, the jacket is sewn entirely with black thread -- a big improvement over the top-- and the sleeves are lined with white, but the rest of the jacket is lined in black. The skirt is lined with black mesh, the hose are black -- in fact, there is a great deal of black touching Tyler's vinyl with this outfit. I do like leopard print, however, and the black and leopard look good together.

The boots are very difficult to put on but fit extremely well once forced on. The second boot just tore as I was putting it on -- the sole tore away from the upper. Other than the white threads and torn boot, the other flaw with the outfit is that Tyler's knee joints are evident even under the black hose. This will not bother some, but it takes away from the overall look. This is a cute outfit with tons of potential that just didn't quite live up to its full possibilities.

Thursday, February 24, 2000

A Little Night Music by Tonner

by Kathryn Darden

When A Little Night Music arrived, I had already heard the disappointing news that the dress did not have much beading. However, as I opened Tyler's box I was struck with how pretty the coloring of the doll was with her blond hair. Having already received a brunette and a red head, I was pleased to finally add a blond to my collection. My first impression of the doll was her lovely face. Then I noticed that her hairline at the forehead was set slightly lower and her hair was thicker than Signature Tyler, two vast improvements.

As I slipped the doll out of her box I was struck by the black glitter spots glued onto her dress; it looked pretty but more of Barbie quality and less what I expected from Robert Tonner. The shape of the dress is elegant, the lining is nice, but I agree with Cheryl that the beige thread on half the snaps is a tacky touch that needs to be changed. I did not remove the dress as I am sure from all reports my Tyler is stained. I don't even want to see it. The beaded belt is a nice touch, but the beads around her neck were skimpy looking. I did not like her earrings, but I loved her dainty shoes.

Is she worth $189? That is a hard call. The dress does not live up to that price, but a limited edition of 1,000 does make her desirable. I love her coloration, and as she is my only blond, I will keep her.

Tuesday, January 11, 2000

Tyler Hits Town: Signature Style Tyler by Tonner


by Kathryn Darden 

Towards the end of December, the reports started to come in. Tyler's outfits were the first to arrive, then the dolls. "Tyler is here!"  was the message of many emails that flew across the web. Tyler arrived to enthusiastic accolades. "She looks just like the prototype!" was the resounding first response to the doll. 
There were a few problems: Fashion Design Weekly Awards arrived with a few beads  missing and loose shoulder straps according to some; Gallery Soiree caused staining;  Tyler's eyes are a little plain, her hair is a little thin, and there is a hole in her head. However, these were three negatives experienced by a few  people as opposed to an overwhelmingly positive response by the vast majority of collectors. 
My personal take on Tyler?  She is a lovely, elegant doll, much more realistic than Gene but perhaps slightly less artistic. Her face is plain in comparison to both Gene and Willow's exotic mien, but that is in keeping with the more natural look of the new millennium. I still like Julia's proportions better. When you stand Tyler next to Julia, Tyler's head looks big. Now, next to Gene, obviously Tyler's head looks right in scale!  Tyler's head is also softer than the porcelain-like vinyl used for Gene's head. Tyler's hands are extremely well sculpted but a little large in comparison to Julia, Gene and Willow. Tyler's has excellent mobility and pose ability  due to her knee joints which work better than Gene's and her rotating arms. 
 Several people on the Internet have observed that Tyler resembles a big Barbie doll, and I do see that resemblance. Barbie doll collectors who have shied away from Gene due to her large head and "headlight" eyes will do well to give Tyler a careful examination as all her proportions are in keeping with a larger Barbie sporting a Mackie face. However, Tyler is definitely a Tonner doll and has his trademark elegance. 
I received the Fashion Design Weekly Awards dress with my two dolls, and mine arrived with no missing beads and fit in the shoulders perfectly. I think the dress is understated and stunning. I am also pleased with the signature outfit -- what nice workmanship!  The craftsmanship of Tyler's modern wardrobe is excellent and in keeping with the quality put forward by Ashton-Drake for Gene. 
 Now the creative folks at Tonner are putting out Tyler's new line, to be premiered at Toy Fair with a live fashion show featuring real models on the runway wearing Tyler togs. An early sketch has made the rounds on the Internet featuring two likely dresses. If the new line lives up to what Tonner presented with his first line, fashion doll collectors are due for another good year in 2000.

Saturday, January 1, 2000

2000 Events Calendar

** = Tennessee event
** September 9 - Doll, Bear & Miniature Show at Holiday Inn Conference Center, Morristown, TN.  From 9-4 .
September 9 - 22nd Annual Doll Show & Sale at Eureka Springs, AR, Inn of Ozark Convention Center, HWY 62W, 9-4pm, $3, Ruth Chase, 327 Combs Ave, Fayetteville, AR 72701, 501/442-4596
October 20 - 22 - Gene Convention at the Arlington Heights Hilton (just outside Chicago). The Registration fee is $325 per person. The fee includes seminars, workshops, a special signing with the Gene Team, competition, one of a kind doll, auction, Friday night welcome party, three meals on Saturday including a banquet dinner, souvenirs including a limited edition Gene doll made exclusively for the convention by Ashton- Drake, and more surprises.
Registration is limited to 700 conventioneers and will be done on a first come, first serve basis. There is no absentee registration. You must attend an event in order to receive your souvenirs, no one may pick up souvenirs for you. Registration is not transferable. Contact:
** October 21 - Rebel Doll Show at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds
December 9 - Kitty Collier...Enchanté' in Washington, DC. Capitol Studio will be presenting its debut event..."Presenting Kitty  Collier...Enchanté" on 9 December 2000 at the Belmont Mansion in  Washington DC...Robert Tonner is scheduled to attend...and Capitol Studio is  producing the very special souvenir Kitty: A basic blonde Kitty Collier  wearing a cocktail dress based on an 'original Regina Wentworth'  design.  Our charity for this event is to benefit 'For Love of Children  (FLOC-DC)'...  The event cost is $170.00 and a portion  of the proceeds will go to the charity.  There will be five OOAK Kitty  Collier Dolls to be auctioned for chairty...and five OOAK Tyler
Wentworth Dolls to be raffled for the attendees (one will be raffled  exclusively for onliners).  Online friends will get a chance to attend  'virtually', including their own special happenings free of charge...and there  will be additional gifts, doorprizes, exclusive catering. The event is limited to 100 attendees.
March 2 & 3 - Portland Convention at the Double Tree Hotel, Jantzen Beach, Portland, OR. Frida: continental breakfast, Robert Tonner Company programs, raffles, salestables, workshops, & music. Brenda Starr presents a premier dinner for her friend Gene. Attendees receive a special Brenda Starr Doll. Saturday: a look at Gene's life and her plans for the future. Programs, raffles, salestables, lunch. A special Gne doll. $300. Call Sue at 360/696-0372.
May 3-6 2001 - The First Robert Tonner Doll Company Convention, in Arlington Heights, IL. Celebrating Robert's 10 years in the doll business and Betsy McCall's 50th Anniversary, the convention will celebrate ALL Robert's dolls in a variety of special themed events, dolls, surprises and loads of goodies!  .
The convention will run from Thursday to Sunday.  RTDC Doll Club Members will have dibs on registration priority; however, you need not necessarily be a member to attend.  For club membership details, contact Nancy at
August 31, September 1 & 2 - First Annual Chicago Fashion Doll Festival, Chicago, IL.
BMAA Award Presentations
Sales Room
Seminars & Special Guests
Special Room Rates
SEVERAL Exclusive Limited Edition Fashion Dolls for each Registered Participants.
If you are interested in attending please feel free to phone (262) 658-1004 fax (262) 658-0433 or email Murat Caviale, Inc., Publishers Barbie Bazaar Magazine, 5711 8th Avenue, Kenosha, WI 53140
* First Thursday of every month - Belle Meade Plantation Belles meets at 7 PM at Shoneys, Bellevue. This club is predominantly for Barbie collectors but also includes Gene, Jenny and other fashion doll collectors.
TIGGERS Calendar © 2000 by Kathryn E. Darden. Permission is granted to copy this calendar, but please providea link or credit
to Tennessee Dolls.
If you know of coming Gene events please send your news of doll shows, store sales, and other events to

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