Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sandra Stillwell Presents: The Golden Age Of (Doll) Couture August 27th-29th - Full Details

Please mark your calendar and make plans to join us in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Millineum Maxwell House Hotel, for Sandra Stillwell presents The Golden Age Of (Doll) Couture. Limited to only 50 attendees, this intimate doll collector's retreat will be a celebration of friends, dolls, tradition, and timeless couture in Nashville, a fashion forward city known for it's "kick up your heels" atmosphere! 

Themed around the London V&A Museum exhibition of the same name, The Golden Age Of Couture will highlight the creations of designers from Paris to London, 1947-57.  This landmark exhibition, shown exclusively in the United States at Nashville's Frist Center For The Visual Arts, will be an integral part of our program.
Our souvenir will be a beautiful fashion gift set designed to fit your favorite 16" fashion doll. Inspired by "The Golden Age of Couture", the collection was manufactured especially for this exciting event. Centerpiece dolls modeling stunning haute couture fashions will be showcased at each meal function.
In addition to fashions, the registration fee will also include 3 meals and a gala Saturday night banquet, illustrious guest speakers, interesting displays, table gifts, raffles, room sales, and more surprises!

The all inclusive registration will also feature an exclusive offsite reception and tours with transportation on Friday and Saturday. Expect a fun filled, activity packed weekend of dolls, friends, and fashion!

Tentative Agenda:
 We'll kick off convention with a 'welcome' breakfast on Friday. Our guest speaker, Andee Rudloph, from the curatorial staff of the Frist's "Golden Age of Couture", has prepared a special program to give us an in depth, behind the scenes view of the exhibition. 
Nashville is nicknamed "Music City" for it's colorful musical legacy. After breakfast on Friday, we'll be visiting the not to be missed Country Music Hall of Fame and the historic Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ol Opry and "Mother Church" of country music. Shop and stroll down famed Broadway and the Second Avenue district in downtown Nashville, or take a minute to enjoy performances by talented artists hoping to be "discovered" in one of the many downtown establishments. 
Nashville boasts it's own style, as evidenced in elaborate suits of beautiful embroidery and dazzling rhinestones by the legendary cowboy couturier, Manuel, who began his career in the mid 1950's in Los Angeles. As head tailor at Nudie's of Hollywood,  Manuel dressed many Hollywood celebrities. Today his career has even deeper roots in entertainment history, with his having been responsible for the "look" of Johnny Cash, Elvis, and the Rolling Stones, among others! 
Event attendees will have the rare opportunity to see the Rhinestone Rembrandt at work when Manuel graciously opens his studio to host an exclusive, private soiree for our group on Friday evening. Imagine a beautiful Victorian brownstone full of spectacular one of a kind creations at every turn! Manuel's studio is truly a paradise for every fan of "sparkle" and style!  Prepare yourselves for a real treat as Manuel and staff welcome us as only they can do...with over the top Nashville style! 

Following the reception, take in the Nashville nightlife or have dinner on your own. 
Saturday morning brings a celebration of all things Madra! Ms Lord is a little miffed that there has been such a to-do over Gene's 15th Anniversary and Retirement, when nary a word has been mentioned about this being her 10th Anniversary! Madra will grace us with her presence in a special display and as the morning's centerpiece as we highlight her "career". She suggests that guests bring their Madra dolls to join in the celebration, as Madra always loves a good party! (Don't tell Madra, but of course, other fashion dolls are welcomed, too!) Our guest speaker will be former Gene Team Director Joan Greene, who will share tidbits about Madra's "history" and highlights of her own career as a toy designer.

After breakfast on Saturday, we'll visit the Frist Center For The Visual Arts, where we will have a special guided tour of the "Golden Age Of Couture" exhibition. See over 200 rare examples of  haute couture fashion and accessories created by preeminent European fashion designers such as Dior, Balenciaga, Fath, Desses, and Hartnell, among others. A bonus is the ability to see the fine detailing of these exquisite artifacts from all sides, as many fashions are displayed in the round.  Also shown is related fashion photography and rare news footage of vintage couture fashion shows on monitors throughout the exhibit.
A must see for every doll lover is the elegant fashion doll, Ms Lachasse, complete with miniature wardrobe from the Bath Fashion Museum, and a sampling of Theatre de la Mode fashion mannequins on loan from the Maryhill Museum of Art. 
Our tour guides will also tell us about the history of the landmark building that houses the Frist Center -- a prominent architectural treasure from the Art Deco period that was once the Nashville downtown post office.
Enjoy a snack or light lunch on your own in the coffee shop, or walk next door to have a drink at the historical Union Station hotel, a magnificently restored 19th Century train station.
We'll return to the hotel for an elegant late afternoon Victorian Tea, hosted by well known doll artist and designer Cheryl Crawford, of Crawford Manor. Intriguing surprises await! 
Our gala Saturday night banquet will feature the elegance of a vintage couture fashion show finale.
Fashion shows are famous for their quick changes. The most fashionable 50's lady had a wardrobe of  "after hours" fashions to entertain her closest friends. Whether your "after hours" attire consists of an elegant hostess ensemble or kitschy PJ's, make a quick change and join your friends back in the banquet room for an after hours party! 
Of course, a party isn't a party without games, so brush up on your "Fashion Sleuth" knowledge for lots of prizes! To make sure we leave with all the answers, we will be showing an onscreen presentation of doll fashions directly inspired by vintage couture. 
 Convention will conclude with Sunday's "Legacy" breakfast, hosted by George Gonzales Angelic Dreamz and JamieShow. Stunning centerpieces representing the future of Haute Couture will "walk the runway" at this finale.
Registration and Hotel:  
A non refundable deposit of only $50 will reserve your spot for this limited event. The registration fee is only $299 if paid in full, by cash or check, by July 31st. After July, the fee is $329. A $12 charge will be added to other payments options. Hotel rooms must be reserved through the group's room block to qualify for the above prices. There will be an additional $75 charge for those not staying in the hotel or booking through 3rd parties. A $50 cancellation fee applies to all cancellations prior to August 1st. After that date, no cancellations are allowed. Companion registration will be available if purchased with a full registration. Please contact Sandra for details. 
The address to send registrations can be found at the end of this email. Please be sure to include your contact information, including email address and phone number. 
Our special group room rate is $93 plus tax. In room Internet access is included in the group rate. The Millineum Maxwell House Hotel also offers free parking and complimentary airport and downtown shuttle, based on availability. The group rate is available from Monday, August 23rd, through Wednesday, September 1st for those who would like to come early or stay over to take advantage of the many fun sightseeing opportunities in the area.
The phone number for hotel reservations is 1-800--457-4460, 8-5 PM Central Time, M-F. You must mention the code 1009SANDRA or identify yourselves as being with the Doll Collector's Convention to be included in the room block. 

You may also register online at: 
Please don't delay in booking your reservation, as the group room block is extremely limited and will only be held through July 26th. Once the block is sold out, and after July 26th, reservations will be made subject to availability. One night's fee will be charged upon reservation, refundable up to 48 hours of guaranteed arrival.
If you have any problems making reservations, please contact me immediately.

Airport and Flights:
Nashville International Airport (BNA) is serviced by all major airlines, with 45 cities nonstop. Southwest Airlines, which recently featured Nashville in it's Spirit Magazine, is one airline that especially stands out.
Book your flights soon to take advantage of summer sales!
When booking your flight, don't forget to allow a few extra days if possible to enjoy the multitude of tourist attractions and unique activities that Tennessee has to offer! 
Additional Tours:
Whether attending a performance during the Grand Ol Opry's 85th birthday celebration, recording your own demo at famous RCA Studio "B" where Elvis and other greats recorded, relaxing on a riverboat cruise on the General Jackson, visiting historic Hermitage: the home of President Andrew Jackson, taking a tour of the Mansion at Belle Mead Plantation with wine-tasting and tea or lemonade in the carriage house, touring Belmont Mansion and the grounds of the college, or taking in an evening of Chiluly and Art the grand Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Art Museum, Nashville has something for everyone! Day trips to other nearby Tennessee destinations include visiting Pigeon Forge and Dollywood for it's 25th Anniversary Celebration, Memphis and Elvis' Graceland, or Loretta Lynn's Hurricane Mills Museum.

Depending on interest, we can arrange optional excursions, either post or pre convention, for any of the experiences below, so please let me know what you'd like to do!

Since many people arrive on Thursday, we will offer our traditional Thursday tour. The agenda will be decided according your feedback, but I would strongly recommend ending the day at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Art Museum for the spectacular "Chiluly at Cheekwood". The Chiluly At Night exhibition features breathtaking sculptures of Chiluly art glass showcased throughout the 55 acre gardens. Also on display in the 30,000 square foot art museum is a magnificent collection of Faberge eggs, world-class artwork and decorative arts. Built in the 20's, the Georgian-style Cheekwood Mansion was originally home to the Maxwell House Coffee dynasty family. We can enjoy a light boxed dinner on the patio while taking in the beautiful foliage.

On Sunday afternoon, I suggest we step back in time and tour the lovely Belle Mead Plantation,  once the South's preeminent thoroughbred farm. The Belle Mead Mansion, built in 1853, is the centerpiece of the property. Enjoy a wine tasting in the plantation winery, shop in the gift shop, or leisurely stroll through the log cabin and carriage house for a true southern experience. Depending on our group size, we may also book a tea in the carriage house or a lemonade and desert break on the back porch!

Raffle Donations:
We will be having raffles to help cover convention expenses. Donations of all sizes are greatly appreciated. If you would like to donate to the raffle, please email me at
Nashville has risen from the recently devastating floods and is stronger than ever. Nashvillians are very interested in our program and are eager to welcome us with open arms and southern hospitality!
A sentimental favorite of mine for many reasons, I've wanted to share Nashville with friends and fellow doll fans for a long time. Especially now, it's my honor to bring guests to this amazing city!
Please remember that this event is extremely limited, so do not hesitate to register. If you plan to attend, please RSVP as soon as possible so I'll have an idea of how many to count on.
I hope you'll join me in August for an event to remember!  
Please feel free to contact me with any questions...
Sandra Stillwell
Please mail registrations to:
Sandra Stillwell
8305 Blue Lick Rd
Louisville, Ky 40219
502 377-5153
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