Elise

Take My Heart...

The romance and magic of ballet. The virtual effect created by point-work and the impression of weightlessness and floating on stage. The visual creation of time, place and mood are all part of the transformation of this glorious spectacle charged with emotion. Mid century America became the innovator for moving ballet from being severely selective to a more embracing media with new energy and talent coming from Russian, landing in New York and emerging with a unique new passion and point of view.

Elise 1957 rare lavender Ballerina No. 1636 - dancing into a Valentine moment.

Madame Alexander found ballet and the ballerina a perfect subject to be interpreted by her doll company. Elise was truly unique with her flexible ankle joint and possible legs and arms. Ballet class became part of the American experience - even translated into fashion with it's demi longueur 3/4 length gowns. Tea length dresses are one of the lasting images of this period in our visual history. Ballet created new celebrities and theatrical experiences that would move into the new arena of television. Dance for us Elise... a silent grace and gentle expression makes for a romantic Valentine moment.

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Here Comes the Bride...

Brides are and have been one of the perennial favorites of the Alexander Doll Company. Mid century, these were among the most glamorous of their doll lines — perhaps giving Madame Alexander an opportunity to enjoy some fantasy in her fashion doll creations. This Elise Bride is from 1960, which was a fascinating transition for the Alexander as they turned the corner regarding their fashion doll philosophy.

While 21" Cissy was the companies cash-cow from 1955-1958, that large fashion doll trend started to lag in 1959. By 1960, Cissy was essentially a portrait doll in period costuming except for the Bride and Queen of that years line up. Elise often would mirror her bigger sister Cissy, and this is a nice example how they would sometimes be similar, but different. Elise, however, would continue in the line as a fashion doll for quite awhile and get a major transformation in the mid 1960s and go forward into the 1980s.

Princess Margaret was defiantly the bride of the year with her Westminster Abbey wedding May 6, 1960, to Antony Armstrong-Jones. On the other end, March 4, 1960, Lucille Ball filed for divorce from Desi Arnaz.

Elise 16 1/2" Bride No. 1735 mint in box from 1960 by Madame Alexander... Cissy of this year would also have a variation of this bride.

Heavy slipper satin, beaded lace, cathedral length bridal veil and a coronet of flowers - Elise reflects on her choices.

The 21" Cissy version of this doll - No. 2180 from 1960. Cissy, from 1960 through her final year in 1962, sometimes received false eyelashes over their factory eyelashes.

Princess Margaret had the wedding of the year in May of 1960.  Her wedding gown was designed by Royal Family favorite designer Norman Hartnell, who also designed her sister, Elizabeth’s wedding dress in 1947.

Elise 1964 Houndstooth Suit

Exploring fashion always turns up trends du jour — sometimes lasting a decade and sometimes just a season. The houndstooth suit of our featured 1964 Elise is a wonderful example of a fashion trend in miniature. Houndstooth originated in Scotland in the 1800s and was originally worn as an outer garment of woven wool cloth by shepherds. Fast forward 130 years and houndstooth became a symbol of wealth, worn by the upper class in Europe and for American mens suits.  Christian Dior used houndstooth, which was one of their favorite design motifs. The 1960s saw the pattern revived by American fashion designer Geoffrey Beene - sometimes used with lace, and a favorite for his women's dresses, coats and a wide range of accessories. The houndstooth pattern would be a huge trend throughout the 1960s — even used by Chevrolet for car seat upholstery. Home decor got the houndstooth touch with fabrics, wall covering and carpet design. Returning again, designer Tom Ford featured houndstooth in his fall 2015 mens collection. Houndstooth was a 2015 fashion favorite on the European runways, showing up in Paris and Milan.

Elise wears her very trendy 1964 houndstooth suit with the contrasting large white pique cotton collar with an accent of lipstick red velvet bow, heels and coordinating red straw hat  — very much à la Geoffrey Beene.

Not only did Madame Alexander capture the houndstooth moment in 1960s fashion, but the new silhouette of fashion and the influence of mens clothing accents being used in women's fashion.

Dior houndstooth short jacket with "fly away" back and black wool pencil skirt - From the 1948 spring collection.

           Geoffrey Beene - featuring some of his mid-1960s design using houndstooth fabrics.