This is the first doll for the dolledition.com 2016 blog. Part of the Fashions of a Century nine doll series made in 1954. These are among the rarest of dolls by Madame Alexander. An 18 inch early hard plastic doll, produced at what many consider the golden age of the Madame Alexander Doll Company, this doll has been a joy to photograph. Dressed in the style of a Godey Lady, the cut of the gown is a dramatic period statement, along with the lavish black lace accents at the shoulder, black velvet bodice and choker. One of outstanding features of the doll design are the side twisted side chignons of this platinum hairdo. The Margaret face of this doll is absolutly captivating - and part of the unique culture of some of the exceptional dolls of this era. The reticule is not original to this doll.
Madame Alexander got to pull out all the stops once or twice in a doll season. Usually, each year there is at least one show stopper that encapsulates all that we love about the magic of Alexander. Cissy in this No. 2282 certainly has that WOW factor in spades. Painted tulle was a fashion trend of mid-century fashion - and very popular for prom dresses, weddings and evening gowns. Not particularly practical, these would be the type of events that you would want something very special that most likely may never be worn again. Cissy, the 21" fashion doll that was always on-trend, came out in 1958 with this fantasy gown of amazing beauty.
For the November 1st Madame Alexander Doll Club Fall Friendship Luncheon in Fredericksburg, Virginia, I'm donating this marvelous costumed doll to the event. The costume is by costume designer Richard Bostard of Hollywood, Ca. Richard has been battling his Alzheimer's, and now has a much different perspective on dolls and his world in general. This is the kind of event he would have had a blast, dressed in the theme and shared stories - good, bad and ugly, of the trials and tribulations of designing for Hollywood and the theater.
I found this Victorian costume Richard had done, tweaked his hat with a plume and added the accessories, got her styled and camera ready. Our young lady has been shopping, and is now ready for tea with the other ladies and gentlemen gathered in Fredericksburg for this 2014 event. Who wins her? Well that's still to be determined!
The British Royal family were, well Royal! They also, with the help of two young princesses who happened to also be sisters, morphed into contemporary celebrities for the public and media to feast on. Madame Alexander's fascination with the wealth and prestige of the Royals, the Windsors in particular, is well displayed by the decades of tribute and marketing. Translated first by composition, and then, following the ferocious wave of new technology, quickly moving the princesses into hard plastic.
Princess Elizabeth, as an early composition doll of the 1930's, did not sell particularly well at first. As the emphasis shifted to Royal Princess, and future Queen of England, the dolls popularity substantially grew. As they bloomed into young women, Margaret Rose would take stage center with her well documented but doomed love affair. The princesses, with all things considered and the advantage of hind site, did an amazing job of juggling a traditional English world and transitioning to a new 20th century universe. As dolls, this genre is one of the most exquisite created by Alexander - the auburn hair tones and, lovely fabrics in a series of soft pastels honors her subjects and her own creative direction.
Cissy Sitting... yes, the subject does come up from time to time. Is it a harmless option or an obsession? While much has been discussed on the topic, I think it's finally evolved to what it really is - a gimmick to save time. Yes, now it's out there. Posing our beloved Cissy takes time. Lots and lots of time. Cissy standing requires either to balance her on her own two feet, with it's obvious limitations, hiding the stand via Cissy striking her pose, or having something in the photo for her to lean on. Cissy Sitting gives the photographer another option - sometimes opening a Pandora's Box of public scrutiny. Yes, it does save tons of time setting up and taking it all down again. Is this good for the Cissy brand? Isn't just being a doll enough anymore?
My own excuse is that I love the humor in it. The wink-wink and nod to anyone who's tried to look casual and "natural" in their own photo, it's ten fold more challenging trying to do that with a doll. I love photos of people that seem to capture a second into their life. Cissy Sitting, when it works, does the same thing - a moment in the life and times of our fantasy doll Cissy. We certainly can spend some time talking about her, dissecting her. Let us allow her to express herself from time to time. Yes, Cissy Sitting has it's place in our collecting world, Cissy Sitting has come full circle. Cissy has been designed to be loved and adored in all her configurations!