Fashion Doll Quarterly Magazine
Spring 2011: Rising Sun
What an incredible fall and winter it has been! There have been so many events and wonderful dolls that it seems Christmas came early this year! Before the leaves even began to turn, I was off to Kyoto with nine other avid collectors to visit the homeland of Super Dollfie. Volks, Inc. treated us to an extraordinary tour of Tenshi no Sato, its lush gardens and beautiful museum. We also had a private tour of the spectacular teahouse on the property, Kachuan. The trip culminated with the extraordinary presentation of our new exclusive, one of my favorite dolls, Ami Ayase! What a thrill and an honor it is to offer this beauty to our FDQ readers!
While in Kyoto, we also had the opportunity to create our own Full Choice System Super Dollfie right at Tenshi no Sato. It was a fan appreciation weekend, so we were able to mix and mingle with Japanese collectors, and experience not one, but three Omukae ceremonies for our friends, led by Hideyuki Shigeta, the President of Volks, Inc. himself.
And the food! Oh, the spectacular food we had everywhere, every day! It waas so memorable that Marsh Matulionis had to write about it in this very issue. There were so many discoveries and incredible memories that we pinch ourselves to remind ourselves we were all really there. And to commemorate such an incredible trip, we have created an entire mini-magazine within this issue all about Volks, Kyoto and our adventures in Japan.
Being inspired by Japan, we also wanted to include some of our other favorite dolls that hail from the Land of the Rising Sun. I am a fan of the always charming momoko, as is Maryann Roy. So much so, she created one of her fantastic sets just for momoko in these pages. We have features on Azone and Kazue Shimoyama, proprietress of BIC, Co. Ltd. and hostess of the Japan Fashion Doll Festival, where a certain fashion doll named Misaki made her first appearance several years ago.
As a fashion doll collector, I hadn’t really thought about the many places my hobby would take me, and all the fantastic friends I would make and people I would meet. This trip to Japan, as well as the many wonderful events covered in this issue (Sandra Stilwell’s “Golden Age of Hollywood” weekend, Tonner’s Halloween Convention and Integrity’s Jason Wu Event) have reminded me of what a special part of my life my hobby is, and even as a business and a job, there is something particularly magical about the way we come together and share our joy and our interest in doll collecting. Even as the market waxes and wanes, we can all admit that so much of what keeps us going are the people we meet, and the friendships we make that last a lifetime. One of those people was Joe Tai, an incredibly talented designer, who sadly lost his battle with cancer at the age of 38. He will be missed by everyone in the doll community.
Collecting also keeps us stimulated and creative. It was serendipitous that New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology was having an exhibit about fashion in Japan, but it also made for a great trip to meet friends for lunch and a run through the show, which is still going on until April 2, 2011. If you are in New York City this winter, be sure to check it out; Japanese influence was all over the runways for Spring 2011. You will see several models showing off their h.Naoto and BTSSB ensembles in the exhibit, including one Olivia Morgan!
Going to Japan and experiencing the beauty of Kyoto and the artistry of everyone at Volks is not the only great thing about the country. Let us not forget that Japan was the design atelier for the earliest Barbie dolls. She may have been conceived in Hawthorne, California, and born at Toy Fair in New York City, but Japan was her incubator, where Charlotte Johnson and a host of talented designers created some of Barbie doll’s most iconic ensembles.
We are delighted to feature some of the most exquisite and rare Japanese fashions designed for Barbie in Japan from the collection of Gene Foote. Gene has one of the most extraordinary collections of Barbie dolls and friends I have ever seen. And the amazing variety of fabrics, colors and designs! All on pristine and gorgeous vintage dolls from his collection. If you never get the chance to see any of these wonderful pieces in person, this is your chance to archive them for your own collection and see what lovely items were being made for the world’s most famous fashion model so many years ago.
Paul Bruce also has quite a collection of delightful Japanese beauties and he shares his take on finding these gems for his collection in these pages as well.
Also be sure to take a look at Ian Price’s feature on DAE and their challenging path to getting Vivian and Monty in production and to their fans. It is a great glimpse into what it really takes to make a doll, so next time you are thinking about becoming a designer or small doll company, think twice! Buy yourself a copy of FDQ and read about it instead!