Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My Charles James Collection

Warning!  This is going to be a long post!
 
Photo by Cecil Beaton, 1948

Whenever I think about Charles James, this is the image that first comes to my mind.  I love everything about this photo, the soft colors, the structure of the gowns, the room.  I would love to recreate this photo with my dolls.  All I need is this room setting recreated in 1 inch equals 4 inches scale,  eight elaborately draped gowns, and a lot of patience.


I decided to work with what I already have, and this is what I got.
 
Taking pictures is a lot of work!!!!!! Choosing the gown for each doll, finding the shoes, gloves, jewelry, and wigs, changing my mind about some of the accessories, dressing the dolls, deciding some of the gowns needed to be pressed, undressing the dolls, pressing the gowns, dressing the dolls again, setting up the backdrops, setting up the dolls, trying to get the dolls to all look at me at the same time (they are worse than children!), realizing the necklaces were crooked, taking more photos, changing the backdrops, taking photos of each gown alone, putting the dolls away, editing the photos, wondering why some faces are blurry while others aren't, posting the photos, and realizing too late that I forgot Madra's black fur.
 
These eight gowns were made by four different manufactures, Ashton Drake, Integrity Toys, JAMIEshow, and Sandra Stillwell.  The models are all by JAMIEshow.

Charles James was a British born American designer who was famous for his architectural designs.  For more information about Charles James, click here.
 

Ashton Drake, the first company to make Gene, created two Charles James inspired gowns.
 Violet is modeling "Spotlight, and Zita is modeling "Unsung Melody"




Spotlight was released in 2003

Property of Ashton Drake
 


I wanted this gown for a long time and was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to buy it. 
 


Inspiration photo, circa 1952





Violet's wig is by Ilaria.





"Unsung Melody" was released in 2001

Property of Ashton Drake


 This is my most recent Charles James inspired gown.






Inspiration Picture, circa 1953







 





Integrity Toys was the second company to manufacture Gene.
"Le Jazz Hot" Oona is wearing "Stardust" and  "J'Adore is wearing "Shadow Song".




"Stardust" was the 2010 convention doll.
Property of Integrity Toys
 
 
Property of Integrity Toys
 
 




 

 

 Inspiration photo, circa 1955
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 The bustle is detachable.
 
 



"Shadow Song" was the 2007 convention doll.
photo by Michelle Michael









 Inspiration photo, circa ??




I just discovered I'm missing an Integrity Toys gown.
Not my photo

"Metropolitan Madra" created for a Metro Dolls event.  She is gorgeous, and I might be pouting right now that I don't own the doll or the gown.


Not my photo


Inspiration photo, circa ??



JAMIEshow is the third company to manufacture Gene
Property of JAMIEshow


"Black Lipstick" was the 2015 convention doll.
"Phoenix" is my model.




The gown is made of black velvet and silver taffeta.  It fits the doll like a glove.
 



Inspiration photo, circa 1955





My last three gowns were manufactured by Sandra Stillwell.
"Holiday Gala" is wearing "Toast of Manhattan", "Heart of Gold" Ivy is wearing "Ribbons" and "Spotted in Manhattan" is wearing "Tour de Force".  The girls look like they don't like each other in this photo.

Sandra doesn't make dolls, but she makes awesome outfits for Gene and friends and throws memorable conventions every year.  I have attended her conventions for 5 years in a row, and am going to New Orleans this summer.  In 2014, Sandra's convention was "Toast of Manhattan", it was my favorite convention so far.  One of the highlights of the convention was seeing the Charles James exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Sandra recreated quite a few of Charles James' gowns in miniature.
 
 "Toast of Manhattan" was our Saturday night gift. 
Sandra Stillwell Presents
 

 It is a stunning gown.
 
 




 
 
 Inspiration photo, circa 1955
 
 
 Sandra Stillwell Presents
 
The gown was created in two other colors.

 


 
 
Sandra Stillwell Presents
 
 
Sandra had so many different Charles James gowns for sale at her convention.  I wanted to buy all of them, but decided to splurge on "Ribbons".
 
 Sandra Stillwell Presents

 Sandra Stillwell Presents


Sandra Stillwell Presents


The detail on this gown is incredible.




 Ivy's wig by Ilaria




Inspiration photo, circa 1946




I do believe the gown is in the center back of this photo.


Last year I broke down and bought "Tour de Force".
Sandra Stillwell Presents




 This gown is perfect for Madra's green eyes.



 

 Inspiration photo, circa 1954










Here are the wonderful gowns I don't have in my collection.

"Architect of Fashion"
 Sandra Stillwell Presents


 Sandra Stillwell Presents


Sandra Stillwell Presents


Inspiration photo, circa 19??


"Diamond"
Sandra Stillwell Presents


Inspiration photo, circa 1957


"Enraptured"
 Sandra Stillwell Presents


 Sandra Stillwell Presents


Inspiration Photos, 19??

"Muse"

Sandra Stillwell Presents


Inspiration Photo, circa 1937

"Under the Mistletoe"
 Sandra Stillwell Presents


 Sandra Stillwell Presents


 Sandra Stillwell Presents


Sandra Stillwell Presents


Inspiration photo, circa 1954

Charles James did many different variations of this gown over the years.
 Sandra Stillwell Presents




 Sandra Stillwell Presents



 Sandra Stillwell Presents


 Sandra Stillwell Presents


Sandra Stillwell Presents



Sandra Stillwell Presents


Sandra Stillwell Presents
 
I can't believe the detail!  Don't forget that this is a 16" doll, the tucks, and ruching, in silk chiffon, oh my!

Some of these gowns are still available for purchase, click here the visit Sandra's Blog.

Here are photos of some gowns that someone else, besides me, needs to make.  I found these photos here and there on the internet.











Pretty please with sugar on top!
























 I found information and photos for this post on Wikipedia, The Gene Marshall Wiki, The Studio Commissary, a Star is Born, Sandra Stillwell Presents, Pinterest, and all over the internet.

3 comments:

RJ said...

Absolutely wonderful Diane! Thanks for taking the time to post all these gorgeous gowns.

Kathy in NYC/NJ said...

Fabulous post Diane. It brought back wonderful memories of that convention. Near the end where you show gowns you found on the internet, etc., even though you disagree, I think you should reproduce them. You are so talented!

Kathy in NYC/NJ

Kathleen Siegle said...

The dresses are stunning! I'm in love with the Emerald green one :)