Gene Marshall is being retired - again!

 Gene Marshall, the gorgeous and iconic creation of Mel Odom, has had a long and tumultuous history since her debut in 1995. From her Ashton Drake decade to the short but beautiful Integrity Toys evolution to the resin reincarnation at JAMIEshow dolls, Gene Marshall has always shined as the bright star she is, bringing joy to many fashion doll collectors with her district style and elegance. Unfortunately, in the latest JAMIEshow newsletter, we got the news that next year she will be retired again. Below is the text, announcing the 2018 convention in Palm Springs, which contains the news.

Photograph and styling by Tom Logan from  The Glass Of Fashion  - JAMIEshow doll. Wig by Ilaria.

Photograph and styling by Tom Logan from The Glass Of Fashion - JAMIEshow doll. Wig by Ilaria.

JAMIEshow Dolls PALM SPRINGS 2018 Convention  A Fashion Retrospective & Farewell to Gene

Join us in February 2018 for the 5th JAMIEshow Convention in beautiful Palm Springs, California.

Join us for a Fashion Retrospective celebrating the glory days of Palm Springs’ movie society.  Along with a dazzling JAMIEshow line we will be celebrating Gene and Friends in different decades throughout the 20th century.  We will also be saying a farewell for now to Gene, as she retires once again to her home in Italy.  This will be the last production of JAMIEshow Gene Dolls offered and a not to be missed event.   Although JAMIEshow will continue to produce accessories that can be worn on Gene and Friends, including wigs, shoes, outfits and accessories there will be no more regularly scheduled dolls after this event.  A planned museum retrospective in the foreseeable future might happily be the exception to this rule. 

IMG_1888.JPG

You can visit the website for more information, like the schedule below:

CONVENTION SCHEDULE

  • Registration includes, one convention doll, you will choose at registration whether you want the Gene Family or JAMIEshow Family Convention doll, the other will still be availalbe to you to purchase at the event.  It also includes.

  • Cocktail Party "At the Cha Cha"  Opening night cocktail party where we will all meet mingle and dance the night away!

  • Pool Party, thats right a Pool Party for those who want to take a dip or just sip a drink and mix and mingle.

  • Tour of Modernism and Architecture.  This tour will be available for sign up at the event.  Participation not required. Extra fee may apply.

  • Sales Room with lots of offerings including new wigs, and new dolls!  All dolls will be available to take home at event and are limtited to small quantities.

  • Grand Banquet Dinner "A Farewell to Gene"  as we say goodbye to Gene, Mel Odom who will be our guest throughout the event share his thoughts on and the future of Gene.

  • Breakfast in the Garden, a buffet breakfast poolside at one of the fabulous outdoor restaurants.

  • As always our special guest Mel Odom will be joinging us for the weekend.

JAMIEshow photo

JAMIEshow photo

It will be nine years from her previous retirement, when she is retired for a third time next year. Will it be for good? I hope not. Gene Marshall is a very important part of the fashion doll,history and I would like to have her with us for many more years to come.

Living a Sybaritic life: Venus part Two

After shooting Venus in her original outfit (her undies that is), I picked some Gene clothes for her to wear (all of them from the Ashton Drake years), for her first fashion photo shoot. She was a very eclectic lady, picking stuff that would make justice to her versatility and glamour. She fits into Gene clothes with a little extra effort in the hips, as she is a bit wide for them, but most of the stretchier staff she can get into. Not all outfits will button though, especially jackets.
First one, Unforgettable. The mermaid style gown makes her look gorgeous, although it was a bitch getting the stretch petticoat up the top skirt because of the tight fit. You can see her here with the full outfit minus the lace scarf. The wig is from Integrity's Avantguard Lush doll. It is not a perfect fit but with a little effort one can get it to look great. The colours of the gown and jewellery match her make up perfectly.


And a closer look of a star being born. Cover material, wouldn't you say?

Next up was Black Ribbon, which is a copy of a Marlene Dietrich outfit. The jacket was impossible to button up but everything fits, even the gloves. Careful if you put this outfit on a doll, it stains. The hat was difficult to pin on the wig but I finally did it. Wig by Monique.



Gene had an outfit called Little Black Dress. The idea was having a simple basic A-line black dress (40's style) and change looks by simply changing the accessories included. First try, the lace cuff and bib, with the matching hat - a mix of Morticia Adams and Amish style into one. The hat was again difficult to pin on the Lush wig. The different positioning of the hat makes for some very interesting photography.


Then a quick wig change and you have a completely different vibe. Wig by Monique.


Second set for the LBD: the Chanel approach. Multiple chains piled at neck and waist, with a matching hair band complete with white flower and black tulle. She looks like Madonna wearing Chanel.


The third set was the most surprising: the plaid hat and bustle match Venus's eccentric style and brought out her supermodel self in a way I had not anticipated - especially without any wig.

There was a fourth option (with a small forest green gilet) but the result were disappointing. So on we were to a gorgeous evening dress, Derby Eve. The fit is not perfect, especially at the hips, but the result is fantastic (the flowers in the Lush wig are from the ensemble):

A wig change (wig by Monique) was all it took to transform her to a sultry night club singer.


A suit was something I wanted to see Venus in very much - so she tried Perfect Gift: a green shantung suit with burgundy rose accents and matching tasselled bag. The short Monique wig was a perfect fit for this style, making the whole thing look much more modern. Shoes here are from Tonner's Vintage Shoes accessory pack from the GWTW collection.

The peplum style jacket fits her perfectly, enhancing her silhouette. If only she could stand better on her stand.


Looking for something more couture like, I put a Tonner outfit on her: Anniversary Gala from the 2004 Tyler Wentworth collection. The short embroidered jacket, trimmed with fur, combined with the brocade full skirt makes Venus look like a million bucks. I put the jacket onto her back side front to make it look like a bolero. You can see the results below (wig by Monique):




After all the outfit changes, Venus suddenly decided to relax. So what better way than to "slip into something more comfortable"? Gene's "The Kiss" , with its marabou trimmed satin peignoir lined with shimmering silver lame and a matching gown looked perfect, the light pink matching Venus's make up to a T. And she posed even without any wig, looking gorgeous.


Wig from the Lush Avantguard doll.

All Monique wigs bought from Facets by Marcia.

Fashion doll stories

From time to time, Integrity has contests about their dolls, which involve writing about particular situations involving one or more dolls from certain lines. I enter some of them (and have won a couple) but this time, I was a bit more inspired from the situations we were called upon to improvise. I find the two stories I wrote really interesting, so I thought I should post them here too for all to read (no, I did not win this time!).

Here is a story involving FR Veronique Perrin and searching for an outfit:
Hearing the door bell ring, as it did every time a customer entered the shop, I raised my head from the counter, where I had been folding a very expensive silk scarf, and looked at the woman that had just appeared. I almost gasped.
-Ms. Perrin, welcome to Velvet. What can I do for you? I immediately said, still not believing in my eyes. She walked towards me, with that famous feline walk, her sapphire blue eyes steady on mine, her lips almost smiling.
-A lot, if you please. I have a minor emergency in my hands and you can help me overcome it!
-Please let me know how, I smiled.
-I have an unexpected engagement tonight, a small cocktail party for a select few friends, thrown together by another, just because i'm in town. So I need something to wear, but not only that. I need the whole works: accessories, jewellery, the whole shebang!
I smiled. It was my lucky day: I could make her look like a million bucks and have a living advertisement of my boutique walking around a glamorous cocktail party. I tried not to show my excitement and lead her to the inner part of the shop: the lounge area. She sat down and I asked my assistant to serve her some refreshments. I immediately proceeded to pick a couple of elegant dresses I had received the day before: it looked like they were made for her.
-I think you should see these two first. I said, holding the dresses up for her to see. She left the china cup she was holding on the lacquered table and stood up. She approached me with a smile and picked the black one.
-Don't you think black would be too obvious?
-Not in this fabric, I replied. This is Balenciaga. It is wool crepe, but lined in neoprene. Look at the form.
She held it in front of her, while looking at the big mirrored wall opposite her. Framed with a gilded weathered huge wooden but simple frame, it reflected her image back at her.
-I must try this! she said excited! My assistant showed her into the dressing room and i stood waiting for her. When, after a few minutes, she appeared, I felt so good. I had chosen well. The slim elegant line of the dress, the list on her right thigh, the cut-out shoulders, all made her look like a super heroine ready to blast her enemies away. And God knows how many of these she has.
-I looooooooooove this! You're a genius! She winked at me and continued enjoying her look in the mirror. But we have to accessorize this!
-Not a problem, I said calmly. I went behind the counter and picked a small black pillbox hat, in a diameter much smaller than one would expect fitting on one's head. A huge black silk faille bow was tied on it, making it look like a bird ready to fly.
-Try this on!
To my surprise, she did just that. And loved it. My assistant helped her pin tha hat on her elegant and impeccable chignon: she looked amazing. But I already knew that. I handed her the Balenciaga strass necklace and bracelets that I had ordered for the dress. A match made in heaven. With the d'Orsay stilleto's in silver and black, with the thins straps crossing on her little elegant feet, she was ready to meet her friends and be the soul of the party. Any party!
-Thank you soooo much! she said as she air-kissed me, going out the door a while alter, with a smile. Send the things to my suite at the hotel... and please call me tomorrow! We simply MUST talk!
I waved her goodbye as she entered her limousine and was whisked away. As I closed the boutique door behind me, I knew another door had opened for me.
-Close the shop, I said to my assistant. We're going for lunch!
And of course here is the outfit in question (the hat I describe is less art, more fashion):


And here is the second story, this time about Gene Marshall and accessorizing her turquoise Colour Deal outfit:

As Gene Marshall entered the boutique, I rushed to assist her. It was not everyday she came here, but she was a regular customer and a very valued one at that. Having only been here a couple of months did not matter to her: she always asked for my opinion, frequently elaborating
on various fashion ideas. This time it was no different:
-I need you to help me pick some accessories for this turquoise dress, I think I have worn it with white a little bit too much! she said. It is an informal event but I do not want to look too casual.
The gleam in my eyes must have shown, cause she gave me one of those beaming lovely smiles only Gene Marshall could give.
-I might just have the thing for you, I replied. I went to the back of the shop and returned with a number of small elegant boxes. I placed them on the counter and started opening them one by one for her to see.
-See? First we have this elegant pair of the softest kid gloves you have ever seen, in black.
-Black? she asked. Isn't that a bit much?
-Of course not. It will make the whole dress look different, sharper, more glamorous. And you will also wear this matching belt with it.
The belt was made of patent black leather, shiny as jet, very thin, with a lovely silver buckle. The gloves had a similar miniature buckle on the wrist, matching them perfectly.
-Wow! I already see myself in this! And would you agree that I need something from the jewellery department to match these?
-Sure! I have just the thing, I replied, producing the most gorgeous jet brooch this side of the Grand Canyon. And we also have the earrings to match, I said, pointing to the smallest box on the counter. But you must pick a pair of fine pumps too.
-I think I see just what I need, she smiled. I followed her look and my eyes stopped on a gorgeous pair of high heeled slingbacks in patent leather. And guess what? They had buckles too.
-Must have ordered these with you in mind then, I said teasingly, going towards them to pick them up for her. And just look what else is in store too, I smiled.
I raised my arm and pointed to a shelf beside her. A lovely black raffia handbag with silver circular handles was resting on it, just waiting for her it seemed.
-I think I never was readier for my close up! she beamed at me. We had done it again! A perfect look for a perfect lady!
This is the photo that inspired me for the colour combination:


I hope you enjoyed the stories!

Gene Marshall Convention 2008 - the convention dolls!

The 2008 Gene Marshal Convention, titled "The Girls From Dream City" took place in Orlando, Florida, from the 11th to the 13th of September, drawing a big number of Gene fans as usual. As the official promo release read:
Join us this year as we travel through the decades and explore the fantasies created by Monolithic Studios for our girl stars. The sound stages and studio costume shop of Monolithic are our destinations at this year’s convention. Welcome to the Thirteenth Annual Gene Convention; welcome to Monolithic Studio’s Dream City.

Are you ready for fun? Your convention host Alain Tremblay invites you to join him and his team as we follow Gene Marshall, Madra Lord, Ivy Jordan and other famous Monolithic megastars from set to set as they explore various genres from romantic comedy to fantasy during the most awaited collector event of the year!

Meet Mel Odom and the Integrity team for a high-energy, memory filled weekend September 11-13, 2008 in sunny Orlando, Florida! Limited to 300 guests, this convention is open to all Gene collectors and their guests.
As in every convention, there is a collection of dolls unveiled. This year the quality of the collection was very high, with excellent dolls presented and a variety of styles, outfits and characters shown. So let's see those Girls From Dream City:

First of all, the lovely Blue Horizon Gene, a dream of a doll, with centre parted hair, left with long curls at the back, dressed in blue (of course) and looking like a million bucks. She reminds me of a modernized version of Midnight Romance Gene from the AD years. She looks a lot like Ginger Rogers too!

Then we have my favourite of the collection: the dreamy looking Slender Threads Gene Marshall dressed doll, wearing a lovely suit, accessorized with a leather bag, pearls, headpiece and gloves - a picture of 50's elegance. I do not know if it is the suit, the face paint or the hairdo (probably all of the above) but this looks to me like one of the best Genes ever made.

The next one is Madra, of course: here in a very strange style for her, the Pool Pose Essential Madra dressed doll, with a pink outfit reminiscent of Ester Williams in her glory days. I would have expected to see Gene in such a costume, Madra looks a bit out of her depth in this (pun intended). She is wearing a bathing suit and a skirt over it. Seeing convention pictures, I must say her face looks lovely and cute, nothing like a fierce Madra would look like. Love the shoes.

Gene again. All About The Eyes Gene Marshall doll is a dressed doll with a blue (again) outfit, in halter neck style, with a disc hat and golden gloves, belt and shoes. She looks very fifties. I love her hairstyle, very glamorous and sexy.

Looking like it escaped from the Flash Gordon set, the Imperial She outfit was part of this collection (doll not included). It even has a golden gun to complete the look - Darth Vader beware!

Gifts to the attendees are an essential part of a convention. One of them was the above costume: After Hours. A pink dress with a big collar and a longer skirt, white bag and shoes. The back of the dress is pleated, you can see it in detail below:

Isn't the bag to die for? And such poise! Go girl! Read below for the inspiration of the outfit.

Another great Gene: Twilight Girl. Her style is so chic, her hairdo perfect, her make up impeccable. I love the simple outfit and accessories, she looks like she stepped out of a Hitchcock film. In fact, she is inspired from a Twilight Zone episode with Anne Francis (Twilight Girl - got it?). Anne Francis is dressed like the doll and another actress is wearing the After Hours outfit seen previously (the episode is called After Hours too! Thanks to GeneMarshallFan-Ray for the info).

The Friday luncheon had a gift and a centrepiece: a costume and a dressed doll as a centrepiece. The costume is Cocktail Hour, a 40s inspired outfit (doll not included), with stripe detailing and the typical skirt of the era. Look at the detail of the bag, it is amazing! I love the clashing green against the blue. Very YSL.

Of course Ivy Jordan could not be absent! And here she is, in Tea Dance, another 40s style outfit, with beaded jacket and flower print dress. She reminds me of Joan Crawford here.

Ivy was also presented as a director, for those who got the Upgrade package. She reminds me of both Garbo and Katherine Hepburn. The chair was not included (it is the old Gene director's chair with different lettering which looks suspiciously photoshopped).


The new character that was much anticipated was finally presented at the W Club Luncheon. Her name is Zita Charles and she is:
"...a major star of the late silent era, Zita Louise (as she was then called) was the epitome of the Jazz Age glamour. Known as the "Too Much Girl", Zita forged a reputation as a party girl and was a favourite of the Hollywood gossip columns. Counts and "princes" seemed always to be proposing to her in front of a fountain while the cameras were rolling. Everyone and anyone just wanted to be with Zita Charles!"
With her vampish look, sassy style and elegant vintage inspired gown, Azalea Ice is the very first Zita Charles doll, and the second entry in the Gene Marshall 24K collection. Azalea Ice will be offered exclusively through FAO Schwarz's on-line catalogue division (at www.fao.com) starting approximately October 15, 2008.
Zita Charles has a new sculpt, an "older" face. Her hair is streaked, probably to give her the age edge. She is wearing a mid 50s one - shoulder gown with detailing at the bust matching the gown's pink train. Zita's outfit comes with matching gloves, shoes and jewellery. From the face style, I am thinking we will see her in 20s outfits soon, as her younger self.

The Convention Souvenir Doll was unveiled at the final event, inspired by the 50s sci-fi films. Distant Venus Gene Marshall is wearing a gown inspired by one that the famous Hollywood designer Adrian made for Greta Garbo in the film Inspiration. Only that one was in black.

A close up of Distant Venus and, below, Garbo wearing the Adrian dress that inspired it.

The final event did not have only one doll. There was a lovely centrepiece doll too: Dripping moonlight Gene Marshall dressed doll, a platinum haired Gene that comes dressed with Postcards From Cannes Madra outfit in white (and exactly the same accessories).

Her hair and face paint are impeccable. A great looking Gene again!

Overall, and having seen most of the dolls and outfits in "real" convention pictures too, I can say that the quality and design of Gene dolls is once more one step ahead. And judging from the response of Gene fans in the relative boards (both attendees and not), it seems Integrity and Mel Odom got it right again!

All pictures (except the Garbo photo) are copyrighted by Integrity Toys and are published with their consent. They are not to be used for any for commercial purposes such as ebay or to sell the any of the dolls. I am not affiliated in any way with Integrity Toys.

Essentially Ivy “Vee” Jordan by Mel Odom & Jason Wu

Back to our doll reviews, I am happy to be able to present a brand new character in the Gene Marshall Collection: her best friend, Ivy "Vee" Jordan. According to the Gene storyline, Ivy is

"Gene Marshall’s wise-cracking best friend, always one with a punch-line or witty observation. A child of Hollywood with both of her parents in ‘the biz’ Ivy, or “Vee” as Gene nicknamed her, is Gene’s truest friend and closest ally in Hollywood. A character actress with an eye towards directing someday, Ivy Jordan is a girl to watch."


So the Gene fans got their wish: last year there had been a competition on the official Gene Yahoo group, where members had to write a paragraph explaining which new character should be introduced to the series. So this year, as part of the Colour Deal collection (basic dolls with brightly coloured 50s inspired outfits), Ivy was introduced to the public (there is a second Ivy as a club membership doll).


So how does Ivy come to us? She wears a coral dress with a lovely fitted bodice and tulip skirt sporting tiny pleats at the hips. It looks very 50s, both in colour and cut. The tulip skirt with the pleats looks very interesting, although the shape does not flatter the doll's silhouette as it should have. The pleats though are a work of art, especially for a basic doll's dress.


The accessories are not many but are very nice - short white gloves with pearl side buttons, as any proper lady in the 50s would have worn, along with a white scarf and white ribbon sling backs that are very well made. She wears pantyhose too! You can put the scarf on her anyway you like - I tried one classic 50s look on her - she reminds me of Audrey Hepburn a bit here.




And her face? A brand new sculpt from Mel, she looks like a cross of a very young Joan Crawford with Lauren Bacall. Her face paint is typical of the era as is her brunette bob and bangs. They do compliment her warm brown eyes and exquisite features so much. I must report that the bob is extra stiff, much like the old Gene doll's hair was. Not that far apart from 50s real life hairdos I must say!


Being a basic doll means one thing: versatility in re-dressing! So I tried to pick some outfits from my Gene collection to see how she fared in them. I could have tried more on her but I did not have that much time - I promise to do it again in the near future. It would give me an opportunity to present more outfits from the Ashton Drake Gene years.


Rummaging through one of the doll trunks where I keep many Gene outfits, I came across the Savanna outfit. This was released in 1999 as a dressed doll. It supposedly was a costume from an epic film about an old family of the South. As we can read on the card accompanying the doll

"Gene in Savannah"
"Gene is a charmer in this green and dusty peach gown sprigged with lace, ribbons and roses. Includes earrings, rosette hairpins, shoes, and hose. Her rich dark brown hair falls in coquettish curls. Designed by Katie McHale of Santa Barbara, California - winner of the Young Designers of America Competition."



Well, I only have the outfit - I always wanted to try it on the Scarlett O'Hara doll to see how she would look in another southern style gown. I never did get around doing that, so Ivy is the first one to wear this (I think). Despite the fact that her hairdo is totally wrong for the era it supposedly comes from, she looks great in it. Her face paint and hair colour help a lot of course. The rosette hairpins fit nicely in her bob too!


The dress does not look faithful to the period if one looks at the details with a scrutinizing eye, but the overall impression is that of a plantation belle, and the mint green does look very nice on her. Plus I got to use the underskirt in another fashion all together.


If you remove the over dress from the Savannah outfit, you are left with the underskirt, a beige pleated affair that should have had a bustle but only alludes to one. It does look very nice by itself though. So, draping the scarf from the Ivy outfit as a blouse across her torso, Ivy got a new outfit to show off, looking like a million bucks. I can see her in a film noire dressed in this one.


After our de-tour to the south, back to Hollywood with a purple satin and black lace number (released in 1998), appropriately called "Creme De Cassis". Again from the description card that came with the doll:

"Gene's elegant cocktail ensemble epitomizes the tasteful couture of the era. Her lilac chemise is overlaid with black lace, while four layers of black and lilac tulle add feminine fullness. Her titian-red hair is styled in an artful tumble of curls that frame her lovely, heart-shaped face. Circa 1953"


The colour suits her a lot, but the dress does look a bit overbearing on her, with the four-layered petticoat, even though the era matches perfectly. The veiled hat gives her a noire-ish feel that frames her fierce personality. The shoes are great too, little elegant black velvet V-straps.


Back to the 40's, the "Blue Goddess" gown was so striking on Ivy, I decided to keep her in this for a while. Both cut and colour suit her perfectly and even though the hairdo is wrong for 1945, it does not detract from the total.


The dress is very intricately made, with various snaps and hooks to fasten and panels to drape over until it gets the desired shape. Once all fall into place though, a mesmerizing vision appears before your eyes: Ivy the seductress. From the description card that came with the original doll:

"Gene in Blue Goddess" comes dressed in an aqua chiffon strapless gown with an attached stole. It is beautifully draped to flatter Gene's figure, and is accented with a hint of hand beading. Comes complete with matching shoes, hose, an aqua necklace, drop "diamond" earrings and a rhinestone and aqua bracelet. "Blue Goddess" is circa 1945, and was designed exclusively for Gene by Tim Kennedy."






And finally, still in a high glamour mode but more at home now, I put Ivy in "At Home For The Holidays". I have dressed other dolls in this one before (most notably Vivien Leigh, looking amazing), but Ivy came through with this one again: elegant, beautiful and stylish, she becomes the perfect hostess, ready to present a wonderful evening to her guests.


From the description card that came with the outfit:

"This shimmering cocktail pant suit is an iridescent lavender and ruby taffeta, highlighted with multi-stone 'ruby' and 'gold' earrings and necklace. Circa 1957. Designed by Tim Kennedy. Dealer Exclusive Costume. Production limited to 9,999 worldwide."


The dramatic sweep of the overcoat makes for a very interestingly photographed outfit.


And of course the pants can be combined with any matching top. Here they are with another version of the scarf from the original Ivy outfit:


I liked Ivy very much, she is a brilliantly designed doll, fits the spirit of the Gene line and is very versatile, even with older Gene outfits. I wonder who the next character to be introduced will be: if it's half as successful as Ivy is, we're in for a great Gene year.

P.S.1- The wonderful chair that was used in the photograph is from Clea Bella Productions - they have amazing furniture for 16" and 12" dolls.

P.S.2 - The Ashton Drake Gene outfit links are from the excellent web site dedicated to Gene by Devonne.