February 15th Program: Who Designs the Clothes?

Here is a summary of the program presented by Jakki D.

Many of us first see the pretty face on a doll but it is the attire which most attracts us. Jakki herself is a connoisseur of fine fabrics and good design and loves to find fine examples on her world travels.

She noticed an article about Boneka in an older Doll News and this started her journey of exploring other doll clothing designers and led to this excellent program. She and several other club members brought in a bounty of beautiful examples of doll clothing designs. Here is a sampling of those designers represented that day:

Rosemarie Ionker from Germany is a Master Designer and began Boneka. She moved to several places around the world where she learned about fantastic fibers, costuming, smocking, embellishments and the material sources, manufacturing and business know how and contacts for her own business of children’s and doll clothing. Her doll customers include Helen Kish, Heidi Plusok, Robert Tonner, Julie-Good Krueger and many more.
Rosemarie Ionker - Boneka

Bo Bergmann started her doll line and creates her own doll molds and doll clothing designs. Currently she has added new designers to create lovely clothing for her dolls.

Robert Tonner – what can you say of this master of variety, imagination and talent? He began his career designing for Bill Blass and eventually designed a line under his own fashion label. In 1991 he joined NIADA and launched Robert Tonner Doll Design which became the Tonner Doll Company in 2000. His company regrouped old companies like Effanbee, Revlon and more and also began new ones like Wilde Imagination. He is still currently designing beautiful dolls and clothing.

Mel Odom began his career as an Illustrator and ladies high fashion designer. In the 1994 he and Ashton-Drake Galleries brought fashion dolls to adult collectors. Mel sculpted the dolls with personal stories and designed the fabulously exquisite clothing. From 2005-2010 the dolls were produced by Jason Wu and made by Integrity Toys. In 2013 Gene was reborn by JAMIEshow Dolls. Mel still designs doll clothing today.
Mel Odam

Maggie Iacono began sewing clothes and toys for her 3 girls and also sold at local boutiques. Her dolls combined a sculpted face with molded and painted felt features with a fully jointed felt covered body and beautiful felted clothing with lovely embellishments. In 1989 she and her husband Tony began their full time business and it continues today.

Robin Woods dolls from the 1980’s are known for their amazing details, trims, embellishments and multiple layers of fabrics. In 1991 she left her own company and designed for Let’s Play Dolls and Elsie Dinsmore. One of her company’s designers Chris Miller left Robin’s company and designed for Pittsburgh Originals.

In 1990 to commemorate the 40th year of Peanuts, Snoopy was dressed by 150 fashion designers and a book was published in celebration. The designers included Chanel, Balenciaga, Vivienne Westwood, Kenzo, Christian Lacroix, Georgio Armani, Francois Lesage, Issey Miyake, Emanuel Ungaro, Guy Laroche, Claude Montana, Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld and so many more.

Carol Spencer was the top designer in the 1960’s-1990’s for Mattel’s Barbie. Sharon Zuckerman came on board after Carol and remains at Mattel. Top of the line fashion designers were also featured by Mattel such as Bob Mackie and Vera Wang.
Bob Mackie and Vera Wang

Oleg Cassini was a top women’s fashion designer of the 1960’s and famous for his creations for Jackie Kennedy. In the 1990’s Franklin Mint produced exact replicas of Jackie’s ensembles with Oleg’s approval. The workmanship and quality are above and beyond.

Elsa Shiaparelli was another top women’s fashion designer of the 1950’s. In her later years she had a line of inexpensive dolls with her name on the clothing.

Madame Alexander began producing clothed cloth dolls with her family in her early years. She went on to create the MA Doll Co. and though there were fewer face differences, the costuming and wigging was gorgeous in design, quality and detail, especially during the 1950’s.
Madame Alexander

Mary Hoyer had a doll line in the 1930’s for which she designed clothes but she also made patterns for moms and grandmas to make at home. Mary’s granddaughter started up the line again recently.
Mary Hoyer

Mollye Goldman designed the sweet clothing for the famous 1930’s Shirley Temple doll by Ideal.

Door of Hope dolls with their authentic style clothing were created in the early 1900’s by many destitute young Chinese girls encouraged by missionaries so they would learn practical skills to keep them safe from terrible conditions.
Door of Hope

Ernestine Jumeau, the wife of Emile was the designer of the fabulous courtier fashions for those hauntingly beautiful Bebes in the 1860’s-1890’s. The ensembles are fine examples with gorgeous details using fine fabrics and trims.

This wonderful array of dolls, with the emphasis on the clothing designers, along with all the fascinating information, made the time fly as we all began to think of our collections at home and wondered who designed the clothes? Thank you Jakki for a wonderful program and to all those who shared their dolls. Terrific!

Jakki D Program Presenter

Jakki D Program Presenter

Special thanks to Pat D. for providing this program summary!