Friday, July 23, 2010

Enter the Dreamy Elegant World of the 50s with the OOAKs of Ayaloo

One day I received an email from someone telling me that I should check out an OOAK artist named “Ayal” who does not only repaint dolls but also making elegant outfits for 16” girls. She said Ayal is an interesting and talented person that she highly recommended me to interview with.

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So I followed the information provided and checked out his website! It is easy to recognize Ayal’s work once your have seen it! I am not a fan of Gene, but I found some of Ayal’s Gene repaints could present even more elegant and dreamy looks of the 50s like those I saw from Hollywood movies than the factory ones. Ayal may not be as well known as other OOAK artists but I think his persistence on his creation worth some attention. Below is my interview with this Israel born American OOAK artist!


Please tell us some background about yourself.

My full name is Ayal Armon, and this is the name I use for my work. On Prego i Use Ayaloo as my name, which is a nick name a good friend of mine is calling me.
I was born and raised in Israel, and came to the United States 30 years ago. I studied fashion design in Israel and when I graduated I came to the US. I lived in Los Angeles, where i had my fashion business, than move to Florida, where I taught fashion design and illustration.
I moved to New York in 1989 to get my graduate work in fine art at Pratt Institute. I have been painting professionally since, and make my living as an artist.

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How did your fashion doll collection start?

Studio shots 015Once i was in Florida, i went with a friend to a toy store, and saw an Elle doll. I liked the doll and bought her. it was the first doll that i saw that had a fashion proportion. i had plans on making outfits for her. But she set on a shelf for two or three years, and than i wanted another one, so i started looking for them and could only find them on ebay. So i bought few and stumbled on Tyler doll. Once I got my first Tyler, my love affair with the Elle dolls was over, and i got hooked on Tonner. The repaints came later and started with Gene. I got one to see how she looks in person, was not crazy about her. I love and always admired Mel Odom's work, but gene face was not as great as i thought. So she too stood on a shelf, until I decided to repaint her.

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I noticed that your doll style is kind of different from the main stream, can you please tell us more about it?

I like to create a period look to my dolls. For some reason i am drawn to the 50's look and that period fashion. I love the fashion that you see in movies of Doris Day and Audrey Hepburn, the fashion in that period is flattering to the woman's body and looks great. My repaints reflects that quality.



Please tell us something about how you work on your dolls.

Every doll is different, and i follow the dolls 'character' as it unfolds while I repaint her. Sometimes I get a look on the doll that I don't like, or she gets an expression that is not to my likings, which means erasing the face and redo, until it looks right. There are dolls that have been repainted 4 or 5 times before they look right to me.

Which dolls are your muses?

When Tonner came out with the American Models, I was in heaven. My new favorite doll is the Antoinette. I love her body. If Tonner will come with the Antoinette body for the American Model, it will be just heaven. Making clothes for them is great. They are big enough to sew for and there is more room to work.



Can you please tell us your OOAK secret?

IMAG021In my professional life i worked as a fashion designer and illustrator, and I use these skills in my dolls fashion and repaints. I apply the dolls makeup as you would a fashion model, enhancing the face and the facial features, and creating a look and atmosphere. I also am a painter and paint peoples portraits, so i use my skills to give the dolls eyes life.


Do you prefer rooted doll to wigged ones?

IMAG027 Yes, I prefer the rooted hair on a doll, it allows me to play with the hair and redo the hair style based on the outfits they are wearing. I never had a doll with a wig, so at this point I am sticking with the rooted hair. Needless to say that I have learned a lot since I started. I have perfected the hair curling methods that I use, plus came up with some tricks and techniques that help me get the look that I want from the doll.


Do you re-sculpt dolls to achieve what you wanted?

I usually do not re-sculpt the faces, to be honest I was kind of scared to cut the face too much or ruin it. But with some of Tonner dolls, such as Eva and Antoinette, the eyes were too small to accommodate eyelashes, so i took a chance and re sculpt the eyes, and it worked out perfectly. So now all my Antoinette get a little 'surgery' or an eye job, before i repaint them. As for other facial reconstructions, so far i have not ventured into that.


Beside your favor to the glamorous look of the 50s, how would you describe the signature of your OOAKs?

I use liquid acrylics for the facial repaints, and some real make up as well. All my dolls have forward glancing eyes, i like them looking at me. I started applying eyelashes as a personal preference, and it got into my trade mark. They all get eyelashes, the male dolls as well.  


I just got some Deanna as well and workingRepaints july10 024 on some new patterns for her. It takes me couple of days and few types of muslin, to perfect a pattern. I am a stickler for fitting, so the dress or whatever i sew for the doll, has to fit nicely. No sort of or kind of fitting will work. Fit is very important to me that the fabric hangs right, the garment is beautifully finished, and the fit is sleek. The finish of the garment is very important to me. Most outfits are lined, all seams are finished and no hanging threads. I do tailoring.

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Studio shots 011     What is your current project & future plans?

I work by myself, but lately i started looking for an apprentice, to help me with the sewing. I designed a new line of evening wear for the 16" dolls and I just do not have enough time to do it all. I also am working on a new series of paintings, so with taking care of my dogs, which go to work with me, the painting, the fashion, i get overwhelmed at times, so i decided to look for help.

Now what for the future, it will be nice to work on a project with a doll manufacturer, and design a clothing line for a doll.

Ayal could be contacted at:

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Picture Credit: All by Ayal

All rights reserved. Please do NOT use any materials or write up without prior writing for permission!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Haute Doll Magazine Officially Saying Goodbye – I Am Not Sad At All!

*** First of all, I MUST state that I do not like to bad mouth people and never do it in my blog.  My blog is supposed to be a fun and happy one about my collection experiences and my perspectives about it. 

But the ending of HD magazine just brought back my bad memories with them and I just wanted to tell the truth from my perspective and experiences with them.  Please also read the comments section too! ***

There have been discussions and talks about the termination of Haute Doll Magazine in doll boards lately.  I received their official e-mail announcement this evening to confirm this issue.  The problem is there are some people who have just renewed their subscription or have just started with them in order to buy their exclusive dolls! 

I liked this magazines and had subscribed for 4 years in total, but during the last subscription, I had a bad experience with them. First of all, the magazines never arrived on time. I could only receive the magazine when the next issue is almost out! I would not be able to read any new information or any HD exclusive doll previews at all. 

My Bad Bad Experiences with HD:

Firstly: I bought Sybarite exclusive from them. After the doll arrived, I found that I was like over charged like US30 (forgot exact amount) on postage. I wrote to them about it and they said it was the custom duty that they had to paid from China to USA!  I was totally stunned!  Why would I need to pay for that?  What if the dolls had to rerouted from other ports, do I need to cover all their costs and duties as well?  Do I need to pay for any strength that you ever used or even their toilet paper at the office?

Secondly: I know that I am not the only overseas subscribers having problem with them.  Actually, the last 3 issues of my subscription never came. When I wrote to them about my case, they gave me cold shoulders.  They only sent me ONE copy after they had collected the past issues back from the stalls.  Then, the next issue did not come also, I wrote again and they just said “seems your address has problem!” and never take my case seriously or look into the case at all.  My mailing address is the same as before and never changed. Instead HD suggested me to pay more to upgrade the mailing. What the heck!  I have already paid double for overseas mailing, which always arrived like 2 months after it is published.  So, doubtlessly, I did not renew my subscription, and THANKS GOD FOR THAT!!!!

Below is the official announcement from Haute Doll Magazine:

Dear Valued Partner:

We wanted you to be among the first to know that after many wonderful years of publishing Haute Doll, we have decided to turn the publication over to Madavor Media/Doll Reader. Our last issue will be July/August, 2010. We have decided to retire and go on to new adventures.
We know that Doll Reader will provide a great home for Haute Doll and will continue publishing Haute Doll within the pages of Doll Reader as a special supplement. Doll Reader has a strong reputation and following within the world of dolls and has the largest circulation of any doll publication. Their editorial content is written by world-renowned experts, and they keep the doll enthusiast up-to-date with the latest happenings.

The first issue will be included in the October issue of Doll Reader. Madavor is committed to serving all current subscribers and will provide you with additional audience of passionate, enthusiastic and loyal
doll subscribers within their Doll Reader to expand your reach.
Madavor Media publishes other titles and manages trade shows including IDEX – the premiere trade show for dolls, bears and other fine gifts. These publications and shows are No. 1 in their respective fields in the collectible, sports, music and enthusiast markets. Through its print and digital magazines, trade shows, Web sites, e-mail newsletters and other partnerships across the publishing industry, Madavor offers unique ways to communicate with passionate consumers who are eager to learn more about products and events that support their interests.
We thank you for your support of Haute Doll over the years and have enjoyed working with you. We are excited that through Doll Reader, Haute Doll will be able to continue to provide excellent content and
beautiful photos of the most fashionable dolls in the industry.
If you have any questions about your subscription, please contact Madavor Media’s subscription department at 1-800-437-5828 or 617-706-9110.

Warm Regards,
Marlene Mura and Karen Caviale
Publishers, Haute Doll