|Clothes Make the Vogue Dolls|
|Written by Judith Izen|
|Saturday, 01 October 2005 00:00|
Itâs little wonder that little girls and their mothers fell in love with Ginny and her clothing. Not only was Ginny one of the first âfashionâ dolls in the hard plastic doll era, she was one of the first to have a family. After all, if dressing up Ginny was fun, imagine how much more entertaining it was to dress up a whole clan of fashionable cuties!
Ginnyâs originator, Jennie H. Graves, founder of the Vogue Doll Company, introduced Ginnyâs baby sister, Ginnette, in 1955. Ginnette was an all vinyl doll; she was the same size as Ginny but featured curved legs and arms. A drink-and-wet doll, Ginnette is marked âVOGUE DOLLS INCâ on her back.
Like Ginny, Ginnette had many outfits that could be purchased separately. Among her ensembles were adorable baby rompers, snowsuits, overalls and party dresses. Graveâs daughter, Virginia Graves Carlson (for whom Ginny was named), designed all the outfits for both Ginny and Ginnette.
In 1957, the Vogue beauties welcomed Ginnyâs teenage sister into the family fold. Hard plastic, 10Â˝-inch Jill became nearly as popular as Ginny and is still sought-after by todayâs collectors. Little girls, crazy about Jillâs fabulous teenage wardrobe and accessories, loved imagining themselves as a sophisticated teenage girl with fancy outfits and accessories. Jill, a walker with knees that bent, was produced with blonde, brunette or auburn color hair in either an angle cut or ponytail saran hairstyle. Jill, who featured pierced ears, could even wear earrings.
Jill, who came marked âVOGUEâ on the head and âJILL/VOGUE DOLLS/ INC/MADE IN USA/C 1957â on the back, had wonderful teenage outfits such as âRecord Hop,â blue jeans, a hostess outfit of velveteen slim-Jim pants with cummerbund, a rodeo outfit complete with gun in holster, prom gowns and a Dynel evening stole. Accessories, which could be bought separately, inÂcluded nylon stockings, a panty girdle and bra (in black or white), jewelry and hatboxes. These well-made items were a delight in their fashion style and attention to detail.
Carlson and Joan Cornett, who joined Vogue in 1957, designed Jillâs clothing. That very year they planned over 100 outfits for Ginny and her family, complete with matching hats, gloves, shoes and socks.
To promote the Vogue doll family idea, Carlson and Cornett designed several matching outfits for Ginny, baby sister Ginnette and big sister Jill. Ginny fans loved the idea of matching outfits for Ginny and her clan, and spent their dollars to show their appreciation. Vogue became the largest selling doll company in America in 1957, garnering over five million dollarsâ worth of revenues. Vogueâs owners knew they had hit upon a successful concept and continued the matching outfits for the Vogue Doll Family from 1955 to 1963.
Vogue added two new family members in 1958. Jimmy, Ginnyâs baby brotherâa Ginnette doll dressed in boyâs clothingâand Jeff, Ginnyâs big brother. Many of Jimmyâs outfits matched Ginnetteâs clothes. (Ginnetteâs blue overalls had ruffles on them whereas Jimmyâs didnât.) Since he was not as successful as Ginnette, Jimmy was manufactured only for one year.
Jeff, the teenage boy doll, has a somewhat indefinite position in Ginnyâs family. Jeff, an 11-inch vinyl doll with jointed neck, and arms and legs, was marketed as either Jillâs boyÂfriend or Ginnyâs brother. Jeffâs amÂbiguous position in the Ginny family perhaps represents Gravesâ inÂtenÂtion that he serves multiple play options for children. Jeff has black painted molded hair and is marked âVOGUEâ on his head and âVOGUE DOLLSâ on his back. Jeff also sported outfits that matched those of Ginny and other family members; among the ensembles were a rodeo get-up and a skating outfit. His current interest to collectors is that he completes the Ginny family.
Vogue wasnât done introducing friends and family for Ginny.Â In 1959, the company released Jan, an all vinyl 10 Â˝-inch teenage doll with a swivel waist. Meant as a friend for Jill, Jan wore Jillâs clothing.
Vogue went on to add a line of dolls in 1960 called Ginnyâs Impish CousinsâBrikette, Liâl Imp and Wee Imp (really an eight-inch Ginny with a bright orange wig and freckles). Liâl Imp and Wee Impâs clothes matched one anotherâs, but not those of the outfits of the rest of the Ginny line.
Vogue always used high-quality fabrics for their clothing such as printed and polished cotton, felt, waffle piquĂŠ, brocade, velveteen, taffeta and cotton knits on their dollsâ clothing. The clothing was always finely finished with lace borders and trimmings. The dolls all sported hats with most of their outfits. And it didnât stop at clothing. Ginny, Ginnette and Jill had matching furniture and accessories tooâ wardrobe closets, chests of drawers and vanity tables (Ginnyâs furniture was pink; Jillâs was lime green, and Ginnetteâs was white with a pastel animal motif).
Ginny and Jill even had matching jewelry. Ginnyâs jewelry was plastic but little girls could pretend that the various colored necklaces and bracelets were real emeralds and rubies. Jill however had ârealâ rhinestone, pearl and colored stone jewelry. Ginny and Jill even had matching eyeÂglasses and pocketbooks.Â Everything a dollâand her ownerâwould ever need to play dress-up. To learn more about Ginny, Jill, Ginnette and the entire Vogue Doll family, see Judith Izenâs Collectorâs Encyclopedia of Vogue Dolls.
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