Sunday, 21 February 2016

Anouk Vintage Advertisements

Keeping with the theme of a totally vintage doll, I knew I wanted some print advertisements made that would set the tone for Anouk. Who better to model them then my very own little doll, my daughter Aanya. It took a fair amount of bribery and begging to transform her from a trendy young pre-teen into a pony tailed child from the 60s, but we got there in there in the end!

In the end there are 8 versions. Four in French and four in English. I may produce a booklet, for the dolls. If I do, I may use one of these as the cover.

The images below were taken with the first prototype dolls and outfits and at my dining room table!

Then I added the logo, and wording. I was very pleased how they turned out. They have a very vintage feel and are reminiscent of advertisements from the 1960s for dolls like Tammy, Barbie, Francie, Tressy etc. Here are the French versions:

Here are the English language versions, for the American and English markets:

Meet Anouk

So finally the factory and I worked hard to create Anouk exactly as I had envisaged her. Her inspiration, Caprice, is clearly recognisable and identifiable, but there is enough Anouk to make her a new entity entirely.
She has a beautifully curvaceous body, slightly shorter than Barbie, a smaller bust, and larger hips. That said, she can share many of Barbie's clothes, if you are prepared to wiggle the clothes on patiently over her larger derrière! She has a self assured expression, from the firm set of her jaw to her charmingly refined and retrousse nose.
Her vinyl is soft, translucent and has a fragrance of Vanilla. She will be available in four hair shades. There is a sun tanned version and a black Anouk. She will also have two hairstyles, one long, and one short. She will be produced in a very limited edition of only 300 dolls. I may do more lines in the future.
In your hands she really is everything a vintage doll should be; intentionally naive face paint, hairstyles and articulation. Anouk is finally born, and she is pleased to meet you. :-)
Anouk will be available with four hair shades: Champagne Blond, Ash Blond Brunette and Titian.

She will have two hairstyles: A short bob and a long wavy style with front ponytail tied with a small ribbon.

Anouk's packaging allows her to be displayed at the same time. It is typical of  doll packaging in the 1960s.

Beautiful Black and suntanned versions of Anouk.

Titian and Ash Blond

Anouk in a more sophisticated mood. The Black doll on the right is a prototype that will not be among the production dolls.

The dolls below are pre-production samples I had made to test out potential hairstyles. Unfortunately none of them will be made in the production run of 300 dolls. But I thought you would still enjoy seeing them.

Anouk: her evoloution

Two first issue prototype heads experimenting with lip shape.

 After flying out to the factory to approve the wax model before moulds could be made, I did have a few reservations. I felt the face too large, rounded and smiling. Her nose lacked character and definition. Because I was unfamiliar with the process, I had to take certain guidance from the factory. I was told that natural shrinkage in the production process and paint would lessen the effect of the smile and broadness of the face in general.
However once I received the first samples I knew that it was not going to work. The head was really out of proportion, and she looked like a child rather than a chic Parisian young woman.

A test sample to try rooting patterns of hair.

The very first hand painted Anouk prototypes.
Although I was disappointed, I tried to convince myself with a photo shoot.

My Concept art and prototype dolls and fashions.
Even though Ken clearly adored her, I knew Anouk had to be resculpted.
...but nothing worked.
I tried different face paints...

First generation pre production Anouk dolls and outfits.

To their credit, the factory resculpted the head, but now, working closely under my supervision. I am fairly certain the sculptor despised me by the end of this arduous process. This time, I knew better what the shrinkage effects would be and what to expect. After a second, third and fourth attempt, we produced a sculpt that I was very happy with. A night and day difference, one might say.
The final Sculpt

The first sculpt prototype on the left compared with the final version on the right.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Anouk is sculpted

The sculptor at the factory begins creating Anouk.

Finding a factory to make Anouk the way I wanted was difficult. I knew I wanted her produced in Europe. It may well have been easier and cheaper to go to Asia but that was not really in the spirit of Anouk. Europe had a wonderful doll making industry up until the 70s / 80s. Sindy was made in England, Mily, Caprice were made in France, Italy was so prolific and Spain had a wonderful doll making tradition. 

As I began my research though, I sadly realised, that it was no longer the 60s so consequently a lot of these factories no longer existed. I spent weeks making phone calls, writing emails and researching. Finally, when I almost had given up, I found the ideal factory in Spain. They were a perfect on many levels. A fairly small outfit with only a few hundred staff. They still use vintage machines and techniques to make their dolls. As the head of production joked with me, “Everything is as it was in the 1960s Nav. Only the staff has changed”. They had a great understanding of what I wanted to do, and an integrity that was very appealing. Even though they are not experienced in fashion doll making they took Anouk on as a challenge that they have more than risen to.

These Vats contain liquid vinyl which will make Anouk.

The ovens where the body parts are baked. in the foreground you can see the moulds.

The most expensive part. The moulds!

Skilled factory workers working on another order of dolls.

The hair rooting ladies.
Notice the spools of hair overhead.
Anouk gets sculpted.

Anouk's wax model which will be used to produce her moulds.

Very early Plasticine model of Anouk

First attempt of Anouk's head in wax.

The second version, which was better, but still too smiling and not sharp enough features.

The third version. Smile gone but nose needs refinement.

Fourth version! Finally we cracked it. I love her sharper retrousse nose.

The final sculpt in profile.

Myself with the head of production, touring the factory and, selecting colours for Anouk.