As I think I may have mentioned before, I didn’t start collecting because I was interested in collector dolls. At the time, I wouldn’t have known where to look for them (no internet!) and actually, I couldn’t have afforded them anyway. I started collecting because of my fascination with playline dolls, usually Barbies and Sindys. This means that when it comes to collector dolls, I don’t really know my onions the way you might expect and thus far, I have made very little effort to change this. So when I came across Gene in a Dollreader magazine from 1997, it was all new to me.
I was immediately wowed. Among oceans of frilly-knickered, thumb-sucking porcelain child dolls and stiff, porcelain statues in eveningwear, Gene stood out like an elegant sore thumb. The clean, minimal painting of her features is obviously inspired by Lempicka, in keeping with her general pre-war style. And her electric blue eyes are deliciously spooky, in a George R R Martin kind of way.
I did a bit of reading up. It seems that around about the time that my Dollreader magazine was produced, Gene was a phenomenon that was taking the Dollyverse by storm. I also found (its hard to tell from pictures) that Gene is bigger than my usual kind of doll, standing 15.5 inches as opposed to Barbie’s 11.5. Not only was she bigger, she was one of the first collector dolls of this size ever produced, and collectors loved it. The adverts in the back of Dollreader backed this up, as they were overwhelmingly Gene related:
I was not quite so convinced. My Moxie Teenz are probably the biggest dolls I own, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to encourage a branch of my collection that would be so demanding in terms of space. Also, I just didn’t know how I would react to a bigger doll. I like the fit-in-your-hand size of Barbies and Sindys, its comfortable and familiar. However, I found myself “just looking” at Genes more and more, and eventually, of course, I ended up buying one. When she arrived, I am sad to say that I did find her hard to bond with, for a number of reasons I will probably discuss tomorrow when I post about her. At the moment, she’s tucked away in her box and I haven’t got her out since the day she arrived. I have done this on purpose, so that I could give liking her another try … to be continued.