About Tonner

Robert Tonner

About Robert Tonner

Robert Tonner’s interest in the glamorous fashion dolls of the 50’s formed a part of his early artistic inspiration, leading him to a career in fashion design. After graduating from Parsons School of Design, Tonner was hired by Bill Blass, designing the Blassport label for many years. Throughout his 7th Avenue career, Tonner’s spin on modern American dressing continually caught the eye of the fashion world’ s trend-spotters—his designs were frequently featured in Women’s Wear Daily, Town & Country, NewYork Magazine, The New York Times and Vogue.

Tonner’s long-time fascination with doll art inspired him to try his hand at sculpting original figures. In 1985, Tonner received a glowing review from the National Institute of American Doll Artists (NIADA) for a model-like fashion doll he created for critique. During the years that followed, Tonner turned more of his attention to developing and perfecting his doll designs, eventually leaving 7th Avenue to start the Robert Tonner Doll Company, Inc. in 1991.

Tonner’s “muse” Tyler Wentworth, arguably his most famous creation, is based on a fictional 7th Avenue fashion designer. Her exquisite wardrobe, crafted from couture quality silks, cashmere, and brocades, is made without compromise, and is rich with handcrafted details.

Other Tonner characters represent licenses with studios including Warner Bros., DC, Disney, Paramount and Sony Entertainment bringing collectors Tonner’s finely detailed vision of Wonder Woman, Superman, Harry Potter, Chicago, Batman, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, The Muppets, Twilight, all the Marvel heroes and Pirates of the Caribbean—each figure a unique reflection of the art and artistry of Robert Tonner and design director Joseph Petrollese.

In 2002, Robert Tonner purchased the Effanbee Doll Company, Inc. with its rich legacy as one of America’s oldest doll companies, manufacturing continuously since 1908. Effanbee® blends vintage inspirations with modern manufacturing and boasts such American classics as Patsy®, Dy-Dee Baby®, Little Orphan Annie® and the fashionably popular reporter, Brenda Starr®.

In 2007 Robert Tonner opened his first retail store in the heart of New York’s historic Hudson Valley. Offering store exclusives as well as every item Tonner and Effanbee manufacture worldwide, the Tonner Company Store is a destination for collectors who are invited to line previews, private parties and even share time with Robert Tonner himself. Please visit us at 301 Wall St.,  Kingston, N.Y.—for store hours and directions please call 845.339.2960.

Having celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011, Tonner Doll Company, Inc., embarks on its next 20 years committed to offering the most highly detailed and artfully designed and crafted dolls and character figures to dedicated collectors, as well as those who will soon discover us!