One of the great things that the Tonner Doll Company is really blessed with is passionate and very knowledgeable fans. And those that follow us on Facebook have come to know Sheilah as one of our best Cami experts. Her love for Cami is strong and inspiring. So we asked Sheilah to share her perspective on Cami, and this is the second part of her 3 part series. If you don’t know Cami yet Sheilah is definitely a great place to start. Not only will you find Sheilah on our Facebook page sharing her great spirit, and on her blog Cythna’s Introspections, she also is on Twitter @Ianthe_Shelley part of our growing Tonner Doll conversation there. You can take a look at our Cami and Jon page here.
Cami 101 Part 2: The 14 Cami Dolls Created in Her First 20 Months
by Sheilah R. Craft
In Cami 101, Part 1, I wrote about Cami’s origins and storyline. Cami Malone is a relatively new doll, especially when compared to Mattel’s Barbie or Madame Alexander’s Cissy, who have been icons for several decades. Cami hit the doll market with a big bang in late January 2010, and in her mere 20 months of existence, Robert Tonner and his Tonner Doll Company have produced an astounding 14 Cami dolls.
While each Cami doll has the same face and body, each is quite unique. The hair color and style, the outfit, the face paint all unite to create a Cami that has an individual look and vibe, while simultaneously maintaining cohesiveness in the Cami line and collection. When I look at my 13 of the 14 Cami dolls together (you will read below about that “missing” doll, which will not be missing much longer!), I do not see 13 of the “same doll,” as some people might comment when looking at 13 Cami dolls. Each Cami is different, providing Cami the opportunity to change hair styles and colors, make up, and clothes—and isn’t this what women do on a daily basis? The 14 Cami dolls are works of art that provide beauty while mirroring real life.
That first Cami, whose auspicious debut was at IDEX 2010, was named Delight and was a limited edition (LE) of 200. Delight Cami (above) came attired in a simple, yet pretty, lace teddy. This debut was not about the ensemble—this was about the doll herself. Because of her simple outfit, the focus remained on Cami: her face, which is a resized Cinderella sculpt; her body, which is the modern, trimmer Antoinette body in the fair Cameo skin tone; and that hair. Cami’s hair was unlike any other doll’s hair, unbelievably blonde, long, full, and crimped! That hair received reams of attention on doll boards and groups. Coupled with her pretty face and less curvaceous body, Cami projected a youthful, modern, hip persona and attitude.
After the furor stirred by that limited debut doll, Tonner Doll Company announced the first dolls (above) in the mainstream Cami and Jon line. Unlike previous dolls, these dolls would be made to order, meaning that only the numbers of pre-orders that doll shops received would be the number of dolls manufactured. The collectors actually determined the edition sizes of the first three mainstream line Cami dolls! Those three dolls did not disappoint collectors. These Cami dolls were similar to Delight Cami, with the same essential hair style and concept. The three Basic Cami dolls who kicked off the mainstream line share the same outfit: pale mint green halter cami top, matching panties, and strappy high heeled shoes. The face paints varied slightly, mostly in the eye colors. Three different hair colors were offered: blonde, brunette, and redhead, each with a few highlighted strands framing her pretty face. The blonde remains the most common to find on the secondary market, with the redhead the hardest to find. These were the perfect dolls to wear, model, and showcase the many fabulous fashions designed by Robert Tonner for the Cami and Jon dolls. (By the way, Cami’s fashions will be the subject of my next Cami blog!)
Following the astronomical success of the first three Basic Cami dolls, collectors received a treat in September 2010 with the next made to order Basic Cami doll (above). This time we got a variation on Cami’s trademark look; the long, crimped hair was platinum in color, with the sides pulled back in a cute twist, leaving just a few strands loose to frame her face. Platinum Cami, as she is called, came attired in lavender shirred bralette, matching panties, and strappy high heels. Her face paint was more vivid, with red lips and a hint of lavender eye shadow. This fifth doll in the Cami line received a very special compatriot, one that is so rare and elusive that many collectors covet her and others have not heard about her.
Also in September 2010, Doll Market store celebrated its 16th anniversary, and Robert Tonner created an über limited Cami doll for the occasion (above). Cami Basic Chestnut was a LE of a mere 50 dolls! With the same outfit and comparable face paint, she is very similar to the Platinum Cami, except, of course, for her hair color, which was a lustrous, multi-tone shade of chestnut brown with natural-looking shades and highlights. Chestnut Cami remains the rarest and most coveted Cami doll , and with only 50 dolls manufactured, very few enter the secondary market. Those fortunate enough to own her or to find her for sale on the secondary market have a very special doll indeed, and I am thrilled to count myself among Chestnut’s owners. [Sheilah just received her at the time of this press and sent in a picture, see her blog post on her!]
After the buzz over rare Chestnut, the last Cami doll of 2010 was also quite special, because Gold Label Cami (above) was the first “dressed doll” in the Cami line. Basic dolls most often come dressed in lingerie, whereas dressed dolls are attired in a complete ensemble. Gold Label was also the first Cami offered as a Tonner Direct exclusive, and was limited to 250 dolls. Gold Label Cami was a vision and the gold theme was perfectly executed and carried through in a seamless and sophisticated manner. Cami’s trademark long, crimped hair was in a golden shade of blonde, with the sides pulled back into a modified French braid with a golden rose hair ornament. As with Platinum Cami and Chestnut Cami, Gold Label Cami had a loose tendril framing her pretty face. Her golden eyes and muted make up complemented the hair and outfit. Gold Label wore a gold sequined slip dress underneath a sheer gold chiffon overdress that was adorned with gold ribbons. Gold Label’s shiny gold high-heeled shoes sparkled as much as did her glittering and beribboned bracelets. This lovely lass set the bar high for future dressed Cami dolls and ended Cami’s debut year beautifully.
That bar was set even higher with the first Cami doll of 2011, which remains one of the most remarkably breathtaking dolls. Created as the souvenir doll for the 2011 Paris Doll Festival, La Belle de Chenonceau Cami (above) took Cami to new heights. Not only was she the first historical Cami doll, but also the first Cami who wore rings on her fingers. Her ensemble is exquisite, made of fine, luxurious fabrics and styled to perfection. La Belle de Cenonceau’s brunette hair is pulled back into a proper bun, and her brown eyes gaze from underneath her cap. This Cami’s shoes have been described by several people as “killer shoes” with their period style and red and gold faux leather. La Belle de Cenonceau was a LE of 100 dolls and thus far the priciest Cami doll. Of course, she is worth every dollar, as her beauty takes one’s breath!
Announced early in 2011 at Toy Fair were the next three Cami dolls: Basic Brunette (above), Basic Redhead (above), and Basic Wigged Cami (see below). The 2011 Basic Cami dolls were each limited to 500 dolls and wore pink lounging sets consisting of t-shirt and shorts. These dolls marked a departure for Cami, as their respective brunette and red hair, though very long, was straight rather than crimped as the 2010 dolls’ hair had been. Like their predecessors, their hair each sported a few highlights in front to frame the dolls’ faces. By this time, Cami’s popularity was at a height and the dolls were in high demand. These dolls show that Cami’s looks and styles are adaptable and that this is one doll that changes with each release as she evolves over time. Her essence remains stable, with her persona of a young, modern, trendy New Yorker, but the changes are just enough that collectors feel they are truly getting a new Cami doll with each release.
Dressed in the same pink lounging set, with fashionable faux tan leather strappy shoes, Cami Basic Wigged (above; another Cami models the short brunette wig) was a first in the Cami line for two notable reasons: first, she is obviously a wigged doll; second, this Cami had inset acrylic blue eyes! Wigged Cami came with two wigs, a short, sporty brunette wig with a jaunty blonde highlight, and a long, feminine blonde wig. This Cami proved so popular from the moment she was announced, that her LE of 500 dolls was very quickly sold out and waitlisted. Collectors fell in love with Basic Wigged Cami, and one look makes the reason clear—she is a beautiful doll, and the fact that she is wigged allows people to change her look whenever they desire and how they prefer. Her immense popularity has led many to request a follow-up inset-eyed wigged Cami for 2012, and time will tell if another such lovely graces the Cami line, perhaps with an unexpected eye color.
2011 is a very special year for Cami and for Tonner Doll Company, who celebrate their 20th anniversary this year. The annual Tonner Convention, held in May 2011, focused on this amazing milestone, with one event titled the Young New York Luncheon. Cami was the souvenir doll (above), and in the table centerpiece she was joined by her best friends, Jon and Andy. All three dolls wore coordinating gold, black, and while outfits and accessories. Fare Game Cami was a LE of 150 dolls, and marked the first time a dressed Cami doll wore pants. Her sequined black pants, gold taffeta tank top, white silk hoodie, and black peep-toe boots were not just dressy enough for such an important occasion, but heralded Cami’s young, hip, fresh style. This Cami was also a wigged doll, which was a pleasant surprise to many collectors. Her blue eyes really popped with her darker eye make-up, and Fare Game Cami was yet another stunner from Robert Tonner.
The limited edition Cami dolls continued in July and September 2011. In July, the United Federation of Doll Clubs (UFDC) convention was held in California, and the Tonner event was titled New Year’s Eve Dinner. The souvenir Cami doll (above), Party All Night Cami, was limited to 125 dolls, and wore a short, stylish party dress fit to ring in the New Year. Cami’s trademark crimped hair returned, in a striking shade of strawberry red, though her hair was not as long as the 2010 dolls’ hair had been, ending below her waist. Her glittery, ruffled one-shouldered pink dress, necklace, bracelets, and blue eyes melded together to create one stunning doll. However, her shoes are to die for, and rival Dorothy Gale’s ruby red slippers as the best sparkly shoes to ever grace a girl’s feet! Party All Night Cami was a shift from the usually more casual attire Cami had worn, and that trend continued to the most recent Cami doll, the MDCC souvenir Cami doll.
The Modern Doll Collectors Club convention was held in Texas in the middle of September 2011, and among the ticketed events was the Tonner 20th Anniversary Party Brunch. The souvenir Cami (above) for this event is the most glamorous, breathtaking Cami doll to date. Silver Splendor Cami was limited to 100 dolls, and she is the first Cami doll to come with earrings. Those silver earrings coordinate perfectly with her necklace, strappy heels, and flowing, ruffled confection of a gown. Yes, this Cami doll wears a gown, one that I previously wrote on my Cami blog is worthy of any red carpet or runway. Cami finally stepped into the world of high fashion and glamor! Her auburn hair is straight, waist length, and sophisticatedly styled off of her face. Her eyes are a lovely shade of silvery blue-grey that matches her overall look and coloring to perfection.
Cami is unarguably one of Tonner’s most popular dolls, though the reasons why collectors like her so much are as varied as are the collectors. Since my own love for Cami has been shared online, I “meet” someone new to Cami on a regular basis now; two or more people who had not been interested in Cami before who are now smitten with her contact me each week! Some of them write and ask me questions about Cami, which is great fun, because I get to discuss my favorite doll—and perhaps, in some small way, help people realize what a lovely, modern, wondrous doll Cami remains. Because her popularity seems to be growing on a daily basis at this point, it’s a safe prediction that she will remain a pivotal character in the Tonner line for a while. I, for one, hope it is a very long time!
In my third and final Cami blog, I will share some of the fabulous fashions that Robert Tonner has designed for Cami. Cami is looking forward to modeling the clothes, and I look forward to writing about and photographing my favorite doll once more.
If anyone has a doll they just love and you’d like to write an introduction or a history on, please do let us know. Contact Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org