Jan 21, 2020

Royal Princesses, Ungaro, Golden Globes, Palm Springs Film Festival, Pre-Fall 2020 Designers, Pantone Color of the Year

Royal Princesses, Regally Dressed

I have just finished a new paper doll book, scheduled to be published mid-year by Paper Studio Press. “Royal Princesses of the 20th Century” features five real-life Royals, each with several outfits. Princess Alexandra of Denmark married the Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria’s son, and thereby became the longest reigning Princess of Wales in history until she was crowned Queen Consort. Princess Margaret Rose, sister of Elizabeth II, was a glamorous personality with a devil-may-care air and a hedonistic attitude. Diana, Princess of Wales was so popular she became known as “the people’s princess.” Her tragic death being pursued by a horde of paparazzi saddened the world. Princess Anne, only daughter of the reigning Queen, was honored with the special title “Princess Royal” as a reward for being so hard working. Princess Grace of Monaco came to the throne of a storybook kingdom on the Riviera by way of Hollywood stardom.

 Princess Alexandra of Denmark; Diana, Princess of Wales and Princess Margaret Rose. 

 Princess Alexandra of Denmark, Princess Royal Anne and Princess Grace of Monaco

 Princess of Wales and Princess Royal Anne, Princess Margaret Rose and Princess Grace of Monaco.

Emanuel Ungaro, Rest in Peace

Emanuel Ungaro, one of the brightest talents in Paris Haute Couture during the '60s and '70s, died December 22nd at age 86. He was born in Aix en Provence and when just a boy, his father gifted him with a sewing machine. At age 22 he went to Paris and worked for brilliant couturiers Cristóbal Balenciaga and André Courrèges before opening his own house in 1965. Ungaro quickly became a star, offering his own version of a simplistic, Space Age style that slowly morphed into a wildly successful colorful and sexy look, ruffled and draped. In 2005 Ungaro sold his company for $84 million, including a fragrance business that continued to flourish and presently generates $200 million annually. Without him at the helm, the Emanuel Ungaro name lost its luster under the inept creativity of several so-called designers including a notorious season credited to media “It” girl of the moment, Lindsay Lohan. 
 Designer Emanuel Ungaro and a ‘60s look.

 My own illustration of an Ungaro creation in English Harper’s Bazaar, Sept. 1969, reprinted in “Fashion Illustration 1930-1970.” Published by Batsford, U.K.

Ball Gown Again and Again

If I say that I am a “perfectionist” where my paper dolls are concerned, it is not to suggest that I believe any of my artwork achieves absolute perfection. But I do try. I struggled with the challenge of a ball gown for the Princess Grace of Monaco in my upcoming Royal Princesses of the 20th Century book. For inspiration I found a vintage photo of the ex-movie star wearing a cream-colored strapless gown and a white fox fur stole. Very royal, indeed. However, I had trouble working out the width and placement of the subtle self-stripes in the fabric. The ivory color seemed too dull, so I experimented with various shades of violet and blue before I got the light lavender effect I wanted.
 Ball gown for Princess Grace paper doll inspired by elegant photo.

 Preliminary sketches to experiment with self-stripe fabric, recolored artist prerogative. 

 Color testing, shades of violet.

 Blue hues, a bit too safe.

Creatively Colored Movie Posters

Classic Movie Posters is a fun coloring book published by Dover. It contains 30 vintage movie posters reworked as black-and-white line art by Marty Noble and ready to color with pencils (my favorite medium), crayons or markers. Of course, purists can color the posters as they were originally printed, but I think it’s much more fun to experiment with surprising alternatives. I wondered what King Kong would look like with pink fur? How about a red recolor of Audrey Hepburn’s slinky black gown to wear for breakfast at Tiffany’s? Or maybe Judy Garland might mistakenly get green make-up meant for the Wicked Witch of the West? Coloring book available for $4.99 from paperdollreview.com.

 Cover and King Kong as a pretty pet in pale pink.

 Audrey’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, gowned in red. Green witchery turns Judy green.

Classic Blue Chosen as the Color of the Coming Year

Pantone has played it safe and decreed that the color of 2020 will be Classic Blue (Their number 19-4052). Perfectly pitched for our troubled times, this strong blue is dependable and stable, simple and reassuring. It’s timeless and enduring, a denim-friendly workhorse hue that can also be surprisingly sophisticated. 
 Pantone 19-4052, already working well for Christian Siriano.

Sampling Pre-Fall 2020 Designer Collections

Adding to the confusion of changing climate and crazy weather patterns, the fashion industry insists on acting as if there really is a season known as “Pre-Fall.” Is it the day before the leaves change color? Of course it is just a ploy to sell more fashion. It consists of fresh new stock to be delivered to stores just as the real summer is starting, but before the genuine Fall stocks are delivered at the end of summer. If you are confused, you are not alone. For fashionistas or fashion professionals, this fraudulent “season” gives hints about in-coming trends that often turn into the big fashion news at the all-important Fall Ready-to-Wear and the even-later showing of Fall Haute Couture collections to be unveiled in Paris in the middle of summer. Following is a sampling of the recent Pre-Fall 2020 fashion stories: a red color alert, pretty pinks, juicy oranges, natural neutrals, tailored jackets/blazers, skinny-leg pantsuits, short shorts, micro-mini hemlines.

 Red alert! Focus on this classic color. Giorgio Armani, Bottega Veneta, DSquared2.

 Thinking pink, ever-popular. Altuzarra, Chanel, Gucci. 

 Hot orange! In the fashion spotlight. Brandon Marshall, Valentino, Gucci.

 Natural neutrals, usually several shades together. Christian Dior, The Marc Jacobs, Bottega Veneta.

 Tailored jackets and re-interpreted blazers. Giorgio Armani, Giorgio Armani, DSquared2.

 Skinny-leg pantsuits and outfits. Altuzarra, Giorgio Armani, Carolina Herrera.

 Wide-leg pants, going to extreme. Bottega Veneta, Tory Burch, Gucci. 

 Short shorts, casual and dressy. Carolina Herrera, DSquared2, Ralph Lauren.

 Long leg show with short shorts and micro-minis. Christian Dior, DSquared2, Ralph Lauren.

The Film Festival Next Door

I could not ignore The 31st Palm Springs Film Festival that kicked off the Awards Season because the red carpet is unrolled just one block away from my apartment. The festival screened over 200 films from all around the world but the media coverage and the crowds came to see stars. I, myself, seek out style stories, a sort of prequel to the fashions that will step out on the red carpets at the Golden Globes and later, the venerable Oscars. All awards shows are major media frock opportunities, high fashion worn by big stars. The Palm Springs Festival fashions follow the traditional style spotting with looks that are good and/or bad, as well as those that play it safe and wear black. 

 The Good Looks on Jennifer Lopez wearing Richard Quinn and Cynthia Erivo in Schiaparelli Couture.

 The Bad Looks on Greta Gerwig in Erdem, Charlize Theron in Christian Dior and Laura Dern in Erdem.

 The Black Looks on Lorene Scafaria wearing Azzi & Ostra, Renee Zellweger in Jason Wu and Salma Hayek.

Glorious Fashion at Golden Globes Awards

The 77th Golden Globes Awards sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association were presented early in January. Glamorous stars walked a long, crowded Red Carpet upon arrival and provided a super-duper informal fashion show. Professional stylists call the Hollywood style shots, so no wonder most looks are on-trend. (Still, a few bloopers appear… Kerry Washington was the very worst, while young Joey King was Best of Show wearing a creative creation by avant garde Belgian designer Iris Van Herpen.) The stars’ styles focus attention on design, textiles and color stories that might possibly filter down to the real-life Mainstream. Design ideas for eveningwear include big bows, plunging necklines and bare shoulders. Basic plain and simple clothes are made of sparkling materials. Sheer fabrics reveal the body beautiful, while silks and satins are sculpted into statuesque silhouettes. Color stories offer plentiful workable palettes, including red, black, sugar sweets and some surprising greens. The Golden Globes got the so-called Awards Season off to a glorious start, fashion-wise and it’s just the beginning. 

 Big bows make an emphatic high fashion statement. Jennifer Lopez, DaVine and Scarlett Johansson.

 Simple styles with subtle allover sparkle. Saoirse Ronan, Giuliana Rancic and Amy Poehler.

 Shoulders bared in strapless gowns. Ana de Armas, Rachel Weisz and Margot Robbie.

 Sheer see-thru fabrics for a sexy peek-a-boo tease. Gwyneth Paltrow, Blanca Blanco and Erin Lim.

 Practical pantsuits get a glamour update. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Kate McKinnon and Ellen Degeneres.

 Red comes to attention and stops traffic. Kate Graham, Helen Mirren and Nicole Kidman.

 Greenery gets growing in color importance. Charlize Theron, Jodie Comer and Jennifer Lahmers. 

 Black is always a solid success. Rooney Mara, Naomi Watts and Jennifer Aniston.

 Sugar sweet delicate pales are oh-so pretty. Renee Zellweger, Dakota Fanning and Sienna Miller.

 OMG! Unbelievable Red Carpet bloopers. Lucy Boynton, Kerry Washington (What was she thinking?) and Molly Sims.

 Spellbinding Showstoppers show that fashion dreams come true on the Golden Globes Red Carpet. Cate Blanchett, Billy Porter and Joey King.

Dec 12, 2019

David Wolfe's 2019 Classic Movie Christmas Card - Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn (1942)

Christmas at Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn

It's that wonderful time of the year! My annual Paperdollywood paper doll Christmas card is my little gift for you! It celebrates one of my very favorite holiday movies, starring Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale in a musical comedy based on Irving Berlin's year 'round holiday songs. Holiday Inn is a 1942 black and white classic, so it was fun to imagine the colors of the ladies' fashions. Click here for a PDF to save, print, collect, cut, craft and share with friends and family this holiday season! This replaces my usual monthly blog which will be back as usual with the January 2020 issue. 

For my list of Nine Must Watch Christmas Classic Movies visit the PaperdollReview Blog for movie synopses and paper doll pages from my Merry Movie Christmas Paper Dolls & Pop Trivia book, published by Paper Studio Press in 2018.

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season!

Holiday Inn Paper Doll by David Wolfe
Holiday Inn (1942) Paper Doll by David Wolfe 

Holiday Inn Paper Doll by David Wolfe
Clothes by Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale

Nov 18, 2019

Spring 2020 Fashions from Europe, Little Women, Royal Princesses, Christmas Coloring and Paper Dolls

Europe's Grand Finale for Spring 2020

Spring 2020. A new decade. What will 2020s bring in fashion? The first season of this new beginning is off to a challenging start. The European Fashion Weeks in London, Milan and Paris staged scores and scores of runway shows. 

New trends? Nothing that hasn’t been seen before, many times over, but given a different twist, a fresh spin, the fashion version of today’s “fake news”syndrome. Same old, same old blue jeans are presented as if they are news. Pantsuits also are hardly new but they are everywhere, as are trenchcoats, destined for another season of success. But beware, they are not your mother’s trenchcoat. 

Looking for newness? Start with the search for overriding silhouette declarations. There is occasional innovation, exaggeration and experimentation. Sleeves are often noticeably enlarged, as are full skirts. Shorts, sometimes almost miniscule, do not even raise an eyebrow these days. Textiles are core concepts, ranging from reworked leopard spots to yawn-inducing blue denim. Sheer see-through delicacies include tulle and lovely lace, sometimes with decorative stitchery added. Metallic surfaces add jazzy razzle dazzle. Exciting, creative prints are pushing the limits of multi-colorful artistry. The coming decade may be new but the color stories are solidly safe. Black-and-white in high contrast duet or even stronger, when solo. Natural neutrals continue to gain followers while shades of blue garner stellar attention. A rare dash of orange looks refreshing and welcome. 

"Fake News" from European runways for spring 2020: left-to-right…Saint Laurent, Celine and Balenciaga. 

 Pantsuits, hardly new, but everywhere: left-to-right…Alexander McQueen, Gucci and Dolce &Gabanna.

 Miniscule shorts do not raise an eyebrow these days: left-to-right…Saint Laurent, Valentino and Christian Dior. 

 Same old, same old blue jeans: left-to-right…Chanel, Celine and Stella McCartney. 

Not your mother’s classic trenchcoat: left-to-right… Junya Watanabe, Bottega Veneta and Valentino.

 Classic trenchcoats reconfigured into cutting edge: left-to-right…Burberry, Junya Watanabe and Junya Watanabe. 

 Noticeably enlarged sleeves from bygone times: left-to-right…Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton and Stella McCartney. 

 Full skirts for the ultimate feminine fashion statement: left-to-right…Christian Dior, Chanel and Valentino. 

 Sheer featherweight fabrics dare to make a sexy statements: left-to-right…Gucci, Valentino and Christian Dior.

 All sorts of stripes are simple variations on classic graphic lines: left-to-right…Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior and Chanel. 

 Lovely lace sets a romantic mood: left-to-right… Alexander McQueen, Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana. 

 New recreated antique expressions turn back time: left-to-right…Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Christian Dior.

 Metallic special effects give ‘em that ol’ razzle dazzle: left-to-right…Bottega Veneta, Prada and Chanel. 

 Prints push the limits of colorful artistry: left-to-right…Balenciaga, Valentino and Marni. 

 Unique prints worthy of art gallery wall-space: Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. 

 Black-and-white in sharp contrasting harmony: left-to-right…Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Maison Margiela. 

 White stands alone, the absence of all color, nevertheless a powerful presence: left-to-right…Prada, Alexander McQueen and Valentino. 

 Black goes solo, the presence of all colors, the ever-popular favorite: left-to-right…Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana and Maison Margiela. 

 Natural neutrals are calm and cool, quiet and collected: left-to-right…Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Junya Watanabe. 

 Shades of blue ring true, with a special emphasis on sky blue: left-to-right…Marni, The Row and Christian Dior. 

 A dash of orange adds some welcome sizzle to the spring 2020 season: left-to-right… Bottega Veneta, Marni and Prada. 

A Paper Doll Book That Didn't Happen

Sometimes things just don’t happen the way I wish they would. A few years ago, I had a brainstorm while thinking about future paper doll projects. How about Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women? The great Tom Tierney published a definitive book many years ago. I thought it was time for a fresh new version. Jenny Taliadoros, the power house exec behind Paper Studio Press agreed to publish it and I was off and running. As part of my researching I watched the several movie versions that have been made over the years. The best, most charming version in my opinion was the MGM 1949 classic. What a cast! June Allyson, Margaret O’Brien, Janet Leigh and Elizabeth Taylor (in a wig of blonde ringlets!) I immediately started drawing and painting facial studies, getting comfortable with the likenesses, over and over again. The four stars had very distinctive faces and I soon captured to my satisfaction the images of the MGM stars as tomboyish Jo, ladylike Meg, vain beauty Amy and gentle Beth. (The studio saw fit to trade ages of Amy and Beth to make the characters suit the popular young stars.) 

I envisioned the cover as a painting of the sentimental group portrait of the little women gathered around Marmee reading a letter from Father, a Chaplin in the Civil War army. I was happy as could be with my project, but not for long. Jenny was concerned about the rights to represent MGM's depiction of the story. She suggested I create generic dolls, but I was not interested in the project minus the star-studded cast. So the project was shelved, to my chagrin. 

I did succeed in creating a personal “Little Women” Christmas Card one year (2014), however! The years passed and I put away my aborted attempt. Of course, I continued meantime to create dozens of paper dolls, movie dolls and fashions galore. 

Just recently I was delighted to see a new version of Little Women paper dolls by one of my favorite fellow artists, Eileen Rudisill Miller (a.k.a. Rudy). Her interpretation is as fresh as a daisy, a charming retelling that brings new life to a beloved classic. Rudy’s Little Women, published by Dover, is available from paperdollreview.com

 Unpublished cover artwork of Marmee and the four girls: Janet Leigh as Meg, June Allyson as Jo, Elizabeth Taylor as Amy, Margaret O’Brien as Beth, Mary Astor as Marmee.

 Page 1, David’s personal Christmas Card, 2014

 Page 2, David’s personal Christmas Card, 2014

 Page 3, David’s personal Christmas Card, 2014

Little Women by Eileen Rudisill Miller, Dover, 2019


“Royal Princesses of the 20th Century” is my current paper doll book, a work in progress. It will include five royal princesses, each considered a fashion trend-setter in her day. Princess Alexandra of Denmark married Queen Victoria’s son in 1863, becoming the Princess of Wales and later the Queen Consort and Empress. She was a stunning fairy tale beauty who dressed the role, dripping in jewels and pearls. Her fashion lifespan began with crinoline hoopskirts, then bustles and finally, hourglass curves. A later famous Princess was Margaret Rose, who wore Christian Dior’s post WWII “New Look” and made it her own signature look. Anne, The Princess Royal, is known as “the hardest working member of the Windsor family.” She seems to care more about horsemanship than fashion these days, although she was always a very smartly dressed young woman. Diana, Princess of Wales, the most photographed woman of the 20th century grew from slightly frumpy to become a super chic high fashion plate. Her tragic death was globally mourned in 1997. Movie star Grace Kelly became a Princess when she left Hollywood in 1956 to wed Prince Rainier of Monaco. Each of the five paper dolls will have several appropriately Royal outfits in this forthcoming regal book to be published by Paper Studio Press in 2020. 

 Extravagant Royal wedding dress worn by Alexandra of Denmark, making her the English Princess of Wales. 

Christmas is Coming Very Soon!

My monthly coloring book exercise is a reminder that the Christmas holiday is coming soon. I completed my annual Christmas card early this year and it will be sent to you as a special email in December, ready for you to print yourself, as many copies as you want. Meanwhile, I got in the festive spirit by coloring some pages from the wonderful Dover book honoring the vintage Christmas covers of The Saturday Evening Post. The first half of the book consists of vintage full-color prints of magazine covers by leading illustrators including Norman Rockwell and J.C. Leyendecker. The second section of the book repeats the covers as black-and-white line drawings, ready to color with pencils or crayons. Careful! The drawings are very intricate, difficult to color. 

Paperdoll Review offers lots of holiday paper dolls including two books created by me in years past, but still available for purchase from paperdollreview.com. Merrie Christmas is my vision of an old-fashioned family celebration with costumes for ice skating, caroling, tree-trimming and a Christmas show. Merry Movie Christmas pays tribute to some of my favorite Holiday movies including “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “White Christmas,””Home Alone,” “Elf” and several more, each with a paper doll and a costume. 

 Christmas Treasury” Cover and children hanging stockings colored by David. 

 Two more pages from “Christmas Treasury” colored by David. 

 Merrie Christmas is an old-fashioned family paper doll book celebrating the Holiday. 

 Merry Movie Christmas is a paper doll book honoring favorite Holiday films.