Nov 23, 2016

#66 Dateline Paperdollywood - Groom Paper Doll, Heart Fashions, Lingerie, Amanda Hallay, Debbie Reynolds, GQ Paper Doll

Here comes the Groom, too!

My new “Hollywood Gets Married” paper doll book for Paper Studio Press has three models to wear the bridal fashions, but they have to share one groom. He’s tall, dark and handsome and bears a striking resemblance to vintage heart throb Tyrone Power. I’ve paired him with a doll wearing Grace Kelly’s beautiful gown designed by Helen Rose, a gift from the studio. Following are two pages of fashions from the forthcoming book featuring 21 bridal outfits, some from the movies and others from real-life movie star weddings. 

The Groom Paper Doll and The Happy Paper Doll Couple 
Two pages of Hollywood Wedding Fashions.

Look Ma, No Hands!

Form follows function is an old adage that has always guided designers. But it’s a rule that fashion designers sometimes discard, unwisely. That’s the case of the latest craze, extra-long sleeves that cover one’s hands. It started with designer Demna Gvasalia’s own label, Vetements which is so hot that he was chosen to direct Balenciaga, too. Now more than a few lesser designers have picked-up the idea. There’s no trick to it, but doesn’t everybody need to use their hands, especially the iphone addicts? Will this craze spread? Don’t be surprised if it does. There are plenty of precedents, impractical fashions that should never have happened: the hoopskirt, the bustle, the corset, long-leg pantie girdles, sky-high stiletto heels, towering platforms, cartwheel hats, etc. 

Vetements, Y-Project, Maison Margiela

DKNY, DKNY, Sharon Wauchob
UMB, Vetements, Marques Almeida

Heartfelt Fashion

No need to wait until Valentine’s Day to wear your heart on your sleeve, or more likely on your bodice. That all-time great symbol of romance sweetened several outfits on the runways of the spring ’17 collections. 

Gucci, Fausto Puglisi, Proenza Schouler. 

Rodarte, Y-Project, Christian Dior.

Lovely Lingerie Looks

It used to be considered a major fashion faux pas if a lady’s slip showed even an inch below the hem of her skirt. Times have changed a lot! The spring ’17 designer collections revealed what used to be hidden with new versions of the lace-trimmed slip dress. At Chanel, almost every outfit immodestly showed a sheer slip contrasting with a tweedy jacket and a baseball cap (worn sideways, rapper-style). 

Chanel, Chanel, Rodarte

Marques Almeida, Martin Margiela, Rodarte

All in the Family

My day job as a Fashion Trend Forecaster keeps me busy covering runway shows and retail business as well as writing. But my favorite aspect of my job is to create and present lectures about how fashion is constantly changing. My daughter, Amanda Hallay, is a professor in Manhattan at LIM College “where business meets fashion.” She teaches fashion history and pop culture and creates powerpoint presentations that are fun as well as informative. Her YouTube series, Ultimate Fashion History, has more than 5,000 subscribers. She and a colleague, Terry Coffee, are preparing to market themselves as “Fashion Professors on the Go,” offering their expertise to colleges around the world. They asked me to do some illustrations for their website and I thoroughly enjoyed creating a portrait sketch of them both and several fashion sketches. If you would like to view Amanda's lecture series or learn more about her career and her services, visit her website,

Amanda Hallay and Terry Coffee, Fashion Professors to Go

Runway view of a Fashion Show

Gay ‘90s, 1950s and 1920s Sketches

Coloring a Vintage Star

I’m continuing to take a bit of time each month to relax and color a few pages in my collection of vintage movie star coloring books. Sure, the cheap paper they were originally printed on has mellowed to yellow and that affects the crayon colors, but I think it adds to the potent nostalgic that I experience when coloring. This month’s star book subject is Debbie Reynolds, the energetic cutie whose wholesome personality was perfect for the ‘50s and early ’60s. My coloring book was published by Whitman in 1953 and I like it very much because the artwork really captures Debbie’s likeness (not always the case in coloring books). I chose to color three pages that make a fashion statement. 

1953 Coloring Book Cover and page crayoned by me.

Even the girl next door dressed-up occasionally.

Surprise GQ PD pops up

Paper dolls sometimes make surprising appearances. The November issue of GQ men’s magazine includes a humorous male paper doll with three outfits as tongue in cheek advice suggesting what a guy should wear on a first date. The artist: Mark Anthony Green. 

Cartoony male paper doll in GQ Magazine.

Oct 28, 2016

#65 Dateline Paperdollywood - Brides, High Fashion, Proust's Muse, Color Pop, Coloring Craze, Blue Jeans, Paperdoll Review Catalog

Here Come the Brides!

I’ve begun my next paper doll book for Paper Studio Press, “Hollywood Gets Married.” Three bride dolls will wear some of the most beautiful wedding gowns ever created, confectionary creations worn in movies such as Father of the Bride, The Philadelphia Story, It Happened One Night and many others. Also included will be outfits worn by star brides for their real-life nuptials. Creating the dolls who will wear the gowns of many stars was a challenge for me. I sought faces with star quality, but not exact likenesses of specific stars. I wanted three different types, a blonde, a redhead and a brunette. I was inspired by Grace Kelly, Arlene Dahl and Elizabeth Taylor. To achieve the fusion of actual stars and doll-like models, I did three versions until I was satisfied. The groom gave me no problem. He’s a dead-ringer for Tyrone Power!  

David Wolfe Portraits Hollywood Gets Married
Rejected Study Number 1.

David Wolfe Hollywood Gets Married Paper Doll Portraits
Rejected Study Number 2 

David Wolfe Paper Doll Hollywood Gets Married
Approved Study Number 3 

All Dressed in White (But Not Always)

Researching Hollywood wedding gowns is my idea of a fun time. So many vintage movies end with the leading lady looking lovely as a bride, ready to live happily ever after. Of course, she’s always attired in a fairy tale gown. I found it interesting that the look du jour was reflected as times changed and the silhouette shifted from the slinky ‘30s to the broad shouldered ‘40s and the full-skirted ‘50s. Not all brides wore white, though. For their real-life weddings, Jeanette MacDonald picked pink, Rita Hayworth chose blue and Deanna Durbin’s eight bridesmaids formed a living rainbow. My personal all-time favorite wedding dress is Audrey Hepburn’s Givenchy in Funny Face when she and Fred Astaire danced together in a romantic French country churchyard setting. 

Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor as Brides
Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor.

Claudette Colbert, Julie Andrews, Marilyn Monroe as brides
Claudette Colbert, Julie Andrews, Marilyn Monroe.

Who's Who in High Fashion?

You probably have not kept up with all the firings and hirings that have taken place in the fashion world lately. Here’s who’s designing what for spring ’17 and it’s likely you’ve never heard of them. Anthony Vaccarello is the new Yves Saint Laurent (deceased), succeeding Hedi Slimane. Balenciaga is now the hot Paris label because it is being created by Dema Gvasalia who caused a sensation with his own line, Vetements (which he continues to design.) Valentino (still living) has recently been designed by Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri but they split and Maria is now designing Christian Dior (long gone, of course) which most recently was created by Raf Simons who is now replacing Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein. Confused? Me, too! 

Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Balenciaga, Christian Dior
Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Balenciaga, Christian Dior.

Meet Proust's Muse!

The Countess Greffulhe’s extravagant wardrobe is now on display at the FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) Museum in Manhattan. The exhibition is an exercise in elegance, tastefully displayed and dramatically lighted, conjuring up an atmosphere of a lost time. That’s as it should be since the auburn-haired Countess was a muse to Marcel Proust whose novel, A la Recherché du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time) is considered a masterpiece. The author created several characters inspired by the Countess and frequently attributed her haute couture wardrobe to characters. There are many extraordinary pieces on display, demonstrating the Countess’s professed desire to “look bizarre rather than banal.” One such effect was achieved in 1904 at the wedding of her daughter when the Countess’s gown of bejeweled gold embroidery with a fur bordered circular train completely upstaged the bride. This very worthwhile exhibition is on display until January 7, 2017. 

Countess Greffulhe
Vintage photographs of the elegant Countess. 

Countess Greffulhe gowns
A quartet of extravagant gowns on display. 

Pop Goes Color!

Spring ’17 fashion promises to be a rainbow of vivid hues, often in startling combinations. Whereas in years long past, every new season saw the promotion of a singular fashion color. Remember “Think Pink” for example? The past couple of decades have been dominated by black and more black. Now bold color is making a refreshing comeback in many cutting edge collections. 

Valentino, Miu Miu, Bottega Veneta
Valentino, Miu Miu, Bottega Veneta

Chanel, Pucci, Balenciaga
Chanel, Pucci, Balenciaga 

Continuing Coloring Craze

Coloring books are everywhere, these days. What began as a sort of stress-relieving past time is rippling out to include more diversified subjects. Fashion is an obvious area and Time Life has published a multi-page book, “Fashion Through the Ages 1870-1940.” It is illustrated by Sarah Brody whose simplistic line drawings are perfect for colorization. I found the book in an unlikely place…the check-out line at my local supermarket! Seeing so many coloring books on offer reminded me of a coloring book project I did decades ago, a fund-raiser for a children’s theatre in Boca Raton, Florida where my young daughter and son appeared in some charming productions in the mid-1970s. I’m thrilled to see the renaissance of coloring books but I pine for the good old days of glamorous movie star coloring books. 

Coloring Book Drawings by David Wolfe
Children’s Theatre Fund-raiser by me, circa 1975. 

Shakespearean coloring book pages by David Wolfe
Shakespearean theatre and players to color.

Show Boat scenes to color by David Wolfe
Showboat theatre and melodrama scene to color. 

Vintage Western and Slapstick pages to color by David Wolfe
Vintage Western movie and slapstick comedy to color.

Contemporary coloring book.
Fashion Through the Ages contemporary coloring book.

Fashion through the Ages Coloring Book
Sample pages of vintage fashion to color. 

Ol' Blue Jeans Never Die

They just keep turning up on the runways in the collections of high-price designer duds. Even though this most humble of garments is often the worst for wear and tear, it is usually paired with a fancy top of some kind rather than the t-shirt that usually tops jeans worn by the mainstream public. Powerful editor Anna Wintour deserves credit for this schizoid coordination because her first Vogue cover published in August 2012 featured jeans worn with an extravagantly bejewelled Christian LaCroix top. It created quite a stir then, but wouldn’t rate a second glance today. 

Denim Fashion on the Runway
Paul & Joe, Dsquared2, Saint Laurent.

The Joy of Paper Doll Collecting!

The new catalog from Paperdoll Review is now available and it is like a dream-come-true for those of us who love to collect. Catalog No. 23 has 56 pages of paper doll books, sticker books and coloring books. It is filled with treasures, and browsing the colorful pages provides hours of fun, deciding what the "must-haves" are to add to your collection. The catalog itself is a collectible. It includes an adorable Hilda Miloche "Vacation Time" paper doll as well as a $3.00 coupon for your next order. The only down-side is the difficulty of deciding what to order. So much to choose from! Start with catalog if you don't already have one. To receive the Paperdoll Review Catalog No. 23, send $3 to Paperdoll Review, PO Box 14, Kingfield, ME 04947, or order online. I'm thrilled to see so many of my paper doll books in the catalog including the new Volumes 3 and 4 of my on-going series, “David Wolfe’s History of Hollywood." Pre-orders are now available for Classic Singing Stars and Classic Dancing Stars, to be shipped in February 2017. Volumes 1 and 2, Queen Elizabeth on the Screen and Classic Drama Queens are currently available.

Paper Doll Catalog with classic stars cute kids and more
The glorious new Paperdoll Review Catalog No. 23

Sep 25, 2016

#64 Dateline Paperdollywood - Dancing Stars, TV Fashion Exhibition, Menswear, Technicolor Coloring, Fashion Week, Paper Dolls on Runway

Dressed for Dancing!

“Dancing Stars,” the companion to my soon to be released “Singing Stars” paper doll book, is in the final stages of preparation for printing and both books will be available in February from Paper Studio Press. The dancing dolls are six legendary vintage movie star dancers: Ann Miller, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Eleanor Powell, Leslie Caron and Cyd Charisse. I’ve chosen a pose for each doll that captures her dancing style and unique body language. That means the costumes look as if the dolls are dancing and bring to mind scenes from great musical movies such as An American in Paris, The Band Wagon, Born to Dance, Easter Parade and Cover Girl. Following is a preview of the Dancing Stars in some costumes from their unforgettable dancing scenes on the silver screen.

Ann Miller
Ann Miller in Lovely to Look At, Hit the Deck, Easter Parade.
Betty Grable
Betty Grable in Down Argentine Way, Moon Over Miami, Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend.
Cyd Charisse
Cyd Charisse in Singing in the Rain, The Band Wagon, Brigadoon.

 Leslie Caron
Leslie Caron in three costumes from An American in Paris.

Eleanor Powell
Eleanor Powell in Broadway Melody of ’36, Born to Dance, Broadway Melody of ’38.

Fabulous TV Fashion Exhibition

The 10th Annual Costume Design Exhibition at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) in Los Angeles features 23 shows including eight Emmy nominees. I thoroughly enjoyed touring the exhibition of over 100 pieces that underscore how television production is now equal to motion pictures and the TV costumes now rival the creativity of the big studio era. I was delighted that my favorite series, Outlander, was nominated for Period/Fantasy Series. Also nominated in that category were Game of Thrones, Roots and of course, Downton Abbey. Whether contemporary fashions or period pieces, the costumes seem to almost bring the characters to life, even though the mannequins are painted stark white and wearing paper wigs. All the costumes are grouped show-by-show against plain white backgrounds that allowed me to appreciate close-up the workmanship, vision and artistry of the talented designers and craftspeople working in the current Golden Age of Television. The impressive exhibition, free admission, is open through October 15th at The FIDM Museum & Galleries, 919 South Grand Ave. at 9th Street, Los Angeles 90015. 213-623-5821.


Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones 
Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey and Scream Queens

ManMode: Dressing the Male Ego

Also on display at the FIDM Museum is a small, but interesting exhibition of menswear demonstrating the fact that some men like fashion as much as women. The tightly-edited examples of peacock fare have been plucked from three centuries of high style and range from an 18th century dandy to a Victorian aesthete and a Punk. Also included are a ‘40s swim set, a ‘70s maxi-coat, a futuristic silver jumpsuit and a curious inflatable suit as well as a display of kitschy hand-painted neckties. 

Punk, ‘40s and Victorian

Hand-painted Vintage Neckties.

Crayons as do-it-yourself Technicolor

Last month I shared some of my vintage movie star coloring books and enjoyed coloring a few pages so much that I decided to continue coloring and sharing in this newsletter/blog. I have a small collection of vintage coloring books. A few are totally un-colored (…yet!). Most of my collection was colored-in when I bought them, others have some un-colored pages. One such book is “Jane Powell,” beautifully drawn and published in 1951 by Whitman. I had forgotten that my book was personally autographed for me by the star herself when she was the guest at a paper doll convention several years ago. She was delightful. As I colored three pages I was reminded of how much thought I gave as a little boy in choosing the “right” colors for every outfit, agonizing over decisions of what colors looked good together. Little did I know that one day my career would have me making the same sort of color decisions when I produced a fashion industry trend forecast. No wonder I do believe in destiny.

Jane Powell

Jane Powell
Jane Powell Coloring Book with three pages recently crayoned by me. 

Enough, already! This trend is too much!

The eternal quest for something new in fashion is getting desperate, searching in vain for a leader, a Poiret, a Chanel, a Dior.  An industry based on playing follow-the-leader is without a great leader, a creative genius with a strong point of view that could influence every designer as Christian Dior’s “New Look” did in 1947.  Oh, there are plenty of pretenders and the press seems unable to spot a scam stylist, a fashion fraud.  Currently being worshipped by the fashionista flock are several designers who are leading other designers astray.  Alessandro Michele, the designer for Gucci, has started a growing trend that must have Coco Chanel spinning in her grave.  The trend is just too much.  A cacophony of color!  A mash-up of fabrics! A deluge of decoration! An assault of accessories!  It takes no talent to over-decorate, to keep adding elements (the more disparate, the better) until it is nothing more than a big mess.  Then once the dastardly design is done, photograph it in a setting that upsets every aesthetic aspiration.  It’s time for fashion to start showing a bit of restraint.

Gucci Ad Campaign 
Prada Ad Campaign
Dolce & Gabbana Ad Campaign

It's Been Reigning Men in LA

Just finishing its very successful exhibit at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) was “Reigning Men,” (Get the joke reference to the disco hit?) It was an impressive, history-making array of 200 pieces of menswear ranging from 1715-2015. This probably biggest-ever museum exhibition of menswear was displayed in six large galleries forming a dramatic architectural setting designed by Steven Johanknecht and Roman Alonso of a local design studio, Commune. 

 The comprehensive exhibition was divided into themes, rather than chronology. Revolution/Evolution contrasted the Punk, Biker, Zoot Suits and Oxford Bags to the continuum of classic tailored clothing. East/West displayed a breathtaking array of exotic fabrics that became robes, pajamas and smoking jackets. Uniformity encompassed military and civilian uniforms ranging from historic dragoon redcoats to Ralph Lauren Westernwear. Body Conscious examined fit and cut of clothing extremes. The Splendid Man displayed lavish looks in luxurious fabrics. Themed galleries mixed centuries of menswear together to demonstrate recurring forces in the surprisingly fashion-conscious male psyche. 

Touring the dramatic presentation puts to rest any idea that men have no sense of style and care little about fashion. Just the opposite! The only dubious aspect of the entertaining and interesting exhibition was that it featured so many recent outfits that were creations made for the runway, never worn by a real man living a real life. Many of the more current items honored designers known for their creative eccentricity; Thom Browne, Walter Von Bierendonck, Jeremy Scott, Rick Owens. Far more interesting are the antiques actually wore by real-life dandies in the past, the extravagant extremes from the 18th and 19th centuries, intricate embroideries and exaggerated silhouettes. Although the exhibition has closed, there is a well-done, colorful, companion book available at a special price under $40.00 from It is entitled Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear 1715-2015. 

The menswear exhibits at two museums in Los Angeles coincided with the new menswear-themed issue of OPDAG's Paper Doll Studio magazine. It has 64 glossy pages in full color, most of the issue devoted to menswear with dozens of outfits for the male dress-a-doll by Ted Menten, plus an article from me about famous dandies with a paper doll of Stewart Granger as Beau Brummel. It’s a really special issue (but aren’t they all?). I hope you’re a subscriber. If not, go to for information.  

Zoot Suit, Punk, Oxford Bags and Knickerbockers. 

Dragoon Uniform, Regency Buck and Riding Habit.

18th Century Extravagant Dandy Dressing.

Attention-getting Get-Ups caption.

Stewart Granger
My paper doll of Stewart Granger as Beau Brummell for the Menswear issue of Paper Doll Studio Magazine.

New York Fashion Week Sampler

More than 100 fashion shows were jammed into the calendar as designers launched their spring ’17 looks. What’s new? Everything…and nothing. Every designer is going his or her own way, so anything goes. Everything from wild crazy to soignée sophistication. Here’s just a sample of the variety show on the New York runways.

Alexander Wang, Thom Browne, Carolina Herrera 
Jason Wu, Michael Kors, Delpozo 
Victoria Beckham, DKNY, Tory Burch
Zimmermann, Proenza Schouler, Marc Jacobs
Monse, Marchesa, Diane Von Furstenberg
J.Crew, Elizabeth and James, Coach 1941 
Libertine, Kate Spade and Anna Sui 

See Now/Buy & Wear Now Shakes Up Shows

New York Fashion Week kicked off the spring ’17 season by launching a startling new trend. Common sense. A few savvy designers dared to challenge the accepted timetable that stages runway showings of clothes 4 or 5 months before they can be seen in stores and purchased. Creative designers bemoan the lag because today’s internet-driven instant communication means that originality can be readily copied before their designs ever reach a store. Consumers hate the schedule because they want to see it now, buy it now and wear it now. And finally, at long last, they can do just that… but only from a few ground-breaking designers. 

Tom Ford presented his See Now/Buy & Wear Now luxe collection of fall-ish looks to his usual glamorous A+ guest list. The clothes were available online immediately after the show and the following day in stores. Ralph Lauren showed his fall collection of 46 looks last February, as usual. Those clothes were delivered to stores in August. On September 14, he staged two big outdoor shows that shut-down a block of busy Madison Avenue. He showed 45 new-and-different fall looks to fashion industry folk and to consumers who could buy the new looks immediately. Alexander Wang launched his new Adidas capsule collection of premium streetwear from a special shop-in-a-truck, generating so much buzz that customers were limited to buying four items. Even so, the truck was emptied quickly. Wang’s 84-piece uni-sex collection was included in his runway show later. Tommy Hilfiger transformed a pier into a carnival complete with ferris wheel, tornado ride, hot dogs and burgers. 

Oh yes, there was a show of Tommy’s 46-piece collection created with hot model GiGi Hadid. (The core fall collection had already been shown to buyers and press in January and February.) The clothes, shown on two parallel runways (one for the industry, the other for the public) were immediately available, post show via all current techno-channels that included shopping assistance from a bot programmed to answer 7,000 questions. Other designers who also offered some immediately accessible fashions included Thakoon, Rebecca Minkoff and Yeezy. It seems obvious that common sense will prevail and more designers will follow suit. See Now/Buy & Wear Now. It’s a good idea whose time is finally arriving.

Tommy Hilfiger’s Pier Carnival and Model Gigi Hadid. 

Tom Ford’s Instantly Available Deluxe Glamour. 

Ralph Lauren’s Western-flavored Traffic-stoppers.

Life-size Paper Doll Fashions on the Runway

Jeremy Scott is a Pop culture maven and designer of the Italian Moschino collection. For his spring ’17 collection, he created life-size paper doll clothes and accessories (with tabs,of course) and sent them down the Milan runway on real live models. Will the 2-D pd fashions really make it to the stores? The 2-D printed jewelry, handbags and hats might well appeal to fashionistas with a sense of humor. Fashion takes itself seriously and the designer explained his conceptual thinking. “I guess you could call it Valley of the Paper Dolls,” Scott laughed backstage after the show. “I wanted to play with how we’re starting to really live our lives through apparatuses [like] iPhones. A lot of our life now is two dimensional because it literally appears on a screen. We try to create a façade of how our lives really are, and it becomes all-consuming.” Serious or silly, paper doll artists and collectors are sure to get a kick out of this wacky way to put paper dolls into the media spotlight. 

Paper Dolls

Paper Dolls
Paper Doll 2-D printed fashions for spring ’17 by Jeremy Scott for Moschino.