Dec 13, 2018

David's Annual Paper Doll Christmas Card, Coloring Christmas Trees, New Paper Dolls - Merry Movie Christmas and Retro Starlet

My Annual Paperdollywood Christmas Card for you!

Bell, Book and Candle may not immediately spring to mind when you think “Christmas movie,” but think again. The 1958 non-sinister romantic comedy stars Kim Novak as a very chic witch who casts a love spell on conservative gentleman, James Stewart. The film features kookie supporting players; Elsa Lancaster, Hermione Gingold, Jack Lemmon, Janice Rule, Ernie Kovacs and a brilliant performance by a Siamese cat named Pyewacket. The story begins on a snowy Christmas Eve in Kim’s primitive arts shop and moves to a beatnik nightclub. All through the film I was focused on the highly dramatic wardrobe, costumes by famed Hollywood designer, Jean-Louis. My thanks for suggesting this film as inspiration goes to my daughter, fashion expert Professor Amanda Hallay-Heath. Click here for a printable PDF. And visit to see my previous paper doll Christmas cards (located under the David Wolfe tab).

Bell, Book and Candle
Bell, Book and Candle, 2018 Paper Doll Christmas Card by David Wolfe.

Coloring Creative Christmas Trees

It’s easy to get into the holiday spirit when coloring the 30 fanciful trees in this imaginative book. Christmas Trees Coloring Book by Barbara Lanza, $5.99 from Paperdoll Review. Some of the trees are fairly traditional, but it’s more fun to think out of the box and create surprising, original colorations. I’ve always favored live evergreen pine trees but now that I live in Palm Springs, California, I may have to update my thinking and go with a Post-Modernism tree in a surprising hue. Pink, orange, seafoam, white, silver and black trees are featured in two of the town’s terrific shops: Just Fabulous and Peepa’s.

Coloring book cover and stylized ornamental tree.
Multi-colored tree and a pretty pink tree.

New Paper Doll Book: Merry Movie Christmas

Just in time for gifting (or for hinting to receive as a gift). My new book, Merry Movie Christmas celebrates nine classic Christmas movies with twelve paper dolls and figures to cut-out and display during the Holiday season. This heartwarming book is the perfect gift for any family that loves Christmas and watches ever-popular vintage movies including merry musicals, sentimental stories and hilarious holiday comedies. Clarence the angel from It’s a Wonderful Life leads a parade of memories. Songstresses Judy Garland and Rosemary Clooney wear gorgeous gowns of poinsettia red as seen in Meet Me in St. Louis and White Christmas. The book’s center spread contains six child stars from screen favorites including Home Alone, A Christmas Story, Holiday Affair, It’s a Wonderful Life, Meet Me in St. Louis and Miracle on 34th Street. The young stars include Margaret O’Brien, Natalie Wood, Karolyn Grimes and Macaulay Culkin. Comics Chevy Chase and Will Ferrell make make ‘em laugh in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Elf. The book ends with Kris Kringle who believes he’s really Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street. This Pop Culture paper doll book includes a Trivia Quiz and a synopsis of the nine feature Christmas classic movies. 

Sample pages from Merry Movie Christmas Paper Dolls & Pop Trivia.

New Paper Doll Book: Retro Movie Starlet

My second paper doll book to be released this month celebrates a beautiful blonde movie starlet that you’ve never heard of… Lana Brittain. She’s a totally fictitious rising star who was discovered in the mid-1940s and signed to a major movie studio where pretty young ladies were groomed into goddesses. The Retro Movie Starlet book is an homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood celebrity paper dolls. I’ve endeavored to capture the Technicolor glamour of cinematic costumes by top studio designers. Lana Brittain is typical of the Hollywood star-making machine and her 8 pages of costumes could outfit her for the colorful musicals, the sentimental “woman’s pictures” and the patriotic dramas. Lana’s wardrobe includes many wigs and hair-dos. Many of the outfits were designed for publicity photos in magazines like Photoplay and appearances selling War Bonds. Starlets like Lana Brittain work hard to maintain their high gloss glamour. An additional reminder of the publicity star preparation is the importance of the Press Corps and this paper doll book features an exclusive interview of Lana by Hollywood’s most famous reporter, Louella Parsnips. I hope you enjoy this look back to the glorious, golden girls whose dreams of movie stardom came true. Unfortunately, Lana Brittain never made it to the top. In fact, she never made a movie but she fell in love with a studio cameraman, married him, had six beautiful blonde children and lived happily ever after…a typical Hollywood ending. 

Sample pages from Retro Movie Starlet Paper Doll book.


The 2019 Paper Doll Convention is scheduled for July 3-6, 2019, in Kansas City, MO. Hosted by Pat O'Rourke, with the Mystery, Murder & Mayhem, it's sure to be a good time! Visit OPDAG's convention info page for details.

Nov 16, 2018

#90 - Thinking Pink, Brit Beauties, The Green Witch, Euro-Designers Preview Spring 2019, Diana Vreeland


The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York City is currently hosting a major exhibition devoted to the history of ever-popular pink. Make that plural, please. Pinks-with-an-s; from baby to Barbie, from sweet and innocent to edgy and erotic, from the 18th century to the “Pussycat” protest hat. Pink’s past is on view and includes historically popular pinks such as Schiaparelli Pink and recent pale Millennial Pink. Brilliant museum curator Dr. Valerie Steele explained the broad scope of this important exhibition. She said, “…there is no transcultural truth about color: it’s not like pink always means romance and femininity…it means whatever society says it does.” That is why the Pink exhibition which ends January 5, 2019, is sub-titled, “The History of a PUNK, PRETTY, POWERFUL Color.” A companion book is available on for $37.15. 

Thinking pinks at NYC’s Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology.)

More pinks to think about on display at FIT until January 5, 2019.

A never-ending parade of pinks, again and again, century after century. 


One of the joys of coloring books is the colorist’s absolute authority to make color choices. Inspired by the current Pink exhibition, I thought it would be fun to pick out four of my vintage coloring books and color a page in each of them in shades of pink. 
Jane Powell in a floral hat and Marilyn Monroe in provocative sparkle.

Ann Blyth in a dance dress and Esther Williams in a bullfighter’s suit of light. 


For the forthcoming UK-themed issue of Paper Doll Studio, the OPDAG magazine, editor/publisher Jenny Taliadoros asked me to write a piece about two ground-breaking English fashion models of the 1960s. Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy became the first supermodels from the UK. Both beauties were icons of the Pop Culture “Youthquake.” To illustrate the article, I am creating paper dolls and here’s a preview of Twiggy and the Shrimp. 

Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy, studies for a pair of Pop Culture supermodels. 


My contribution to the up-coming “Green” issue of Paper Doll Studio magazine is a make-over of the Wicked Witch including a costume made from draperies and worn by Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind.” 

The Wicked Witch of the West make-over with GWTW green velvet costume.


Paris and Milan are the heart and soul of fashion, but recent seasons have been less than splendiferous. Whereas in decades past, the launch of a new fashion season warranted coverage on TV news programs, but not any longer. Is runway reporting now so elitist that the average consumer no longer understands the so-called “cutting edge?” A new generation of young designers has replaced most of the venerable talents, though their names still appear on the label. Example: Valentino, Christian Dior, Gucci, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Celine, Saint Laurent (sans his first name) are now designed by Pierpaolo Piccioli, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Alessandro Michele, Demna Gvasalia, Nicolas Ghesquiere, Hedi Slimane and Anthony Vaccarello. Hardly household names. Never fear, Karl Lagerfeld is still guiding Chanel and Giorgio Armani is steadfast. Of the hundreds of Euro-designer shows presented for spring 2019, the stand-out collections offer varied interpretations and expressions, more than necessary, if truth is to be told. Following is a glimpse of the shows I considered the most important and influential. 

CHANEL by KARL LAGERFELD…Another spectacular show setting in Paris’ Grand Palais. Tons of sand and a real water rising tide captured the feeling of a tropical beach with barefoot models wearing odd seaside tweeds. Revisiting ‘80s Scuba style as well as the traditional Chanel classics, reinvented yet again. 


VALENTINO…Pierpaolo Piccioli is the hottest designer in Europe, right now. His spring 2019 triumph honored appreciation of couture dressmaking. Black dominates, but wild color adds zest, especially for Matisse/Gauguin-inspired prints. 


GIORGIO ARMANI…This truly great designer may have been inspired by “The Shape of Water” for his modern mermaid collection achieving fluid undersea otherworldliness. Arguably the most beautiful collection of the season. 


LOUIS VUITTON…Sci-fi experiments by designer Nicolas Ghesquiere meant to bring the Space Age home to reality. Recurrent ‘80s call-backs in hi-tech fabrics sometimes with exciting, artistic prints. 


CHRISTIAN DIOR…Gone is any trace of vintage couture, not so much as a hint of the extreme ultra-femme that has always been the house’s signature. Instead, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection in black, white and nude looked like modern dancewear, loose and elegantly cool, totally in tune with today’s idea of romance. 


BALENCIAGA…Demna Gvasaria is the media’s darling designer du jour. Models resembling femme fatale replicants wore extremely challenging “Neo Tailoring,” (the designer’s name for his “pragmatic problem solving.” Cristobal Balenciaga must be spinning in his grave. 


SAINT LAURENT…Designer Anthony Vaccarello seems locked into repeating a recurrent theme of slightly kinky, sexually provocative, monotonously black, usually short-short. Same look as last season. 


GIANBATTISTA VALLI…This youngish designer looks as if he is creating a wardrobe for a glamorous Jet Set star of Cine Citta, alta moda high gloss vintage. He explained the collection as “pieces that you don’t know whether they are from the past, the future or right now.” 


CELINE…Eager anticipation of designer Hedi Slimane’s debut turned out to be a sour disappointment. Lots of black for a collection of sexed-up retro that looked like a watered-down version of the current Saint Laurent imagery. 


GUCCI…Designer Alessandro Michele’s resurrectionist influence is going strong. What that means is more and more vintage mash-ups of wildly random pieces of the Past now living in the Present. 


DRIES VAN NOTEN…He doesn’t make headlines, just simply turns out collection after collection of fresh, contemporary clothes, always wearable yet different. A keen colorist with a knack for innovation prints and patterns. 


PRADA…A surprising movement away from avant garde towards neo-classic conservatism that is aimed at a more youthful customer, could be the Millennial. A very subtle smash-up that positions a new sense of liberation versus a bit of fantasy. 


BURBERRY…Spectacular debut collection by Riccardo Tisci, 134 looks for men and women. Inspired by Brit tradition from horsey posh to cool punk, brilliantly reimagined as a cutting edge expression of up-to-the-nano-second fashion. 


DOLCE & GABBANA…Way, way over the top, beyond extravagant. Overwhelming embellishment and an array of fantastic floral prints, sheer fabrics and glorious brocades. Pictorial and religious motifs. Overstated accessories. A few sexy black corsetry classics. 



Many decades ago, Diana Vreeland wrote a column in Harper’s Bazaar entitled, “Why Don’t You?” In it, the young socialite/fashion editor proposed fanciful suggestions such as, “Why Don’t You put all your dogs in bright yellow collars and leads like all the dogs in Paris? Why Don’t You order Schiaparelli's cellophane belt with your name and telephone number on it? Why Don’t You tie black tulle bows on your wrist? Why Don’t You rinse your blond child's hair in dead champagne to keep it gold, as they do in France?” Fast forward to the November 2018 issue of the magazine. The last page parodies the long-gone Vreeland column, asking, Why Don’t You…WEAR A BUCKET ON YOUR HEAD? The “bucket” in the photo is really a bowl. Fashion magazines don’t usually display a sense of humor, but this is hilarious! 

Why Don’t You have a good laugh from Harper’s Bazaar? 

Oct 20, 2018

#89 - NY Fashion Week, Michaele Vollbracht, Red Carpet Styles, Costume Winners at the Emmys, Sharry and Micheal Paper Dolls, Coloring Greer, RISD Grad Show, 2019 Paper Doll Convention


Off-and-running at New York Fashion Week! Too much, and it’s already fashion overkill. Too many shows and presentations. New names galore, but who are they? Tom Ford’s elegant, glamorous collection is for immediate fall selling-and-wearing, whereas most shows previewed spring ’19. As expected, the hit of the week was Ralph Lauren’s 50th anniversary celebration. Same stuff, but it’s always on the mark. What’s new? Absolutely nothing. Nada. Maybe we don’t need newness. 

Even seasoned fashion professionals are challenged by the current stagnant state of style. Marilyn Kirschner of “,” one of the brightest fashionistas, with years of authoritative reporting, told the honest truth about New York Fashion Week. Here’s what she said:. “…themes and subthemes that kept reappearing were strong vibrant color and color blocks, head-to-toe white, yellow, lace and lingerie touches, fringe, pleats, luxe boho, florals, stripes, choir robe gowns, denim, tailoring, shirt dressing, pantsuits, tie-dye, romanticism, cross-cultural references, prairie looks, trench coats, caftans, pointy-toed pumps, crochet, photo prints, cargo pockets, face art, shifts, volume, oversized, etc. But just listing trends robotically is boring and irrelevant, and anyway, when are these items above ever ‘out’ of style?...” I agree with her, 100%. 

If indeed fashion is nothing more than a melting pot of virtually any old thing, it will take a savvy shopper to recognize the “must-haves” of the season. Start with happy-go-lucky colors, especially more rosy pinks, yet spotlighting yellow as the “it” hue. White is the popular fail-safe neutral, ever fresh and often lacy. Prints abound as vaguely ‘60s flowers bloom again. Shirts are a continuing success story. Is it too obvious to recognize that the Feminist Movement may be responsible for the reinvention of the pantsuit? If you must have a trend, think about modernized, simplified ethnic, relaxed sportswear separates. For pure fashion with a capital “F”, look no further than Marc Jacobs’ somewhat satirical and certainly ridiculous overstated tribute to Yves Saint Laurent pushed to the extreme. Wonderful YSL color combos, but as Looney Tunes used to say… that’s all, folks! 

Happy-go-lucky optimistic colors from Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and See.

Continuing the mash-up mixes from Calvin Klein, See and Michael Kors.

Lacy textures in white from Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors and another Michael Kors.

Easy pieces add up to make a modern statement from Philip Lim, Narciso Rodriguez and Theory. 

Pantsuits with feminine flair from Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford.

Marc Jacobs correctly thinks pinks are still coming up rosy.

Sunshine bright Mellow Yellow from Carolina Herrera, Brandon Maxwell and Milly.

YSL-style pushed to almost comic extremes by Marc Jacobs.

Tom Ford’s elegant, buy-now/wear-now sophisticated statement.


The recent passing of brilliant artist/illustrator/designer Michaele Vollbracht at age 70 represents the loss of a great talent. A 1969 graduate of Parson’s School of Design, he brought cinematic glamour to fashion illustration as well as very sophisticated apparel design. However, his business acumen did not match his creativity. His illustrations captured the essence of glamour, and he explained, “I owe my talent to American films.” Joan Crawford became a close friend and Elizabeth Taylor was a client. Vollbracht worked for Henri Bendel and Bloomingdale’s, achieving fame when a shopping bag he designed with a stunning face failed to carry the store’s name, an error unnoticed before 9 million bags had been printed. The bags were deemed chic and became highly collectible. He started his own apparel company in 1978 and was immediately recognized as a star. His signature designs were unique, flamboyant prints on silk and were coveted by celebrities. In1985, he published “Nothing Sacred,” a collection of glamorous and witty illustrations that was reprinted a few years ago. In 2003, he took on the formidable task of designing the Bill Blass collection but not for long. The deal ended in 2007. During the last decade, he dropped off the fashion radar and devoted himself to serious painting. Michaele Vollbracht’s life and talent were recently honored and celebrated in a memorial evening at Parson’s, his alma mater. 

Michaele with Iris Apfel and Carmen.

Now, Voyager, Diana Vreeland.

Flamboyant fashions and that famous shopping bag.


The 70th year of Emmy Awards played to a stadium-size auditorium and the only exciting thing to happen was a surprise marriage proposal on stage. The rest of the super-slick show was as expected (Boring? You bet!). Hundreds of categories became mind-numbing and meaningless. RuPaul took home five statuettes. Ho hum. The traditional red carpet was replaced with a gold carpet. (Double ho-hum.) The gowns were better than usual, although representing very inconsequential trends. There was a selection of colors; primarily red, a few pastels, a whole lot of white and a smattering of black. The go-for-glitz sparkling styles were yawn-inducing, so expected. Unembellished gowns looked refreshing. My favorite was Claire Foy’s Calvin Klein ankle length white column with a lily-petal ruffle in the back. Her hair was notable too, a short, sleek boyish bob. A few stars went to extremes with tricky trims and very high fashion statements. Tracee Ellis Ross wore a huge hot pink balloon by Valentino, Sarah Paulson channeled a black swan in Oscar de la Renta and Penelope Cruz floated in wearing frothy feathers by Chanel Haute Couture. If anybody believed that the fashion industry is influenced by the celebrity carpet, red or gold, they better think again. 

Extreme Haute Couture on Tracee Ellis Ross, Penelope Cruz, Sarah Paulson.

Starstruck white on Claire Foy. Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel.

Unembellished simplicity on Kristen Bell, Regina King and Judith Light.

Yawn-inducing same old sparkle on Constance Wu, Chrissy Teigen and Allison Janney.

Classic Hollywood goddess glamour on Elizabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst and Heidi Klum.


There are now four categories for costume design Emmys and that means the winners can make sense. After all, RuPaul’s dressed-to-thrill Drag Race should not compete with The Crown’s Queenly ‘50s garb, nor should the primitive fantasies beyond the wall in Game of Thrones. And how about the Gianni Versace deluxe glam that’s being revived right now? All four of these fab TV shows were creatively costumed and deserved an Emmy. They all won! 

Contemporary Category: The Assassination of Gianni Versace; American Crime Story.

Fantasy/Sci-Fi Category: Game of Thrones.

Period Category: The Crown.

Non-Fiction Reality Competition Category: RuPaul’s Drag Race.


The 2018 Paper Doll Convention held in Seattle will long live in my memory. It was like a big extended family reunion party. Both “Paper Doll Studio” magazine and “Paperdoll Review” magazine feature fully detailed reports of the July “Entertainment Extravaganza.” Responsible for the great success of the Convention was the exceptionally talented husband and wife team, Sharry O’Hare and Micheal O’ Hara. They are very active in community theatre, understandably so. They are special people and I deem myself lucky to have them as special friends. As a token of my appreciation, I created special one-of-a-kind paper dolls of Sharry and Micheal with a few costumes from shows they have starred in, including: Take Me Long, Man of La Mancha, Gypsy, A Little Night Music, 1776 and Seussical. 

Paper Dolls of Sharry and Micheal.
Sharry and Michael in some of their favorite costumes.


Continuing my monthly coloring book fun, I again opened my favorite book, “Greer Garson,” published in 1944 and now softly yellowed with age. It’s beautifully drawn and a joy to bring to life with colored pencils. Many costumes from Greer’s hits inspired marvelous artwork. I am surprised that such a great star is not often given her due in Hollywood history though TCM often shows her many films. Let’s remember her; M-G-M’s great lady star. A titian-haired British beauty, she reigned as Hollywood’s most popular leading lady during the years of World War II. Greer Garson’s film stardom started late when M-G-M mogul Louis B. Mayer saw her onstage in London and offered her a contract. She was already in her mid-thirties when she arrived in Hollywood where at first it was difficult to cast her. Initially, she was made-up like a doll with tight curls but after an M-G-M make-over, her regal beauty, splendid intelligence and gracious demeanor revealed her stunning star quality. Wartime audiences responded to her aura of heartfelt warmth and calm elegance. Her first film catapulted her to stardom and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in 1939’s Goodbye Mr. Chips. Hit followed hit and peaked in 1942 with Mrs. Miniver starring Greer Garson in the role of her lifetime as the brave wife and mother coping with the Blitz. The film was lauded by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill and garnered Greer the Best Actress Oscar and the longest acceptance speech in Hollywood History. Her career continued with great success until 1946 when the war ended and the movie industry sought a fresh approach that no longer included so-called “women’s pictures” such as sentimental romances that called for great lady stars including the incomparable Greer Garson. 

Greer Garson 1944 coloring book cover and Victory garden.

'40s evening glamour and a scene from ”Madame Curie,” colored by Me.


The Rhode Island School of Design, RISD, is one of the most highly respected arts colleges in the world but I fear that their fashion viewpoint is just too creative to be meaningful. High concepts ruled this year’s Grad show and were described thus: “Oversized design to distort silhouettes…abstraction of tailored suits…in-between genders…Mexi-witchery.” Take a look at some runway train wrecks at the recent show. Is this the future of fashion? I sure hope not. 
Maya Ortiz, Erika Kim and Yufei Liu. 

Fernando Flaquer, Ying Bonny Cai and Michaela Wong Xing Yi.

Rachel Wong, Zehua Crystal Wu and Matthew Streedy.


The 2019 Paper Doll Convention is scheduled for July 3-6, 2019, in Kansas City, MO. Hosted by Pat O'Rourke, with the Mystery, Murder & Mayhem, it's sure to be a good time! Visit OPDAG's convention info page for details.