Sunday, June 12, 2011

Walker-Coleman-Baker-Holiday by Alexander

L-R Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker, Bessie Coleman, and C. J. Walker by Alexander Doll Company

The Alexander Doll Company's most recent Coquette Cissy (formerly known and Cissette) is presented as C. J. Walker (Madam C. J. Walker), pictured on the far right in the above image.  This doll is part of Alexander's 2011 fashion collection and is one of my most recent doll acquisitions.  Number 4 of 250, the doll's history card describes her fashion as:  "a two-piece suit cut from fine wool gabardine featuring a side lapel collar trimmed with lavender, which was very popular during her time.  Beneath her jacket, she wears a fashionable georgette top with ruffle collar and lavender satin trimming the waist and hem.  She has her hair pinned up into a bun topped with a wide brim violet gabardine hat accented with bright green and black feathers at the crown.  Her refined look is finished with clear crystal and green bead drop earrings; a gold tone and green bead double strand necklace; and a long gold tone bead necklace."

Born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867, Madam C. J. Walker is often described as the first female American millionairess.  Her wealth and status are attributed to the development and sales of hair care products for African American women designed to promote hair health, growth, and manageability.  A woman with a strong work ethic, Walker died on May 25, 1919. 

If I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard. 
-Madam C. J. Walker
In 1921, after enrolling in aviation school in France, Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman became the first black woman in the world to earn an international pilot’s license.  Alexander’s 2009 Coquette Cissy from “The Arts Collection,” pays homage to this remarkable, early Twentieth Century African American woman.  The doll’s very detailed outfit consists of brown leatherette jacket, black vinyl belt with silver buckle, white sleeveless semi-sheer blouse, black Jodhpur-style pants; black vinyl knee-high, lace-up boots; and black vinyl aviator cap with chinstrap and attached silver goggles.  The doll is as lovely as the real Bessie Coleman, who did not allow racism and sexism to impede her goal to fly.
The air is the only place free from prejudices.

-Bessie Coleman
From the 2007 Madame Alexander “History of Fashion Collection,” produced in a limitation of 400 dolls, Coquette Cissy’s metallic and pearl bikini top, gold bikini bottom, banana skirt, gold dangle earrings, gold sandals, and blue silk brocade robe, were inspired by the early 1900s, American-born entertainer, Josephine Baker. 

Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri on June 3, 1906, Josephine Baker gained fame in the 1920s in France as an dancer and singer.  This world renowned entertainer is remembered for her civil rights activism, her banana dance, and for her Rainbow Tribe of 12 adopted children of different ethnicities. 
The things we truly love stay with us always, locked in our hearts as long as life remains.
          -Josepine Baker

Alexander’s Cissette from the 1997 “Music Collection,” portrays 1930s jazz diva, Billie Holiday.  The doll is elegantly dressed in a silver shimmery gown with train and white flower at waist, white feather shawl, silver stockings and white cloth high-heel shoes.  An authentic-looking microphone with stand and Lady Day-signature white flower in the hair complete this three-dimensional replication of Billie Holiday.

Born Eleanora Fagan, April 7, 1915, Billie Holiday's professional jazz singing career was just shy of three decades.  She recorded her first record in 1933 and continued to perform until her death in 1959 (July 17).  Lady Day lives on through the sultry sounds of her jazz music.

"I never had a chance to play with dolls like other kids. I started working when I was six years old."
-Billie Holiday

L-R Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker, Bessie Coleman, and C. J. Walker by Alexander Doll Company (close-up view)

Using their 10-inch, bent-knee Cissette and Coquette Cissy dolls, the Alexander Doll Company (one of few doll manufacturers to release a variety of AA dolls this year) honors these four accomplished women.




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