Evangeline's exaggerated features fit well with her over-the top back story. She is a mortician's assistant, lives in an attic, dresses with a flamboyant Victorian style and has a humanoid pet skunk. The Wilde Imagination website says that Evangeline was inspired by Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, among other quirky icons. This is a fun fact for me because seeing the Tim Burton line of Tonner dolls in person (during my trip to the FAO Schwarz store in Manhattan in June) was a big contributor to my new-found appreciation for the darker, stranger dolls in Tonner's diverse lineup. If it weren't for this new perspective, I don't think I ever would have given Evangeline any serious consideration. Two other things contributed to my willingness to acquire an Evangeline doll. First, in 2009, Wilde Imagination added a vinyl version of this doll to their regular collection. This dropped the price considerably, and also eliminated the concerns about yellowing and breakage that come with most resin dolls. Also, I recently found a collector who was willing to take a doll I didn't want anymore in exchange for this intriguing Tonner Con vinyl exclusive Evangeline, "Dark Angel:"
|Evangeline Ghastly "Dark Angel" by Wilde Imagination,|
My Evangeline's box and shipper came very badly damaged, but fortunately, the doll herself was in perfect condition. The box is just like the Tonner Doll boxes--a cardboard shipper with a decorated cardboard box inside. Dark Angel's box is mostly black with the Evangeline Ghastly logo--a full yellow moon with "Evangeline Ghastly, she's a whole other story" written over it.
The doll is tied into the box with two white satin ribbons. Her accessories are packaged in plastic bags and stapled to the edges of the box. She came with a large hairnet over her face and hair:
I was surprised and disappointed to find that this doll does not come with a stand. I really like Tonner stands, especially the newer saddle stands, and I am always glad to add another one to my collection. Tonner 16" stands do not work with Evangeline because of her height, so I'll have to go on a quest for the perfect stand. A bit of a pain. Ok, updated to add that the search for a perfect stand was quick--you can get one from Wilde Imagination, but it's $15. Yikes!
She comes with a necklace, a pair of wings and some fingerless gloves.
|Every girl needs a pair of wings.|
Here's the doll without any of her accessories attached:
Her hair is fixed into a long, low ponytail tied with a big ragged-edged satin ribbon. This style came out of the box looking pretty bad, but was easily straightened out:
This doll's face grabbed my attention the second I opened the box. The combination of bright red lips, pitch black hair and huge, heavily-lined eyes is arresting:
Her inset eyes are made of plastic, but have a very realistic mix of greens and browns. Unlike the resin Evangeline dolls, which have interchangeable eyes, this doll's eyes are not meant to be removed. Her eyes are very evenly set--no signs of wonkiness here at all. This is a stark contrast to the poorly-set eyes of some of the newer Tonner Cami dolls. Dark Angel's eyes are positioned in a slightly upward-glancing stare. This adds character to her expression, but it's harder to get her to look at the camera:
She has dramatically long applied eyelashes and dark painted eyebrows with a severe slant. Her eyes are lined with thick black paint, making them look even bigger than they are:
This face is hard to characterize. The eyes are dark and hard and almost angry from some angles:
The mouth area is sweet and lovely, and the large upturned eyes without the dark eyebrows look wide and innocent:
Looking at her from above, she appears angular and strict, with a tinge of crazy mixed in:
Her profile reveals this cute little ski jump nose and a slight overbite. Her features suddenly look almost childlike:
You can even catch her looking startled:
Evangeline came with these two black lace fingerless gloves:
The gloves are pretty, and fully lined, but unless I am missing something, there's absolutely no way they'll fit over this doll's hands. I tried, and the seam started ripping. It's not like Tonner to include an accessory that doesn't fit, so I'd love to say that I'm just lazy or clueless, but in this case I really think getting the gloves on is impossible:
|Cut off that thumb and they'd go on with no trouble.|
The choker neck ornament is a black velvet band edged with tulle ruffles and accented with a rhinestone circle:
This necklace goes on beautifully and snaps securely at the back.
I have to say, I expected this doll to be caricatured and a bit strange (and she is) but I never expected that she'd be beautiful. With her Snow White coloring and her long lace gown, she's quite beautiful:
Dark Angel comes with a large pair of black cloth wings. The insides of the wings are decorated with layers of ruffles, alternating between a black satin fabric and a gauzy black organza. The edges of the wings are trimmed in delicate black lace. The layered effect gives the piece a decidedly feathery appearance that I love.
At the bottom of each wing, there are strips of fabric that flutter around and flow down to pool at the doll's feet.
The back part of the wings, the part that would be visible from behind the doll, is not as interesting. This side is decorated with black lace and a huge black satin bow. The bow looks out of place to me. Nothing about this is reminiscent of feathers--it looks more like a big tacky black box of Valentine's Day candy.
The wings attach to the straps of the dress with two tiny eyelet hooks. It is very fiddly to get the wings to stay on. I can attach one side easily, but then when I bend the wings to attach the other side, the first side falls off...and so on. Furthermore, the heavy wings hook to the thin lacy straps of the dress, so the connection is floppy and insecure. Metal snaps attached to the back of the dress might have worked better, although this would have been more of a blemish on the beautiful white dress.
Once the wings are attached, and before they fall off again, Evangeline is extremely photogenic:
The wings are a fun accessory, but by far the best element of this doll's wardrobe is her long, elegant lace gown. It is exquisite:
The dress has a fitted bodice with a mermaid waist that flares out into a soft cascade of tiered ruffles. The bodice is held up by traditionally-placed straps, but there is a second strap sleeve on each side that is designed to sit off the shoulder. The whole dress is white lace, with the exception of an oddly-placed black satin half-bow. This sits at the far left side of the neckline and runs vertically along the line of the doll's arm. I like the element of contrast that the bow offers--both in terms of color and also because it is aligned perpendicular to the hair bow, but I think I would have preferred this dress unadorned.
|That bow would drive me crazy if I were wearing it.|
The bottom of the skirt is very full and long, so the dress rests on the ground and flows behind the doll like a train.
The construction of the dress is wonderful. All of the stitched details are nicely done and the whole bodice is lined.
Under the dress, Angel is wearing pantyhose and a pair of plain white pumps:
The shoes are nicely made, but not remarkable in any way. Also, I found it hard to position this doll's feet flat on the ground when she was wearing her shoes. One or the other of the high heels was always up in the air, or if the shoe was flat on the ground, the doll's foot was lifting up out of the back of the shoe.
This doll has the newest version of the vinyl Evangeline body. At 18.5" this body is slightly taller than the older 17" body. The new body also has 15 points of articulation, which includes ankle joints that were not offered on the original vinyl bodies. Also, the design of the elbow, knee and torso joints has been upgraded.
|Vinyl body 2.0.|
Evangeline can look up, look down a tiny bit, and swivel her head all of the way around. She has a double-jointed torso, and both joints are smooth and natural in appearance.
The upper torso joint sits just under the bust, and this doll's, ah, healthy proportions do an excellent job of hiding the seam. The upper torso joint allows her to mover her shoulders forward and back, and also from side to side.
|Naked goth yoga.|
The lower torso joint sits at the level of a low-rise pair of pants or underwear. This area allows her to move her hips from side-to-side and also to bend backwards. She can't lean forward much at this joint. She's really skinny and tall, but the contours of her body are very naturally and carefully sculpted. Notice how the curve of her waist adapts to this extreme position:
The lower torso joint is slightly looser than I'd like. It's a bit of a challenge to get her to stand straight upright--this is a more typical posture:
The shoulder joints are hinged, and rotate 360 degrees. The elbow joints are double-hinged, with a separate peanut segment in between the upper and lower arm:
The new elbow joint allows for excellent flexibility. Not only does the joint bend to the extent that Evangeline can easily touch her face and head, but the lower arm rotates around the peanut joint for added posing options.
The knees have a similar double-hinged peanut joint:
This style of joint is very attractive in the knee--more so than in the elbow. I think this is because the middle piece resembles the shape of the patella, or knee cap bone:
As with the arms, there is significant rotational movement in the lower legs:
|That's right--I'd like to see you do better!|
I don't think that this body is strung at all. The older vinyl body was strung, but I can't pry these joints away to reveal any elastic or string. I actually prefer this style of joint in my vinyl dolls because the tightness of the joints holds up better over time.
The body is very fun to pose. It looks lovely and graceful, and can do just about anything I want it to do:
|She does front splits waaay better than I do.|
She can sit beautifully:
And, because of the extreme mobility of her joints, she can also sit in, shall we say, a more abstract way:
So, the body is pretty amazing, but check out these hands::
|Wha--what's wrong with my hands?|
I didn't even notice this right away, but she has these huge, cartoonish hands:
The hands are crudely sculpted with insanely long fingers. I look at these fingers and I automatically think about balloon animals:
The hands look different from the older vinyl Evangeline hands, at least from the pictures I could find online. They're a bit more splay-fingered. Maybe this is why the gloves don't fit? Perhaps they were designed for the older dolls?
Here's a lineup with two of my 16" Tonner dolls, the Knave of Hearts Cami (Antoinette body) and Far East Stella (regular Tyler Wentworth body):
|Stand up straight, Evangeline!|
Evangeline's body is taller, skinnier, bustier, and much, much paler. Here's a side-by-side hand comparison with Cami. It's funny how the finger positions are almost identical, but the proportions are completely different:
Evangeline's clothes are (way) too big in the bust for the Antoinette body, and a bit too long for both Tonner body types. Because this particular dress is designed to be a bit long, Stella can get away with wearing it. She actually wears it very well:
This would make a wonderful wedding dress. Here's close-up of Stella, just because she's so lovely:
I took Evangeline's ponytail down so that I could get a better sense for the quality of her hair.
The hair is thick and long and the cut is fairly even, but the hair quality is not as good as I'd expected. It's not bad hair by any means--it's soft and easy to brush, and it looks good, but it's not silky smooth like some of my other Tonner doll's hair. Also, within a few minutes of brushing it, it tends to get messy again...not tangled or anything, but it just doesn't want to lay flat and smooth.
The rooting is a little thin on top, but the dark painted scalp helps conceal this with most hairstyles.
Evangeline is too tall to share clothes perfectly with my Tonner dolls, but they fit well enough that I thought I'd try her in this red sequined dress from "Eternal Love Holiday Dreams" Sydney:
The dress is too short, but it goes beautifully with Evangeline's coloring:
I got a bit tired of the black bow on Evangeline's dress. It provides a nice balance to her black hair, but it's always in the way and it kind-of looks like a handkerchief or a napkin in some pictures:
So, I snipped it off:
I like Evangeline best this way, her hair loose and nothing to distract from her unique face and gorgeous dress:
This doll's amazing articulation, striking face and the drama of her wings and gown make her incredibly fun to pose and photograph:
Whatever the old vinyl body was like, this new body is an excellent mix of the flexibility of a resin ball jointed doll and the durability and simplicity of a vinyl doll. I think the sculpture of the hands is crude compared to the graceful lines of the rest of the doll, but then again, the goofy hands add to the dolls originality. The lower torso joint is a bit loose and the doll can't stand very well on her extremely high arches, but overall this body is very fun to pose, with more flexibility than any other doll I have reviewed recently.
I got this doll in a trade, but before she sold out her retail price was $260. This is slightly more than half of what the resin Evangeline dolls cost. It's a lot of money. If you break it down, though, the outfit alone is probably worth about $100 on today's market. Even if I hadn't liked Evangeline, I would have been delighted to have her dress in my collection. The doll herself, because of her inset eyes and high level of articulation, is worth another $100. The small edition size (200) of a convention exclusive doll contributes to her value slightly. In the end, the price tag is a little high, but the regular line vinyl Evangeline dolls ($190-225) come close to getting it just right. These dolls are a nice alternative for collectors who admire the look of the resin Ms. Ghastly but don't want to sink $500 into one purchase.
After all of these years of resisting, I think Evangeline joined my collection at just the right time. I adore her sultry strangeness and welcome her mix of drama and attitude into my increasingly diverse collection. Love or hate her unique style, Evangeline is not a doll that can be easily ignored.
10 and up--this is a collectable doll, not a toy.
While this convention exclusive doll is slightly overpriced, the regular line vinyl Evangeline dolls are a good value.
The quality overall is very good. The inset eyes are well-placed and detailed. The face paint is free of defects. The doll is highly articulated and the joints are well-designed. The dress is beautiful and well-made. The hair is the only slight disappointment with rooting on the thin side and a less than ideal texture and appearance.
Excellent. Typical Tonner cardboard box and shipper with satin ribbon ties inside. Easy to remove doll.
Yes. Limited edition of 200 and a Tonner Con 2012 exclusive.
Highly versatile face. This doll can look gothic, sweet, angry, confused, innocent, even beautiful. She can adopt a wide range of personalities. Her high degree of articulation adds to her versatility. There are very few poses she can’t strike. I wish she could share clothing more readily with other Tonner dolls, but she’s taller than the 16” fashion dolls and much bustier than the Antoinette dolls.
I am thrilled to finally have an Evangeline doll in my collection. Now I covet the resin version....