Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cinderella and Cami by The Tonner Doll Company

The Tonner Doll Company was started in 1991 by fashion designer Robert Tonner.  Today, Tonner makes a huge variety of dolls, from his signature fashion designer character, Tyler Wentworth, to popular fiction characters like Edward Cullen and Harry Potter, to action heroes and fairy tale princesses.  There's no way I could even come close to giving you a worthy overview of Tonner dolls in one post.   I am sure they will crop up on this blog again and again, though.

What I can do, is tell you the story of my absolute favorite Tonner doll...or actually, just my favorite doll.  Period.  In 2006, Tonner debuted his 16" Cinderella collection, consisting of Cinderella herself, the two stepsisters, Euphemia and Hortencia, and the Fairy Godmother. I think I knew instantly when I saw the promo pictures of Cinderella that, financially speaking, this was a doll who was going to spell serious trouble for me over the years.  I was right.  Cinderella is my absolute favorite fairy tale character of all time, and this doll captures what I think she should look like perfectly:

Basic Cinderella by Robert Tonner, $59.99 (2006).
Look at how beautiful she is!

She retailed for 59.99 back then, which seems like nothing by today's standards.  What you got for that $60 was a lot.  She was classed as a "basic" doll, but her outfit is actually very beautiful and intricately made.  It consists of a pink corset top, a matching skirt and little pink felt slippers:

The top has so many great details--the princess seams along the waist, the tiny satin bows, the beautifully gathered peasant-style neckline and slightly off-the-shoulder sleeves...and the whole bodice is lined in pink satin.

Even the skirt has lovely little pin-tuck details.  Although the Cinderella doll was not hugely popular right away, collectors were desperately looking for this bodice on the secondary market.  I saw some people dye it in different colors and use it for their fashion dolls.  It even looks good with jeans!

This basic Cinderella doll came with several different hair colors over the next few years, a few of them exclusive to the Cherished Friends doll shop in Pennsylvania.  It's so hard to pick a favorite, but aside from the first blonde Cinderella (who is unparalleled in my eyes) I think my favorite is the Cherished Friends exclusive raven-haired basic:

...or maybe the strawberry blonde:

Tonner also produced some exquisitely-dressed versions of Cinderella, including "Dreams Come True:"

Look at her hair!

"Cinderella Bride"

Her hair is even better! 
Notice the diamond ring!
FAO Schwarz limited edition, "Cinderella Rose:"

The great thing about the FAO Schwarz doll was that somebody made a mistake.  She was supposed to come with convertible feet--a new innovation back then that made it possible for you to swap out her fashion heeled feet for flat feet...a perfect transformation for the Cinderella character.

The mistake was that the Cinderella Rose that got shipped to everyone initially had regular, non changeable fashion feet.  The Tonner company remedied this immediately by sending everyone who bought this doll a completely new (nude) doll with changeable feet!  So, I have two Cinderella Roses, one with fashion feet and one with flat feet.  Flat-foot wears the Cinderella rags outfit that came with the FAO gift set:

Here's Masquerade Ball Cinderella from Tonner's 2007 convention:


This doll and her elaborate outfit are so striking.  The dress is rich purple velvet and it has a ton of details and beautiful jeweled tones: 

She was amazingly un-popular.  I remember that many retailers and collectors were desperately trying to get rid of her on clearance.  The Doll Market finally had her on last-ditch clearance sale for $75.  I don't understand it (I think she's incredible), but I was happy to pay such a low price for such a beautiful doll!

I think it was in 2009 that Tonner debuted a newly-designed, more realistic and more articulated doll body for his fashion dolls.  At first, only the new fashion character, "Antoinette," had this body, but gradually other faces began to find themselves on this slimmer, smaller-chested body.  Cinderella had stopped making appearances at this point, but her face sculpt was being used on and off for other characters, including Harley Quinn and Christine Daae from Phantom of the Opera (gorgeous doll):

Then, in 2010, the Cinderella face was resurrected on an Antoinette body and "Cami" was born.  This is the debut Cami doll, "Delight:"

The new body is fantastic.  She has so many more natural posing options.  There is an extra joint in the ankle, and extra joint in her torso, and much more pivot in her legs.  I love how she can tuck her legs delicately off to one side, or even sit knock-kneed:

She can also relax on furniture much better than the older dolls:

There's a slightly awkward gap in between her thighs, but this is what allows her to sit so much more naturally.

Her face is recognizable as Cinderella, I think, but there's a bit of an edge to it...or maybe a splash of vulnerability.  Not sure exactly what it is.  I still think she's gorgeous, but she doesn't have that calm, self-assured innocence that only a fairy tale princess can pull off.

Delight is a basic doll, and her outfit is just a simple lace teddy.  She was a convention exclusive, but I think her retail was around $80 or $90.  That's a big price jump from basic Cinderella in 2006, and the outfit is skimpier.

The main line in 2010 included three different basic Camis, all with the crimped long hair and two piece lingerie outfits.  Here's the redhead:

Here's the basic blonde Cami with the basic Cinderella.  I like the contrasts between the two:


Cami certainly has more expression than Cinderella.  Camis face is thinner.  Cinderella looks tan and Cami looks almost translucently pale in the picture, but in reality, Cami actually has an almost greyish cast to her skin tone that I am not super-crazy about.  She photographs really nicely, but when she is posed next to my older Tonners on the shelf, she certainly looks grey by comparison.

There have been several fully-dressed Cami dolls, all of them in modern clothes except for "La Belle de Chenonceau" (Paris convention, 2011):

She's really beautiful with tons of little details (notice the two rings on her fingers!).  The red dress is exquisite.  The face is kinda "blah," though.  Am I wrong?  I don't know, I just don't go nuts looking at her or photographing her the way I do with Masquerade Cinderella or Cinderella Rose.

The hair is boring, but that's probably just historical accuracy.  

This one might be the prettiest of the dressed Camis.  Her name is "Silver Splendor."  Her outfit is ok...lots of poof and frills, but no real sewing details.  The fabric isn't even hemmed.  Very flouncy and unsubstantial...but the overall look is great:

And her face is stunning:

The basic Camis lost the frizzy hair in 2011 and got some very nice modern underwear:

This Cami was a nice surprise in late 2011 with her short bob and completely different retro look ("Knave of Hearts," 2011 convention):

Wearing outfit from Stella "Spark"
Ok.  Here comes the end of the fairy tale.  Sigh.  All of the three most recent basic Cami dolls have had inset plastic eyes, two of those three have been wigged dolls with changeable wigs.  Inset eyes and wigs sounded like excellent new features to me when I first heard about them, but I have changed my mind.  Here is the first "Wigged Basic Cami:"

Wonky eye alert!
Changing the wigs is nice (here's an Angelic Dreamz exclusive wig):

Without a wig:

I ordered two copies of this doll, just to be sure I got a good one (they sold out very quickly).  Both came with really bad eyes, and one came with a wig that was awful.  I sent both of them back and got a new doll...whose eyes are ok.  Tonner customer service is amazing, and this doll was hand-picked for me.  You can see, though, that the eyes are not perfect.  One pupil is bigger than the other and they aren't set straight.  I find it hard to pose her on the shelf because it looks even worse from a distance.  She looks kinda vacant.  It's frustrating to me that $20 Liv dolls have better set eyes than these Camis.

Still, the eyes aren't that bad and I am a die-hard fan of this face and have been since 2006, so I bit the bullet and ordered the 2011 basic doll, "Cami Basic Platinum" (inset eyes but rooted hair).  I sent the first one of these back (too many flaws to list) and got another one, and am honestly too frustrated with the whole game to send this one back, too.  She has shiny parts on her face, is missing paint on her lower lip and has bad paint around her eyes.  She cost $90 and came in white underwear with no shoes.

I think she's crying, and I don't blame her.  All of the magic is gone.  I look at this doll and instead of being transported into an imaginary world where everything is beautiful and perfect, I feel like crying for wasting my money...and for the bigger issue of products losing their quality over time.

The new "Wigged Cami--Too" is out now for $110 (!) and for the first time since 2006, I did not order a new "Cinderella" doll when it was announced.  My love affair with these dolls is over, and it makes me sad, but on the other hand, my shelves are full of Cinderellas and among those pretty faces are some of the most beautiful Tonner dolls ever made. I will treasure them forever.


Age Level
10 and up
Varies from excellent to fair.
Varies from excellent to poor.
Excellent--cardboard box with ribbon ties (dressed dolls).  Recyclable, very easy to get doll out.
Good--very simple plastic box with wire ties (basic dolls).  Easy to get doll out.
As versatile as any fashion doll.  Newer body has more posing options.
Recommended, except for the newer dolls with inset eyes.

**Thanks to the amazing Tonner reference at Dreamcastle Dolls!



  1. I enjoyed the review, I found i like the sculpt better as Cami. Still trying to obtain the French doll....

  2. Hi Jennifer! You helped me get my Lady G and Blue Fairy so I will never forget you. :O) I might have to do a whole separate review of Lady G because I love her so much.

    I am a bit ashamed to admit that I got "La Belle" way overpriced at The Doll Peddlar, but I love this store and they did offer a layaway. They still have her there...

    She's very hard to find!

  3. Really enjoyed this post - fascinating. I only have 3 x Tonners - Euphemia (just loved her fuller figure and amazing hair-do), an Elpheba as I loved 'Wicked' and a brunette bobbed I just took a shine to. I must admit the basic Cinderella who started you on your journey is just gorgeous and I can see why you got hooked.

    1. Thank you, Hippolyta! I need to read "Wicked." I have it right here but haven't read it yet! Elphaba is awesome...I'd love to have a "greenie" some day. :)
      I do wish I had gotten Cinderella's sisters back when they came out. They seem pretty special, particularly Euphemia.

  4. Hi, Thank you for sharing your beautiful dolls, you have the best taste.

    I, like you ordered a platinum Cami with inset eyes. She was cross-eyed and I was so upset.
    It was over six months before I got a replacement doll and like you the dream died (my love for Cami dolls was over) and I switched to Poppy Parker. That was about a year ago. But having given myself time to forget about the very upsetting business I have started to look at the replacement doll and I am starting to love her and see her loveliness.
    If you can steel yourself, ask for a replacement doll. I got there in the end with my new doll. But it does sour what should be a pleasure. I wish you luck and joy.
    You do have the loveliest Camis.


  5. Is there any place one could find a Tonner Cinderella doll now?

    1. Beth-you can try ebay. I found a good deal on a doll with the Cinderella face, plus pink hair. Good luck!

    2. Do you have any idea what the Cinderella Rose might sell for?

  6. Where did you find your Christine doll? I can't find one anywhere, and Tonner doesn't sell them anymore! I am a die-hard Phantom fan and it's so saddening that the Phantom dolls were discontinued. Is there any place I could find a Tonner Christine doll now?

    1. I've been watching eBay and all the secondary market sites for a while. Good-freaking-luck. I have yet to see one come up at ANY price. I'm also looking for Dreams Come True. A nude was on eBay, but I want the doll and gown. Rose and that bride also haven't come up in ages. There's new Cindy bride, but she's meh.

  7. I know your post is a few years old now, but I so love it anyway. I reciently discovered Cami, and I too am totally hooked. I started with Soho, and now have four. But I'm most excited to have found your precious original Cinderella. I just couldn't believe my eyes when I stumbled across her listing on ebay. She is on her way to my home right now, and I just can't wait!
    Thank you for sharing your passion with us. I think there's many more passionate Cami girls just like you out here...
    There's more wonderful Camis released since you posted this. Please update your page, and share what you think about them. There IS still magic in the fairytale yet.