Saturday, May 26, 2012

"Flamingo" from the Tonner Doll Convention

From what I have heard, Tonner Doll conventions are extremely fun.  I have never been to one, but when there's a convention going on, I follow the excitement through Tonner's high-coverage blog, the Prego message board and Terri's blog.  Photographs from these events always include lots of big smiles, lots of people in elaborate costumes, lots of creative decorations and centerpieces...and of course tons of gorgeous dolls. This year the convention was in Chicago and the title was "Tonner Air."  Dolls from the event had an aerial theme, including airline staff characters and dolls dressed as different colorful birds.  How fun does that sound?

My primary objective when I am watching a Tonner convention from afar is to scope out any Cinderella-faced dolls.  Because, you know, I am a bit obsessed with this face.  Some of the most beautiful Tonner Cinderellas and Camis have come from conventions; Christine Daae, Lady G, Blue Fairy, Delight, Fare Game, Party All Night and Silver Splendor to name a few.  While I adore Cami, my heart belongs to Cinderella, and so I like it when Tonner revives this sweeter, less modern version of the face mold, as he did with Nu Mood Jess.  I also prefer that my Cinderella dolls be in ball gowns, rather than the more modern wardrobe of the Cami line.  So, considering all of that, you can picture my glee when I saw this year's convention Cinderella-faced doll, "Flamingo:"

Tonner convention "Flamingo," LE 300.
I figured I should review this doll while she is still for sale.  Tonner has some of the convention extras up on his site and as I am writing this review, Flamingo is still there for $225.  What is strange is that I actually paid less for her.  That rarely happens.  She is also easy to get on eBay right now.  

Flamingo is part of Tonner Re-Imagination line, which is a group of dolls that "re-invents iconic characters in a fashionable way."  I am not sure why Flamingo is an iconic character, but never mind.  She comes is a cool red Re-Imagination box:

Flamingo comes with a saddle stand, earrings, shoes and a feather headband.

The shoes are shiny gold slip-on heels.  I am so glad they don't have buckles or laces because I am terrible at fiddling with those.  Gold shoes are an odd choice for this doll, though.  Pink would have been the obvious choice--or black (because flamingo feet can be black, too).  I am guessing Tonner just had a lot of gold pleather lying around at the factory.

Her earrings are beautiful little pink gemstone studs:

The headband is just a single feather glued to a strip of fabric.  The feather is very stiff and so it isn't immediately clear how this is going to go around her head, or if it even should go around her head:

She is limited to 300 pieces, which is a pretty big edition for a convention doll.

I was anxious to see her face, because although I knew this doll was on the Antoinette body like Cami, I didn't know if her face would be Cami's modern face or if it would have Cinderella's softer features.  She's definitiely Cinderella:


Not only that, she has an elaborate up-do hairstyle, fit for a princess:

The makeup on this doll is lovely.  It's a bit pink for my taste, but the pink is totally understandable given that she's a flamingo.  My doll has three eye paint defects.  First of all, her eyes are ever so slightly wonky:

Come back here, Mr. Right Eye...don't go drifting off again.
On the left, there's some dark paint coming out of the corner of her eye (I might be able to fix that):

On the right, the eyeliner has smudged into part of the white of her eye.  That smudge, coupled with her pink eyeliner, make her look like she's crying:

I bent the feather a bit and managed to get the head band on--I think it adds a nice birdy touch to her outfit, although it goes against my instincts to cover such a lovely hair design:

What if she'd had actual pink hair instead of the feather?  That could have been awesome.

Flamingo's gown is an explosion of pink tulle, feathers and sparkles:

The gown is totally over-the-top, but completely in keeping with a fantasy bird theme.  The weakness of the dress is this cheap-looking pink bow in the front.  The ribbon is very thin and wrinkled, and it actually has dark edges where it was singed to prevent unraveling. 

The belt can't be removed easily because it's stitched to the sides of the shirred bodice:

You can tie the ribbon in back to make it less noticeable: 

This is an improvement, but it leaves the bodice of the dress looking a bit too monochromatic.

A nice necklace might have made a big difference here.
Also, without a tight sash, the bodice has a tendency to fall down.  I mean, let's put it bluntly--the Antoinette body does not have enough in the upstairs department to support a strapless dress.

Good thing there's a ruffle along the neckline.
I don't have a lot of ribbon lying around, but I wondered if a contrasting color like blue might be a better option:

Maybe, but this ribbon is too thin.
You can also cross the pink ribbon in front and then tie it in back, giving a smoother sash look.  I think I like this best:

The dress has several layers.  The top layer has a pink tulle base with pink feathers and smaller feather-shaped pieces of pink and blue tulle sewn on.

The sewing is a bit crude, but most of the stitches are less visible because they are underneath a layer of tulle.

There's a long loose thread hanging off this piece.
Under the top layer is a satiny skirt liner with an asymmetrical hem:

Underneath this layer is a blue tulle petticoat.  The little hints of blue in this dress are wonderful.

The dress sheds glitter everywhere.  Reminds me of another dress I know.

Despite the belt, the shedding glitter, and the sinking bodice, I think this dress is really fun.  It is a dramatic ball gown with a comical twist.  I wish I could have bought more of these Tonner bird dolls.  I definitely recommend checking them out as a group (Dreamcastle Dolls has all of the dolls on one page).  My favorites are Toucan, Peacock and Parrot, and I think they'd look amazing all displayed together in their avian glory.

Purple shoes look great.
Flamingo has a regular Antoinette/Cami body (which I love) in a Tyler skin tone. This skin tone is darker than the Cami dolls.  She is signed by Robert Tonner, who has an awesome signature.  

She has stockings with attached underwear.  Can I just say--those are some big underpants:

I think this is the first doll ever with the Cinderella look and a Cami body.  

Flamingo's hairstyle is pretty regal for the hip Cami wardrobe, but all of the Cami and Antoinette clothes will fit her.

Here is Flamingo with the original basic Cinderella.  Flamingo's head has been scaled down to fit the Antoinette neck, but the painted features are very similar.  I prefer the basic Cinderella's muted, realistic coloring.

Here's Flamingo with the original Cami doll, Delight.  You can see that while these two doll share a head sculpt, the facial features are painted differently and, to me, this makes them look like two completely different characters.  

You can see the skin tone difference between these two very clearly:

Here's Famingo with Nu Mood Jess.  Both of these dolls have a look that is more similar to the original Cinderella, but Jess in on a modified Tyler body, not a Cami body:

The Cami doll who has face paint most similar to Flamingo is Party All Night.  She has extremely pink lipstick.  Even with a similar palette, though, Cami is clearly Cami and Flamingo is clearly Cinderella.

Flamingo reminds me of the FAO Schwarz doll, Cinderella Rose.  They have very similar expressions, although Rose looks like she has the hint of a smile on her face.  She has a little secret:

Rose is superior in all ways (richer, more realistic face paint, a nicer dress, more intricate hair, gorgeous jewelry) except perhaps for the body type.  I really like the Cami body.  I feel like if Rose had a time machine and warped to the future and went to a costume ball, she'd end up looking something like Flamingo.

Although Flamingo's facial expression is a bit drab--bordering on sad, she is a fun doll to play with.  The highly flexible Cami body and a dress that has a life of it's own make a playful combination: 


This is her flamingo pose...


Bottom line? Overall, I am delighted to have another Cinderella face in my collection and Flamingo is here to stay.  She's is not my favorite version of this doll by a long shot, but she feels special because of her unique combination of a Cinderella-styled face and a Cami body.  Despite some quality issues in the face paint, the face is very pretty.  The soft makeup really suits this mold and the dramatic hairdo is almost as good as some of the older Cinderella hairstyles.  

The dress is a costumey, billowing mess of sparkles and tulle.  The sewing is coarse in spots and the ribbon sash is a poorly-done, distracting accent.  The bodice slides down over Flamingo's small chest and glitter rains all over the place.  The feathers are ridiculously out of scale and the shoes don't match...but, somehow, the whole thing works for me.  It's very playful and lighthearted.  I think that the dress embraces it's gaudiness with such enthusiasm that you get seduced by the whimsy and turn a blind eye to the flaws.

I would be a lot more comfortable paying $150 rather than $225 for this doll.  Cinderella Rose cost $250 when she came out (in 2007), but the quality of that doll is so much higher.  She came with an entire extra outfit and lots of jewelry (earrings, necklace, tiara), her dress is made of silk, and she was an edition of only 100.  She has no flaws that I have ever found and her face paint is gorgeous.  I guess inflation gives us less for the same price, but I am not great at accepting it.

Flamingo is not the best of the convention birds, and she's not the best of the Cinderella-faced dolls, but she has her own special charm and is surprisingly delightful to have around.   

Age Level
10 and up
Pricey at $225.
Several face paint defects.  The outfit has some thrown-together qualities, but is very fun overall.  Great hair.
Typical excellent Tonner packaging.  Cardboard box and ribbon ties.
Yes, limited to 300.  Convention exclusive.
She can share clothes with all Cami and Antoinette dolls, but her hairstyle might not be appropriate for some of the modern casual clothes.
If you planned to own only one or two Cinderella/Cami dolls, this is not the first one I would recommend.  However, she’s a whimsical doll with a unique combination of a Cinderella face and a Cami body and I am very glad to have her in my collection.



  1. I like her very much! She is stunning and the comparison helps to see all of her beauty.

    I must also thank you for my beautiful Cami! She is amazing! Thank you very much :)

    1. You got her already? How wonderful! You are very welcome. I love what you are doing on your blog--that is so generous and kind. :)

      Thank you for your comment on Flamingo. I like her a lot and have had a very fun day playing!

  2. She's a pretty doll and I certainly agree that the Cinderella faces are nice (and that she has the face with a cami body is very nice!) But I think that the dress is just lacking visual punch and is much of a muchness... Very sweet and maybe it would have been better to name her Cotton Candy than Flamingo! I think her outfit is missing a little of the more dramatic aspects of a Flamingo. If you don't mind me suggesting it you might try a medium or even a wide width black ribbon around the waist to give it a bit more punch (and a pair of black high heels!).

    And She would have been amazing with pink hair in variegated shades!

    1. I think you might have hit the nail on the head with the black belt suggestion, Erica! I didn't think of that, but black is a very good flamingo color, and the stark contrast might be just what this dress needs! Now, I have to find some black ribbon--I think maybe even the wider ribbon would be cool. I'll post a picture if I find something just right. Thank you so much for that suggestion!

      I agree about the hair, too. Pink hair would have made her so much more unique and also, I'd guess, a LOT more popular on the market! I can't think of another pink-haired Tonner doll, but I feel like there was one...hmm.

  3. If your dolls face paint bugs ya, contact the Tonner Doll Hospital, they should be able to help you out! :) Dr. Noreen is Amazing!!

    1. Oh, I know--isn't she the best? I sent Dr. Noreen two of the inset-eyed Cami dolls and she sent me two new ones (hand-picked!) and a little gift! I might consider sending Flamingo to the hospital, but her flaws are small and potentially fixable...and I got her on the secondary market, so there might be a fee for fixing the paint? Not sure about this. I have only ever returned dolls that I bought directly from Tonner's shop.

    2. I had an Antoinette IDEX doll that had issues, that I got secondary - no charge. :)

    3. That's pretty amazing! Great customer support from Tonner Doll. :)

  4. Flamingo is gorgeous, I love the froth and frou-frou of the dress and feather headband and the color! About the waist ribbon ... just personally, I don't like the ribbon effect at all, not on a princess waistline. To remove the ribbon and add something else to the center of the bust might work, like a small rose or a small pink sparkly rhinestone. Although, in another sense, because the dress is over-the-top in a way, having the more simple waistline can be an asset.

    Now I need to go and look at the other birds!

    1. Oh, yes, definitely check out the other birds--I'd love to hear which is your favorite. They are all so different and crazy!

      I usually enjoy a simple princess waist, just like you said. I don't like a lot of the modern belted fashions--like the long shirts and sweaters that are worn over pants and then belted. Maybe it's just that I, personally, couldn't pull off that look! ;)

      All in all, it's a lovely dress and my waistline complaints are minor compared to my enjoyment of the dress as a whole.

    2. For me it would have to be Toucan -- the bit of color with the otherwise black dress is quite striking. Although this would not go with the Toucan theme color-wise, I immediately thought of accessorizing with medium-to-deep turquoise for a clutch purse, shoes and possibly a fingertip cape. O imagination, LOL!

    3. That sounds lovely! The turquoise would be a wonderful contrast to the orange and red of her sleeve. These dolls definitely ignite the imagination!

      I like Toucan, too. She might be my favorite, with that striking dress and short hair. I always have to get the Cinderella, though. ;)

  5. Wow, she really is quite beautiful! I actually love the gold shoes! They're a nice contrast to the citrus-y pink and add some flair to the look. I like corsetkitten's idea of black ribbon for the waist. I think a necklace with a small accent in a bold shade of blue would look great as well. I also like your pink hair idea. How cool would that have been!
    -John in Missouri

    1. I'm glad you like the gold shoes, John! They're great shoes, in terms of style and how easy they are to get on and off. All of my other Camis want to steal them.

      The hints of blue in the dress are really brilliant, and I like your idea of highlighting that with a necklace. The dress is really begging for just the right necklace. I tried a few of the ones I have, but they didn't look right. Maybe Tonner tried necklaces, too, and found that the ruffled edge of the neckline was enough? I'm still going to experiment with some more necklaces--now you have me thinking maybe a black choker with a blue gem?

      In a way, the little fashion flaws are welcome because it gives us an excuse to brainstorm fun new ideas to make a doll "perfect!" :)

  6. Hello from Spain: congratulations for this entry. The photos are wonderful. You do a great job comparison. This doll is majestic but they seem very expensive. Keep in touch.

  7. Wizard of Oz Glinda Ambassador in Pink is the only other pink-haired Tonner gal I can think of. Your idea of the black choker with a contrasting gem is wonderful! thanks for the in-depth review.

  8. Hello,
    I believe Flamingo would look stunning in Tonner Jolie’s pink outfit but without the hat, making her less fuzzy, and more classical.

    1. Oh--you're right! I love that outfit and it would be a very classy, understated flamingo. Great idea! :)

  9. I have this one, and I put the outfit on my spare Happily Ever After doll. The bodice stays up better (my doll's ribbon is smooth and has a nice end), and the makeup works better. I have Flamingo in a peach one-shouldered dress that works well. For the feather, I crunched the center quill of it to make it wrap easier.

    Definitely happy with this doll.