Monday, February 3, 2014

"Around Town" Penelope Brewster, a Déjà Vu Doll by Robert Tonner

Penelope Brewster is a character from Robert Tonner's relatively new Déjà Vu line.  The story behind this line is that Penelope is a young woman living in Los Angeles and working in the movie industry. This seems fairly bland.  However things get considerably more interesting when Penelope gets bumped on the head and suddenly begins to recall moments from her many previous lives.  Among her earlier incarnations are Emma Jean McGowan from the 1920s and Anne De Légere from the late 17th century.  Not only do all of these versions of Penelope have their own unique story, but they have beautiful 16" vinyl dolls to portray them.  I think the idea behind the Déjà Vu line is detailed, imaginative, and thought-provoking.

The dolls have a brand new body design and are advertised as being extremely posable.  They all share the same face mold, which has a much more stylistic look than Tonner's previous 16" fashion dolls.  One of the most exciting things about the Déjà Vu line is the beautiful period clothing that is available for Penelope's historical manifestations.  I am particularly fond of the Louis XIV style dresses (and dramatic hairstyles) that Anne De Légere wears.  However, the intricacy of the outfits is in direct correlation with the price of these dolls...and none of them are cheap.  The options range from $99 for a basic doll (in undergarments) to $209 for the most dramatically dressed Anne De Légere ("La Vie de Versailles").  My favorite doll is La Vie de Versailles, but her price is so high, I opted for "Around Town" Penelope Brewster instead.  She's right in the middle of the price range, I like her face paint, and she comes with a full outfit.

"Around Town" Penelope Brewster  LE 500 ($159.99).
Penelope is packaged in a fairly simple cardboard box.  I like the graphics on the Déjà Vu box: it's a clock with all of the numbers pooled at the bottom and falling out.  There are too many numbers to have all come from one clock, but I still like the design and how it hints at Penelope's story:

Penelope is tied into the box with three white satin ribbons.  Her waist and ankles are protected with a layer of foam.  There is a stand secured to one inside edge of the box and accessories stapled to the other side.  

Penelope comes with quite a few separately packaged accessories:

She looks overwhelmed.
All of the accessories are stored inside plastic bags.  With the plastic gone, it's easier to see what this doll comes with: the saddle stand, shoes, a scarf, a wrist band and a necklace:

I love this doll's shoes.  They are brown imitation leather pumps with crazy high heels and tiny zippers down the back:

Two of the shoe straps have upside-down hearts cut out of them:

The zipper is such a nice detail for something so tiny.  As it turns out, it's not necessary to undo this zipper to get the shoes on and off, but it looks amazingly neat.

I also like the design of the necklace that comes with this doll.  It is a long silver chain with a butterfly charm on the end.  

Both the chain links and the charm are very large in scale for the size of this doll, but the butterfly is ornamented with rhinestones and is quite pretty.  It's a good fit for Penelope's spring-colored outfit.

Penelope comes with a jersey knit striped tube scarf.  The fabric of this scarf is stiff, but the colors are fun.

To me, the wrist band is the least impressive accessory.  It's made out of textured vinyl with a fuzzy white backing.  It is decorated with a small metal stud that has a blackened antique finish:

You can see a reflection of my camera in this picture!
It closes with a single metal snap:

Penelope herself comes dressed in a bright three piece outfit.  Her long hair is contained within a hair net and her arms and hands are protected with plastic bags.  I slipped her shoes on and tried to get her to stand on her own.  She stands fairly well, but has to bend a little bit in the knees to get perfect balance.  

It looks like she's slouching.
I had a very positive first reaction to this doll's face.  She has gorgeous blue eyes and a dramatic, oversized mouth:

I also really like the style and fabric of Penelope's jacket.  It's bright blue and has a woven checkered pattern with a slight sheen.  It reminds me of the unconventional materials challenges in the TV show, Project Runway--when designers are asked to make gorgeous clothing out of things like vinyl placemats.

The jacket causes a bit of a problem, though.  I wanted to remove the plastic that was covering Penelope's arms, but I couldn't do that without removing the jacket, and I couldn't remove the jacket without removing Penelope's hands...and I had a hard time removing Penelope's hands without removing the plastic!

Get these off of me!
I finally managed to pull the jacket's sleeves up far enough to get the plastic un-taped, and was able to remove the hands.  The hands come off easily, and are apparently interchangeable with Tonner's Tyler doll hands.

These hands look familiar to me...
The fingers are long and elegant and the nails are painted with a dark coral pink:

The piqué jacket has lined sleeves, but the main body of the garment is unlined.  It doesn't close in the front, but is nicely constructed and seems very fashionable, with a tailored fit and an oversized lapel collar that stands up straight:

With the jacket removed, it was easier to get a close look at Penelope's neck and head.  She has a very long, slender neck and an oversized head:

Her eyes are hand-painted with blue, black and white.  She has black painted lower eyelashes and long, dark applied upper lashes:

Penelope's thick lips are parted, revealing a broad band of white teeth:

Some of the Déjà Vu promotional pictures made me worry about the prominence of the black paint that outlines this doll's teeth.  With my doll, at least, the black outline of the teeth is faint and only partially there.  It looks a little funny up close, but from a distance it gives nice definition to the teeth without being obvious or unsightly.

Penelope has an exaggerated pout, with a crease under her large lower lip:

Collectors have commented on similarities between the Déjà Vu dolls and Wilde Imagination's Evangeline Ghastly.  I guess I can see why--both dolls have large heads, dramatic eyes and prominent mouths.

Penelope's face isn't perfectly symmetrical, so she has a slightly different look in each of her profiles.  I think the left side of her face (the right photo, below) has a more irritated or focused look, probably because of the lower placement of the eyebrow on that side.  The jut of Penelope's lower lip is also more pronounced on her left side.

Penelope has long, straight, blunt-cut blonde hair:

The hair fiber feels wonderful and silky.  The hair tends to clump into large sections, though, which is easy to see when the doll is upside-down:

The hair is also very least in my house!
There's a short side part rooted into the top of the doll's head, but if I comb the hair to accommodate this part, it leaves the back and top of the head showing some unattractively obvious hair plugs:

"Deja Vu" is inscribed on the back of Penelope's scalp:

Under her blue jacket, Penelope is wearing a lime green tank top with a flower applique:

The tank hangs down over the waistline of the pants, and closes in the back with metal snaps.

The combination of the long tank top and the thick waistband of the pants does not accentuate Penelope's waist:

The tank top is made out of a very thin, stretchy jersey knit.

The flower design is bright and fun:

The tank is extremely simple in its construction.  The seam allowance along the bottom of the shirt is small and so it's difficult to get this area to lay flat.

One edge of the shirt is folded over and secured with the four metal snaps, but the other edge is left unfinished:

Penelope is wearing pastel blue twill skinny jeans with a wide waistband:

The pants close in back with a single metal snap:

These pants fit like a glove and have real pockets in front.  Despite their snug fit, they are fairly easy to get on and off--at least once you get the bottom area pulled over Penelope's feet.  I love the stylish fit and design of these pants, but am not crazy about the color.

Penelope's hard plastic body is very fair (she has the "bisque" skin tone).  She boasts 12 points of articulation--most of which are rotating hinge joints.  Her head can swivel around and also look up and down.  She has more head flexibility than the other 16" Tonner dolls I own.

Her arms and hands have good mobility, although her wrists stop shy of reaching a 90 degree angle.

This doll can't easily touch her face, which I find a little frustrating.  She seems like she should be able to reach a finger up to her mouth, but it's actually impossible.

I realized at this point why Penelope's hands are familiar--and why I seem to automatically expect her to be able to strike poses that she is unable to strike.

She has Monster High hands:

Hey!  Tall human!  You stole my hands!
The similarity is hard to see with Abbey's glittery, clawed hand:

But clearer with Ghoulia's simpler grey hand:

I mean, the hands aren't exactly the same, but I would say that it's pretty clear the Déjà Vu design team took some inspiration from the wonderfully expressive hands of the Monster High girls.

In fact, once I noticed this similarity, I realized that other things about Penelope's body design resemble Monster High, too.  She has a very long, narrow-hipped torso (no swayback, though), a small chest, a long neck and an oversized head with heavily-lashed eyes and exaggerated lips.  Maybe it's just me, but I think of Freddy Tan's Monster High repaints when I look at Penelope.

It's almost like Penelope Brewster is what would happen if Monster High cartoon characters were turned into real people...or something like that.  

Anyway, Penelope's torso joint moves from side to side, and also has a small amount of front-to-back movement:

She has ball-jointed hips with excellent forwards and backwards leg flexibility:

But she cannot do any kind of side-to-side splits. This is Penelope trying to do a split:
Her legs can be rotated upwards to achieve some sideways movement:

She can kneel very nicely:

She also sits well, both on the ground:

And in a chair:

In order to get her thighs at a right angle to her body, though, she has to sit with her knees apart:

Her knee joints are hinged, but have rotational movement, so she can tuck her feet off to one side and then sit with her legs closer together:

If this doll's legs are rotated so that the toes are pointing inwards, the upper part of the joint doesn't handle it very well.  After only posing my doll for a few minutes, you can see that there are some white stress lines above the joint, and the midline thigh seam is separating:

The strain on this joint is even worse if the knees are bent while the leg is rotated inwards:

Overall, this doll has a great repertoire of poses.  The restricted movement in her hips, her inability to touch her face, and the worry of damage to her knee joints are the three things that hold her back from being perfectly articulated.

Here is Penelope with a Tonner Cami doll on the left and a Tonner Cinderella doll (with the bending wrist Tyler body) on the right:

"Fare Game" Cami, Penelope, "Amy's Cinderella."
Of these three dolls, Cinderella has the oldest body, then Cami, then Penelope.  Cami is the only doll with ankle articulation, although this joint doesn't add very much to her posing capabilities.  I think Cami's body is the most realistic overall, with the exception of that funny area at the tops of her thighs.

There's a clear progression through time with these dolls.  The newer the body designs have increasingly slimmer chests and hips.  I also think the joints become more and more natural-looking as the dolls get newer.

I never thought of my Cinderella dolls as being inelegant or limited in their articulation.  However, next to Penelope, Cinderella looks a little robotic:

Penelope can't share clothes with Cinderella because the difference in their upper bodies is too great.

Penelope's body is most similar in shape and articulation to Cami's.  Penelope's head is much more flexible than Cami's, but Cami has slightly better arm articulation (she can't touch her mouth, either, but she can touch other areas of her head).  Cami is also completely unable to do side splits.

Penelope can wear Cami's clothes pretty well--at least the ones I tried.  The tops are a little big on her, especially near the neck.  Here's Penelope in the 2011 basic Cami's pajamas:

And in Gold Label Cami's sequined dress.  Notice that the straps are a little loose and there's a little bit of sag in the back:

Penelope's clothes are tight on Cami, but I was able to get the skinny jeans on and even fastened in back (however briefly)!

Here is Penelope next to a 16" Poppy Parker doll by Integrity.  Aside from Poppy's larger chest, these two dolls are quite similar is size and proportion.

Poppy Parker "Spring Morning," Penelope.
Poppy's articulation is superior to Penelope's.  She has highly mobile ball-jointed hips, very flexible arms and much more fluid movement overall.

...and of course she can do some fairly impressive side-splits.

Penelope can share clothes with Poppy (and presumably with the 16" Tulabelle dolls and discontinued AvantGuard girls, too).  Here are the two dolls dressed in each others outfits:

Those pants fit Poppy almost perfectly:

Penelope looks gorgeous in Poppy's beautifully made yellow dress:

Here is Penelope in an AvantGuard dress.  This fit is slightly less flattering--it gapes a bit in the neckline...but Penelope looks fabulous in black:

Wearing "On Edge's" black dress.

After seeing how Penelope looks in some of these beautifully constructed Integrity outfits, I feel less impressed with her plain ensemble.  I find the tank top shirt, in particular, to be underwhelming.  

Here is Penelope in the tee shirt with her necklace and wrist band added.  The necklace gets lost in the design of the shirt, and I don't feel like the wrist band fits with the pastel, flowery theme of the rest of the outfit:

Also, Penelope can't sit in these pants without popping the snap in the back.  Even when she's standing straight, the pants frequently pop open.

Wardrobe malfunction.
And I've already mentioned this, but I don't think the pants offer a very flattering profile, especially now that we've seen how skinny Penelope's waist is.

The scarf adds more to this look than the butterfly necklace.  I really like this mix of colors and patterns:

One of the best surprises with Penelope is how well she can share clothes with the other 16" fashion dolls I own.  For her final photo shoot, I decided to put her back into some the other dolls' outfits and try some mixing and matching.

Here she is in the Gold Label Cami dress:

And in the Poppy Parker Spring Morning dress (with her own necklace):

And in the Poppy Parker dress with her own versatile blue jacket:

And with the scarf added in (I think this is my favorite combination):

I also tried basic Cami's pajamas with Penelope's jacket (this is definitely not the most stylish combination...):

And here she is back in the AvantGuard dress:

And last, the AvantGuard dress with the jacket:

Bottom line?  There are things about this doll that I just love, and things that leave me feeling hesitant.  The funny thing is, sometimes it's the exact same feature that I love one minute and struggle with the next.  For example, I think Penelope has a beautiful, unique face with gorgeous hand-painted details.  As I was photographing her, I would sometimes pause--viscerally struck by her glamorous, editorial face.  However, especially after looking at this doll for a long time, that same face would strike me as bored and vacant.  There were times when I found myself wanting to tell Penelope to either smile or close her mouth.

Overall, this doll has an attractive body design and fantastic articulation.  She has many of the things I look for in a fashion doll--a highly movable neck joint, rotation in all of her limbs, and very expressive hands set on bendable wrists.  However, Penelope has some hiccups in her articulation.  Most notably, she can't touch her face, and she has stiff knee joints that show troubling signs of stress in certain poses. 

It's great to see a completely new body design--especially if can fit into clothes from other dolls that I own.  It's wonderful that Tonner is branching out to incorporate a more stylized doll into his 16" fashion empire.  I even think it's fun that this doll takes some of the exaggerated traits of a Monster High doll and blends them with Tonner's own recognizable features.  And yet, the level of similarity in the hands (Penelope's hands are virtually identical in shape to Monster High hands) detracts from this doll's originality.

Given my fluctuating reactions to several of Penelope's features, it was hard to pull my thoughts together to form a solid impression.  In the end, I think that Penelope's face, despite having some blank moments, is her best feature.  Her eyes are mesmerizing and realistically painted, and her unusual mouth can come across as both haughty and vulnerable.  This new head mold offers something quite different to the Tonner fashion doll lineup.  Penelope's shapely, articulated body is easily her second best feature.  Little frustrations aside, she can strike some gorgeous, expressive poses.  I would say that Penelope's outfit and hair are her least impressive qualities.  I guess I am just not that excited about the outfit's pieces or its color palette--with the exception of the blue jacket and the brown zippered shoes.  The hair feels great and is comparable to other rooted Tonner doll hair I've seen, but the side-parted style reveals too many unattractive hair plugs.  

The most telling bottom line, I suppose, is that owning Penelope has significantly increased my lurking at the Tonner site.  I've been back at least six times since I started this review to covet the expensive "La Vie de Versailles" Anne De Légere doll.  She seems to share Penelope's best features while replacing the mundane Around Town outfit with a gorgeous French ball gown.  She also has an elaborate hairstyle to conceal any rooting deficiencies.  I think that this face mold takes on a wonderfully romantic quality when it is mixed with the historical details of Anne's 17th century character.  I like Penelope enough that I wish I had spent more money and gotten my favorite Déjà Vu doll from the start.  At these prices, it doesn't make sense to settle for features that you don't absolutely adore.


  1. Hi! Penelope is a lovely doll, she has such great eyes, very lively. I looked up the "La Vie de Versailles" doll, wow, she is so beautiful! And that dress!!! I understand why you like her so much :-).

    1. Thank you, Nymphaea! Isn't La Vie gorgeous? I don't know where I would keep her with that huge dress, though! ;)

  2. I really look forward to reading your reviews and learning about the various dolls you own. There are so many amazing dolls available that I was wondering how you decide what dolls to purchase? And where do you keep them all!?

    1. Two excellent questions! The simple answer is that I just react to dolls that I find beautiful, popular or thought-provoking. I try to visit the local stores regularly to see what's new, but I also have a handful of doll companies that I track online (Tonner, American Girl, My Twinn, Integrity, Disney, etc.). Most of the time, I am buying a doll that I am interested in personally. This causes big trouble in terms of storage, though, because I want to display most of the dolls I review, but I don't really have a place for all of them (small house). Right now I am working on weeding out my Cinderella collection (it takes up three shelves!) so that I can have room for some of the newer dolls I have fallen in love with through the blog. Eventually, I'll have to get my eBay store up and running, or I'll be in big trouble! ;D

  3. She's so pretty! I think she strongly resembles Scarlett Johansson. Thank you for another fabulous review. I look forward to every post. :)

    1. Oh, wow, Steph--you're right! How did I not see that? There are a lot of similarities. I have always thought that Scarlett was stunning, so the connection makes me like Penelope even more! Thank you for pointing this out. :)

  4. The doll has a nice face and shape, but I do not like her shirt or pants. >< I think it's because the shirt reminds me of elementary school with the swirly and flowery designs. She is a pretty doll, though, and she looks smashing in more mature fashions like the black dress. Them again, they say none can go wrong with a LBD. xD

    1. I agree, Rebekah! I have seen pants like Penelope's at our local Gap store (in the same color palette) so I know people enjoy wearing them, and they're trendy (at least for Maine) but the color and the style don't do anything for me, personally. I am much more of a LBD person. :) I definitely need to find Penelope a new outfit!

  5. I love seeing all the details on this doll - it's a shame about the limitations of the knee joints, but she is lovely overall. And the similarities between her hands and the Monster High hands are such an interesting thing to see! Thanks for that!

    1. Isn't the Monster High hand thing funny? It's neat evidence of the crossover between the collector doll world and the play doll world. I think a lot of adult collectors are into play dolls these days...maybe Robert Tonner collects Monster High? ;D

  6. Hello Emily!

    I did not care for her face in particular, but I love her clothes. The bright prints and colors- sigh, I wish colors could be the new black again.

    But on a new note, I discovered a Novi Stars Sila Clops marked down a couple of dollars, so I bought her for her unique glittery skin and of course, her one eye. In your Ali Letric review, you mentioned that Alie's clothes were "teen steampunk monster fashion :)". Silas clothes are distinctly alien, with a space-age silver balloon dress. Best of all, she is wigged! I have had fun buying wigs for her, she has now ended up in a white one.

    Best wishes,
    P.S My blogger is STILL broken, so I will just have to resign to commenting as Anonymous.

    1. Hi Karen! It's neat to hear your different reaction to Penelope and her outfit. I guess that's another great thing about the Deja Vu line--there's such diversity in the style of the outfits, some people will love the bright colors, and others (like me) will be pining for that dark grey dress! ;)

      My son was just in New York and when he came back one of his first comments was, "I was the only one there wearing a color. Everyone wears black!" So true!

      I have noticed the Novi Stars on some excellent sales--glad you found one and that you're having so much fun with her! I have to admit that I grabbed a clearance Novi Star a while back (also wigged), and have been waiting to get her out and see if she's an improvement on Alie. Now I feel optimistic! What size wigs do you buy?

    2. There was a woman on eBay who MADE wigs for novi stars- but alas, I haven't seen her listings for a while :(. I'm not very good with wig sizes, but I would suspect a 8-9 Monique would fit.


  7. Hi, great review! I always enjoy spending time at your site.
    Deja Vu didn't capture my interest when she first launched but she started to grow on me. I bought the Emma Jean basic when she came out and the accompanying 20s era outfit. I liked her so much I altered my doll plans drastically for the year so I could buy the entire Age of Enlightenment collection (with some help from Christmas money but OUCH! My wallet is still sobbing). If I had to choose absolute favorites from the line, the Anne De Leger girls win. I agree that the soft facial screening paired with the Rococo gowns is a beautiful combination and really works with her sculpt. I recently acquired this version of Penelope. I personally love the blue/green color combo of the outfit and the tank top and I'm happy with the overall quality. However, that has varied with the dolls I have received. The 'Dancing the Night Away' dress is pretty but the gold lace overlay is very stiff. The $99 price tag seems darned steep to me. The 'Ma Petite Rose' outfit is better and actually quite beautiful IMO but the snaps on the sleeves won't close. Not a deal breaker but for what it cost, that shouldn't happen. If I have one overall grumble with the line it's the cost. Deja Vu in all her guises is super expensive. But so are a lot of doll lines these days. The Monster High influence is absolutely there but she certainly has her own thing going too. I find her face sculpt quirky and beautiful and I love her body. I'm looking forward to the next round. I hope to see more boxed outfits!

    1. Oh, it's fantastic to get this perspective! I was torn between getting the basic Anne doll and the pink dress or getting La Vie, and then I just gave up and ordered Penelope! I feel bad when I blog about a doll that was not my first choice because it doesn't give the line its best chance at a great review. But oh, man, I agree about the prices. It's staggering to me that a 16" vinyl doll would cost over $200...but you're absolutely right that it's not uncommon these days. Some of the Tonner dresses I've seen would be totally worth that price, but others take a lot of shortcuts in fabrics and construction, so without seeing the dresses in person, I am nervous about plunking down SO much money. Since you have them both, may I ask which dress you prefer--Ma Petite Rose or the Versailles dress?

      Thank you so much for describing your experiences with this fascinating line--your thoughts are extremely helpful for me, personally, and I'm sure they will help others, too. :)

  8. Wow, Penelope is quite the stunner! I'm not quite in love with her face (to me the lowered eyelids make her look bored), but she looks glamorous in the yellow and black dresses, and those shoes are really something. Sorry to hear about the bad leg joint, though - will you return her and get "La Vie de Versailles"?

    1. Hi, N! Great observation about the lowered eyelids! I hadn't noticed exactly what it was that gives her that slightly bored expression. I won't return Penelope since I've already played around with her a lot, but I am definitely still tempted by the Anne De Legere dolls. Not sure I can manage that price right now, but I keep finding myself back at the site looking at those close-ups...sigh. What a beauty!

  9. I can't say that I'm a fan of Penelope's face, although she does look like she's recently been bonked on the head with that unfocused, mouth-breather expression she's got going on. Maybe it's intentional, considering her backstory?

    How disappointing that her knee joints and upper thighs seem to be so fragile, though!

    1. LOL! That's awesome, Presto. Now I've had my morning giggle and am ready to face the day. :D Poor Penelope....

  10. Hey Emily cool doll. Have you gottren a Tullabelle yet? they look very nice in their promo pictures. Awesome review. ( Not a surprise )

    1. Hi Jessie, I've actually had Tulabelle for quite a while, but have only briefly opened her box to peek at her face. I have to say, I was not thrilled with her expression at first glance. I need to decide whether to review her or sell her! She could be one of those dolls that needs to be de-boxed and posed a little bit before she comes into her own, but the face was not very encouraging to me. :/

  11. I agree with Steph, Penelope looks so much like Scarlett Johansson, that's all I can see when I look at her. Anyway, she is very pretty. I will have to go check out the Tonner website to see her other versions.

    1. Yep--I'm with you! Now that I've seen the resemblance, I can't "un-see" it! Not a bad person to look like, though! Have fun over at the Tonner site, I'm trying my best to stay away.... ;)

  12. Wow! She is really pretty. I love how you mixed and matched the clothes at the end in the final photo shoot. That jacket is a great accessory. I'm thinking the pink pj top with the jeans and the jacket...
    The wristband...does it help if you think of it as her boyfriend's?

  13. Did you know your last Deja Vu link takes you to a pair of Chinese Laundry booties at Macy'

  14. I bought the Roaring 20's Collection during one on their sales. It was still kinda of expensive but... I wanted the red head and dress and my husband preferred the blond, so he convinced me the collection was the better deal. She really is a lovely doll. I adore basic red. She has the perfect expression and both her nightie and the dress are really cute and detailed. A Slight Chill is also very nice although her blue dress is very loose and her worried expression makes me wonder what happened to her. It's kind of sad knowing she'll never be comforted.

  15. She is so beautiful! I have to agree. Her face has to be her best feature!

  16. I also want to say I really enjoy your reviews. I never suspected she'd fit so many clothes. Yours has a very pretty face and that blond hair is gorgeous.

  17. Great review! While I'm astounded at a doll in this price bracket already cracking in seams from your minimal posing - especially in comparison to monster high - I do like the doll herself and would buy her if I collected in this price range. The story herself really intrigues me - I wish it was a book as well because I'd be ALL over buying it.

  18. I went to Wilde imagination 's website and I found new versions of Evangeline which looks very beautiful too!

  19. The Versailles doll is gorgeous! Shouldn't you be able to return this one for store credit, and get the other? Especially with the tight knees, I think there is a chance. You do like blondes though? It's a tough choice...
    I love the new body in spite of the shortcomings. The fanned hands are my least favourite thing to be copied from MH, but the rest is very nice. This is the kind of body I'd look for if I ever found myself in this price range.

  20. (First off, please do ignore my name on here, I set this up in high school and have yet to figure out how to change it) I actually was drawn into buying the Age of Enlightenment set which includes Vie de Versailles because of my love of her face sculpt and my absolute adoration of rococo fashion. Her dress actually has a really beautiful blue sheen to it that you cant see in the promo photos and I adore it;s cut, but as a word of warning, the flower and rose hair piece she is wearing is not removable, which does prevent outfit swapping a bit, also, if you do decided to let go of some of your Cinderellas keep me in mind as I adore her as well but have yet to be able to find the ones I like since I came into colecting late in the game, in fact I'm working on a custom Fashion Royalty Cinderella right now XP

  21. Lovely post, thanks for sharing!

  22. Thank you so much for reviewing this doll! I've been waiting to see if you would review her, I love your reviews! And I haven't really found real reviews for this line. When Tonner first announced the dolls, I did not like the sketches they are based on, but once I saw the Rococo ones I fell in love! I really wish I could afford at least one of the 18th century dolls, but as a student I really can't justify spending that much right now! And I keep waiting for their sales and they always exclude the Deja Vu line! :/ I eventually want one of these dolls but not now. At least I can live with the fact that we're doing 18th century at school so I'll have my own Court Gown to admire!

  23. Hi. Love your review again. I have first doll in this line My DejaVu. And i love her. When I got her first thing was I noticed her Monster High hands. And I was shocked she cant touch her face. It was very disapointing. I was thinking about clothes. Would she wear clothes from those Tonner play line dolls - City girl? Thank you. Marie

  24. I absolutely fell in love with the very first promo pictures of the new Deja-Vu body (, and when the actual doll listings came out I bought the basic Emma Jean redhead. Unfortunately, I feel like the real doll doesn't quite have the charm of the original pictures because her eyelids are so lowered; it's bored/sultry rather than wistful. I want to love her, but right now she's still boxed up after my recent move.

    I am excited to see what else will come from this line when the book is released. Maybe some of the love interests? Tonner doesn't have enough good male dolls.

  25. Before i clicked the link to this blog, i saw the picture and i thought this doll is Natalie Dormer of Games of Thrones.... Do you see the similarity in the first photo? Amazing!

  26. I am torn between purchasing the dark haired flapper or an Evangeline. Any input?

    1. Tough choice. I have seen collectors' pics of the brunette flapper and she's gorgeous:

      I had an Evangeline and gave her I think that the Deja Vu girl would be my personal pick! :)

    2. Thank you Emily. My Flapper is on her way. Any reason Evangeline found a new home? Just curious.

  27. Thank you so much for your review...

    I've only ever been a low budget collector and some years ago I got into Gene dolls (thought that was extravagant) and then packed it all away and never looked back. Recently, I unpacked the dolls and started selling them on ebay. As I looked around for value/prices I kept seeing this new creature Emma Jean, the flapper. The more I saw her the more I liked her and I've been searching the internet for a good detailed review... and finally found you! Today, all my curiosity and wanting accumulated into my purchasing the flapper set... yes, two dolls and those exquisite outfits... most expensive doll purchase I've ever made in one sitting... and, my lust for this doll didn't stop there, oh, no... I had to buy clothes and shoes and wigs and I haven't even gotten the doll yet! I'm truly head over heels about this doll.

    Thank you for the detail and great photography and the info about her size and ability to share clothing. I've justified my extravagance with the money I've made selling off all the old dolls and their stuff... some I wish I hadn't been so quick to sell.

    I love this doll's face and her articulated body. And, yes, I can see a slight bored look to her which I think is all the more appropriate for the flapper... she's so cool and aloof... the flappers were adamant about being considered new women, modern independent women, rebellious and smart and all about breaking the status quo for women of their day... now, that's my kinda girl.

    Hope you don't mind if I come back and let you know how my unveiling goes in a few days? I'm old now and I doubt I'll ever have this opportunity to splurge again, nor, have I ever been so smitten by a doll... well, not since Betsy McCall when she first came out a life time ago... that, and, I have no one to share my joy. Glorious day and you really helped me make up my mind; very much appreciated.

    Grandma ~ still plays with dolls!

    1. How wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing your story. It truly makes my day (my week!) to hear that a review has helped someone find the right doll. The more I look at the Deja Vu dolls, the more I think Emma Jean is the best of the bunch. I liked Versailles best at first, but now if I bought another one, I think it'd be Emma Jean. She's truly special and I hope you love her in person! She does have a fantastic, rebellious personality.

      I very much hope you'll come back and share the unveiling! In fact, if you email me pictures, maybe I can make a short post to share with everyone? Your first impressions could help others take a similar plunge with confidence. The dolls aren't cheap and it is so hard to make a good decision--often with just promotional pictures available.

      It is SO fun to be waiting for a new doll. I am excited for you! New dolls and cake still make me unreasonably happy. :) Thank you again for this lovely comment--can't wait to see your update!

    2. Thank you, Emily... how sweet of you to indulge me... I should get the set tomorrow... yes, I even paid for expedited shipping! I'm beside myself with anticipation!

      I am partial to the 1910-1928 era; I do genealogy and my favorite family members were in their prime during this period. I found a great deal on Ashton Drake's 16" Titanic Rose's outfits on ebay and between the flapper outfits and the 1912 time period of the Titanic, these girls will represent those women. Hopefully, I'll get the clothes soon and will be able to share pictures of them in costume.

      Emma Jean is a wigged doll and although, Tonner is adamant about not trying to remove their wigs I'm going to give it a try on one of the dolls. Do you have any suggestions on how this works?

      I promise not to bombard you with my pictures or story, however, it's very satisfying to have someone to share with... need to get my giddy self into laundry mode for now!

    3. Oh, and I have the same reaction to cake... and dolls...

    4. Correction: not Ashton Drake... Franklin Mint. I understand they use Tonner's Tyler body, regardless they fit on Tyler via pictures sent by the seller... I might have to tailor them a bit for Emma Jean!

    5. They're here!! Oh, my, I can't even begin to tell you how much I love, love, love these dolls!! They are stunning! Felt just like Christmas to a 5 year old! I was tentative about opening the boxes, lest, I hurry this moment of glee and anticipation… my delight in seeing them met all my expectations! Awww... it's what I call a hug-the-tinsel kind of moment, words just fail me.

      I wasn't sure about getting into 16" dolls again, as the Gene dolls always seemed so big... albeit, my Gene dolls were the stiff original bodies that were unable to pose much beyond standing. These girls have a small frame and look delicate. Tonner is, by far, my favorite designer because of his face sculpt, coloring and attention to detail.

      They both seem to have a full head of hair, the red head has a longer bob than the blonde, neither have bald spots immediately visible although, their hair around their face is stiff with setting gel... both have dark heavy eye make-up with perfect lashes, the red haired one has lovely green eyes and dark fuchsia lips and the blonde has blue eyes with red lips. The blonde came with hands wrapped in plastic, plastic around her body to protect her from clothing stains and foam to protect from ribbon marks. The red haired one did not have any protective coverings other than the hair net, which they both have.

      As I look at them, there is something kinda cartoon-ish about their proportions, they are very stylized dolls with their long thin necks but, I think that's what I love the most about them. These dolls are in line with the demand of the newer big eyed and big head dolls coupled with delicate body features yet, understated enough to appeal to those of us that are looking for a more realistic looking fashion doll... or should I say alter ego!

      The real fun for me will be when I get to dress them in some of the other outfits/wigs I have on order. I am absolutely thrilled and have no regrets; these girls are perfect and seem full of personality and spunky attitude! The clothing is typical Tonner with lots of detail and nice fabric choices, although, I wish the dresses were a tad longer in length. Well, I need to go play with my new dolls… I’ve named them Elizabeth and Matilda after my ancestors… last thoughts -- you know, with bigger eyes these girls would look like Twiggy, whom I adored in the 60's...

      Happy, happy, Grandma!

  28. I have Emma jean basic and them their faces and most of all I love the hands because they will be able to wear rings. I do wish Tonner would make more dolls with acrylic eyes. Ever since Monica Merrill was issued and Ellowyne and Evangeline with the acrylic eyes, the painted eyes seems dull. I like that they can be posed in so many ways, but really do they have to be able to do every pose? I loved your review and wish more were as detailed as you. You've hit just about every detail of this doll. I look forward to reading more of your reviews libertybelle

  29. OMG! I love Penelope! The only trouble is that she is way out of my price range. She is so pretty, and I think her story is so cool.

  30. Thanks for all the pictures and detailed review. I finally caved and ordered Penelope when I not only got her on sale, but was able to add one of my Willy Wonka tickets with 10%, free ship and no exclusions so Deja Vu line is included. I have all of the Emma and Anne dolls and clothes from the 2013 line. Just two little corrections. Anne's time before she meets her tragic end is about 1780-85, based on the first outfit "My Afternoon Stroll" which puts her smack dab during the reign of Louis XVI. All those French kings named Louis, one after the other. The formal court gowns are dated a little earlier--the French and English court gowns style changed little in cut over a fairly long period of time as just the materials and trims changed. I'm longing for a medieval, Tudor, or Elizabethan doll in the Lily skin tone for the Tonner and Modern Doll conventions, but fear we are going to be offered "Judy, Judy, Judy.' unless Tonner offers two new characters in the Deja Vu line this year.

  31. Thanks for the great review! You have shown me how beautiful and versatile this doll really is. Thank you!

  32. Hello.I saw the promo pics for these and loved them.Then I saw your pics and the link to your blog and this review.Thank you so much for all the info,it really helped me to decide and I just got both Penelope "Around Town" and "Production Assistant".I really love them! I have other Tonners as well,but I think Penelope is so unique.Her face is just so endearing and sweet.Most of my collection is from IT,but i'm starting to lean more towards Tonner as I feel the quality control is slipping with IT.I've just had too many issues with many of the dolls.I was wondering if there are any other blogs just for Tonner,it would be nice to be able to share.Anyway,thank you again for the all the great pics and the review!

  33. I think she does look like a cross between a Monster High doll and a Dollmore Zinna doll!

  34. Did they forget about the show Punky Brewster? Her name is Penelope Brewster. I love that show!