Gene Reviews

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This is the place to read first-hand reports about  Ashton-Drake's beautiful fashion doll, Gene.



Example Image  Meet Madra Lord
      Look out, Gene! There's a new girl in town! -- March 10, 2000

Example Image  Heart of Hollywood
      The designer describes his creation! Vince Nowell-- March 15, 2000  * New!

Example Image  Meet Me in Paris
      Vince describes his Paris convention fashion. Vince Nowell -- March 15, 2000  * New!

Example Image  Twilight Rumba
      Nance Walker & Kathryn Darden review the year 2000 FAO doll -- March 17, 2000  * New!


Example Image  On the Veranda: Two Reviews
      Chevy and Cheryl share a similar point of view -- November 17, 1999

Example Image  Picnic in the Country/Picnic Set: Two Reviews
      Kathryn & Elaine go country, with a little help from Elaine's husband-- November 20, 1999


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Example Image DAISY & WILLOW

Example Image BRENDA STARR


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Ashton-Drake is releasing a new character doll to step into Gene’s world, the infamous Madra Lord. Combining “Beauty, Talent and Temper,” Madra, although slightly taller than Gene, is the same scale, so their outfits will be interchangeable. However, there the similarities cease. Gene is sweet and innocent; Madra is bold and brassy, with just a hint of evil in her nature. If you don’t believe me, read the names of her costumes! Madra is a 15 3/4" doll inspired by the more flamboyant and temperamental divas of Hollywood’s golden age. To further pique collectors interest, Madra comes with bend knees and elbows, another first for the Gene collection, as well as her own provocative storyline. 

Madra's "story" is of a hard working, self-assured woman who knew what she wanted from an early age - stardom - and she wasn't afraid to do whatever it took to get to the top. Growing up in Milwaukee during WWI, Mabel Lorkovic left the west coast of Lake Michigan for the West Coast, and somewhere between the pines of Wisconsin and the palms of California, Madra Lord was born. Once she hit Hollywood, she slowly worked her way to the top, using her beauty, brains, talent - and guts. Madra Lord reigned as one of the undisputed stars of Hollywood, consistently pleasing fans with her dynamic performances and giving directors ulcers with her volatile temper. But no one could disagree that Madra had what it took and was every inch a star. Who could blame her if Gene's sudden skyrocket to success left Madra green with envy - almost as green as her famous, flashing eyes. 

The premiere Madra collection includes "First Encounter," a costumed doll wearing a sumptuous full-length white "mink" coat over a dramatic ball gown; six couture outfits - and a pair of beautifully sculpted white porcelain Saluki dogs (Madra would never own REAL dogs - they shed!). There will also be one limited-edition costumed Madra doll called “Black Widow” with an issue of 2,500 and one limited-edition costume produced, “Highland Fling”, limited to an issue of 3,500. Other ensembles which are not limited included:  Heartless, Catwalk, Devil May Care, So Evil My Love, and Pink with Envy which was reportedly one of Mel's favorite dolls at the 1999 Gene convention competition. Intricate details, from lavish handbeading, fully lined dresses, right down to the seams on the back of her sheer stockings, all add to Madra's appeal. 

Heart of Hollywood
by  Vince Nowell

"Heart of Hollywood" started with a photo that was sent of what I am assuming was a Dior gown from the 50's.  I say Dior because it really struck me as his style.  The photo only showed the back view of the dress, so I had to really visualize the front in my own mind.  The original photo was a black and white, and it appeared the dress was white with black polka dots.  I sent several samples of fabric, and there for a bit it was looking like it was going to be pale yellow with gold dots.  But then the teal with black velvet polka dots was found, so it was decided to go with that.  I envisioned the gown to have a drape at the bosom with a small bow in the center that would echo the bow at the bustle in the back.  Then I added the apron drape in the front which pulls to the back in the bustle.  A large bow with streamers fall from the center of the bustle.  The under skirt has box pleats and is full skirted.  The dress is lined in pale pink, and there is a matching pale pink net slip underneath.  Now came the crowning touch.  This was originally planned to be just an evening gown, but then Joan Greene suggested adding an opera coat.  So the opera coat was created of black faille taffeta, with black satin lapels.  My original vision of the coat had three quarter puff sleeves, but it was decided to have turn back cuffs to show the dotted fabric, which is used to line the coat.  Finally the coat is split up the back to allow the bow and streamers to peek through.  I personally suggested I would like the haircolor to be the same as "Destiny" (my personal fave of all of Gene's haircolors), and was very pleased to see that suggestion was listened to.

Meet Me in Paris
by  Vince Nowell

"Meet Me in Paris" was originally planned as an outfit for the regular Gene collection.  I was notified in mid 1999 that it had been selected to be the Paris Festival doll!  Boy was I thrilled!!  It originally started out in the magenta dupioni silk you see, but the accents were black with white polka dots.  It was suggested to me to change the accent to a cream color, and this lovely ribbed silk was found.  Also originally, the jacket was closed only to the waist and then flared out.  We closed the jacket all the way down to form the peplum effect you see now. Everything else on the design is exact to the prototype with the exception of the hat and handbag. My design was a wide brimmed saucer hat with a large cream bow on top, and a geometric shaped cream handbag.  When I was shown the quality control sample in October, I noticed that the hat and handbag had been changed to a very chic straw style.  Joan Greene explained to me that the lady running the Festival really wanted to contribute something to the doll, and she made these beautiful hats and handbags.  Instantly in my mind I knew it was Kathy Moreau and her daughter Laurence Harding, known as Kaem and LauraLee.  I had see their designs in "Barbie Bazaar" magazine, and marvelled at how they made such lovely miniature accessories out of straw braid.  I think these two talented ladies added a touch of class to my design! The finishing touch was a customized hatbox with the Eiffel Tower on the front.

I cannot begin to tell everyone how proud I am of these two designs, and am thrilled with all of the positive feedback I am getting from the collectors! I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

Twilight Rumba
I think Twilight Rumba is beautiful, and especially her clothes, which I think is the best thing that Ashton Drake does.  The irridescent beading is exquisite, and the costume fits the body well. lavender color of this outfit really complements the bright red hair of this Gene.  Her hair is really red, and is a pretty set, except that I tend to like my Gene's with softer hair, so I will do something to fluff up her curls to make them look more like the picture, rather than having the glued on spray netted feeling.   The silver shoes with the cross-the-toes straps and matching ankle strap fit the outfit.  All in all, I am really pleased with this doll.
Twilight Rumba made her grand entrance at the FAO event in Feruary at the swanky Fifth Avenue store. When I first saw the photos of the competition doll that inspired this outfit, I was not enthused, but when I went to the Gene event at the Landmark, I got my first look at te finished product. There she was, a vibrant red head with a sexy attitude. From the intricate twisted coiffe with its HHH curls  that graced her head to the dainty silver strappy shoes that adorned her feet, Twilight Rumba was a portrait of elegant detail. Designed by Doug James in a dazzling lavender sarong, open on the side to allow freedom on the dance floor. Both the sarong and its matching crop top feature an intricate pattern of lavender, white, gold and crystal beads and lavender sequins that cascade down the front of the sarong from the flower cluster at the waist all the way to the hem. The top is similarly beaded. The delectable outfit features Gene’s first hair comb, a floral pattern that matches the flower cluster at the sarong’s waist. The overall effect is stunning and every detail works to make this a terrific doll and outfit.

On the Veranda

I love On the Veranda.  I've had it on CdC and Inc and it is fab on both of them.  The color is a blush peach, not at all orangy.  Almost the color of the WH slip. The outer layer is that crystalline organza stuff and I think it would look
great next to SSum, as they have the same shape skirt, sheer over solid.


On the Veranda: have it, LOVE it!  It's on my matte-lipped Red Venus and she looks great!  I think this outfit belongs on a redhead as opposed to a blonde.

Picnic Set


I got the outfit and the little basket at Anne's -- LOVE THEM! It is an absolutely adorable set with the cutest little  accessories ever. I usually like the ball gowns and formals, but this set is possibly my favorite yet. The shoes are a little hard to fasten, but they are so cute and NO RIBBONS! The little bracelet with the tiny cherries matches the pin and the trim on the little hat -- very, very cute. Of course it comes with a picnic basket which contains tiny flatware, four plates which look like bone china, and four exquisite linen napkins. The red gingham lining the basket matches the red gingham trim of Gene's outfit.  I give this one an A+


I like the picnic set a lot myself.  I LOVE the basket, and while the outfit is not my fave, it is cute.  Wes, however, hates it.  He says it is not Gene as "nobody will commit a crime around someone dressed like that."  But keep in mind that Wes has a very specific idea of who Gene is (Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep or To Have and Have Not), and the picnic set is not "bad" enough for his Gene.  He also dislikes my other new purchase, Sea Spree, (his Gene would never be in a tap-dance movie) but admits that the details of the outfit are impressive.  And, while he likes the storyline behind Usherette, he hates the color.  So, there are my husband's reviews...always amusing, if nothing else.


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