The BLs are the first Blythe dolls made after the Kenners. Do you know the true story?
Photo: Rockymountainroz. The “Rockymountain” BL family!
In December 1999, at the opening of an exhibition for the CWC International artists in Soho, New York, Gina Garan showed her photos of Blythe to her agent Junko Wong. Junko loved these photos and decided to make a presentation to the Japanese department store chain Parco, suggesting that Blythe could act as a “model” for one of Parco’s innovative ad campaigns. In the summer of 2000, “This is Blythe” was published by Chronicle Books. Soon after, Junko and Gina realized a stop-motion-animation Christmas commercial for Parco’s TV commercials and print media. Gina’s husband, Asa Somers, who is an actor, came up with the idea of Blythe living inside a snow globe. The success of the 2000 Christmas commercial campaign was beyond the expectations. Blythe was reborn, in Japan first, and then everywhere else!
Christmas TV commercial for Parco in December 2000.
Parco started it all! In June 2001, the first of the Neo-Blythes – produced by CWC and manufactured by Takara – came on the market with the ‘BL” face mold. A photo exhibition by Gina Garan was organized to launch the Neo-Blythes debut and the Parco Limited Edition (1000 dolls) sold out in less than an hour. 9 different BL dolls have been released in 1 year before the new “EBL” mold appeared in June 2002 with Miss Anniversary Blythe, who celebrated the first year anniversary of the Neo-Blythes in Japan.
The 9 BLs in pictures:
Parco – June 2001 –BL-0 (Photo: Jo)
Mondrian – June 2001 – BL-1 (Photo: Tinycutethings)
Holly Wood – October 2001 – BL-2 (Photo: Beastiegirls)
Rosie Red – October 2001 – BL-3 (Photo: JodiC)
All Gold In One – December 2001 – BL-4 (Photo: Rockymountainroz)
Kozy Kape Inspired – December 2001 – BL-5 (Photo: Happibug)
Aztec Arrival Inspired – February 2002 – BL-6 (Photo: Mrs. Piggy)
Sunday Best – March 2002 – BL-7 (Photo: Emma)
Dottie Dot – March 2002 – BL (Photo: A Hobbit)
Did you know that different versions of Mondrian and Hollywood had been released to reach different markets?
– The 1st version of Mondrian is boggled and shiny and was sold in Japan.
Photo: Rockymountainroz. Mondrian, first version and Dottie Dot.
– The 2nd version is boggled and matte, that is why she is most rare and expansive.
Photo: Rockymountainroz. Matte Mondrian – Mattie.
Photo: Cybermelli. Matte Mondrian and Dottie Dot.
– The 3rd version is not boggled and shiny. She is also very similar to Dottie Dot, just with different clothes. So, once nude, it’s nearly impossible to tell them apart. Both second and third versions were distributed by FAO Schwartz in the U.S.
Photo: Emichen22. Mondrian – matte face, Mondrian – shiny face (Japan version), Dottie Dot, Mondrian – shiny face (U.S. version) and Parco.
To sum it up!
Photos and info in japanese here.
– The 1st version of Hollywood is the matte one (boggled, on a licca body and the best hair according to experts because she has more! Her side-glancing eyes have also a more extreme side glance.
Photo: Rockymountainroz. HollyWood, from Gina Garan’s collection.
– The 2nd version was sold in the U.S. at FAO Schwartz (thus called “FAO Hollywood”). She is still a BL, is shiny and comes on a licca body, but is not boggled. Her side-glancing eyes have less extreme side glance (similar to EBLs) and she has slightly less hair than the first version.
Photo: Chromatography. The “FAO” version.
– The 3rd version is technically an EBL. She is shiny, not boggled and comes on an “excellent” body (like a standard EBL body). There is a slight difference in the lip color of each one and only the matte version has the lines across the eyeballs. On the earlier BLs the mold line for the eyeball goes across the eye right at the pupil level, on later BLs and EBLs it is placed lower, under the chip.
Photo: Happibug. Un, deux, trois, quatre… HollyWood love!
Now, let’s talk to the BL collectors of our commmunity, who have the complete stock BL collection – or are quite close to – and were kind enough to share with Madeloiselle Blythe why they love these special Blythes so much!
Photo: Beelan75. The BLs playing like crazy!
Photos: Beelan75. The BLs minus Dottie, all wearing designs handmade by Beelan.
Photo: Beelan75. The BLs are ready for a road trip!
Beelan: “Initially I didn’t really like BL. I was more focused on collecting the EBL’s and SBL’s. Then I saw Rockymountainroz‘s shots of her Goldie and I started to love them. Moreover, my friend Jenn, aka Cloudz, was brainwashing me too! Pretty soon I was so in love with them. I love their especially big eyes which are so full of expression! My first BL was a Kozy. She was so expensive! And my last BL was Parco. I flew to Hong Kong to collect her! Heehee! Cos I was so scared that she might get lost in the mail. Silly me! Lastly there wasn’t much difficulty in collecting them, just a lot of saving and saving and forgoing other luxuries in life! Anything for Blythe! One day I would like to collect a matte Mondie. Or I might just sand my semi-matte one”!
Ana / BlytheCraudinha
Ana: “I Love BLS…. well i Love Blythes… now i have more than 150 blythes… Yep! I am crazy girl collector!
But The BLs has a magic that I can not explain very well perhaps because they are the resumption of Blythes. The BL model is a very photogenic one. I have a preference for dolls looking like girls. Licca bodies facilitate positions and the face lackluster also helps a lot for pictures. The resumption of the Neo Takara was a more elaborate doll with hair and it makes all the difference. Today’s releases seem to be all the same. My first Bl was Aztec. She was the one who caught my attention most and the last one was Parco, very expensive and rare”.
Melissa / Cybermelli
Photo: Cybermelli. “All 9 Takara BL releases, aka roughly $5000 sitting on the ground”.
Melissa: “The first BL for me was my Goldie “Emerson”! I got her used and nude in september of 2006 and it was instant love! She’s got such great saturated eye shadow and lip color! There’s something so special about the BL gaze. I love how you can uniquely position their eyes in any way and they will stay! I also love that crazy startled look they can do of course! My most recent BL is Dottie Dot with a thermal saran reroot by *jaszmade. She just arrived and her name is Atticus. I was able to get my Parco for about $500 — a fraction of the $1500 she usually goes for! I found a Yahoo Japan auction for a used Goldie, Hollywood and Parco. I had a Goldie and a Hollywood already and I wouldn’t have been able to afford the auction for all three girls. So, I quickly started looking for friends who might be interested in paying me, up front, so that I could place a nice high bid on this YJP auction for all 3 girls. In the end, I found someone to adopt both the Goldie and the HW. We placed a nice big bid of about $1500 for all three girls and won the auction for around $1100. We split the costs into approx $500 for Parco, 350 for Goldie and 250 for HW. That’s how I got a perfectly awesome Parco for $500. She was matted by her previous owner but she did come with her stock items”!
Photo: Emichen22. All the BLs including 3 Mondrians, 2 Rosie Reds and 2 Hollywoods.
Emilia: “I love BLs for their childlike look! Each BL has their own personality and the licca body makes them even more active. My first BL was my third Blythe, a Mondrian with shinny face (U.S.A. release), in 2006. I collected 3 versions and had 5 Mondrian girls at some time. I sold them out and have now only 3 of them. I only keep Mondrian with shinny face (Japan release). My last BL arrived is Dottie Dot in 2011. Actually I had her 2 times before, one in 2006 and one in 2007, but sold them both before getting her again. I got Parco at a good price in 2009 from a Japan Yahoo auction because the seller said she couldn’t change her eyes, but it works well now. I sold Mondrian (matte face) and Kozy Kape to a friend in 2007 but, fortunately, she sold them me back to me when I came back to Blythe World in 2009”.
Roz / Rockymountainroz
Photo: Rockymountainroz. The 2001 BLs: Parco, Mondie and Mattie, HollyWood with a Shershe saran reroot, Rosie Red, Goldie et Kozy.
Roz: “I love BLs because of their darling quirky expressions and boggled eyes! I also really love the matte BLs. BLs are the only mold to have boggled eyes and matte faces. I wish that more of the dollies had these two features. I love the BLs SO much, that I have three sets of twins….Goldies, Rosies and Hollywoods. If I could, I would have more Goldies and more Hollywoods! I got Rosie Red first, I think it was in June of 2006. I got all of my BLs in 2006, when I first started getting Blythes. I loved the BLs SO much, and I went after them as fast as I could! I think that was in the days when I was still buying with a credit card! My buying has slowed down considerably since I have stopped that! The last BL that I got to complete the BL family, I think was Sunday Best. However, the very last BL that I got was Gina Garan’s BL Hollywood in July this summer. The hardest BL to afford and to find was Parco! I got her from a favorite seller on ebay. Ally from Blythe Plus found her for me! DH helped me get her as an anniversary present. I was SO thrilled the day that she arrived! I really couldn’t believe that I was holding her in my hands. When I got my Goldie, I was so crazy about her that I started worrying what if something happened to her! LOL…and so I just had to go and get another Goldie! That is when my Melodie came home. The Goldies will always be so very special to me”!
Photo: Rockymountainroz. The 2002 BLs: Aztec, Sunday Best and Dottie Dot.
Photo: Rockymountainroz. The most famous Goldie twins!
Photo: Supernenek. All the BLs but Dottie: “I won’t get her because I prefer Mondie. They’re so similar and I prefer boggled eyes and matte face if possible (there’s no matte Dottie)”.
Ismael: “I love BLs because they are so expressive, nothing compared to other molds. I love their boggled eyes, matte faces, licca bodies… well, everything is perfect on them! I got my first one 5 years ago. She was Danteh Bennet, my Goldie and she will always be my favorite BL. The last one was Shampain Dunham, a matte Mondrian adopted out by TuSabesBlythe. I had a shinny face one but I let her go to get her. The easiest (and cheapiest) one was Danteh Bennet, my Goldie. I got her on Yahoo! Japan auctions with the help of Natsuko. On the other hand, I needed 4 years to get Parco and a matte Mondrian. A curiosity: I had 2 SB before the last one and 3 Mondies before the one I have”.
Thank you SO very much, everyone, for your time, pictures and stories! A special thanks to Emilia, Beelan and Roz for taking new photos especially for this post and another special thanks to Emilia and Lynne for their research and helping me with writing this post!
Photo: Happibug. Goldie.
Photo: Happibug. Mondrian.
BLs are beautiful… I raise my glass to them!