Monday, January 23, 2012


His Lordship, "Beau Monde"
This porcelain doll was given to me many years ago and is one of my prized possessions.  The unusually-costumed gentleman, (yes, it is a gentleman), dressed in quasi-Renaissance attire, represents an elegant ensemble consisting of  pink-striped, Damask doublet; trimmed in ecru lace, ribbon-roses and paste jewels for Afternoon.  Note the matching, be-jeweled codpiece, a convenient hide-away for handkerchiefs and loose accessories.

The doll stands about six inches tall and is made completely from porcelain, clothing and all.  The lace was fashioned from 'real' lace dipped into a thin, clay slip.  When fired in the kiln, the real lace burned away, leaving the dainty trimming you see here.

Best of all, (and Nerd Alert)! the doll is a mini-me!  I wore the exact same ensemble when I played the role of the King and Queen's Royal Fashion Consultant at a Renaissance Festival! 

Guess I'd best explain:

Ages ago, one of my first design jobs was as the set designer for the local Renaissance Fair.  It was one of the weirdest jobs I had in a long-line of bat-crazy, coo-coo jobs I have endured over the years!  But that's another story.  I swear I am going to write a book about it someday.  A scathing tell-all that will no doubt ascend the New York Times Best-Seller List. Anyway, once the show was underway I got some friends together and we all made costumes and were known as 'the Fops,' and basically we strolled around in frou-fy outfits, half-drunk on ye-olde mead, posed for photographs, presented impromptu fashion shows and basically made fun of customers clothes all day.  And if you have ever been to a Renaissance Fair, believe you-me,  there is a lot and I mean a lot to make fun of!
"Mirror, mirror in my hand, who's the fairest in the land?"

Of course we were a huge sensation!  The crowds adored us. Absolutely lapped us up. The set designer job turned out to be a big bust but we continued performing as the Fops for years.  The group expanded and we even had footmen in gorgeous, matching livery and every year I designed a whole new, fabulous wardrobe for all!  People used to come just to see what the Fops were wearing that Season!  There was always a new design theme and color-story, usually based on what was going on in fashion in the present day.  For example, the year I debuted the pink ensemble the doll is wearing, one of my favorite designers, Christian Lacroix, was showing hooped miniskirts on the runway.

I used to have steamer trunks bursting with my old costumes down in the cellar, but sadly, a lot of them mildewed and had to be tossed.  You wouldn't believe what happens to silver brocade when a wine spill is left on it for a few years.  It's def not pretty.

The woman who made the doll had a shop at the Fair and you can imagine how flattered I was that she would immortalize little-ol' me in high-fired porcelain!  (There was also a taxidermist, who named a stuffed peacock after me, ha, ha)!  The doll was terribly expensive and thank god my fellow co-stars pitched in and purchased it for me, or I daresay it would never adorn my bedroom mantle as it does today.  

It is a rather good likeness, except for the bum!  Even the artist who made it confessed that it did in no way compare to the real-life, god-given work of art!

At just over six inches tall, the doll almost works in a dollhouse.  (except the base). Maybe I will have to make him a suitable palace setting to live in!

Well,  aghast Reader, at the end of the week Glen and I are heading to Hawaii for some fun and some sun!  And I have yet to make any preparations for the excursion! So I won't be around much for a while but promise to catch up with everyone when I get back, hopefully without too-terrible a sun-burn.  Hope you enjoyed my sad little trip down Memory Lane...

Aloha! and Huzzah!


Pedrete said...[Reply]

That unique doll, John! Can't say whether I like or not because it is a bit strange, especially her ass... lol! Pass it well! A big hug!

Sionchi said...[Reply]

Si, verdaderamente es una joya. Es preciosa la porcelana Besos

Fi.P said...[Reply]

Hello Darling!!

What divine porcelain doll. You must have looked fabulous!! I can just imagine you stealing the show. No wonder she made a doll of you, what an honour!!

I however would like to see an actual photo of you in the costume. I think its a must and I'm sure all would agree!!!

Have a wonderful time in Hawaii, and make sure you do nothing other than put your feet up and sip cocktails. Happy Holidays to Glen too.

Much love Fi xx

Simon said...[Reply]

I'm with Fi, show us a pic...
I'm all for flamboyant but that takes the biscuit my friend! Have a great holiday Both, have a cocktail for me.
Si -x-

Troy said...[Reply]

I'm in agreement - Post of picture!

Anonymous said...[Reply]

Your house is getting more and more awesome.
Enjoyed reading your post and agree with Fi too :)
Glad you appear to be recovered and hope you'll have a fantastic time in Hawaii!
Don't enjoy it so much you refuse to come back home though, we want to read more!

John said...[Reply]

I feel like I'm in New Orleans during Mardi Gras: "Show us a pic! Show us a pic!" At least in New Orleans they throw you a few beads for your trouble.

Most of the photographs that exist of us are of the 'ye-olde' paper variety. Every 'Fop Reunion' someone declares they are going to scan the hundreds of photos and make a fab website of us --but it NEV-AH happens...I'd do it myself if I had the equipment and expertise...

Giac said...[Reply]

Hi John,
What a wonderful piece. The detail is wonderful!
I'm sure we'd all be willing to get together and send you some beads in exchange for a picture!Have a great trip John, I hope it makes up for the less then perfect start to the new year. Me best to Glen.

Andy said...[Reply]

Hello John,

Well, I must say this is certainly an eye-opener, a beautiful doll, and even better for being based on a life model! I think it is probably for the best that these outfits didn't catch on in high fashion, not sure I'd look quite so good in a pink be-jewelled cod-piece trimmed with lace, but you, well it looks good; especially with the hooped mini skirts - work it!!!

Enjoy the holiday!

Andy xx

John said...[Reply]

Thanks, Giac! I'm like you --not much of a beach person-- but we're visiting an old friend of mine that we haven't seen in a long time so that will be cool.

Beads aren't being tossed, but they sure are being READ! lol!

Hi Andy! Two words: Gareth Pugh.

Daydreamer said...[Reply]

John, What an AMAZING Costume! And Statue! And STORY! Your OWN Statuette! What an Honor! (Almost better than an Oscar..!:) Maybe you should call it the Fopscar! LOL!)
I agree with the others.... but Understand why there are no real pictures...!
ENJOY your Break in Hawaii!

John said...[Reply]

Fopscar! LOVE!

Andy said...[Reply]

LOL! I only wear inflatable plastic and feathers on Tuesdays!!

Giac said...[Reply]

Hi John,
I hope I didn't miss you, just wanted to wish you and Glen a wonderful vacation.
Have fun!

John said...[Reply]

Thanks, Giac! :) We're leaving in just a few minutes! YAY! I will def chat with you and 'the gang' when we get back...Aloha!

Jeri Elsner said...[Reply]

OMG, John, that is too perfect! Ha. Does that ever bring back memories of your time at the Renaissance Fair. All those costumes you hand-sewed! Each one more brilliant than the last.

Hope you are enjoying Hawaii, and don't forget the sunscreen, my are most fair-skinned!