Mily, Jacky, Baby...
JackyBaby and Milly in their boxes, all ready to be dressed up!
The popular French singer Sheila definiteness looks like she's on speed mode.
These photographs with a fashion magazine touch were taken by BillyBoy* in the early 90s.
"Regent Street" and "Tweed"
"Jeunesse" and "Sans façon"
"Jardinage" and "Insouciance"
"Bowling" and "Tennis" (still with pumps!)
"Karting" and "Amazone"
"Amazone". At least she does not do horse back riding in pumps!
...and there we go, back on the beach in pumps with the festive trapeze dress "Capri", most probably named after the hit song of popular French singer Hervé Villard. More high-heels.
Key holders became such a fad in the mid-60s in France that Gégé made one especially for Mily...
Mily, Jacky, Baby...
Mily and her companions, - fiancé Jacky and sister Baby - were simply constructed dolls of vinyl. Mily had a strong character face, unusually strong for a fashion doll. Her features - finely plucked eyebrows, narrow eyes and Elsa Martinelli-like lips shaped in an enigmatic smile - were hand-painted and have held up very well over time. She had rooted hair that came in an assortment of subtle colours such as ash blonde, white blonde, ice blonde, golden blonde, blue black, henna red, chocolate brown and brunette, and they all were was styled in an Alexandre de Paris-inspired series of bouffant, ponytail, beehive, Revlon flips, bouffant curls and later, Francoise Hardy-like long, straight hairdos with a little flick at the end and side-parted straight hair. She even had, like Baby her sister, those abominably ugly “couettes”. She is marked “Gégé” on her neck, under her hairline. Her sister Baby had “couettes” (small ponytails on each side of her head - yuk!) like the popular singer Sheila and Baby looked just as geeky as the singer, especially with her jumprope. The first Mily had rigid arms and legs, which were attached by thick rubber bands. Although Mily was a simply made doll - French companies of that time didn’t seem to be interested in or capable of the sophisticated and costly innovations that appeared each year on the American doll market - Mily did have a “twist ‘n’ turn” waist before Barbie did however.
Jacky bares a resemblance with both French actor Jean Claude Pascal and singer Claude François, both very popular in the sixties.
Gégé "Haute couture"
The overall quality of the Mily doll although acceptable, was hardly of the exquisite nature one could find on dolls coming out of Japan. Mily’s wardrobe, however, was exciting and well-made, which is understandable considering France was (and still is) a fashion leader. The clothing all came with a label declaring them ”Gégé Haute Couture”. It was a rectangle of white satin printed in red ink. Most garments were hand-finished in some way, as the Gégé company was small and tended to have its employees doing a lot of handwork. They had a provincial way of creating and packaging their doll’s clothes and accessories. In fact, despite the sophistication of the wardrobe itself, there was something rather naive about the way Gégé presented their dolls.
The fabrics the company chose were particularly noteworthy in that they were perfectly scaled and there were so many different types. There were tweeds; real suede leather; silk, rayon; and a lot of machine laces, including Valenciennes, Chantilly, St.Gall (from Switzerland) and English eyelet, all of which came in lovely chic colours and patterns. A prime example of the quality of the Gégé fabrics could be seen in the outfit Regent Street, one of Mily’s early outfits, which was made from authentic Scottish tartan. Another costume, a superb trapeze-line coat, was done in a salt and pepper tweed - appropriately enough called Tweed: it was a direct copy of a Christian Dior coat and a miniature fashion marvel.
Les colifichets de Mily
Another outstanding aspect of Mily’s wardrobe was the number and quality of accessories the Gégé company conjured up. They produced a series of accessories titled Colifichets de Mily. Colifichets, the chic French word for accessories, implies Mily’s refinement in choosing those extra finishing details. Amongst her colifichets, for instance, was a lingerie set consisting of a cotton baptiste brassiere and slip edged in lace and blue ribbon inserts. The décolleté had dainty blue flowers (blue suggesting modesty and coyness).
Even Mily’s hats, inspired by haute couture, yet fresh, youthful and certainly the top of fashion chic, were well made. They came in contemporary shapes and colours, and looked like the headgear worn by models in ELLE, MARIE-CLAIRE, MODES et TRAVAUX and VOGUE. As for Jacky, he even came with Gitanes cigarettes and a bottle of whiskey, (considered a very chic and fashionable drink in the 60s - a pipe and horn-rimmed glasses, somethings Ken, by Mattel, would never in a million years have.
The "Colifichets de Mily" are very various and numerous. Here one can see the difference between the early and late sixties packaging.
In pumps for her gym and on the beach, this is all our Mily!
It was appropriate that Mily dressed like the fashionable French models of the 1960s as she had the figure of a model. Her figure, however, was not a matter of luck. On one of the front pages of a diary, she wrote: “This morning, I’ve done my gymnastics as usual, never have I felt so supple....” Her diaries were illustrated, and this particular entry was accompanied by six different photographs in which Mily demonstrates various exercises (all in her stiletto high heels!) Even Barbie, which her gymnastic outfit called Shape-Ups of 1970, didn’t do such sophisticated, aerobic contortions, especially with completely straight legs and stilletto pumps.
Like Barbie, Mily had a dress for every occassion. When going to school, Mily could choose to wear Jeunesse or maybe, Sans façon. The Jeunesse costume consisted of a quadrille center-pleated skirt with a short-sleeved scooped neck corsage (or bodice) accessorized with a four-leaf-clover pendant. (The outfits were often accessorized with realistic-looking jewelery) Jeunesse and many other ensembles, came with Barbie-style pumps, although Mily’s pumps were more intricate than Barbie’s, they had a scalloped edge and were of a thicker plastic. Mily’s outfit Sans façon consisted of a pleated red-plaid skirt and a red blouse with red plaid sleeves and collar. Its accessories were a pair of black horn-rimmed glasses, white pumps and a green telephone.
For engagement parties, there was Fiancailles, a smart outfit of lace and satin. The dress consisted of a shiny rose pink sleeveless , scooped bodice with Valenciennes lace. It recalled the chic dresses of Pierre Balmain. Another vogue dress, Starlette, also recalled Balmain. A pleated nylon gown, it had the fashionable Empire décolleté with a halter effect, all in “rose bonbon” (candy pink).
For less formal gatherings, Mily wore Insouciance, a simple sleeveless high-necked shift, initiated by Balenciaga and Givenchy and adapted into ready-to-wear fashion (called "prêt-à-porter" in French language). It was made from a high-quality sky blue linen and came with a pair of white pumps. Toquade ("Fad"), another sleeveless high-necked sheath, was perfect for afternoon shopping. This outfit had a pink under-dress with a white crocheted over dress. The accessories included a bead necklace, white clutch, pumps and a hair ribbon. If Mily chose to spend her day gardening instead of shopping, there was Jardinage, a casual outfit, appliqued jeans complemented by a plaid, long.sleeved, man-tailored shirt - that came with a green plastic rake. Strangely enough, it came with a pair of black plastic high-heeled pumps, Unfortunately, Gégé, along with other manufacturers of fashion dolls of that time, didn’t coordinate the footwear with the rest of the dolls clothing. Another outfit inappropriately accessorized with those black pumps was Karting - a pair of pleated grey poplin Bermuda shorts and a print blouse.
One of the more exciting fashion sets designed for Mily was called Amazone. This was a riding outfit comprising a red blouse and jophurs, black plastic riding boots, a crop and a real suede riding jacket. Even though the jacket was not perfectly-fitted, the fact that it was in real suede is thrilling in terms of commercially-made doll clothes.
Is it an impression or does Mily look a little tipsy in her "Fiançailles" dress? Her enamored fiancé Jacky looks kind of worried.
In the later 1960s catalogue, one can see a wider use of boots in different colours, notably on ..."Karting" - FINALLY!
Design by Lefty© Fondation Tanagra