"Miss Revlon" dolls were introduced by the Ideal Toy Company in 1956. This began the 1950's "Glamour/Fashion Doll" period. You have to remember that these dolls appeared before the famous "Barbie" doll was introduced. In the mid-1950's almost all the dolls manufactured represented either babies or young children. These new high-heeled fashion dolls with a woman's figure were an entirely new concept. To adjust parents to the transition, the dolls were marketed to represent "big sisters". Also, although they had a grown-up figure, their faces remained very large and child-like. So in reality, they almost appeared like young children dressed in their mother's clothing.
Ideal successfully marketed the doll with a tie in to the Revlon Cosmetics Company. This gave some brand familiarity to the mother's who would ultimately purchase the doll. It also helped Revlon market their name to young consumers even before they were ready to use make-up. When they were old enough, they were sure to remember the Revlon name.
The "Miss Revlon" dolls were first introduced in the 18, 20, and 23 inch size (much larger than today's current Barbie doll). Later dolls were introduced in a 15 and 26 inch size. In 1958, Ideal started manufacuring a 10 1/2 inch version called "Little Miss Revlon" (Click here to see my "Little Miss Revlon" page) .
The "Miss Revlon" dolls came dressed in various outfits, usually full skirted dresses popular during the 1950's. Bridal gowns were popular. A basic doll was also available in just lingerie. All the outfits were of very high quality and some were very elaborate with additional hats, gloves, shoes and acessories such as earrings and other jewelry. The outfits had names such as "Cherries A La Mode", "Kissing Pink", and "Queen of Diamonds". The doll in the photos above is wearing a dress made from a Simplicity pattern produced specifically for the 1950's fashion type dolls. The dress is very similar to those produced by Ideal.
Many other companies joined into the new fashion doll craze. Some were high quality companies such as Madame Alexander who produced the "Cissy" doll. The American Character Toy Company produced the "Toni" doll. Other companies produced lower quality/lower cost dolls for those who could not afford the higher priced dolls. One of these is the doll pictured above. She is 18 inches tall and looks similar to "Miss Revlon", but she is not. "Miss Revlon Dolls" are always marked with the Ideal company name and the letter "VT" followed by a dash and the size of the doll such as "VT-18" for the 18 inch dolls. The doll in the photo above is marked "14R". Her vinyl is not of the same quality as "Miss Revlon" and her hair is rather corse and difficult to comb. She is still a pretty doll though, as were some of the other fashion dolls made during that time.
Ideal stopped producing the "Miss Revlon" doll around 1960. This, of course, coincides with the rising popularity of the smaller and more sophisticated "Barbie" doll. Many collectors, however, hold the 1950's fashion dolls in high regard today. They are very sought after and often demand high prices. Their style and quality bring back memories of a special time in doll history.
For more information on fashion dolls of the 1950's, here is a link to a great website: Fashionable Ladies - The Online Encyclopedia of Glamour Dolls - 1955 to 1964
Also refer to these great books for more information on Revlon dolls as well as other Ideal dolls.
Collectors Guide to Ideal Dolls Identification and Values : Identification & Values (2nd Ed) by Judith Izen
Dolls and Accessories of the 1950's by Dian Zillner
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