On December 14, 1999 – the very first Tyler Wentworth dolls shipped to retailers. It was a thrilling moment for the Tonner Cheerleaders – the first production run of Tyler was not without its issues, though…unpainted scalps, a hole in the head, and a minimal quantity in her initial shipment. But that didn’t sway any of we-the-faithful who had been virtually ‘playing’ with Tyler as a character in online fan forums since her February 1999 Toy Fair release. She is arguably the greatest triumph in Robert Tonner’s career as a doll artist and as a fashion designer – and to him, I give thanks for creating her.
The first five years would see Tyler explode as a leader in the collectible fashion doll arena. Her circle of friends would expand, her wardrobe filled trunks upon trunks, and her furnishings brought utter decadence to diorama dressing across the globe.
I always found it funny at the critics who didn’t like Tyler – calling her facial expression ‘vapid’ and lacking expression. Many opinions changed once the artistic magic of Sherry Miller brought out an inner character in Tyler’s eyes – but there were still those that just couldn’t warm up to her. I think I understand that now – 15 years later – but Tyler still owns my heart. You know the history here, here, here and here.
She is the doll that attracted me to Tonner Doll Company in the first place. She is the reason I walked away from a lucrative career, loving friends and a home to be a part of her world. It would be a bittersweet decade, ending just after Tyler’s 10th Anniversary – how ironic that my doll career ended somewhere around the same time as Tyler’s. Be that as it may – I will still recall my time with her as some of the best years of my life (so far)…one day, I’m going to write another book about her – one that I won’t have to pass up the food chain for approval or editing.
In this post, I celebrate the brightest and best of Tyler Wentworth over 15 years – may her memory be a shining beacon to fashion doll collectors everywhere who endeavor to not only believe in the power of play – but to always glow brightly.