It's said that at one time Robert Tonner considered becoming a surgeon, and then turned his interests to fashion design. Perhaps his study of the human body lead to the rave reviews by the National Institute of American Doll Artists (NIADA) for a model-like fashion doll he created for critique. Working for designer Bill Blass lead to the launch of his own fashion label, and over time, Tonner combined his love of fashion and his sculpture of dolls to form his very own company, well known to doll collectors everywhere.
Tonner's original creation, Tyler Wentworth, is based on a fictional 7th Avenue fashion designer. Tonner created her wardrobe using materials you would find in closets of Hollywood royalty - silk, cashmere, and brocades which are all topped off by the quality and details the company has become known for. Other licenses soon followed with characters from DC Comics, Marvel, The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, The Muppets, Twilight, and Disney all masterfully recreated in Tonner's signature style. Tonner also furthered his own catalog of creations with Antoinette, Cami and Jon, and he released a new series called Déjà Vu.
I was honored to receive an interview with Robert Tonner himself, who created his amazingly detailed 17 inch Jessica Rabbit doll in 2010 - as part of the Walt Disney Showcase Collection. Which comic characters are his favorite? What other plans were there for the Jessica Rabbit doll? Here is what he had to say:
What were some toys/figures/statues that you liked the most as a child?
I was a child of the late fifties and sixties and the toy companies hadn’t yet caught up to the fact that we wanted to see our favorite comic and cartoon characters in toy form—so I had to make do with what was out at the time. I liked both dolls and action figures and played with both—Barbie and G.I. Joe. Mostly, however, I loved my art supplies and I spent hours drawing superhero’s and comic characters.