The story of my Cissette white ballerina is a perfect example of my soft spot for TLC dolls.
I found this doll when I was first becoming interested in collecting Cissette dolls, back in 2004. I think she was my second or third Cissette.
She was listed on eBay as a TLC doll. She looks like she must have had a run-in with a dog: The top layers of tulle in the front of her tutu are shredded, and the last three fingers on her left hand have been chewed or broken off.
Despite her difficult childhood, Cissette is still beautiful. By some miracle, the flowers on her tutu and in her hair were untouched — in fact, her hair is still in the original set, with very little muss. Her original tights somehow escaped getting torn, and are in good condition.
Her face is especially pretty. She has both rhinestone earrings, and a nice complexion with light blush that doesn't show up in the picture.
Of course, she didn't look this good on eBay. In addition to the obvious damage, she was also very dirty. I ended up paying only about $25 for her.
When I got her, I carefully soaked her tutu and tights. Most of the soil came off, although her tutu still retains a faint grey cast — probably from being displayed in open air (which is probably also how the dog got her). I also cleaned her face and body with a good doll cleaner, which is when I discovered the blush on her cheeks — it had been completely covered up by grime!
I found a pair of pink rubber toe shoes with original ribbons; although I know these shoes were used on the Cissette ballerinas made in the early 1960s, I'm not so sure they are correct for a 1958 ballerina. However, they'll do until I find the correct slippers.
Although Cissette is less than perfect, and many collectors would probably not even consider displaying her, she is one of my front-row dolls. She is beautiful despite her imperfections, and as such she represents the miracles that are possible via even the simplest methods of doll restoration.
Labels: pre-Barbie fashion dolls