In the Summer 1933 Gautier-Languereau Catalog of Bleuette’s ready-made clothing, Bleuette was, for the first time, offered in a new size. Until then, Bleuette had been 27 cm tall ever since her introduction in 1905, but in the summer of 1933, Bleuette became 29 cm tall. She had a re-designed body with longer, more slender legs, and slightly smaller feet. As with many things in the 1930s, Bleuette was streamlined!
The least expensive 15 franc Bleuette advertised in the winter of 1932-33 with long or short artificial hair disappeared from the catalog, and Bleuette now cost 24 francs in bisque with human hair curls or braids, or 28 francs with an unbreakable pressed pasteboard head and human hair wig. After this G-L fashions and Bleuette sewing patterns published in La Semaine de Suzette were sized to fit only the new taller doll.
The new 29 cm "streamlined" Bleuette.
However, the thirties were economically lean years in
A 28 cm "sale" Bleuette with an early 60 8/0 mold head.
French Bleuette expert, the late
L to R: 27 cm Bleuette, two sale Bleuettes, 29 cm Bleuette
It is the 28 cm height and the 6 cm round-top thighs that are the most identifiable characteristics of the Bleuettes advertised at a sale price from 1935 through 1937. In order to satisfy the purchasers of these dolls that G-L fashions and LSDS patterns would fit their less-costly Bleuettes, G-L Publications compromised by making them taller, but still using the parts on hand. The dolls were all made up with longer thighs so that they were only 1 cm (about 3/8ths inch) shorter than the new 29 cm Bleuettes. Advertising for the sale dolls clearly states that all Bleuette’s clothing will fit them.
BELOW: 28 cm sale Bleuette legs, left, compared to 29 cm Bleuette legs, right.
No 6/0 mold Bleuette has been documented as a sale Bleuette, but there have been found SFBJ 60 8/0 mold heads, Unis France 60 8/0 heads, and Unis France 301-1 heads. Presumably, the head mold of SFBJ 301-1 could also have been used to make up a reduced-price Bleuette. Possibly the pressed pasteboard head of the 251-2 mold introduced in 1928 might also be found on the sale bodies, but it is likely that they were simply put on the new taller body since the 251-2 mold was sold as a 29 cm doll in both bisque and pasteboard through 1936. Of course, the Unis France 301-1&1/4 bisque and 301-1&1/2 pressed pasteboard “unbreakable” heads were the new models sold at the regular price, and they continued to be sold as Bleuette for the rest of her run.
ABOVE: Left, 27 cm UF 60 8/0 Bleuette; right, 28 cm UF 60 8/0 sale Bleuette. Photo courtesy of Agnes Sura
Now that these distinguishing characteristics are known, it is to be hoped that more examples of the sale Bleuettes will be discovered and documented by collectors.
This article was also published in Doll News, Winter 2010.