Style Icons: Male »Tom Tierney

the sixites tom tierney paper dollsTom Tierney's career as a paper doll artist began around the time I was born, so as a young person I reaped all the benefits of his work. Sadly, I found his works, that featured the designs of high fashion through the decade that truly inspired me, are not quite as popular as they once were. I bought several of them for a my friend who runs a vintage store, knowing she'd appreciate the detailed fashion illustration he was famous for – but when I went to Barnes and Noble, the clerk claimed that all the paper dolls were no longer being sold there.

Times change, I suppose, and the paper doll doesn't seem to have the same allure for little girls as it once did –?but Tierney's (which you can find at Amazon – take that B&N!) are still inspiring and make me a little more than nostalgic for days of sitting cross legged on the bedroom floor with my sister, pouring over images of Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow – draping them in fairly loyal illustrations of Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Erte, and Poiret. What a great man, to be putting that kind of glamour in the hands of children!

He says on his site:
“I feel that the most important thing about my paper doll books is that I am using the medium of the paper doll as an art form. To me, paper dolls can be more than just some 'cutsie' bit of fluff to be thrown at the children to perpetuate boredom. They can be artistic, vital, and alive and can tell us much about people, the clothes they wore, the way they lived and something of the times in which they lived.”

At age 70, he is still at it, and recently sold out of his Obama family book. He also has a new “New Attitude” Paper Doll Book coffe table book:

You'll love this new deluxe edition of an underground classic. Meet 37 outrageous, sexy, glamorous swinging singles and socialites at a fabulous Manhattan cocktail party hosted by “Aunt Mary.” A parade of gay and lesbian stereotypes are trotted out in paper doll form for perusal in this reprint of the iconic, highly collectible Attitudes book first released by renown paper doll artist Tom Tierney in 1979. This new volume has been recreated, now in full color and with six new characters, to commemorate one of the early books in a long series of paper doll books for which Tierney has become famous. Enjoy hairdressers, movie stars, millionaires, models, drag queens, and others, each nearly naked in seductive loungerie, and with character appropriate clothing.”

as well as the very intriguing “Marie Laveau Voodoo Priestess” Paper Doll Book. Perhaps I am wrong, maybe as long as there are artists like Tom working in the field, the art of?the paperdoll will continue -?for my future kids' sake I hope so.

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Posted on January 12, 2009

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