Sisterhood Blog

Forget Barbie; Dress Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Instead

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Alice B. Toklas, the paper doll.

Adding to the various portrayals of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas that are part of San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum’s current “Seeing Gertrude Stein” exhibit, reviewed recently in the Forward, are a set of paper dolls of the two women.

The paper doll set was created by the museum in honor of the city’s Pride celebrations this past weekend. The CJM joined forces with SFMOMA and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, marching as “Museums for Pride!” in the Pride Parade. The museums urged the public to come see staff dressed as Stein, Toklas and others from the avant-garde set.

The CJM produced the special set of paper dolls to hand out during the event. As a teaser, the museum released five images on Facebook on Saturday, with the accompanying description: “Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas were a distinctive couple, and they developed a style of dressing all their own. Alice favored a more feminine look, and Gertrude embraced androgyny as she did in other aspects of her life. We created paper dolls celebrating the many outfits of Stein and Toklas for San Francisco’s Pride event, and these are a few of their looks.”

Among these sneak-peek designs are the slim, bobbed Toklas doll, and the rotund, closely cropped Stein doll — both in slips. There is also one travel ensemble for each woman, with Toklas’ a soft, silk floral skirt and jacket and Stein’s a boxy suit, replete with bow tie and bowler hat.

And the museum did not leave out Stein’s beloved dog, Basket. The lesbian couple paid great attention to the white standard poodle’s outfits, which included the custom-sewn vest the Basket doll is wearing.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Alice B. Toklas, San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum, Gertrude Stein

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