NEW YORK — With four Oscar nominations, a fashion week escort and a newfound fan club, life is looking up for Edna Mode — even if she is a doll.
A replica of the diminutive, bespectacled Rei Kawakubo-inspired character in “The Incredibles,” Edna has been making the rounds, thanks to her owner and unintentional publicist Ellen Carey, who routinely breaks out the toy to cheer up buyers in her showroom, Seedhouse. Carey also takes Edna wherever she goes.
“I bring her out to make people laugh,’’ said Carey, who received the doll as a Christmas gift from her friends James Aguiar and Mark Haldeman. “Fashion is too serious and too boring. She’s more about giving people positive energy.”
Just last Friday, Carey and Edna were admiring floor-sweeping, zippered evening gowns and modernistic raincoats at Geoffrey Beene, with Edna’s recorded voice declaring the designs “heroic.” Earlier during fashion week, they took in the Thakoon show and were in the front row at Tess Giberson and at Tuleh, mugging for photographer Bill Cunningham at the latter.
Thanks to her fashion-conscious friends, Edna always dresses for the occasion. Friday called for a Lorenza Gandaglia hand-knit coat and Lambertson Truex pendant from Richard Lambertson, the company’s co-founder. Having pocketed 10 Annie Awards, which honor outstanding animation in television and film, “The Incredibles” heads for the Oscars with four nominations, including “Best Original Screenplay,” and Carey is busy trying to figure out what Edna should wear.
Peter Soronen, one of the designers she represents at Seedhouse, is sketching potential dresses and John Truex of Lambertson Truex is designing a handbag and gloves. Vintage jewelry from Carol Tanenbaum is still in the works.
“I don’t think she would approve of borrowing,” Lambertson mused.
With 36 recorded prophecies, Edna has a lot to say for a doll. Interestingly, the film’s director, Brad Bird, provided the character’s voice. Gems she shares include: “You are trapped in your look darling…let me design your escape” and “What is up? — the usual, darling, busy inventing the future.”
Carey is not alone in her admiration for “The Incredibles.” Even Marc Jacobs said his fall collection was partly inspired by the film and Violet, the temperamental teenage daughter in the flick.
With an all-black wardrobe, severe bob and signature glasses, Edna has founds fans of her own. Lambertson bought an Edna doll, as did Evelyn Gorman, owner of The Mix in Houston, and shoe designer Diana Broussard. Last week, Ikram Goldman, owner of Ikram in Chicago, bought two, and fine jewelry designer Marie-Paule Mommeja-Hermès picked up three before heading back to Paris. Coincidentally, that may be Carey’s Edna’s next stop. The pair have been invited to a black-tie affair there next month for a new book “Les Girls” at Lido, hosted by Elber Albaz and Sofia Coppola.