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Cake-Top Couples : Why settle for a generic bride and groom? For $525, Myla Fahn will handcraft a one-of-a-kind likeness of the happy couple for the top of the wedding cake.


BEVERLY HILLS — The invitations have been sent. You are dieting toward the dress. What's left to do until your wedding day?

How about commissioning a personalized bride and groom for the top of the cake?

This is the Westside, so needless to say, you don't have to settle for a generic couple to grace your nuptial torte.

Myla Fahn, founder of You're a Doll, a division of the Beverly Hills Doll Co., will turn your picture and that of your intended into a cake-top couple for $525. That may seem steep to you, but it doesn't to Fahn. The dolls are one of a kind, handcrafted of porcelain, and, as she pointed out, "It's not that expensive when you think how much the cake is and the flowers are--and you don't have them after the wedding."

Indeed, Fahn's dolls will last long enough for you to fight over custody sometime in the future.

Sandra Hann, whose Beverly Hills Weddings orchestrates nuptials in the $50,000 to $500,000 range, says she much prefers Fahn's portrait dolls to the crystal hearts and Lladro figurines that some couples opt for. Fahn's figures are great conversation pieces at the wedding itself, she says, and only the videotape is as permanent a memento. Hann says that clients routinely say they plan to hand the portrait cake-toppers down to their children, and at least one couple has turned theirs into a lamp.

Fahn, 50, made the first of her little newlywed sculptures in 1987 as a gift for a friend. A fashion designer doll maker, she now makes 25 or so pairs a year, working out of her Beverly Hills home.

Guided by photographs, Fahn sculpts the faces and replicates the couple's often elaborate wedding clothes. She asks clients for written instructions so she knows, for instance, "if they have a special mole and it's important." A regular request, she says is for a bit more hair on the doll groom's head than the real groom actually has. She uses mohair instead of human hair because "real hair doesn't fall right."

Dolls have been a part of Fahn's life for as long as she can remember. Born in what is now Israel to a Jewish refugee mother and a non-Jewish British policeman father, she moved first to England and then to the United States. She remembers one terrible incident in her travels in which Egyptian customs officers pulled the legs off her beloved dolls, apparently suspecting something was hidden in them.

Widowed in 1988, Fahn says the dolls are now her livelihood (she makes portrait dolls for TV as well as private clients, and she also repairs dolls). Each pair takes about two weeks to make, which is why she asks for at least a month's lead time. Fahn has a sculptor's pride in making each doll a good likeness. But she is committed to the notion that the bride should be the loveliest person at her wedding and is not above a little "cosmetic surgery."

"I had one woman tell me I made her sister too beautiful," she recalled with a laugh.

Fahn's dolls are made to scale, one inch to the foot. And not all end up knee-deep in icing. Her portrait dolls are often displayed in glass domes on TV or at private parties. Clients have included a friend of Jack Klugman, who wanted the actor shown with two of his horses. ("His nose was a challenge," Fahn said.) A friend of the late singer Mary Wilson commissioned portrait dolls of Wilson and her fellow Supremes, including Diana Ross. "He wanted Wilson in the front."

Fahn is appropriately security-conscious with her cake-top portraits, making sure that no groom sees Bridal Barbie before her time. Though most of her clients want the usual white lace and formal wear, there are a few exceptions. Her most unusual couple, she says, was a white witch who was marrying the warlock of her dreams. "Her dress was white leather, and I had to find a sword for him to carry. And, of course, she wanted her tattoos on there." There was no post-nuptial muttering about eye of newt, leading Fahn to believe the couple was pleased with the result.

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