Here’s one from the depths of my sisters toy cupboard. Well, not exactly, as she didn’t have the real fashion wheel but an imitation version, but it was just as good – probably better since it was smaller in size so easier to play with.
The Fashion Wheel allowed junior Armanis to design their own fashion collection by rotating the wheel to select different items of clothing, then placing a piece of paper over the selected options and rubbing over it with a wax crayon held sideways, a bit like doing a brass rubbing, if anybody still does that these days.
The wheel was split into three sections that rotated independently, the top featuring a head with various hats or jewellery, the middle different shirts, jackets and blouses, and the bottom depicting skirts and trousers. These images were raised off the plastic of the wheel, so when you rubbed the crayon over them an image of the outfit you had designed was left on the paper. The designs could then be coloured in if you wished.
To a child it seemed like there were limitless possibilities to be had, which to be honest is probably true enough. There would have been several thousand unique combinations, so it’s unlikely anybody would have ever created every possible design. If you were into making paper dress up dolls then you would certainly have had the best dressed cardboard girl in town if you had a Fashion Wheel.
My sister’s version was pretty much the same, except instead of being arranged on a wheel there were several plastic plates with the different clothes on. These could be slotted into a recess in a plastic board and then rubbed over with the wax crayon in the same way. Â I believe she also had a travel version of this toy, which was about the size of a paperback book and created more cartoonishÂ looking images of a little girl doing various activities such as skipping and running.