Saturday, July 13, 2024

Couture: AFD Group Style

Ever since Mattel and Robert Best announced the introduction, the demise, and then the return (never say "comeback", as per Norma Desmond) of the line that brought Charlotte Johnson couture cachet back to the Barbie doll, independent designers have been creating complementary fashion designs to inspire collectors who love to play redressing their dolls.

Since 2011, AFD Group has been a leader in the milieu of fashion dolls specializing in exquisitely rendered likeness of the who's who in celebrity land. Their OOAK characters are much sought after for the awe-inspiring precision of execution, bold vision, and ultra-realistic design. (If you are familiar with the popular Schwabichen on Instagram, you have already fallen under AFD Group's spell!) Produced by Vasily Barbier and Sergey Amelkov, AFD Group's offerings have expanded to include red-carpet designs created with the same expert eye for detail, fit, and refinement.

AFD Group's Etsy boutique is a not-to-be-missed destination for all Barbie Fashion Model Collection and Integrity Toys connoisseurs who are seeking to build and enhance a collection with splendid gowns for their most pampered dolls.

Barbier explains that the process begins with the careful study of images of couture by the likes of Cristóbal Balenciaga and Christian Dior. He then focuses on designing and sewing a reimagined and refreshed creation. The current "Secret Garden Collection" of gowns feature luxuriant chiffon flowers inside the skirts, giving the impression of what Barbier calls an inverted bouquet, neatly gathered with a bow at the waist. For the "Flora Collection", Barbier plays with the exterior placement of blooms on willowy textiles. All AFD Group's creations pay special attention to how the dress sits on the doll, so each body sculpt (Silkstone, Poppy Parker, Fashion Royalty) has its own version of the dress.

Dolldom is honored to present three must-have gowns by AFD Group. Modeled by three uniquely special Barbie Fashion Model Collection dolls, this exclusive entry celebrates AFD Group's enthusiasm and talent for doll art.

AFD Group Design

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Lilli Lalka's Lazy Afternoon

We all need, here and there, a break from the mad rush. And sometimes, in summer, a veritable paresse overcomes our most focused intentions and the magic of repose takes place. 

Dolldom is delighted to celebrate summer with the radiance of Julian Kalinowski's Lilli Lalka doll. For this exclusive entry, Lilli Lalka epitomizes sunshine with styles perfect for, well, spending a very lazy afternoon. With color saturated fabrics by David Rose Designs and straw hats by London milliner Waka Murai, this will be one après-midi of luxuriating relaxation.

Lilli Lalka herself requested that this entry be accompanied by Marlene Dietrich singing (like nobody else could) "Lazy Afternoon" by Jerome Moross and John La Touche.

It's a lazy afternoon
And the beetle bugs are zoomin'
And the tulip trees are bloomin'
And there's not another human in view
But us two.

It's a lazy afternoon
And the farmer leaves his reapin'
In the meadow cows are sleepin'
And the speckled trout stop leapin' up stream
As we dream.

A fat pink cloud hangs over the hill
Unfoldin' like a rose
If you hold my hand and sit real still
You can hear the grass as it grows.

It's a hazy afternoon
And I know a place that's quiet, 'cept for daisies running riot
And there's no one passing by it to see
Come spend this lazy afternoon with me.

Lilli Lalka by Julian Kalinowski

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Dolls Alive: The Art of Ayakadoll

In a culture inspired by the belief that both the animate as well as the inanimate possess power, dolls in Japan are more than mere toys or objects of beauty. Consequently, it's not strange at all that, in Japan, dolls are believed to have a soul, even more so when we consider that the word "ningyō" translates to "having human form".

This idea could not be more evident than in the amazing work of Ayakadoll by Tanaka Hisae. A veteran of the doll making profession, Tanaka learned her art after working with an expert who created doll heads for Hina, geisha, and Kabuki dolls employing the more than 200-year old method of using gofun (seashell powder) and nikawa (a type of glue made from animal skin).

A time-consuming process, this form of doll sculpting yields - in the gifted hands of Tanaka- countenances of recognizable familiarity and undeniable depth of spirit. In other words, these dolls are alive with their sensitively sculpted eyes with inset glass orbs, nose, and expressive mouths. It's amazing to see how well Tanaka conveys emotion and mood. As it is to be expected, each doll head is an original one-of-a-kind work of art.

Tanaka's idea for creating dolls is also influenced by the desire to allow them to come out of the rarefied realm of the decorative object and become a 21st century fashion doll, one that will convey movement via the use of the highly poseable Obitsu 1:6th scale body. The result if pure genius. Dressed in one of Tanaka's handmade and richly accessorized fashions, an Ayakadoll is both a fashion doll gem and an engrossing lesson in Japanese culture. But the enjoyment of the Ayakadoll does not stop there, for these fashionable dolls are happy to redress in current styles too! From Momoko to Francie to Petwork's Eight and Nine, the Ayakadoll time travels with amazing ease, as our photo portfolio illustrates.

Tanaka's Etsy store, Ayakadoll, is a treat to any dollector looking to enhance their fashion doll family with a soulful new member. For more information, visit Ayakadoll (there's a great photo slide presentation showing how Tanaka makes the gofun heads). Ayakadoll is also on Instagram.

Dolldom is honored to profile the work of doll artist Tanaka Hisae of Ayakadoll.

Time traveling begins...

Saturday, February 10, 2024

A Wish for Peace

 Dolldom hopes for peace, despite how difficult it may seem for humanity to overcome its limitations, accept its place in the natural world, and cease its pursuit of destruction. 

For this entry, Alexander by Anna Egorova, Molly Hayward by V.Jhon, and a Jupiter by MarmiteSue pose with origami fauna to convey a message of hope. 

Alexander wears a vest and slacks by Chewin Doll. 

Molly Hayward wears a beaded jumpsuit also by V.Jhon. 

Jupiter wears a wig by Chewin Doll. His fashion is by ValeyofDolls