Sunday, March 21, 2021

The Ultimate Triumvirate

There's something to say about trios, as the uneven number allows for attractive compositions in decorating and of course in pictorial art. Last year, to celebrate its 75th Anniversary, Mattel offered a reproduction of the Number One Barbie doll made of Silkstone. Later, at the annual convention to celebrate everything Barbie, the company gifted its fans with a choice of a brunette version in "Peace" Silkstone (to evoke the faded vinyl of most vintage first-issue dolls) or a ground-breaking African-American version. 61 years after her introduction to the public, the classic sculpt, used until 1965-1966, portrays a Black woman in the look that launched the most famous doll of all. And although Mattel had already played with the idea in 2019 with the African-American version of the 60th Anniversary Convention Sparkles Barbie doll, this last version revises the perception that Barbie, as first issued in 1959, was exclusively a White doll. That, dear readers, is a grand gesture.

For this first Dolldom entry, the Ultimate Triumvirate pose as it would have for catalog photos in 1959, ready for the beach or to be redressed and on their pedestal stands. Full disclosure ethics demand that full credit be given to Bobby Taylor of Pink Bubbles Doll Spa. Taylor, who is as generous with his gift and he is with his tenacity, elevated the dolls with his restyling of their factory hair sets. Taylor and his team (Miss Vera, Daffy, and Beatrice: Dolldom loves you!) kindly considered Dolldom's plight for tightly curled, symmetrical bangs and freshly-tied (with string!) ponytails with hard curls at the ends.

What will they wear, you ask? Well, that is for the near future, dear readers, when the Ultimate Triumvirate will model creations by many talented designers. Soon!

Sunday, March 14, 2021


The quintessential man doll and loyal escort to the ultimate fashion goddess, Ken Carson, takes time to celebrate two events: his iteration in Silkstone to commemorate his 60th anniversary and the debut of a Fashionistas' face that very well could be his grandkid - or maybe himself in 2021- as fashion dolls never age.

The production of vintage Ken in solid and weighty Silkstone is pretty flawless with soft flocked hair and beautifully rendered screening. But it is perhaps, Ken Fashionistas #163 who steals the show with a powerful set of dimples and a smile that invites hanging out.

Styled in bathing suits and panama hats, the hipster dudes are ready to chill around the pool and maybe later go for a drive before getting ready to meet Barbie. For such is the life of Ken Carson.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Challenging the Norm: the Art of Hvala

Sometimes, the world surrounds us with vapidness. Repetition. Apathy. And worse yet, the onslaught of commercialism. Thus, it's thoroughly refreshing when in the world of fashion dolls, one encounters a true revolutionary, one who lives, designs, and creates by her passionate beliefs. PJ Nox of Hvala is that artist. The multi-talented Nox not only sews; she, among other things, illustrates, designs jewelry, embroiders, and most recently is manufacturing a doll named Mi, The Doll Who Has Nothing

Nox explains: "Copying the runway can be entertaining, but it does not have to be the norm in any way. Dolls should not and can not be implicated in the pain of aspiring to wealth, sexual prowess and aesthetic perfection in the way humans have been trained by the consumerist industries to do.

If I am thinking about these playfully-clothed coded-as-male or coded-as-female dolls carrying a message, I want it to be a message of freedom, experimentation and joy and not a message of spite. Expressing yourself non-normatively is always radical, but you cannot in your heart of hearts spend life thinking you are the odd one out fighting for acceptance. This attitude that is imposed on marginalized people creates doubt and fear, encouraging them to believe their request for basic respect is radical. By ourselves, not in relation to society, we have to commune with the thought that cosmically we are worthy, and not a fighter against the machine.

I have been thinking about another layer of intention in this collection. I would love if these pieces would aid in affirming the playfulness and creativity of miniature play, and help lessen the proclivity for exclusive precision-based and price tag-oriented attitudes in the doll world.

I am making these garments with attention to quality, but not aspiring to human principles of construction. Some of the items totally engulf the subject, reaffirming its doll-ness. I think that would be a very interesting approach to human dressing, as well: having the potential to simultaneously be at symbiotic peace with one's garb while being engulfed by it." 

Dolldom is lucky to be able to collaborate with Nox and, in so doing, to reflect deeply on the possibilities of self-expression in our doll play. For this fabulous feature, ball-jointed dolls by NuminaDoll and JAMIEshow Doll engage with Nox's designs in liberating play where garment and character fuse to create one harmonious entity.


All clothing by HvalaDolls

Wigs by Chewin, NuminaDoll, and JAMIEshow

Red bead necklace by Exsyntrik

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Bella, bella Bambola!

Così bella! Bella, bellissima. Si chiama Ellen. 

Manufactured by Ottolini Carlo e Dante of Milan, Ellen is an esoteric topic in fashion doll collecting due to her rarity and to the limited information available. But thanks to the generosity of Italian doll collector, designer, and photographer Marco Banfi, we all can learn a little bit about the stylish Ellen

Banfi explains: "Ellen is an Italian fashion doll from the mid 60s made by Ottolini, a renowned doll maker. She probably was meant to be a Barbie doll competitor, even if at that time, Mattel's iconic doll was not so popular in Italy. At 39 cm tall (about 15. 4 inches) Ellen's strung body body has similar proportions to Mel Odom's Gene Marshall doll. Ellen's head connects to the body via a neck knob and is made of soft vinyl. 

Her hair is rooted, made of a fiber akin to a mix of vintage Francie and Malibu Barbie dolls' hair. Over the years, I have seen three hairstyles: shoulder length flip (a side-part, variation exists), a pulled back look, and a side-part bubble cut in brunette and blonde. I have seen a redhead model but cannot attest to it being original or a reroot."

For this Valentine's Day entry, Dolldom is honored to feature an Ellen doll from the collection of famed doll maker Julian S. Kalinowski modeling the inimitable fashion styles of beauty & glamor maven LizRetros. The fashions, most of them created for the Gene Marshall doll by the iconic American illustrator Mel Odom, fit Ellen beautifully.

Dolldom is most grateful to Marco Banfi for sharing his experience with our readers. You may follow him on Flickr (mood4mod) and Instagram (mood4dolls)

Dolldom also thanks Julian S. Kalinowski for his kindness allowing Dolldom to photograph his Ellen doll. 

Necklaces by Exsyntrik 

Cherry necklace by Straycat

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Amazing, Grace!

 That's what Dolldom's editors expressed after seeing the photo yield of Virtual Doll Convention's Grace Marie Fitzpatrick fashion session. For the elegant "Deluxe" became, via redress, an amalgam of types associated with cinematic glamour. There's a bit of Jane Russell in some, a strong Ditta Von Teese vibe in others, yet in others, she channels Nathalie Wood. But refrain, dear readers, from finding any specific likenesses. Instead, allow the images to reveal their secrets to you. For that is the power and the raison d'être of a fashion doll: to model, and in so doing, to provide us all with the enjoyment of recreational contemplation and creative thought.

Virtual Doll Convention's Grace "Deluxe" in all her glory. Elegant. A modern classic. 

Ravishing in Red 
In a Tyler Wentworth RTW Boutique red coat (no alterations needed for perfect fit) and Mike Buess' "Mitchu" purse, Grace is ready for a stroll downtown. 

Chez elle
For some quality downtime, Grace relaxes at home in JAMIEshow's organza dress for their line of 16-inch BJDs. 

Bubbles, Bubble, Bubbles
Pop the cork off the vintage Tyler Wentworth sparkling wine and pose in LizRetros' joyful take on the bubble dress.  

Fashion formula for fun! Mix a pair of dark sunglasses by Shadowartifact on e-Bay, a faux fur coat by RDGDoll and an LBD and you get vintage movie star vibe. 

The Essential
In Phyn & Aero's "Frill Thrill" black dress for Annora Monet, Grace is dream doll supreme. 

Black and White Forever
In LizRetros' hand-beaded black silk skirt and Phyn & Aero's "Frill Thrill" lace blouse, Grace updates the most perfect combo of colors.

Evoking picnics past and future, Grace is ready for corn on the cob and tofu-burgers in LizRetros' gorgeous off-or-on-the-shoulders red bandana dress.