Saturday, May 10, 2014

Destination: Lilliput

The old proverb "Good things (perfume, poison) come in small packages" could not find a better embodiment than in the many seven and a half inch Bild Lilli clones produced in the 1960s. The popularity of the sculpt that gave birth to Mattel's Barbie doll propelled many a company to recycle it or to create dolls that evoked the essential visual style of Bild Lilli.

The charm of these tiny powerhouses of attitude cannot be questioned. Perhaps the happy accident of being hand painted by hurried factory workers, it's hard to find two tiny gals whose expressions are identical. More fun for the obsessive collector (redundancy intended) of these denizens of the real Lilliput.

Unfortunately, the wardrobe available for them was manufactured in order not to sell them nude. Rustic at best, the fashions lack attention to detail and in most instances the passage of time has not been kind to the textiles. How to go on with the fashion show?

For this Dolldom exclusive feature, Liz Cole of Retros created a superb selection of styles made with her customary attention to fit, fabric, and sex-appeal. These fashions, many made with vintage textiles, transformed Dolldom's ho-hum collection of tiny Lilli dolls into a realm of veritable sass and class.

You Are the Sunshine of My Life. A vinyl Liza doll by Cragstan models Retros' tribute to sunny morning. With her pink scarf, she's ready to go flower picking. "Golden Foliage" necklace by Joy Jarred.

Full view of the dress and scarf set worn by a hard plastic blonde.

Cock Tails on My Hat. A vinyl Liza doll by Cragstan readies for the cocktail hour in Retros' "Atomic" sheath and orange feather chinois hat.

Board Meeting. To face investors and lovers alike, a Marx Miss Marlene doll dons a fresh-from-the-urban-jungle suit in vintage green foliage print, faux gorilla fur, and matching turban. Hand stitching in this reduced scale is proof of Liz's dedication to all dolls - big or small.

Grand entrances are made in sweeping coats over basic black. This imposing long-sleeved coat of vintage mustard, orange, and brown print is a must for entering your theater box fashionably late.

Wedding Bells! May is the month for weddings. But who is the pretty bride in Retros's white and silver lace dress? She's hidden underneath the matching veil.

A dark hard plastic Hong Kong Lilli! By the look in the mini Ken clone doll's eyes, love will keep them together. Lilli's silver and rhinestone necklace by Joy Jarred.

Watering Hole. At the cocktail lounge, smart gals wear their very best. Retros' unending creativity gives birth to these ultra glamorous ensembles. An ash blonde Lilli wears a gold Lurex strapless jumpsuit with turquoise velveteen shrug and Barbie doll's plastic tiara. A brunette vixen chooses to seduce in a red long dress with leopard shrug and a monumental hat by Maryann Roy. A mini Ken basks in their beauty in his green and gold brocaded silk dinner jacket and green nylon jabot.

Now You See Me? For the costume party theme, Retros came up with an Invisible Man get-up for mini Ken clone. Red silk and stretch gauze never looked better together.

Summertime! Beach resort fantasies come true in this fantastic swimsuit and terry cloth bathrobe and turban set worn by a soft vinyl molded hair Lilli. Mini Ken follows suit in his matching set and vintage red straw hat. Tiny Lilli's Enid Collins purse also by Retros.

But behold! The terry cloth robe is reversible! A bathing beauty ought to have options, don't you agree?

Female on the Beach! Ken is spotted wearing Retros' swimwear.

One dress, two witches! Halloween days call for appropriate fashions. A witch's dress is worn by two different dolls: a Hong Kong hard plastic gal with a delicately minute head and a Japan-produced vinyl Liza. Notice how the fit of the felt hat varies depending on the doll. Boo!

To close our Lilliput feature, we now give you our gallery of portraits! Enjoy!

Marx's Miss Marlene! Wow!

Hong Kong Lilli! Swoon!

Soft vinyl molded hair Lilli! Divine!

Mini Ken Clone in Retros's tux. What a doll!

Mini Ken clone #2. What a playboy!

Hard plastic small headed Lilli! Enchantress!

Cragstan's Liza. Lovely and amazing!

Hard plastic Hong Kong Lilli. Sphinx!

Blonde hard plastic Hong Kong blonde. Pout away, babe!
If interested in acquiring a luxuriant wardrobe to dress your own Lilliput, visit Retros' color saturated boutique.


  1. Wow! These pics are incredible! Makes me want to show my tiny Lillis some love!

  2. Fabulous as always! What great dolls. Love the beach beauties! Christine

    1. Thank you, Christine, for your comment and visit.

  3. Beautiful, evocative photos. Just gorgeous!

    1. Thank you much, Tom! Glad you you came to visit.

  4. I did, indeed, enjoy! Thank You Ernesto!!!!

  5. Wow..Its sooo beautiful..Nice collection of dolls..Thanks for sharing it..
    San Francisco offshore printing services