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