A Greek fashion magazine, LOOK (it circulates every three months and is free) had a page dedicated to my doll collecting passion with one of my photos of Dania. You can even see me at the bottom of the page holding lovely Poppy Parker in my hand. The page is below and after that you can read the article in English (written by lovely and patient Vagia Matzaroglou from Thessaloniki).
VALLEY OF FASHION DOLLS
Versace, Givenchy and Alexander McQueen in miniature? They do exist. They made Vogue covers and score a global digital fashion hype. Find out about the culture and history of fashion dolls and enter their world through collector Stratos Bacalis and his blog, fashiondollchronicles.blogspot.com
by Vagia Matzaroglou
He dressed Michelle Obama at her husbands inaugural ball but still plays with dolls! And he is not alone! Apart from the enfante terrible Jason Wu, brands like Versace, Badgley Mischka, Givenchy, Lecoanet Hemant, Manish Arora design clothes for dolls. Italian Vogue joined the club by photographing exclusively Barbie in fashion editorials but also fashion houses that create unique doll outfits that are then auctioned for charities.
For a while now, fashion dolls are a fetish for collectors and not a child's toy. They have class and style, charm and finesse, ideal proportions and guardarobes that moan under evening glam and eponymous signatures. Dressed in the latest fashion trends or in vintage masterpieces from specific style periods (see '50s), they "follow" the catwalks and fashion weeks around the planet. Sometimes they even copy the new outfits (in the past McQueen collections have been copied*)... Hairdos, make up and accessories are in the same brand wavelength. The most important doll catwalks are set up in Paris and London at the respective Doll Festivals there but also at the commercial Toy Fairs of the USA. Apart from regular fashion designers like Jason Wu who designs for FR Monogram and Versace and Badgley Mischka for Barbie, Mel Odom and Robert Tonner are considered big names, who take care of the doll's face (the sculpt) down to the most minute detail. The "Haute Couture" of dolls are Charles & Desmond Superfrock's Sybarite dolls.
Stratos Bacalis is a passionate doll collector and probably the only Greek blogger about fashion dolls. "I started out with the Olivia Newton John as Sandy from Grease Franklin Mint doll in 2000. From then on, it became a passion" he confesses. He already owns 120-150 dolls. "The most eponymous of them are my Versace Barbie, my Badgley Mischka Barbie, all my Jason Wu ones (half of my collection) and I would add the two Audrey Hepburn versions (a small by Mattel and a larger by Mme Alexander) for the Givenchy clothes they wear from "Breakfsast at Tiffany's" and "Sabrina". Oh and of course I should not forget Pincess Diana with her designer outfits and Jackie Onassis with her Oleg Cassini dresses".
From where does he get the dolls? "Always through the internet, either directly from the manufacturers (special editions) or from specialized e-shops. When there is a limited edition, if you are not quick enough to pre-order the dolls you want, you have to look for them on e-bay or the relevant forums, which usually means higher prices".
What are his criteria for buying them? "Almost always it is the combination of doll and outfit, although the garment definitely plays the most important part. But the doll has to "speak" to me".
He wants to get all the new releases. But "cost is always prohibitive. The prices depend on the edition size and how eccentric the outfit is. The material that the doll is made of also is a factor. They start from around US$45 and end up costin thousands of dollars for unique pieces auctioned for charity".
Stratos Bacalis' favourite hobby is photographing his collection: "I have a mini studio with a lightbox for the photo shoots. I have even done one for the Indian edition of Grazia magazine, with Indian designer outfits. It was a unique experience with the highlight being that one of the outfits was designed and made by Lecoanet Hemant, whose collections I used to admire in the Haute Couture fashion week in Paris". With studies in fashion design and pattern making, he intends to be a little more creatice with his collection. "There is a friend who is very talented in sewing and making accessories so we tried to start a fashion collection for dolls but stopped due to the financial crisis. I hope we can make it happen some time in the future".
Here is my portrait featured in the article, shot by Sakis Gioumpasis:
* It refers to mentions I did during the interview of many doll outfits being "inspired" by a lot of designers and especially Dior and McQueen designs.