Right, I’m from the North of England and my family have pretty much all worked in the Potteries at some point. I grew up in a house rammed to the rafters with china knick-knacks and all of them were special for some reason – a birthday or anniversary present, an heirloom, something that Great-Aunt Whatever might have held and painted by hand. My sister still collects this stuff, but not me.
I suppose that by my teens, I’d developed a dislike of china knick-knacks. I think everybody resents their parent’s clutter, its part of that urge to flee the nest. I’ve warmed to it over the years, and I definitely understand the need to invest objects with special meaning – that’s what any collector does.
But it was more than that. I could deal with the flowery trinket boxes and the decorated teapots. It was the pottery ladies that got to me – pottery ladies with beautiful simpering faces and period dresses. A fancy teapot or a painted plate might get used if we had company, trinket boxes serve their purpose, but what does a pottery lady do, other than sit there for years collecting dust? What’s the point of it? As a child, I always felt sorry for toys with painted-on clothes who were frozen into one position. They gave me the creeps.
Now, whenever I catch myself looking at a beautiful collector doll in an intricate, floor-length dress, I worry that I am on the brink of collecting china ladies myself. I think So In Style is as far away from this as I am likely to get. It seems to me that there is a difference between an active collection and a static one. An active collection is something that you can participate in, you can reinterpret, re-dress, photograph, write about, maybe even restyle, re-body, repaint (I’m not brave enough for these last three yet, but one day I will be, I’m sure). A static collection is just … there. Everything is done already, and there’s nothing for you to do except buy more of them. If you like your static collection, that’s great and I wouldn’t judge you, but hey, its just not how I roll.
So In Style are playline and therefore inexpensive, so I sort of feel that I have permission to take them out of their boxes.These dolls are interesting, they are contemporary, they have character, and they certainly don’t simper. I think these dolls, not the Fashionistas, have picked up the baton dropped by Fashion Fever. I love the fact that the Rochas have jointed elbows and bending knees, and I wish they would take it further and sell them with fashionista-style ultra-poseable bodies. Just please … stop with the horrible plastic earrings …
(above from the left: Trichelle wears her original VIP SIS outfit, Chandra wears new playline and vintage shoes, Grace wears a handmade dress by BusDriverLynda, and Kara wears new fashionista dress and Barbie Basics collection 002 look 01 shoes and bangle).