Italian Doll Convention 2018 - Day II: the Gala night

Saturday is the busiest day of IDC: seminars, presentations, the fashion show and the gala dinner! For most of us It begun early in the morning, as we had to go and get the extra blond version of the convention doll, Ciao Poppy! She’s gorgeous but I do prefer the pink haired one. This one will go to my friend Maria of Habilis Dolls, who could not attend. And that is why you see her in the box.

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Then it was time for a great presentation. My dear friend (we finally met!) Ada of Papusile Mele was giving us a lecture about Manga in Doll Culture! She showed us all the famous manga characters that got made into dolls, like Astro Boy, Lady Oscar, Sailor Moon and Candy Candy, giving us many details about manga history in between. Lots of rare and OOAK dolls were shown in the accompanying slideshow. 

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We stayed in Japan with the next presentation: the story of the doll Licca, by the lovely Kazuko Hosokawa. Not only she told us the amazing tale of how Licca came to be, with lots of details and how she developed throughout the years until now, but also brought with her part of her incredible Licca collection, with the complete original Licca family a stand out. Both this and the previous presentation had the awesome Antonio Russo helping out with the translation, from English to Italian. Some dolls and gifts were raffled to attendees, ending the presentation in a most ideal way.

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Third presentation of the day was called PoppyParkerly, this time dedicated of course to last night’s star, the lovely Poppy Parker: Daniela Ferrando talked about how the 60s are perceived aesthetically nowadays through our modern sensibilities compared to how it was back then, by using the 60s contemporary Barbies and today’s Poppies.  

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The last presentation was a much anticipated interview: dear Ada got the chance to ask the talented Linda Kyaw, Mattel designer and stylist of @barbiestyle, lots and lots of questions about her career, Barbie in the past, now and the future. The questions were send by Ada’s readers and, strangely enough, Mattel did not censor them! The interview was very informative even for people who are not even doll collectors. Linda is very intelligent, gracious and kind. She answered all questions, avoiding pitfalls and confidential information of course, and, with Ada being a wonderful interviewer, the session was a blast. It was accompanied by lots of Linda designed Barbies in displays and ended with lots of dolls and other gifts being raffled to attendees.

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Linda’s OOAK contribution to the IDC auction  

Linda’s OOAK contribution to the IDC auction  

Me with Linda Kyaw  

Me with Linda Kyaw  

After a brief interval (and a change of clothes), it was back at IDC for the Cartoonia parade fashion show! Anyone interested had registered for participating in this show, dressing up as a cartoon or doll character of his choice. The catwalk was set up in one of the hotel ballrooms. The show was a hoot: participants had incredible outfits, that had taken them countless days to make, complimented by styling, make up and hairstyles matching their characters, not to mention the choreography each one had prepared for their presentation. Lots of compliments, applause and bravos to all participants for the show that everyone thoroughly enjoyed! The photos of the show below (as a slideshow) are by another Greek collector that was there, Makis (thank you so much dearest!), as my seat was not ideal for catwalk photos.

Everyone attending the runway show could vote for his favourite costume, which was quite difficult as they were all amazing! You just had to give your favourite the corresponding coupon that was given with the rest of the registration stuff.  All participants were assembled at the hotel’s stairs for a last photo op and then it was time for the welcome drink before dinner, or, as Italians call it, l’aperitivo. An hour later, we were ushered into the ballroom for the gala dinner.

Athena was the winner of the runway show

Athena was the winner of the runway show

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Me with Antonio Russo and Oriele  

Me with Antonio Russo and Oriele  

The welcome drink space

The welcome drink space

The whole room was decorated with lots of cartoon elements. Each chair around the big rotunda tables had a transparent balloon tied to its back, lit up with a string of colourful led lights. The centerpiece was a Barbie doll made up as a comics/cartoon hero by doll design duo Lantis Kelly and Catia Destro. Each seat also has a pair of sketches made by Living Plastic Doll for the gala.

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The centerpiece doll

The centerpiece doll

I had been assigned to one of the Spanish tables, table no.20, with the lovely Lionel as our wonderful and amazing host. The table gifts were all amazing and I added mine to the bunch: cute mini polka dot dresses in various colours, with matching headband bows and earrings, all made to order by my dearest friend Maria from Habilis Dolls. I already knew Lionel and José from Facebook and got to meet the rest of the table mates there for the first time, all amazing and some of the best I could have: Christelle, Fito, Francisco, Gloria, Maria, Nuria and Pepita! My warmest thank yous and best wishes, you were all amazing!

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From left: Lionel, me, Gloria and Fito

From left: Lionel, me, Gloria and Fito

Table gifts! You can see one of the Habilis Doll polka dot dresses I gifted on the top left of this photo.

Table gifts! You can see one of the Habilis Doll polka dot dresses I gifted on the top left of this photo.

After a beautiful ballet introduction, with the dancers dressed in Disney prince and princess outfits, Mario Paglino took the stage, welcoming everyone. He talked about the recipient of this year’s charity auction profits, Dynamo Camp and introduced their team. Then it was time for a speech from Linda Kyaw about Barbie, its history and its future, as next year is the doll’s 60th birthday. There was no preview of anything regarding that front, but we got to see lots of gorgeous Barbie photos, some of which were shown for the first time in public. Then Gianni surprised everyone by announcing that there was a gift for everyone, a special limited edition book (300 copies) dedicated to Linda Kyaw and filled with photos of her Barbie dolls, exclusive to the convention and Mattel approved: The World Of Linda Kyaw. A gorgeous book, printed in quality paper, with lots of doll photos! 

The dancers  

The dancers  

Mario welcomes everyone  

Mario welcomes everyone  

Linda Kyaw speaking  

Linda Kyaw speaking  

Karl Lagerfeld OOAK doll  

Karl Lagerfeld OOAK doll  

Ralph Lauren OOAK doll  

Ralph Lauren OOAK doll  

60th anniversary logo

60th anniversary logo

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Lots of gifts were raffled off to attendees during the night, including many dolls. Our table won two of them! After dessert it was time for the convention doll. No surprises here, it was the same doll that was presented in the Paris and Tokyo conventions, Striking In Stripes Barbie. She is Gold label, has the Karl sculpt and a model muse body. Designed by Bill Greening, she wears an asymmetrical striped evening dress, with black strappy sandals, silver clutch bag and matching jewellery. It’s my first official convention doll (that I get while attending I mean), so I’m keeping her.  

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Then it was time for the extra convention Barbie, the one designed by Magia 2000, Mario and Gianni. This one was based on the Totally Hair Barbie, remade by Magia 2000, with new hairstyle, make up, freckles and a spectacular dress with an overskirt in custom printed fabric (with comic related print) and a black body hugging Lycra dress encrusted with colourful rhinestones. She wears black stockings, pink shoes embellished with crystals and star crystal earrings. Miniatures of her own special box and the official convention booklet created by Roger Corbeau were included. 

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One could see the OOAK benefit auction dolls in display in a corner of the ballroom. The talented creators really outdid themselves, as you can see in the photos below. How lucky are the people that bought them! The centerpiece dolls were raffled to each table, ours was won by Christelle - contrary to IT conventions, here you win both centerpiece doll and base for free.

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After lots of fun, laughs, raffles and doll fun, we were ready to wrap things up and call it a day - there was a disco set up in another hotel hall for people that wanted to continue but it was already late and I had to catch the last metro train back to my hotel. The next post will be about the third and final day of IDC. 

Milano Centrale station  

Milano Centrale station  

The Italian Fashion Doll convention is coming - are you ready?

One of the best things about collecting fashion dolls is meeting extraordinary people with the same passion and exchanging ideas, making friendships and get creative with them. Best place to do that in real life is attending a fashion doll convention. For years I have been yearning to go to one of them, especially the grand events that get organised in the US. Budget of course gets always in the way for far away trips like that. Europe is closer, the conventions might be smaller but there are many of them and the costs are significantly lower.

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So I took the plunge and finally decided to attend a European convention, especially after discovering it would be the first one featuring a specially made exclusive Poppy Parker for it. The Italian Fashion Doll Convention, held annually in Milan, begins on the 18th Of May and I am happy to announce it will be my first convention. I cannot wait to finally meet all those wonderful fellow fashion doll collectors that are, for now, online friends and acquaintances and enjoy three days full of fashion dolls.

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Not only that, two very talented people will be attending as well, making the event even more special: David Buttry will be in Milan to present the very first exclusive european Poppy Parker on Friday, 18th of May. And then, Linda Kyaw, the well known Mattel designer, will be attending the Barbie gala dinner on Saturday, 19th of May. Both designers will be signing dolls on Sunday, 20th of May. The theme of the event is Cartoonia, so the whole convention is inspired by cartoons, comics and animation. And apart from the exclusive Poppy Parker and the Barbie convention doll, there is an extra doll, for those who chose the corresponding package, made by the very talented duo Magia 2000.

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What happens on Sunday you ask? Well, apart from the signing events with David and Linda, there will be a huge doll bazaar, filled with every kind of fashion doll, available both to attendees and the general public. Lots of dealers, doll creators and doll fashion designers will be selling their wares. See them below.

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But that’s not all. There was also an auction of specially made OOAK dolls, to benefit a very special cause. Because fashion doll people are people who care for others. This year the recipient of the proceeds from the auction is the Dynamo Camp. Dynamo Camp is the first camp of Therapeutic Recreation in Italy, specially designed to accommodate - for free - children suffering from serious and chronic diseases, from 6 to 17 years in therapy and in the period after hospitalization. These are mainly children affected by haematological cancers, neurological issues and diabetes. Dynamo Camp will offer these sick children the opportunity to go back to being "just children" spending a week of fun in a safe and secure environment. The auction was online here, ended on Monday afternoon.

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Check out more details about the various events throughout the duration of the convention below.

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There will also be some great presentations on Saturday.

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The results of the photo competition shown below will also be announced!

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And here is the schedule for all days. See you in Milan!

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An Oriental Obsession for a good cause - Barbie goes geisha!

As part of the 10th edition of Firenze4Ever, LuisaViaRoma joins forces with Mattel to produce a limited edition Barbie designed by Japanese artist Hiroyuki Kikuchi. All proceeds will go towards the fight against breast cancer. The eBay Auction starts 12 Jan 2015. Firenze4Ever is a twice-yearly event hosted by LuisaViaRoma just before the Pitti shows in Florence.


Introducing Oriental Obsession Barbie, the latest addition to the Mattel family. The one-of-a-kind doll is realized by Mario Paglino and Gianni Grossi, members of Mattel’s special event team and the creative duo behind Magia 2000. The pair carefully crafted the doll’s oriental-inspired look based on images drafted by Hiroyuki Kikuchi. Hiroyuki Kikuchi is an art-director, illustrator and photographer. The Tokyo- native has curated important projects and campaigns in luxury sectors ranging from fashion to cars. Resident in Italy since 2003, he collaborates with major fashion, luxury and gourmet brands. His illustrations have been published in Vogue Italia and other international mastheads. 


Hiroyuki will create six different designs as part of the event at the LuisaViaRoma concept store over the first two days of Firenze4Ever. Inspired by the Oriental Zodiac, each of the pieces of artwork will be on display in store for the duration of Pitti Immagine. Only ten unique pieces have been produced, making Oriental Obsession Barbie a true collector’s item. The ten limited edition dolls will be auctioned off as part of Firenze4Ever 10th Edition and all proceeds will go towards the Anastacia Fund and the fight against breast cancer.


Internationally recognized singer/songwriter Anastacia has released a total of five studio albums and sold over 30 million records to date. A true survivor, Anastacia is a committed spokesperson for breast  cancer awareness who continues to share her own story and support others through her work with the Anastacia Fund. The Anastacia Fund was established through The Breast Cancer Research Foundation with the purpose of raising awareness and funds for research on breast cancer. After being diagnosed herself in 2003, Anastacia turned her effort toward the fight against breast cancer. The international superstar users her influence and public status to further the cause and is determined to help women take charge of their own health. Anastacia will represent the project, kicking off the auction at the LUISAVIAROMA concept store in Florence on Monday 12 January. The limited edition Oriental Obession Barbie will be auctioned on Ebay, with proceeds going towards the Anastacia Fund.


Magia2000, the artistic duo formed by Mario Paglino and Gianni Grossi, was playfully originated in 1999, during a warm sunny day, chaperoned by a playline Barbie sold as a magazine gadget. This way, the pure pleasure of play entered their adult lives.  They are creating these 10 incredible official Barbie dolls for Mattel Italy and LuisaViaRoma, following the design of the Japanese artist Hiroyuki Kikuchi. Their magnificently detailed craftsmanship and artistry is obvious once again in this latest of their creations.

The Wall Of Dolls unveiled in Milan during Men's Fashion Week


A Wall of Dolls. Just this one sentence makes a doll collector salivate with anticipation, like the Pavlovian dog of science. But this is not about doll collector fancy. This is a charity affair. "The Wall of Dolls" exhibit in Milan was unveiled during menswear fashion week to help spotlight increasing violence against women, as WWD reported.


“The Wall of Dolls” at the Cultural Center in Via de Amicis.

Fashion designers, celebrities, journalists and writers from Italy collaborated on this event. Fifty fashion designers, among them Missoni, Etro, Max Mara, Trussardi and Eva Cavalli are taking part with their own designed dolls. The beneficiary is human right association Intervita and other nonprofit organizations. The dolls are exhibited on a wall of the Cultural Center on Via de Amicis.


Antonio Marras' doll at “The Wall of Dolls” exhibit

Intervita was founded in Milan back in 1999. According to their mission statement, "Intervita is a non-profit non-governmental organization for development cooperation, recognized by the Italian Ministry of foreign affairs; we are independent, non-denominational and apolitical." "Intervita works in Italy, Asia, Africa and Latin America to support children, women and local communities in the fight against poverty and inequality and to promote sustainable development." "Intervita collaborates with a network of other civil-society organizations to give the most vulnerable people a voice on the Italian and international political agenda, and we are involved in the main networks protecting children's and women's rights."


The Eva Cavalli doll was made by the talented Magia 2000 doll studio

The principal creator of the event, Italian journalist Jo Squillo, said the decision to set up the wall during men’s fashion week was meant to raise awareness among men. The wall is to travel to other Italian and European cities. The initiative was included on the calendar of the Italian Chamber of Fashion with the patronage of the Milan municipality.


The Missoni doll with the obligatory multicoloured stripes

Best thing about the exhibit: everyone can add their own doll to the wall. I would love to see what people create and put on the wall, either simply to participate or for someone they know that has suffered from violence.


Etro's doll with their characteristic prints

All photos by Lele Sandrini for WWD.com

Tokidoki Barbie upsets parents in the US!

Matell released a few days ago a Collector's Barbie named Tokidoki. She is designed by Simone Legno of Tokidoki, a "liefstyle" company from Italy (funded by the Hard Candy make up brand owners from USA), with obvious Japanese influences. She is wearing a pink miniskirt, logo leggings and black top with signature skull heart and bones, carries a large bag from the brand, and accessorized with bracelets, a belt, and sky-high sparkly silvery shoes. The doll features trendy tattoos on her body (non-removable save using acetone) and a pink bob. She is also accompanied by her cactus friend, Bastardino (mongrel in Italian). Considered very trendy (bleh), she was a favourite of Barbie collectors everywhere.


You must have noticed that I rarely write about Barbie doll releases, unless they are something special (like the Pantone Barbie in the previous post). So why this one, since I do not even like her styling? Because she managed, in just a week, to become the bane of many parents in the US, even though she is not a toy. Mattel clearly sells her as a collector's doll, she's a Gold Label doll with no more than 7.400 dolls produced.  She even has a price tag of US$50, which makes her unavailable to most children. Still, many news outlets, from doll blogs, fashion blogs, twitter and even major fashion publications like Allure and news outfits like L.A. Times and CNN keep on reporting about parent's supposedly irate reactions to the doll.


The give-me-a-scandal-any-day UK newspaper Daily Mail even gets it all wrong as they mention that the doll is marketed to children. Sorry guys, get your facts right. Barbie Collector Dolls are for adult collectors and are not to be sold to anyone under 14 (written on the back of all Barbie Collector boxes). But who reads the fine print when they want to create controversy? Of course the doll is not only sold out (more are to be released in mid November from what I read) but her price in the secondary market has quadrupled.