I've been traveling in Beijing, and the inner depths of China in conjunction with a Charity Project, more to follow...but for now.
I've been traveling in Beijing, and the inner depths of China in conjunction with a Charity Project, more to follow...but for now.
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
- Marcel Proust
"Knitting and crocheting clothing, accessories, and home decor items is as much a sanity saver or a social outlet as they are a creative effort."
It's been too long since I've been able to post. To say that the days have been flying by would be quite an understatement. I've been quite busy with several new projects and collaborations, and have lots of new developments underway. Here is a little photo diary of what's been going on in Kouklitaland for the past few months.
A mermaid doll gift for a friend. Crocheted wig by Jillian Carrozza.
Snejana, looking sexy as usual.
Custom Doll of myself in costume.
Kitty snapshot from an impromptu weekend away.
Cityscape from Studio Lovechilde.
The last of the Space Queens.
One of my favorite Manhattan buildings.
Dinner with friends.
Burlesque dancer Amber Ray by J.David Mckenney.
Doll heads for a new project.
The pink dinosaurs in the new Aritzia store that opened in Soho.
Coco sewing a doll wig.
"I myself have 12 hats, each one represents a different personality. Why just be yourself?"
All of the hats on my Kouklitas are made by the talented Jessie Abraham of A La Tete millinery. Any of these can be ordered for your Kouklitas, as well as additional styles on her website. More to come.
Aside from much overdue spring cleaning, the dolly end of the studio went through quite an overhaul, as I am busy preparing for a huge new project that required me to revamp the space! More pictures to come.
"Darkness does not leave us as easily as we would hope."
- Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia
Often, when I'm being interviewed for doll related publications, I get asked what kinds of dolls I like to collect. To be honest, due to space reasons, I really can't afford to collect many...but that doesn't mean I don't pine away for them.
I remember first seeing Wilde Imagination's Ellowyne Wilde at FAO Schwarz years ago when she debuted. I was intrigued by her delicate and eclectic wardrobe, but she really didn't register. And then pictures of the new Ellowynes with inset eyes started popping up on Shuga Shug's blog, I knew that I had to get my hands on one. After doing a little research, I discovered Jim Dandy's services for installing glass eyes into Ellowyne dolls, but I was too lazy, and really wanted one of the dolls that was specially made by Tonner. I'm not a huge fan of wigged dolls, so when I found out about Au Revoir Ennui, a Paris convention exclusive from a few years ago, I realized I had to have her. But she was elusive on Ebay, and when I did find her, she went high out of my price range because of how limited she was (which made me want her more).
When I was googling pictures of her, I found an Ellowyne board where someone was offering her for sale. I immediately contacted the seller, and within a few weeks, she had arrived. This was last summer, in the depths of producing the huge order for Barneys New York. One day, after finishing a photoshoot with some of the Alexander McQueen dolls, I decided it was time to play.
I still plan on making her a new costume (I love Ellowyne when she's period style), but at the time I had a few great scraps of fabric, and with a little styling, she went from this....
More to come as I keep playing. Now it looks like the majority of Ellowynes will have inset eyes, and on top of that, a new pale skin tone. Uh-oh. Tonner, if you're listening, I would love to collaborate!
I just finished reading Anna Karenina. Russian heroines, victorian romance, intrigue, and death.
"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will."
- George Bernard Shaw
The stunning work of Ruven Afanador.
"Take from me all earthly raiment and place me deep in my
Mother Earth; and place me with care upon my mother's breast.
Cover me with soft earth, and let each handful be mixed
With seeds of jasmine, lilies and myrtle; and when they
Grow above me, and thrive on my body's element they will
Breathe the fragrance of my heart into space;
And reveal even to the sun the secret of my peace;
And sail with the breeze and comfort the wayfarer. "
I was reading about East 7th Street in the Real Estate section of the New York Times today, and checked out their online slide show if the dollies that are temporarily living in an apartment window front made it in the slide show of images depicting the delightful little block, and lo and behold....
"The human body is the best picture of the human soul."
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
Over the next few weeks you'll see some of the highlights of my trip to Europe. Starting off in London. I stayed with my wonderful friend Thanassis, who's alter ego A Man to Pet is taking over the London scene by storm. Here is a sneak preview of what's in store...
The studio of Liria Pristine, where I got to work for a few days on some of the Kouklitas I was preparing for Milan.
Beauty, the Enchanted Doll displayed alongside some of my own at the Showstudio space.
Passing the Alexander McQueen store and spotting a look I created Kouklita sized for a special customer.
A very special museum exhibition..
A Man to Pet, my host.
The last few months have been quite a whirlwind. You'll see a lot more updates later this week. It started with Fashions Night Out on Sept 10th with Barneys New York, and then continued with a trip to Europe, Showstudio in London, Frankie Morello in Milan, and then meeting with friends and buyers in Paris. Here are a few pictures of some of the creations I completed for Barneys, along with a snapshot of the window. Most of the dolls have already been sold!
A while ago my friend Josh came by for a studio work day wearing the most amazing t-shirt with a gorgeous illustration. To this day, when he comes in wearing the shirt, I must resist the urge to rip it off his back lest I hurt our friendship. Of course, when asked where he bought it, he answered, "Someone gave it to me in Australia." Great.
Fast forward to this afternoon, when he walked in to paint some doll shoes with a copy of the latest issue of Hi-Fructose magazine, featuring the work of Vania Zouravliov - the elusive t-shirt illustrator!
Enjoy some samples of his beautiful work and let it haunt your dreams.
I created the Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington dolls to celebrate Fashion's Night Out, an evening started by Anna Wintour to jumpstart the fashion economy. They were commissioned by BARNEYS NEW YORK, one of the most creative retailers in the business today. They are being auctioned at Charity Buzz.com for the New York AIDS fund.
It's been a whirlwind experience that up until now has been pretty hush hush-- I'm been hard at work making over sixty dolls for multiple stores wearing looks from such collections as Lanvin, Alaia, Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten, and Proenza Schouler. 36 of them will be on the fourth floor of the Madison Avenue flagship on Sept 10th. Multiple designers will be making appearances to sign their dolls, and I will be there all night, from 6-11! Come, drink, and buy a doll. More pictures of these lovely ladies will be appearing very soon! Here are some great writeups about the ladies, and please read the interview I did for the Barneys Blog --
And also - if you can't make it to New York, be sure to catch CBS' special about FNO on Sept 14th-- here's a video from their site about the making of-- I'll be making a special appearance with Simon Doonan and Julie Gilhart!
A vixen? A vampire? Why is she traveling all over the world? Here is an excerpt from her blog...
"I had some time to think of my holidays in general and wanted to ask you something… Do you think love exists? I have pale skin, sharp teeth; I crave for fresh blood and I feed on youth but I found a very different feeling lingering in my heart when I was at those different cities. I got to thinking; what I love has alwas been miles away, maybe it’s curse or just a challenge I need to tackle down. I met a Parisian vampire at 4 in the morning and I couldn’t stop thinking of him…"
I recently shot over 50 dolls in various group compositions for JOYCE Hong Kong, anticipating a collaborative event for their 40th anniversary that I have been working on since March. It wasn't easy. The photographers were inspired by the work of Irving Penn, particularly the black and white groups. It was hours of work getting the girls in the right place for each shot, but the end result was stunning. Stay tuned for more. After the large scale group pictures, they posed in trios and duos, much like the lovely ladies of the Louis Vuitton A/W 2010 campaign.
"Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears."
-Edgar Allen Poe
The Pipettes - Stop The Music
The Kouklitas love Jillian Carrozza -- wigs, interview, and concept coming soon...
Lately I've been feeling nostalgic for all my old toys and the gorgeous box art that went along with them. Lets go down the list, shall we?
My Pretty Mermaids. Oh Waterlily? How could I forget you.
FairyTails Birds. That hair, those eyes!
SeaWees. Oh those pretty little things. I used to bring Flora to the public pool.
Moondreamers- I love space dolls. Glow in the dark hair!
There is always a magical moment right before the doll reaches her final finishing stages. Her face is finished, her hair unstyled, and she is usually nude. I usually enjoy a mini photo shoot with the dolls at this phase - they are beautiful and new, having just "come to life" after the completion of her makeup. Here are a few outtakes from the past and present. More to come later this week.
I was lucky enough to attend the opening of Mark Ryden's second solo show ever at the Paul Kasmin Gallery last week. It's on tenth avenue and 27th street and if you're in the area,
Several years ago, Mark Ryden's paintings of elfin girls and crazy animals took the art world by storm and paved the way for massive amounts of cuteness to saturate the pop culture consciousness. His stunning Snow Yak Show was a sweet whiff of warm air on a chilly morning and I still have dreams about the thrilling picture frames he made for the Tree Show. But...yaks and frames aside, Mark's new fascination with quality meats has me begging for second helpings.
See the video of Monsieur Ryden creating this beauty at the end of the post.
The gallery was packed with tons of adorable people. Some even brought their pets.
Who knew Jesus was so good at the piano? I think the work had something to do with the strange art of the nineties mixed with the sixties perception of the 1890's.
I especially adored the second room with his sketches-- you can tell he really LOVES using a pencil.
And the above are a few of his visual references - amazing to see what he was inspired by and how it played into the finished work.
Most of you know Lady Marjory from the Premiere Kouklitas Collection. She is the timid girl who was raised in a nunnery, the bastard daughter of a Spainish princess and a bullfighter. Unfortunately Marjory was involved in a little accident that involved a senile goat, a cuckoo clock, and a bowl of toxic chocolate bars that rendered her bald.
Well, no, unfortunately I have the attention span of a gadfly and thought Marjory was in need of a bit of a makeover. I decided to use her wig on another doll and distracted myself from my real work one afternoon to have her try on some gorgeous new wigs I purchased.
and oh...the possibilities.
Blond? Redhead? Permed? 'Froed? Stay tuned to watch the evolution of our pretty little princess.
While sitting, standing, and talking through a very important meeting with some very wonderful people discussing an event that I'm not at liberty to discuss at this time, the name of a certain doll artist was brought to my attention. Greer Lankton, born Greg Lankton in 1958, was a downtown doll artist living in NYC in the heyday of the eighties and early nineties. Greer's conflicted sexual reassignment surgery at the age of 21 paid for by her minister father's congregation certainly fed the recurring sexual identity and gender themes in her work. She has a fascinating and tragic life story, as well as a permanent installation in the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh.
I have been avoiding Pittsburgh for no particular reason, but now must make it a point to see "Its All About Me, Not You" which, aside from being Greer's last work, was a replication of her Chicago studio.
Her dolls are haunting and grotesquely beautiful-- knobby kneed anorexics and bald drug addicts with stunningly made up faces and mutated phalluses. I remember seeing some of her work in Simon Doonan's first book, Confessions of a Window Dresser. She created life sized Anna Wintour and Diana Vreeland dolls for the windows at Barneys, something that was quite controversial given the fashion politics of the times.
Click here to read more about Greer.
This last Friday night I had the pleasure of hanging out with my friend Lindsay Jones and her friend Yvan. Yvan was snapping away pictures all night for his various blogs, and I was quite surprised when a picture of me and Elbana snuck into his gorgeous mix of images from his recent stay in New York City.
This is a photo of Irma Dora Alamo Wallace, the Texan southern belle purchased for me by my wonderful man John from Odd Twin, an adorable vintage shop we walked by that happened to be having a late night party filled with delicious appetizers, live music, and free Pabst. You may all remember my blog entry about Boudoir Dolls. She is my first, and you'll hear more about the beautification of Irma Dora in the future. Yvan, Lindsay, and John, tried to get the guys at the deli to put Irma in the meat counter to get her picture taken, but it didn't work. She looks better against the produce.
A few shots of Lindsay's life size doll room.
See more of Yvan's work here.