I don’t really have too many hobbies, but one area I’m very interested in are ball-jointed dolls. I waste idle hours on Den of Angels, my go-to for boredom. Clicking from forum to forum I can enjoy beautiful photographs, ponder discussions as I read others’ responses, or follow a well-chronicled transaction gone wrong. Dolls tend to fit very well into a sweet lolita lifestyle stereotype, but I’m not quite at the level of intensity where they line my walls as depicted on the blogs of some Japanese lolita. (And I’m not quite sure that’s what I aspire towards, really.)
My interest in dolls is directly related to my love of lolita fashion. My first doll was a Pullip, specifically Raphia. She was fluffy and white, swathed in lace, and her arrival was the push I needed to move from dreamy sighs at the BABY, the Stars Shine Bright website to owning and wearing lolita clothing. She’s no longer in my possession, but I fondly think back on her whenever I look at my current ball-jointed doll, although they bear no resemblance to each other.
These past few days I’ve been very focused on ball-jointed dolls, specifically everything Volks, as I am in a tizzy about attending the 2010’s Dolls’ Party in NYC 4. I know I’ll be bringing my Claire, a Volks MSD Nagisa in Preschool, but I’m still up in the air about what I might get there. I also want to wear lolita fashion, and dream about my doll dressed in something that “fits” with that image, but not necessarily a lolita outfit for her. (Although that would be cute!)
Before I owned my current doll, my first doll was made by the SOOM subsidiary Rosette Doll. I was drawn to these dolls because they fit beautifully with some of the dreamy idealization of the Victorian era that I’ve had since childhood and was intensified by my love of lolita fashion. Most ball-jointed dolls are sold as an unfinished product–something that arrives without eyes, hair, painting, or clothes. They’re dressed for pictures, but intended to be altered to fit any desires of the customer. Rosette Doll is a little bit different–their dolls are all more or less “finished,” arriving with the eyes, wig, outfit, and face painting specified in the shop’s pictures. They are complete, but they still have potential for customization.
Rosette Doll has a theme carried throughout the website, the theme of a Victorian-era boarding school. The website is organized like a school, with information on the website detailing the imaginary class structure, school president, and schedule of holidays. The company posts beautiful “diary” stories of the students and encourages customers to register their dolls for class. Each doll arrives with an acceptance letter and a care guide disguised as a student handbook. The attention to detail is staggering.
Most of the dolls are not wearing clothing that would fit the definition of lolita, although some could be considered inspired or “almost.” Regardless, I think they very much fit with the lolita aesthetic. Beautiful fabrics, laces, and ruffles adorn the clothing in ways that aren’t completely historically accurate, but more of an interpretation of a fond reminiscence of that time in an idealized European boarding school.
Honestly, I’ve never seen a company with a more “lolita” appeal. Even some of the fashion brand crossovers (which perhaps I’ll write about again) aren’t as strong if only because they’re single releases, while Rosette Doll has a steady stream and is continually developing along the same aesthetic. (They did release some modern-styled clothing, but even that had a frilly, ruffly inspiration.) I can’t help thinking that some of the outfits worn by the Rosette girls could be considered “sweet aristocrat!” Maybe that’s how I can dress when I’m too old for lolita fashion.
I can’t end this without sharing at least a few more pictures from the company’s website. They’ve taken so many beautiful photos!