The London Fashion Doll Festival is being put together with love and care by a team of collectors who want to give attendees the very best experience they can. We wanted to share some insights into the process and those in the team who are involved. In this article, we will meet Alla Dolgaleva Rapoportour who has been collaborating with Sofia on the 16″ OOAK Centerpiece dolls. Alla is a well-known OOAK and jewellery artist from Alannadoll.
I caught up with Alla recently and asked a few questions about her design process and about her involvement in the Festival.
Could you tell us about your design background
I started my doll hobby about 20 years ago when I moved to Spain. I had a Barbie doll I decided to dress up and put on my bookshelves. Then people started giving me old broken dolls, that I would wash, do their hair and dress them up in something I would make myself and display them on my shelves. Later on, I bought few more dolls myself. Slowly but surely my collection started to grow as did my garment making skills for dolls.
Some years later a friend of mine offered me the opportunity to do an exhibition of my collection which took place in 2012 in Spain. I was also a member of some doll forums online, met few people there and became good friends with and this is how I ended up going to my first ever doll convention in Thailand. It was a ball joint doll convention, and I think I was the only one exhibiting few of my barbie dolls there, but it didn’t stop me from having loads of fun with my friend who invited me to attend.
It felt very educational seeing so many new different unknown dolls to me, it broadened my views, I met a lot of wonderful people. Going to my first convention also encouraged me, later on, to attend such events and show my work to people as well as I was excited to see works of other people there! Next convention I went to was Madrid Fashion Doll Show in 2014, that changed my entire life, and since then I try to attend it every year.
What are your design influences when it comes to designing for fashion dolls?
Before I joined forces with Anna Nosova and formed an OOAK duet “Allaannadool” and before my first attendance of MFDS, I used to do quite a lot of Historical Costumes of well-known Kings and Queens of Europe for my dolls. Now I’m more interested in High-End Fashion Couture. Usually, we work with Anna creating a celebrity character (she does the face repaint and I make the outfit) and for us, the biggest inspiration in that process is the character itself. We look at many pictures online, select a specific look and we try to recreate that in miniature. I search for fabrics and other materials, I get very much inspired by that process and by materials I’m using too. Our characters are usually picked at random, just a personal preference of a red carpet looks or pictures from editorials, or characters from popular films.
Tell us about your collection and what you enjoy about the hobby?
My collection of dolls, in comparison to other collectors’, is actually not that big. The majority of my collection are barbie dolls dressed up in outfits I’ve made a long time ago. Apart from Barbie and Silkstone Mattel dolls I also have some Superdoll Sybarites, my all time favourite Innoqui dolls by Superdoll London, a few Tonner dolls, some Franklin Mint and Fashion Royalty dolls, some Monograms by Integrity Toys, that I love dearly, 2 Popovy Dolls (they are incredible!), Fashion Doll Agency Paris and a few OOAK and porcelain BJD. I’d say I’ve got quite a broad interest in dolls, I don’t limit myself to one company or one scale only, I love them all!
How did you become involved with the LFDF?
A friend of mine, Sofia, approached me asking if I would attend the convention and if I would be interested in donating some jewellery pieces towards the lottery prizes for the LFDF. Then I also ended up creating a number of one of a kind jewellery sets for the centrepiece dolls (top secret, can’t really tell you more, LOL.) Anna and me (Allaannadool), we are also creating a doll for the charity auction that will benefit the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.
Can you tell us anything about the jewellery you have designed for the centrepieces? (no spoilers please, LOL)
Working on jewellery sets for the centrepiece dolls was a challenging yet very creative process. I’ve been given some ideas of what the centrepiece dolls would look like, just few colour and shape ideas and I researched on the subject and inspiration from current fashion trends. My task was to create pieces that would fit into the concept given and would best compliment the characters. Sometimes I would briefly put up some pieces together, take a picture, send it out for approval, take on feedback and suggestions and alter to create the final product. I would say it was more of a collaboration between me and LFDF.
Finally, why should collectors come to the festival?
To me, the purpose of doll conventions is to unite all kind of doll collectors. At a doll convention (or a show) you can meet like-minded people, those who collect same dolls as you do, or you might discover something new to yourself, you also see works of many talented doll designers and artists and other craftsmen. Going to a convention is also an excuse to see your hobby friends, the ones you meet online and then in real life, you might become best friends ever. A doll convention is a great place where you can exchange ideas with other collectors and artists, see something new and get inspired. And of course, attending a doll event is a lot of fun! It is an opportunity, even for a very short period of time, few days, to completely dive into your hobby environment and forget for a while about the outside world, it’s like a mental break we all need sometimes.
For me personally going to a doll show is also a great opportunity to showcase my work to potential customers. As there are several doll events organised around the world it is a great excuse to travel to another country, visit and explore many beautiful cities and an opportunity to go and indulge in culture, see museums and galleries!
I am very excited to be coming to first London Fashion Doll Festival and I can’t wait to see my friends there!
Thank you, Alla, for taking the time to taking part in this interview and for all the hours of hard work you are putting into OOAK centrepiece dolls. I can’t wait to see the reactions when all is revealed on the 30th June!Register For The LFDF Now