This post is about a trend I have noticed in the doll world where the big European brands have started to pay serious attention to black doll buyers and are creating black, brown, Pan-African and mixed race versions of their classic dolls.
This is a companion to my blog on Where To Buy Beautiful Black Dolls Online.
I am talking here about the traditional play dolls that many people associate with Europe. To show you what I am talking about, here is my favourite European toy shop, Serneels in Brussels on Avenue Louise.
The quintessential European doll is over a foot high, is based on a little girl under 8 and has a beautifully made wardrobe. Between 1-3 scale and 1-4 scale. Pricey. Heirloom.
Many European countries have their own doll brands. I will go through some of the big names and show their old and new offerings, specifically their black and African new dolls. Then I will list some of the boutique suppliers in the US and UK.
The dolls are from Germany, France, Spain and an ex British colony – Hong Kong. In fact, two ex colonies, I will do an Irish doll too.
Germany – Kathe Kruse
Here side by side are two Kathe Kruse dolls. Joy is the basketball player. She seems to be widely available. The dancer on the right is from My Best Friend Doll.
Germany – Zwergnase dolls
I am including these 45cm dolls in an “in-for-a-penny-in-for-a-pound” frame of mind . I think the artist, Nicole Marschollek-Menzner , has created an exceptionally lovely black doll. The price is over 200 dollars. Pics from MyDollBestFriend where there is good description of the story of these toys.
France – PetitCollin/Finouche
This doll is called PetitCollin and is based on a doll by designer Sylvia Natterer. Pics from MyDollBestFriend.com.
Spain – Paola Reina
Pretty vanilla scented dolls from Spain, Nora is on the left and Paola on the right. Pics from MyDollBestFriend or Bambini Fashion.com
Spain – Dressed in Blue/Vestido in Azul
Another Spanish brand from MyDollBestFriend.com
Hong Kong- Ruby Red Fashion Friends
These dolls will be familiar to collectors of Dianna Effner’s Little Darling doll. The dolls are available from the Nordstrom site and MyDollBestFriend and they are now called Ruby Red Fashion Friends. I read that the Maya doll was sculpted by Ruby Ho, of Ruby Red Galleria, the entrepreneur behind this brand.
Ireland – Lottie doll
Lottie dolls have always wanted to be inclusive and their range has three black dolls, including a boy Sami who is a reporter and two activist girls. The dolls are on Amazon and on the Lottie websites in Europe and the US. These are little 8cm dolls and I am adding them as Ireland is very proud to have a home-grown doll.
Dolls are expensive to make, support the doll makers that you love.