Friday, July 13, 2012

Blythe Dolls

Blythe dolls first came to my attention sometime during the middle of high school and at the peak of my awkward levels; I believe my best friend wore a shirt with a Blythe doll on it to production rehearsal one day and we were all a bit appalled that it had both a Mohawk as well as tattoos with pink eyes. Again at the start of my stint at university those iconic and glazed eyes in all colours of the rainbow stared back at me amongst a series of rectangular collaged pieces.

It was only a matter of time before I reverted back to the traditional children’s hobby of doll collecting and dressing; there was a small plastic doll’s house with figure no bigger than my adult thumb for me to play with but my parent’s budget just didn’t stretch to the reaches of a few hundred dollars for a ‘freaky’ and big, doe-eyed doll. This is probably me acting up because I secretly want to die my hair, a cheaper alternative to dress a doll than myself and something to add to my bookshelves for a strange decoration. Yet I can’t let this little iconic symbol go and it doesn’t trouble me at all.

When they were first produced by Kenner in 1972, the Blythe doll's production only lasted a mere year with young girls a bit creeped out by their big bulging eyes. In 2001 a book entitled 'This is Blythe' which featured one of the original dolls photographed around the world captured the hearts of the Japanese and so ensued another landslide of doll production that same year. They release about one doll a month with sweet outfits and hair to die for and there's a massive online following for Blythe dolls dedicated to making her clothes and capturing her travels around the world on Flickr.

"In 1972, the Blythe doll was born. She died later that year...
Mainly because her oversize head and peepers were deemed too scary for children, Blythe's manufacturer Kenner summarily pulled this kooky, big-eyed doll from the shelves, preventing many young girls from meeting her – at least for the moment."

- I think you can deduce the rest to this story which thankfully has a happy ending.

Yeah I've had rotten luck trying to track down the Linda Farrow X Jeremy Scott flip sunglasses seen on Lady Gaga and echoing Mickey Mouse, but for someone poor and easily obsessed with hobbies there are plenty of plastic copies made in miniature for these eerie dolls. It's a sad, sad day when you realise a small doll only eleven inches in height can easily be a better fashion blogger than you for convenience's sake, however I just don't have a lot of room to move about in my house to always self-time some photographs of my own outfits.

It's pretty obvious that I favour any doll or figurine with wild and radical hair that I myself wouldn't be able to get away with, but the rich chestnut-red of the above dolly needed to be shown off as well as the sweet vintage print to her dress. Blythe dolls are just a little easier to customise and create with individual style as opposed to My Little Pony figures- but they still have hair to be reckoned with. My personal favourite has lime green hair and pink eyes and I've already written down a list of name's to give any Blythe doll I choose, the top of the list is Skrillex but I won't be giving any of these perfectionist pieces an undercut- I'm just ironic and weird.

The dolls range for from one hundred to five hundred dollars depending on their condition, release date and the number of accessories they come with but perhaps someone who is still unsure if this is a momentary passing phase would be better off buying a simple throw pillow to decorate their room. Last week I spent most of my time fearing an old doll in a friend's holiday house and laughing with friends when we got her to hold a knife using a hair tie. Surely I can dodge any quizzical looks and questions about it's origin and whether I am becoming a doll enthusiast and it's still cute, Kawaii and Japanese orientated.

What you are looking at here is one of the world's most expensive rainbows; I think I've been watching far too many videos from StyleLikeU and have felt profoundly inspired by the rooms and interiors of some of America's best and brightest fashion bloggers. I can just picture the serene setting now of comic books from Studio Ghibli featuring book spines in Japanese characters with a panoramic view of dolls with vibrant hair immune to horrible regrowth or fading relative to that of human hair dyes. If I was as good a fashion blogger as Tavi Gevinson and had opportunities for interviews in my room I would seriously consider buying this set of dolls but unfortunately I can only find them individually on eBay.

Above is one of the few instances in which I admire the use of painted eyeshadow for these grossly disproportionate dolls; colour coordination and artistic flair transcends these play things into something more graceful and with quaint art status. The party hat reminds me of a photograph taken of Tavi Gevinson's bedroom in which there's a blue conical hat and written in marker is the phrase 'Space Commander'. I really want to get well acquainted with all possible Blythe forums and websites so someone can teach be the ways of doll hobby and Japanese style.

Despite the fact I still haven't finished cleaning my room and it's stuck in limbo between being young adult and angstyEtsy for the perfect outfits to show off a particular colour. Some blogs are dedicated to documenting the made up lives of their dolls, their new outfits and just about every aesthetic aspect of their existence. I've bookmarked Japanese books and sewing patterns for these dolls too in addition to the bare minimum of naked babes.

I have no idea how a doll can flicker between four options for eyeball colour, but I kind of dig they way the doll can change and adapt easily to an outfit. Some people go to great lengths to customise their dolls with hair re scalping, painted eyelids, eyeshadow, blush and lipstick in addition to small clothes and accessories for dolls they treat as children. While I would like to think I'm less prone to getting caught up in this hobby since I wasn't focused on dolls as a child, I suppose this denial of feminine pursuits had to resurface sometime in my life to bite me in the butt.


  1. No words in my mind to say something about this Blythe Doll. I am a huge fan of this doll and just collected my 16th Blythe at PIJ :D
    Its really superb, charming, gorgeous, Amazing, fabulous, awesome.... :D

  2. Love this post! I am SUCH a huge Blythe doll fan. :) I've been collecting since college years ago.