I met Stratos on Twitter [ @sandman_gr ] in an around our #dollchat – he has a great avatar of himself surrounded by bright blue water, check it out. In getting to chat we realized he was from Greece, yet another International Tonner collector. Because we have lately been trying to bring our fans insight into what it is like to collect Tonners around the world we invited him to write a little about himself and his collecting. So without further ado…Stratos!
My name is Stratos Bacalis, and I am a designer (interiors mostly, everything else whenever possible), living and working in Greece. Having studied fashion design, it was only a matter of time before becoming a passionate doll collector. Having played (like most kids that later started fashion design) with my mom’s dolls as a child, it was something I re-discovered in 2000, when I first laid my eyes on what would become the first of many dolls in my collection: Olivia Newton John as Sandy from Grease Franklin Mint doll. From then on, it became a passion. I already own 120-150 dolls. Already writing a blog for design, doing one for fashion dolls seemed like the natural thing to do.
Living in Greece makes it hard being a fashion doll collector. I get my dolls through the internet, either directly from the manufacturers (special editions) or from specialized e-shops. And there are so many problems: when there is a limited edition, if you are not quick enough to pre-order the dolls you want, you have to look for them on e-bay or the relevant forums, which usually means higher prices. Shipping costs are always a major factor to consider when ordering, as well as the possibility of paying customs fees, as most dolls come from the USA. And now, with the economy in shambles, it is even harder. Yes, I want to get all the new releases. But cost is always prohibitive. The prices depend on the edition size and how eccentric the outfit is. The material that the doll is made of also is a big factor. Sometimes having to sell some dolls to get others is an option, but usually what I buy stays home. What are my criteria for buying them? The combination of doll and outfit is a major one, although the garment definitely plays the most important part. But the doll has to “speak” to me.
A favourite hobby is photographing my collection: I have a mini studio with a lightbox for the photo shoots. I have even done one for the Indian edition of Grazia magazine, with Indian designer outfits. It was a unique experience with the highlight being that one of the outfits was designed and made by Lecoanet Hemant, whose collections I used to admire in the Haute Couture fashion week in Paris. I was so thrilled to be able to touch and style an original outfit of theirs! Having studied fashion design and pattern making, I would love to become a little more creative with my collection. There is a friend who is very talented in sewing and making accessories – and I am good at designing clothes (I think), so we have thought to start a fashion collection for dolls but stopped due to the financial crisis and the distance separating us. I do hope we can make it happen some time in the future. I have so many fashion designs in my portfolio!
Tonner dolls are a major part of my collection; they are also the majority of my 16-inch dolls. My first Tonner was the first fully articulated Signature Tyler Wentworth, elegant and savvy in her white shirt and little black skirt. Since then, lots of other Tonner dolls arrived home, most of them in the likeness of major movie stars like Vivien Leigh, Joan Crawford, Ava Gardner and more modern ones like Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Bryce Dallas Howard. Guys have their place as well, from Tobey Mc Guire as Spiderman to Daniel Craig. Comic book heroes like Batman and video game stars like Lara Croft complete the incredible puzzle that is Tonner dolls. My favourites are the three geisha dolls from the film «Memoirs Of A Geisha», the two «Chicago»Velma dolls and a special one: The Ghost of Christmas Future doll, from A Christmas Carol series. And my favourite sculpt? That’s easy: Daphne, hands down.
A special thanks to Stratos for giving us a little insight into his passion and talent. Be sure to visit him at his doll blog fashiondollchronicles.com and his design blog sandman-chronicles.com, more power to those with TWO blogs.