As a doll collector, I think I am pretty knowledgeable. I love to read so I read just about everything I can find about dolls and doll collecting. However, just when you think you’ve seen just about every doll there ever was, an unknown comes out to show you otherwise.
Such an occasion happened to me a few weeks ago. I was searching the internet for some illustration art I had seen and came across a doll I had never seen before. Part of the reason I hadn’t seen it is because it’s mostly known in France. The doll came about from illustrations by Edmund Kiraz. The dolls are known as La Parisienne de Kiraz.
Edmund Kiraz was a well known illustrator in France and then became known in the 70’s in the US for doing illustrations for Playboy magazine. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia.
Edmund Kiraz – Biography info from Wikipedia
Born in Cairo of Armenian descent, Kiraz began his career as a political cartoonist after emigrating to post-World War II Paris. In 1959, while he was working for the French magazine Jours de France, his boss, Marcel Dassault, had him move from politics to humor. As time passed, Kiraz developed a distinctive and humorous pictorial style of representing women that he called Les Parisiennes: very thin, with long legs, small breasts, and a pouty face.
His cartoons are often not only humorous but slightly naughty or erotic, and since 1970 he has contributed regularly to Playboy Magazine.
His official website – Kiraz
So I started searching for information on these hard to find dolls. They are very stylized, just like the art of Mr. Kiraz. They are indeed very hard to find for sale. And most of the time they are located in France. I was not able to find out any information on exactly how many dolls were made, how many outfits, etc. I did find a page by Marc Bouyssou that was gratefully in English that had a lot of great information on the dolls and great photos. I asked Marc how he started collecting these dolls:
“I began collecting dolls and Action figures fifteen years ago.The first ones were GI toys related, then I began to see what was produced around the world and I tried to find toys variations from every country, including dolls, especially Tressy.
Over the years my collection increased but some important dolls were missing into my collection: the ones from France, my own country! Many dolls were produced in France during the sixties and late seventies, before these French factories closed because of the oil crisis. Among them Bella, Gégé, Raynal or Petitcollin produced many fashion dolls which are nowadays really sought after by collectors as they have unique features and clothes. It was easy to find these dolls, they are called Caprice, or Mily or Tadie Muz, and they joined my collection.
But one doll was missing, she was known as the Holy Grail in France, La Parisienne de Kiraz. She was supposed to be so rare and so difficult to find that I didn’t even dare to search her for many years!
But one day, five years ago, I found one and fell completely in love with her specific beauty!
This doll was created after Edmond Kiraz’s drawings, she is a kind of caricature, very funny and the exact image of her paper counterpart, the kind of free woman, egocentric and self concerned but full charm! Some other Kiraz dolls have joined me since I found the first one, and each one seems to be unique!”
Here’s a link to Marc’s website - Poupee Kiraz
The dolls are definitely unique in their appearance. Their eyes are cat-like. Their nose is so small it’s almost non-existent, and they have very small pouty mouths. The body is long and lean along with the legs and arms. The outfits are very stylish and the outfits I’ve seen in photos are taken from illustrations he has drawn. I think that they fit right in with today’s fashion dolls.
The quest has begun! I am now searching to find one to make my own. J (A previous blog of mine talked about the “quest” which all collectors experience at one time or another.)
Do you have a Kiraz doll? If so, please share a photo or information. I have written to the Kiraz website to see if they have any info to share with us and will keep you updated of any responses I receive.
Thanks for reading!