Dolled-up and oh so pretty

Dolled-up and oh so pretty

The 'Queen of Dolls' has turned a girl's hobby into an art

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Dolled-up and oh so pretty_L
Photo: May Tse
Fashioning little custom-designed outfits for dolls is becoming a lost art in this age of mass-produced toys. But not for Linda Rick.

Dubbed the "Queen of Dolls," Rick is a top designer for Precious Moments, a leading US giftware company. Her dazzling doll outfit designs would befit any real-life top model.

She designs 400 to 500 doll outfits a year. "I travel a lot to different places around the world to work out product deals, manage my products, attend product launches and signing events," she said. "But I never stop making dolls. They are always on my mind. I often dream about dolls in my sleep."

Last week she was in Hong Kong to meet with local fashion designers who had taken part in the Precious Moments Doll Design Competition.

"I was deeply impressed by the designs. The designers were very thoughtful. They dressed themselves to match the outfit of their dolls. It was really special," she said. "I think their designs have a lot of Asian flair and reflect where they come from."

One of the competitors Bufee Leung Hoi-yee, a fashion design student at the Hong Kong School of Design, said creating outfits for dolls, not people, gave her a whole new perspective.

"The dolls are kind of bulky compared to a human body so the cuts have to be very different from those for people," she said. "The clothes are also very small so I often have to use a needle instead of a sewing machine."

Bufee said Rick's creations were a real inspiration to her. "They are amazing," she said. "Every doll is exquisite and eye-catching and yet they stick closely with a common theme."

Rick became interested in fashioning new clothes for her dolls at a young age. Her mother taught her how to sew, knit and crochet. The girl began grooming and redressing her dolls down to the finest detail.

Her designs came to the attention of Precious Moments, where she now has her own product line.

"I never draw sketches for my designs," she noted. "When I have an idea and I will go straight to finding the fabrics and knitting and sewing the outfits. I guess I just sew it faster than I could draw it."

Rick, who is a fan of fairy tales, loves Disney animations. "I make a lot of dolls for Disney," she said. "People there called me 'Lindaerella' because my favourite fairy tale is Cinderella."

Rick said she became enamoured with the story of Cinderella as a girl and still draws inspiration from it. Just as Cinderella pursued her dreams from rags to riches, Rick has never given up on pursuing hers to make a career out of designing dolls.

Everyone supported her in pursuing doll design - except her two sons. "When my boys were little, they would not dare tell their friends that I made dolls because they thought it was so girly," Rick said.

She added with a chuckle: "They couldn't stop wondering why their mother was making dolls instead of toy trains or toy cars."

Precious Moments dolls by Linda Rick will be on show at the Precious Moments exhibition at East Point City. The exhibition begins on November 13.

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