Saturday, October 4, 2008
Remember the good old days, when dolls were assembled from felt and flannel rather than from skin-toned plastic and tiny screws? OK, neither do I. That’s precisely why the warm, undeniable “dollishness” of Simpli Jesssi’s eclectic and ever-sanguine handmade figures of everyday people and animals is such an irresistible quality. Characters like these are virtual antiques, being that ever since the dawn of the long-legged, ultra-humanoid, ridiculously glam Barbie, hardly any dollmaker relies on imagination anymore (except in deciding which leather miniskirt ensemble would be sufficiently trashy for Barbie this Christmas season). Frankly, it’s a whole lot easier to feel kinship to the ruddy-cheeked Astrid, the irascible Ulf, the urbanesque, mustachioed Juan or the phlegmatic Timo than it is to connect with supermodel figurines anyway. Dolls like these may never find their way to a Walmart shelf (a compliment in itself), but they’ll cuddle their way into any kid’s heart. In the end, of course, it’s the cozy factor: When it comes to which doll my children will hold close on a cold night, you can keep your idols of bronzed Californians. The soft comfort of a Scandinavian in plaid will do just fine.