It won’t be long now before we receive the new Sylvia Natterer dolls from Petitcollin. I was so thrilled that Sylvia made contact with Petalina to let us know about her new range, but so disappointed that we had to wait until June 2015 before we would receive them as they look so incredibly beautiful! You’ll see photos of the dolls throughout this article together with prices and how to reserve a doll should you want to.
At Petalina we have stocked a range of Sylvia Natterer dolls for a few years, since she partnered with Kathe Kruse to produce a range of Minouche and mini Minouche dolls. I can understand why Kathe Kruse would have opted not to produce the larger Finouche dolls because they would be too similar to their successful Elea and Sophie dolls. So the Minouche and mini Minouche were my first experience of Sylvia’s style and I was blown away! The dolls were so exquisite, beautifully sculpted with adorable faces and the clothes were divine thanks to the skill of the Kathe Kruse factory. I’m not a doll collector and the only doll I have purchased from Petalina is Mini Minouche Dita. I just couldn’t bear for her to go and this time I learned not to sell her should a customer ring up pleading. In the past I tried to keep a Gotz Steiff Nora but a desperate customer got the better of me on the phone one day, and I’ve regretted my generosity ever since.
Sylvia Natterer’s Minouche dolls for Kathe Kruse 2014
This year I was disappointed to see that Kathe Kruse had discontinued their Minouche dolls, hence the opening for a partnership with Petitcollin who are making the 34cm Minouche and the larger 48cm standing doll Finouche. Kathe Kruse have kept the mini Minouche in their range as they have been very successful, not surprising as they are so incredibly gorgeous and perfect for children from 18 months up.
Mini Minouche Dita starred in a photo story as Gotz Luisa’s little sister. Here she can be seen taking advantage of the peace and quietbeneath the table while her sister and her friends chatter on ignoring her!
Having worked with Petitcollin for a few years now I am very familiar with their ranges of dolls. They are the last doll manufacturer to be making many of their products in France and have a range of baby dolls and child dolls of which Petalina has a selection. As soon as I saw the new Sylvia Natterer dolls I knew that they were going to be very different to anything Petitcollin had done before and was fascinated to see that the new ranges were to be made in Spain and not France.
A selection of the 2015 Petitcollin Marie Francoise dolls. These dolls are made using traditional methods in France.
So which company is making the new Natterer dolls for Petitcollin? The majority of doll makers in Spain make soft-bodied dolls with a few venturing into all vinyl child dolls, but these tend to be swivel joints. I’m not aware of any all vinyl dolls with articulated joints being made in Spain at the moment. Also, the painting of the Sylvia Natterer style eyes requires a great deal of skill, so who would be producing them? Then I remembered White Balloon! Do you remember those gorgeous play dolls called Holly and Molly designed by Marie Luise Schulz? These dolls were my experience of White Balloon and were one of the first ranges of play dolls we sold when we launched as Bambolina. I adored them because their painted faces and fully articulated vinyl bodies reminded me of my Sasha dolls I had as a child. Pictured below is a Holly doll dressed up in a Kathe Kruse dress and Schildkrot shoes. Sadly she can’t be posed because her elastic has almost given up! Time for a trip to hospital I think.
White Balloon Holly wearing a Kathe Kruse dress and Schildkrot shoes
White Balloon used to make artist dolls for lots of different designers in Spain, including Sylvia Natterer. Below you can see a photo taken from a White Balloon trade catalogue showing a range of Sylvia’s Minouche and mini Minouche dolls. Like many other doll makers White Balloon tried to keep costs down by moving production to China but they struggled to achieve the quality they needed and this, together with the global recession, resulted in White Balloon ceasing trading in 2009. But now of course I am really intrigued and can’t help but wonder if there is a connection between White Balloon, or the old White Balloon workforce and the Petitcollin Sylvia Natterer dolls. If you know anything I would love to hear from you. It means so much that more doll manufacturing is being done in Europe – better for the European people and the planet.
A page of a white Balloon catalogue showing Sylvia Natterer dolls from pre Petalina days
So what are the new dolls going to be like?
I wasn’t lucky enough to be at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in January to see the dolls first hand, but I did see some photographs on facebook taken by the German magazine Puppen & Spilzeug and they have given me permission to share the photos with you. Aren’t they stunning? We are very grateful to the magazine for letting us feature them.
Sylvia Natterer was available to chat to on the Petitcollin stand at the Toy Fair
A doll that Sylvia has taken photos of and used on Twitter features the girl in the pink coat. Not available this year, and neither is the 48cm boy, but are they dolls being considered for 2016?
Finouche Smilla has much paler hair than the official launch photo suggests but isn’t she dreamy as a result?
Finouche Alice has the loveliest freckles
Minouche Joelle tucked up in bed
A close up of Minouche Joelle
If you would like to subscribe to the Puppen & Spilzeug magazine you can visit their website here, or follow them on facebook here. The magazine is a German publication, but Facebook translates their posts, and their photos speak volumes on their own anyway and it’s definitely one for the doll collectors out there to follow.
Petitcollin always use natural fabrics for their dolls clothes with beautiful designs in gorgeous colours, and the subtlety and good taste of the fabrics means that they lend themselves very well to the interesting and stylish outfits created for Sylvia’s dolls. I am guessing that the clothes will have been made in Tunisia as this is where Petitcollin usually make their dolls clothes and the shoes come from China.
We are expecting the dolls to arrive in June and hopefully they will all come together, but orders from Petitcollin don’t always arrive in an orderly manner and patience is required. Below are the stock photos provided by Petitcollin so that you can see what we are expecting. The only doll we haven’t ordered is Luc. We have also ordered the outfits separately and they may also arrive at the same time.
A close up of Finouche Smilla
Minouche Samira (left) and Finouche Alice (right)
Minouche Natalie (left) and Minouche Joelle (right)
Minouche Jeanne and Minouche Luc
As you can see there is a little variation between the photos provided by Petitcollin and the photos taken at the Toy Fair by Puppen & Spielzeug. As soon as the dolls arrive I can see my getting the camera out and will let everyone know their true colouring.
First posted on Petalina’s original blog on 11/5/15