Little Gloriana (Featuring American Girl and Ilona Szwarc)

Little Gloriana (Featuring American Girl and Ilona Szwarc)

Poppin' Color Palettes. #bubblegum

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……originally this was just going to be a single fun item – the scary/cute Instagram animation above – asking if girls actually dressed like their dolls, rather than the other way round: and if this made the girl as potentially disquieting as we’re led to believe dolls are……

Then I followed up on the brand – Little Gloriana – and was hooked on their twirling skirts and dresses: more so than the rather tired conceit of girl-plus-mini-me-doll that American Girl has rather done to death: you’ve probably seen (Warsaw-born and Los Angeles resident) photographer Ilona Szwarcs long-term photo-essay on the phenomenon:





Lexi, 2012



……and let me repeat the header, just to compare it to the fine art portrait above by Ilona, in order to reiterate the truism that life follows art – this below being just a normal brand promo:


Anyway – as I said – I was attracted to the brand, because being basically a mini-me girl’n’doll outfit concept, they have to concentrate on the full, twirlable outfits that dolls traditionally wear – as one of the captions they’ve attached to a Facebook image says: “”It’s too twirly,” said no little girl, ever.” There are lovely tunic dresses as well, but unsurprisingly few jeans or leggings:


……this being one of the best-sellers from its particular collection (tho’ notice the doll’s dress is much fuller – there’s something about a doll in a pencil-skirt that screams “Barbie!!!!” – and Little Gloriana are definitely tuning into a different vibe). The company gets its name from one of the co-founders, Gloriana Borillo (the other being Ana Valero), and everything is, amazingly, sourced in the Manhattan garment district.

The difference from American Girl is obviously that they don’t sell dolls – just the matching outfits – and not all have a mini-me element anyway:







17201233_1215948468522228_6729980636828389329_n (1)













……and strangely only the last model and supporting doll are wearing shoes….

This isn’t the place for a debate about the nature/nurture aspects of girls playing with dolls – tho’ it’s interesting that while the American Girl company has fully embraced differing ethnicity, they haven’t even started getting into the gender politics that children and their play objects has generated…….and since Little Gloriana just dresses the dolls their customers already have, it sidesteps that particular problem……

[After the post was published, Christian indicated two really lovely additional images showing much older examples of the same phenomenon, from the History in Photos blog (see comment below for links):

……we think of big dolls as being a relatively recent development – but these are dolls you could really have a tea party with (look at the little girls in the background carrying dolls almost as big as themselves) – and I wonder if the Chinese (?) girl had only Caucasian dolls to choose from…..]

Shake off the Monday Blues with two NEW Mini & Me Styles. #littlegloriana #minime

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4 thoughts on “Little Gloriana (Featuring American Girl and Ilona Szwarc)

    1. Thanks Christian – wonderfully good formats, as well as lovely, informative photos: I suppose when a lot of children’s clothes were being made at home (or by a neighbouring seamstress), running off matching outfits for dolls from left-over material was probably quite common – I’d just never thought of it….I’ll add them tomorrow….

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