There’s a (relatively) new Barbie® designer making jaws drop with his creations. His name is Carlyle Nuera. Okay, he’s not exactly a newbie. He had been envisioning and creating Barbie® dolls for the “play line” before joining the Barbie Collector team last year. He debuted with his first collector doll by bringing back the hardly-ever-used Kira face mold with Mutya™ Barbie® doll of the Global Glamor™ Collection. This is one of the most well-thought-out and authentic representations of a Filipina in national dress (or a dress inspired by traditional designs) since the Patis Tesoro dolls of the ‘90s, which were made for the Philippine market and sold in high end department stores there.
Having Philippine roots must have helped, but beyond that, Carlyle seems attuned to what many collectors look for in dolls: unique details. Take, for instance, the Spanish abanico or folding hand fan that Mutya™ is clutching. He also has a fresh interpretation of the butterfly sleeves popularized by Imelda Marcos, the Philippines' own Evita clone. Whatever your politics may be, I suppose, the cuteness of the butterfly sleeve cannot be denied as it's still used in Philippine formal dress today.
2015 is shaping up to be a huge year for Carlyle, who announced his next Barbie Collector line and revealed the first doll in the series to national convention attendees in Arlington, Virginia. The line is called Harlem Theatre™, and the first doll is Claudette Gordon™, inspired by the 1920’s “Harlem renaissance” and recent pop culture and fashion trends that have given a nod towards that era. The Claudette Gordon™ doll features a new face sculpt, something collectors crave, including myself. I mean, who wants to add a blonde Mackie face mold doll (or three) to their collection every year? Not I. Anyway, apart from her fabulous dropped waist peacock feather-inspired dress, articulated arms and legs (yay for posing ability), 1920’s headband, and beaded necklaces; she also has a carbon microphone—the perfect accessory for a star of the Harlem Theatre™. This doll was released just the other day, and I can’t wait to get mine.
Finally, on this Carlyle Appreciation Day, I want to bring attention to his set of seven OOAK Barbie and Ken dolls created for this year’s Madrid Fashion Doll Show charity auction. These dolls are called the Nineties New Era collection. I’m seriously considering taking out a home equity loan or something because these dolls are all kinds of awesome! Okay, maybe I won’t take out a loan, my husband would kill me, but I would be so envious of the lucky duck that will get to take these plastic hotties home. According to Carlyle, the dolls are inspired by ‘90s fashion ads, in keeping with the Madrid convention’s “’90s Vogue” theme. He chose a color palette of mint, coral, lavender and white, and interpreted nineties street wear in a rather inspired mix of textures and silhouettes.
In case anyone missed it, Carlyle Nuera has arrived, and I expect great things from him. In the meantime, we can speculate on what’s next for the Harlem Theatre™ line.