About This Project

Fabiola is an homage to all the glamorous Puerto Rican women in my family who moved to the US in the 1950s and how they rocked the bombshell fashions and dramatic makeup of the times in such distinctive ways. There was something so extra about how they inhabited the world. Could I capture that essence in a fashion doll? 

With Fabiola, I wanted to go back in time and create a story of a strong Latina woman making her mark in fashion. She is not meant to be a fashion history lesson, but more of a reimagining of a Latina woman in the forefront during this time. As far as the “of Hollywood” moniker – in the spirit of 30s fitness guru, Sylvia of Hollywood, and Frederick’s of Hollywood, I felt Fabiola needed the “of Hollywood” moniker too. What doesn’t sound glamorous after adding that to a name? I've created her listings to feel as if you are reading a vintage catalog for which she modeled.

I embarked on this project about 2 years ago, in 2018, without knowing how complex but ultimately rewarding it would be.  I knew I wanted to make a doll that felt as if she was plucked off the shelf during the 1950’s and early 60’s.  Not a doll with heavy articulation, but with beautiful lines and few joint seams so her curves stayed continuous.

I worked closely with several talented 3D modelers and sculptors who used my sketches and inspiration.  Finally, after months of refinement, Fabiola had the face and body I imagined. To manufacture her, I sought out the traditional doll factories of Spain. Not only could they achieve the vintage feel I wanted, since many are still using the traditional methods of manufacture, they are also known for their doll making.

Each doll is one-of-a-kind. Her faces are hand-painted by me and no two are exactly alike. Her signature makeup is severe and distinct. I personally love the look of bleached out eyebrows and specifically made the choice not to add eyebrows to most of the dolls.  Project whatever emotion you want on Fabiola— she remains inscrutable.

Her body is hand-buffed then highlighted with the finest gold dust to give extra shimmer, then sealed with gloss, as if she’s glowing in the sun.  Each doll is lovingly assembled with clothing sewn by talented seamstresses (not factories) and accessories, which for the most part, are made by me. The handiwork you see in the paint flourishes or in the sewn-by-hand final touches add personal charm to each creation.

So here she is—the glamorous, mysterious, and elusive Fabiola of Hollywood. I hope she speaks to both doll collectors and non-collectors alike.

Thanks for taking a look! 

Mike Buess