Irina and Marina Skvortsova are a Russian sister duo who create unique and conversation starting dolls for both adults and children. The pair divide the roles of their business, with Marina creating the dolls, and Irina designing the costumes. The popularity of their dolls stems from the meticulous levels of craftsmanship behind each one – with the ladies paying particular attention to current beauty and fashion trends.
The sisters have recently gained recognition for their collaboration with clothing designer Anna Gavruishina, producing mini replicas of Anna’s ‘Girls just wanna have fun’ collection for their dolls. They have also participated in several exhibits across Russia, including the recent Moscow Doll Show.
1. What was it about dolls that inspired you to start a family business?
That’s a hard question, it just happened! As is quite common, it started as hobby and became an essential part of our lives. We used to play a lot with dolls in our childhood, so they were an important part of it. Marina always loved dolls as a subject for art, and Irina in terms of them being models for outfits. Marina was inspired by BJD Dolls and dreamt of making her own dolls, and Irina was inspired by the fashion. Eventually, we combined our skills and decided to do something for ourselves.
Our father also helps us, he’s responsible for the furniture that we use to prop them. He creates different things from wood for our dolls, going between different classic and modern styles depending on our ideas.
2. Your recent exhibit at the Doll Show in Moscow was very fashion orientated. Where do you get the inspiration for your looks?
Inspiration is everywhere, just one small thing can drive your creativity! We are continuously following the latest trends in make-up, fashion and interior design. We get a lot of ideas from those topics. For this particular show, inspiration came from furniture. We had created special chairs for our dolls, and the colours and shapes of the chairs gave us inspiration for the collection. We called this collection Cosmic Girl.
3. The make-up and attention to detail on each doll is very precise, how long does each doll take to create?
If you know what you’re doing, it doesn’t take too much time, about 2 days for each doll. It really depends on the difficulty level of the make-up and blushing details on the body! Building the initial idea into an image takes time, however, the most time is spent in the creation of the new face, new molds, etc. For now, we have just four different face types, but we’ll be creating more in future.
We model the dolls using 3D technology, and that takes a lot of time!
4. You have a healthy number of Instagram followers, and doll accounts on the platform seem to be trending well right now. Why do you think the doll market is currently driving so much interest?
Dolls are definitely a type of contemporary art! They combine so many different kinds of art, such as sculpture, paintings, fashion, hairstyle art, jewellery art and so on! Now, doll designers are trying to change stereotypes about dolls. Having one is becoming very trendy.
At present time, it is so easy to find dolls with different styles, and you can play with them or use them as a part of the interior design. There’s so much technology behind the industry. We use 3D technology to create our dolls and accessories them. We try to use modern technology and be up to date, whilst still putting a lot of care into the quality and beauty of them.
5. As a sister duo, how do you ensure that personal connections don’t interfere with your work process?
We’ve been good with each other from childhood. There’s four years difference between us, so we have never been competitors, we were even a band at one point. Firstly, we are sisters, and secondly, we are business partners. We know each other very well, and it helps in our work, as it makes it easy to find compromise. Of course, we have a conflicts time to time, but usually they help to create something new and push ourselves out of our comfort zone!
And just for fun …
6. What’s been the most fun project you’ve done with your dolls so far?
We are fans of TV show Games of Thrones and did a cosplay theme around it, creating our own Mother of Dragons. That was cool. We also held a contest and got a lot of cool artwork from the entrants, which was really fun! We got a lot of positive feedback from it.
7. If you could collaborate with any fashion designer or make-up artist, who would it be and why?
Oh, we have a long list of people we would be crazy happy to collaborate with. The most wanted would be Alexandr Mcqeen, but he is not with us anymore …
We dream of having a romantic collection with Maria Grazia and Chiuri Pierpaolo Piccioli from Valentino, an Avant garde collection with Japanese designer Jenya Watanabe, a fantasy collection with Josep Font from Delpozo and anything from our beloved Raf Simons! You should stop us because we could about fashion forver!
8. Have you had any doll disasters?
We always have small disasters before every exhibition; not sleeping, finishing something in a hurry, and promising each other that it will be the last time and next time we will end it.
9. What are some small things that make your day better?
Small things … mmm maybe coffee and chocolate. Listening to music and watching new episodes of TV shows. Sometimes we’ll play with the dolls a little, like change their clothes and create some new photos.
10. What question would you most like to know the answer to?
Did we choose to create dolls or did dolls chose us to create them?
Check out the designers’ latest work on their Instagram page.