A few months back, my lovely friend, Ursula, of the blog Room to Bloom e-mailed me about a talented designer called Alice Mary Lynch, who had created a collection of dolls to adorn the walls of famed fashion designer, Alice Temperly’s store in Bruton Street, London. I was instantly drawn to the beauty and intricate detailing of these dolls and I was awe struck when I visited the exhibition in the store.
Alice Mary Lynch grew up with an artistic background in Somerset. After completing a fashion design degree from Kingston university, she spent 9 years in Paris, working for top designers such as Dior and Galliano.
She has currently relocated back to Somerset with her husband and two small children. Her dolls are all bespoke made and come framed in wonderful glazed boxes for display.
I felt compelled to interview this amazing designer, whose dolls were also featured in this month’s UK Elle Decoration magazine.
1. How long did it take for you to complete each Temperley doll?
Each doll took between 2 days and a week, depending on size, detail, embellishment. I was beading the Arctic Harlequin’s trousers for many a day and night, I love doing all the beading and embellishment, it’s very meditative.
2. Are they mini replica outfits of the original?
No, Alice Temperley was very open about what the dolls could be, so I worked with the fabrics from her collection, to create something entirely original. Her collection was brilliantly inspired by The Ballet Russe, so I used that as a starting point along with my own love of nature and fairy tales.
3 What is your designing process?
I have a daydream, or a vision in my mind which NEEDS to come to life, there might be an image which touches me somehow, a lone ballet dancer in a darkened room from another time or a distant bird flying high in the sky.
If I am working on a commission, I discuss ideas with my clients, sketching first, then the dolls evolve from there. I love it because a single stitch can suddenly bring a mischievous glint to an eye and it’s magic as you watch the character emerge and wonder who is actually in control! I am driven by instinct and feeling, a love of imperfection and fragility rather than actual designing and processes. However, when I am working on commissions, I like my clients to have an input and feel involved as the work develops so that the end result is something personal to them too.
4. What was it like working for big fashion names like Dior, Galliano, Victoria Beckham and Rykiel?
Fantastic fun and and incredibly hard work, full of theatre, farce, some very strange people and some wonderfully special ones. I have some great memories, particularly at John Galliano where every day was different, exciting and slightly bonkers.
But, whilst being very happy to continue to collaborate with great designers, I am also very content to have found a workplace I can call my own. Where I can have my own time and space to think work through, rather than being surrounded by the constant whirlwind of that dearly beloved funny old fashion frenzy.
5. Do you have a favourite fashion designer?
Alexander McQueen’s designs combine craft, theatre and fashion perfectly. I also like the strength and humour of Miuccia Prada. And the poetry and romanticism of Jeanne Lanvin.
6. Have you ever thought of designing your own clothes range?
Yes, maybe a childrenswear and accessories label one day, who knows….
7.The dolls you make are exquisite. Have you ever considered venturing into the commercial mass market?
I have thought about it, but I LOVE making the dolls myself. I would find it hard to hand the needle and thread over to someone else, and part of the magic of what I do, is that each one is different, unique. I wouldn’t want to lose that. But I am currently working on ideas to expand in some way.
8. What are your future goals, any plans for a bricks and mortar shop
or will it be online?
Maybe a shop one day, it would be fun to create a whole doll wonderland somewhere! I have loads of ideas, but my two little girls occupy a lot of my time too, so, I take each day as it comes. Maybe I’ll get them stitching when they are a bit older, it can be a family business…! The dolls are currently available in the Temperley London flagship, Merchant Archive or direct from me.
Hope you have all enjoyed this interview. Do pop in to see the doll exhibition if you can. Wishing everyone a wonderful Thursday. x