“You are never too mature to play with dolls”. Word of Charles Fegen and Desmond Lingard, the wizards behind the phenomenon of Superdoll Collectibles
Two creative linked by an unbridled passion for dolls, which led to the creation of the Sybarites, fully jointed resin dolls and articulated, hand-made in their laboratory in London. Adorned with clothes and accessories inspired by the catwalks and haute couture, are loved by collectors who are willing to pay, it is rumored up to 20,000 pounds per piece.
Can you tell us about your life before the doll adventure?
Charles: I don’t really remember a life without dolls being part of it. But professionally, I started out in childrenswear and moved into bridal and occasion wear. Here I found my passion and proceeded to Couture specializing in bridal corsetry and show work. Desmond: From the moment I left school it was all about Fashion I really love the technical aspect of fashion construction, to me it’s like sculpture in fabric, but I always had dolls in some form or another in my life.
What was your childhood like?
Charles: My childhood was very loving and happy. we moved homes a lot due to my father’s work, from small town to small town. Once I was old enough, I headed straight for the city! Desmond: I had a happy childhood but felt frustrated a lot of the time due to being ‘stuck’ in a small town when all I wanted was the bright lights of the city. I was far too creative for my environment.
What was your dream?
Charles: I remember being in school and being asked this question. I wanted to be a fashion designer or a modelling agent. Desmond: I wanted to be an artist. Everybody around me told me I was going to be an artist.
Your first memory about dolls?
Charles: My mother’s sister was 2nd generation Barbie and I have very vivid memories of her dolls and their millions of outfits. My grandfather took me to a doll shop aged 5 yrs and I was allowed to choose my own doll. Of course as a 5 year old boy, I basically ruined the doll completely and lost her eventually. Desmond: My cousins had a lot of fashion dolls and I used to make clothes for their dolls all the time in great detail, and sew the clothes onto a sheet of card like display packets. I even remember making a pair of wedge high heels for my cousin’s doll out of erasers.
Did you have any favourite dolls or toys growing up?
Charles: Dolls. My sister’s dolls, my cousins’ dolls, my friends’ dolls any one’s dolls. I have never had much interest in any toys other than those with high heels, long hair and immaculate wardrobes. Desmond: I didn’t have any dolls but made and had a huge collection of marionettes as a child. I use to make them very glamorous with outrageous evening dresses.
A toy that you never had and you always desired.
Charles: Fashion Dolls. I have since amassed a gorgeous collection of vintage fashion dolls and now own all the dolls I desired as a child. Desmond: As a child I loved the TV show ‘Thunderbirds’ and ‘the Muppets’, I always wanted one or all of those puppets.
How and where did you two meet?
Charles: we met at fashion school. Des: Mutual friends introduced us to each other when we were studying Fashion. Where do you get your creativity? charles: I would like to think I was born with it. I cannot think of another plausible answer. Desmond: My Mom, she would always be sewing or creating something, some good, some not so, LOL.
Do you have a favourite doll? If yes, can you tell us why?
Charles: Yes, the Sybarites, our current dolls we manufacture. I have always had dolls in my life, but now I am fortunate enough to be surrounded daily by; in my mind’s eye, the ultimate fashion doll. Desmond: I LOVE our dolls, the Sybarites, but I keep changing my mind over who is my favourite.
Give us an address to buy vintage dolls?
Charles: Ebay.com. It’s the world’s doll shop! It has killed off the independent vintage doll dealer, just as the internet has killed off the antique & vintage collectors’ clubs. Desmond: It’s more fun going out hunting for dolls. Flea markets and brick-a-brack shops always have something doll related, you just have to be at the right place at the right time.