Some time ago I have told you about the OOAK doll designers from The Black Swan Company. Francesco Catalano, the principal designer, has donated a beautiful Silkstone OOAK doll for the charity at the Madrid Fashion Doll Show and he has also gracefully accepted to answer some questions for me.
I hope you’ll enjoy them as I did.
Hello everybody, I am Francesco Catalano, owner and designer at the Black Swan Company. I am a collector since the age of 5, I own a doll museum and I founded the Black Swan Company in 2010. During the university years I started creating dolls for myself and thanks to the hard lessons of my grandmother I learned all the tricks of tailoring.
Tailors like my grandmother have real high standars, she realized that I was natural in sewing and she expected very much from me, pushing me over the limits. The Black Swan Co. maybe would not even exists without her lessons.
Mary Deneb, my beautiful mother and business partner, had a strong passion for hairdressing since she was very little so she decided to put her talent on my dolls.
The final result is The Black Swan company.
What happened next was unbelievable, the Black Swan doll was a worldwide success but the White Swan reached even higher records. The first prototype was sold for 1.300 dollars and since then our dolls have been requested all over the world. Sometimes I think that I didn’t found the Black Swan company, the company has been founded by our customers who gave us the name “the guys of the black swan”.
1. How did you get involved with MFDS?
I have been involved in Madrid Fashion Doll Show by my dear friend Monica del Castillo. She is the event organizer of the Convention and she introduced me a couple of months ago in her Facebook club “Coleccionistas de Fashion Dolls en Madrid”. From the very beginning, something special happened between me and the members of the group, impossible to describe with words. They are very warm people and they know how to make you feel home, I have never seen such support and true passion in my life. Today this group is one of the firsts to know about our new dolls and we always make sure that all the Black Swan company dolls are posted there. When Monica told me about the Madrid convention last month I was excited, for personal reason I could not be there in person but when Monica told me about charity auctions I fell in love with the cause.
2. What inspired you to create the doll for the charity auction?
This year we released for the first time the White Swan in Silkstone but we produced only blonde versions. We decided to donate a special occasion doll, for the first time on a Silkstone body we realized a rare Brunette version. The White Swan and Black Swan are dolls who completely changed our lives, this inspired us to choose one of them in order to change the life of someone else, even only for one night. I would love to do a personal consideration. The heart of a child is the base of what he will become as an adult, childhood is the most important part of our lives and a lot of our future depends on it. I was a very lucky child but there are children who don’t even have a toy or a gift for Christmas. I strongly believe that the initiative of Madrid charity auctions to raise money to buy toys for children in need just makes me feel a shiver who runs down my spine. Dear children, I am very sensitive to your pain: this White Swan, symbol of purity and unconditional love, is dedicated to you.
3. How long did it take you to create this doll? Tell us more about the process of creating a doll like this.
Actually we did the doll very fast. We worked day and night and we had to stop all the orders from our site and say sorry to customers who already commissioned dolls from us. I was not even able to go on vacation this year, not even for a day, because of orders and that is the reason why we start working on the donated doll only one week ago. We were very late! Monica told me that a lot of collectors who are attending the convention want to see the doll in person, so we put together all our efforts to make this possible. We were like an assembly line, every one of us did a different part of the doll. Mary Deneb did the hairdressing, I did all the outfit and other two assistants helped me apllying the Swarovski Crystals and enhancing the embroidery. When the doll was completed I personally cared of the facial make-over and painted her face. I am particularly proud of the work I did on her lips and we all are proud of the entire work as well.
4. Any sneak peaks about future plans for The Black Swan Company?
Talking about our future plans, we have a big project to carry on. We want to explore the entire world of classical Ballet and Prima Ballerina, with big attention to all details and trying to respect the authentic story and original costumes and tutu. Something that nobody knows about me is that from the age of 10 until the age of 24 I grew up inside a conservatory of music. I am a pianist and flautist and I had the chance to hang out at Opera, theathers, concerts and Ballets. This influenced me as much as being a collector and then a designer. I also noticed during my years of collecting that the world of Prima Ballerina has never been explored enough by any other artist or brand and it is a big honor for us to bring something new to the collectors world with a complete inspection of all the Prima Ballerina characters.
Prima Ballerina is not our only particularity. Like our logo suggests, feathers are part of almost every new creation and characterize ourself and our dolls. It is the “fabric” that we most love and use and this is why we are happy to announce that we are launching two new lines of dolls: a new series of “Showgirls” (some of them will be inspired by Bob Mackie drawings) and “Carnivals” who gonna be a series based on the majestic costumes worn by Rio de Janeiro Brazilians during Mardi Gras.
5. Tell something about you and a hello to my readers.
Hope you enjoy our future projects and stay tuned with us!
Someone says it is just plastic… but this plastic can really contain an entire life…
I hope you enjoyed this interview and stary tuned ’cause I have lots more interesting ones for you.