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Designer’s profile: Emilia Couture

January 8, 2011

Hi! Please introduce yourself

My name is Emilia Nieminen, I live in Finland and I’m 30 years old.


How did you discover FR Dolls?

It was on 2006 while I was studying in China when I first got interested in dolls. I had been hunting for Momokos in Hong Kong for my sister when I realised there was such a thing as adult doll collecting. I started googling for doll photos and saw my very first FR doll: Capricious Natalia from the Miami collection. It was love at first sight. The high cheekbones, breast muscles and collar bones simply blew me away.

When  did you buy your first FR?

Summer 2006 I think. I bought 3 dolls on the same go: Queen of the Hive Natalia, Urban Outfitting Nadja and Perfect in Paris Misaki.

How many FR do you own?

Umm… I don’t know. LOL. I have to count. I think I passed hundred at some point but now I’ve been downsizing with a hard hand. Rights now my FR, NF and Homme collection consists of 44 dolls, but there are a couple hybrids included. Most are OOAK.

Who is your favorite FR character?

That’s a hard one. The factory faces I love the most are Eugenia and Agnes, but the ones I love to repaint the most are Nadja/Colette, Adele and Giselle. I feel they are the most versatile.

What do you like the most about collecting FR?

Repainting, making dioramas and shooting photo stories. And of course there is the fashion design, but as I’m starting my own business soon and this part of the hobby will turn into work it’s a bit different. I hope the hobby will become a good job instead of the job ruining a good hobby. 😉

Where  do  you store them?

I keep some boxes to store the fashions and I like to keep things organized, but all my dolls are always on display either in a show case or in my humongous city diorama and doll house.

What does your photography  / doll space space look like?

At the moment my dolly corner resides under my bed. I know that sounds weird, but as the bed is elevated into 2meter height it gives a nice 4 square meters of space which is completely taken my the city diorama. There is a 4 storey doll house in FR scale and another building with just the façade and a staircase. The square is paved with printed cobblestones that turn into a regular driveway over the corner where the 6th scale car is parked. The walls are covered with poster size prints of street views from Paris and Stockholm. Pushed into a far corner I have the classic and simple Ikea glass show case for my Sybarites and BJDs. I take all my FR photos in the diorama and build extra sets when necessary.

When  did you start designing -How did you learn to do it?

Interest in fashion and costume design came to me at a very early age. Costume play was my favourite game as a child and as a teenager I designed costumes for the town theatre. Later I became somewhat of a fashionista and I wanted to study fashion design. However, when the choice was upon me I decided to study business instead thinking that inspiration and design was something that came from within and couldn’t be taught. Of course techniques such as pattern making could and should be learned in school and being self taught is a bit of a hindrance. I’m dreadful at sewing and absolutely hate labour with repetition so I only enjoy creating the original and then never want to make the same design again. I did study fashion drawing in Shanghai University, but that’s it really. Everything else is just live and learn.

What inspires your work?

Everything I see and experience really. It could be a divine collection by some of my favourite designers like McQueen or Galliano; or a new fabric I find; or something I saw in a dream. I usually keep a notepad and pen next to my bed because sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with an inspiration; or it comes to me just in the moment of falling asleep and I just have to draw some notes.

What is your work rhythm? How do you like to work?

Inspiration isn’t something I can force, so it all comes in phases. When I don’t feel like sewing I repaint or build dioramas etc. I really like it that inside the doll collecting hobby there are so many different things one can do: fashion, furniture and interior design, make up, hairstyling and story telling. It’s pure creation and I love it

When you work on custom commissions, do your clients usually have specific requests or do they give you free hand?

I actually prefer the clients to take part in the creation on commissions. I use inspiration photos to get to the same page with the client and keep the client posted with process pics so they can influence the final design. Commissions are wonderful because they are a combined effort and bring me closer to the client. I’ve gained so many wonderful friends through commission projects.

Any advice to those who would like to start their own designs?

Believe in yourself and practice practice practice. Don’t hide your early works, but bravely post them for constructive criticism. I know I wouldn’t believe in myself today without the support from all my dollie friends on flickr and forums.

What are you working on these days and what are your future projects doll wise?

I’m working on a Spring collection of 5 dressed Nu.Face and FR OOAK dolls. The make ups will be in a very colourful runway fantasy style and all 5 will wear avant garde gowns inspired by different insects. I also just completed the first version of my first resin BJD head and will soon take test casts from the mould. If I get the technique to work I might even made these heads for sale. My main project right now is starting the emiliacouture business with my business partner and best friend Jing. We have found a potential factory in China and they are making the first test production edition as we speak. If the quality meet our criteria we should have the first LE emiliacouture collections out this year!

Do you collect other dolls?

Yes. In addition to FR I have/have had dolls from other IT lines such as Nu.Face, Homme, Poppy Parker, Dynamite Girls. I’ve also been getting into larger dolls during the last year. I now have few Asian BJDs, Sybarites and an AG.

Have you got a Flickr Blog ,website ?


My Flickr

Creazione blog


Photos credits em’lia couture on Flickr

Thank you Emilia for sharing with us your wonderful creations. I can’t wait to see your new collection and buying a beautiful Emilia doll.


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