Recently I’ve become interested in the big-eyed Bradley dolls of the 1960s-70s. The Bradley Import Company made these dolls from the mid 50s til the early 80s, so there are all sorts of sizes and styles of Bradley dolls. The ones I’m particularly into mimic mod fashions popular at the time or fantasy Victorian styles in garish 60s colors.
I managed to get a hold of three very disheveled Bradley dolls. One in an acid green chiffon formal dress with matching hat, one a bride decked out in stained lace, and the third in pink polyester with silky grey hair! I originally bought them hoping to take them apart to make a headdress but I’ve kind of fallen in love with their kitshy style, and manky well-worn appearance and their on-trend greyish hair. 😉
Bradley dolls (or pose dolls) were boudoir dolls and fairly inexpensive when originally created. Sold in drug stores and discount shops. They have firm foam bodies with wired legs and arms, including creepy articulated little fingers with outfit-matching nail polish. Some were posed on music boxes (my bride has a broken music box base)- which really just ups their creepiness.
Their outfits covered all sorts of folk styles and eras, from Red Riding Hood’s iconic cape to stylish mod ensembles and elaborate Colonial and period-inspired dresses kept aloft by small metal hoop petticoats.
Their faces remind me of the Shoujo manga style, glittering big eyes wreathed in black lashes and tiny delicate mouths. These dolls were manufactured in Japan and Korea around the same time Shoujo style that took off with girls around the same time so it’s fair to assume some influence was made on their appearance. These dolls were sold in Japan and China at the time of their production as well!
The Bradley dolls of the 60s/70s are right up my alley style-wise currently! I love retro inspired makeup with tons of liner and lashes and pops of color, not to mention their outrageous frilly outfits!
I so like the idea of dressing myself as a Bradley doll this year, kind of vintage kind of weird with loads of eye makeup. 😉
Now if I could just a redheaded Bradley doll with freckles….
Want to see more types of Bradely dolls? Tons of photos in this flickr.