Marcelo Jacob is a highly talented designer and dressmaker who creates for both 16″ and 12″ fashion dolls. Originating from Brazil but now living and working in Spain Jacob first came to my attention when he joined DollObservers.com and began sharing photos of his beautiful creations there. He had not long been designing at this time. Since then Jacob has gone on to achieve great things – including a collaboration with Marl Davidson – providing two exclusive outfits for her legendary store. I had the pleasure of meeting up with him for the first time in ‘real’ life at the 2014 Italian Doll Convention in Milan. While there I saw, first hand, the impact his designs and creations have on collectors and the joy that they bring.
It wasn’t always this way for Jacob, though, as three short years ago he struggled when the economy in Spain took a downturn and worked designing and sewing for humans began to dry up. This was a dark time for him, and he thought his European dream might soon be over. However, things changed suddenly one day when, in an attempt to fill his time, he bought two playline Barbies from the local supermarket. He planned simply to design and sew for them to keep busy. Soon after he decided to use the Barbies as a model for two dresses he was designing for one of his ever scarce clients. The client loved them so much she suggested he should just go ahead and sell clothes for dolls!
Initially, Jacob was sceptical and wondered “who wants to buy a designer Barbie dress?” After a quick search on Google, however, he soon found out! “I couldn’t believe my eyes,” he told me. “I saw hope!” For Jacob, discovering this world of fashion dolls, “saved my life” and for hours after this revelation he “searched for information, sewed outfits, took pictures and learnt. I found a parallel fashion world, filled with glamour and beauty which brought me back to life.” This turning point saw the birth of the Marcelo Jacob label and aimed itself squarely at the discerning fashion doll.
Jacob cites his great inspiration in the doll world as Randall Craig, who even stopped by Jacob’s Flickr page to give his seal of approval. Says Jacob of his idol: “I really wish to shake his hand someday and say, ‘thank you for being such an inspiration and example’ ”. His design references come from fashion houses such as DKNY and Calvin Klein but more than them he finds daily inspiration in the fashions of the street. There is nothing he enjoys more than to “go to downtown and sit in a public place, just an ordinary street, and watch people. I love to stop in front of churches and see how people dress for weddings, not the jet set ones, the ordinary people.”
Perhaps this is why his designs speak to so many people and why there is a saying amongst his admirers: “put a Marcelo Jacob in your life, and you won’t stop”. Once you delve into his world, I’m sure you will soon agree with them.
This original version of this article was first published in the now defunct Haute Doll Magazine in November 2014