|In the Nick of Time: Stevie Nicks’s vulnerability may be the seed of her doll collecting.|
|Written by Stephanie Finnegan|
|Tuesday, 12 June 2012 20:34|
Last week, the onetime supergroup Fleetwood Mac was all over the news again. It wasn’t for a jubilant reason: induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for treasured pop icons. No, the musicians were popping up all over the Internet Web searches because of the suicide of one of their past bandmates, Bob Welch. Sadly, self-inflicted deaths seem to be an offshoot of the performers’ lifestyle: allowing yourself to be so visible and vulnerable in a public manner can often lead to depression and nihilism. So, what does this have to do with dolls? Well, an awful lot, in fact.
Sultry songbird Stevie Nicks, who was the femme fatale of Fleetwood Mac, has poured her heart and soul into her lyrics, chronicling her breakups, her triumphs, her fantasies, and her desires. Known for her troubled love life—adored by many, but never able to connect long-term with that special one—Nicks has remained a survivor in the up-and-down world of musicianship due to her belief in “God and angels,” who, she feels, have interceded directly on her behalf.
Another constant source of joy and strength are her dolls. For nearly 15 years now, I’ve heard about Nicks’s legendary doll collection. This insight is entirely based upon fan reports and rumors—and by that, I mean speculation and opinions, not the classic Mac album “Rumors,” released by the band in 1977, 35 years ago!!!
I’ve received letters from doll collectors asking me if I could get photos of her dolls, which have been housed in her homes across the country (reports are that they have been found decorating her abodes in Phoenix, Malibu, and the Pacific Palisades).
What’s most intriguing about all of these appeals to photograph Nicks’s dolls is that the letter-writers all presume to know what types of dolls are in her lair: Stephanie Blythe’s fairy dolls, for sure; Pat Kochie’s tender, touching waiflike girls; Marilyn Radzat’s collages of natural ornaments and dazzling Swarovski crystals.
This makes sense, of course, because Nicks has been lauded for her “crystal visions”—it’s a well-known imagery in her compositions and she has even toured under that banner. Part witchy woman, part gossamer-clad troubadour, Stevie is an ageless phenomenon: chronologically in her sixties—she was born in 1948—she embodies an allure that is perennially mystical, magical, and ethereal.
Still touring as a solo act—sometimes paired with Rod Stewart—Stevie Nicks has managed to juggle the demands of being a real flesh-and-blood woman with being a malleable symbol (throughout her career she’s been saluted as an emblem of sex, feminism, New Age holistics, independence, infatuation, and even Bill Clinton’s first presidential election’s victory). No wonder that her dolls are the one part of her open-book story that has remained secretive, thus far.
On You Tube, Wench098, a Stevie fan, has posted a homemade video showing pictures of Nicks with some of her travel dolls (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSg9WthbDk4), and what is surprising is how very affordable and accessible her captured dolls seem. (She is warbling the aptly named “Baby Doll” song during the video.)
Not delicately holding a one-of-a-kind work of art, Stevie is seen entering and exiting her private cars with a vinyl baby doll swaddled in blankets. She’s seen embracing well-made, high-quality ethnic dolls: like a visitor to past Expos or your local doll show, she is beaming as she poses beside dolls that could have emerged from the studios of Lee Middleton, Annette Himstedt, Philip Heath, Goetz, and other recognizable and relatable companies.
Apparently not a collecting snob, Nicks appears to surround herself with what she loves and is drawn to. She is as fearless in her acquisitions as she is in her compositions. Perhaps the connection she has to her travel dolls helps to stave off the loneliness of the road and the isolation that artists often feel when the last chord is struck and the amps are all packed away.
This leads me to ponder will Mattel be making a Stevie Nicks rock-n-roll character? They unveiled their “Ladies of the Eighties” lineup with Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, and Cyndi Lauper. They’ve had much success with their Cher re-imaginings. What about Stevie Nicks?
Only standing a hair over 5 feet tall in actual life—hence the penchant for platform shoes, top hats, and over-hair-sprayed coifs—Nicks could be a revelation for the doll collector. There are flowing gowns that she can nearly levitate in; boas and feathers, and hippie halter dresses as well as more concealing caftans. Like one of her big hits, “Leather and Lace,” her repertoire and her wardrobe are the stuff that dreams (and dolls) are made of! (One-of-a-kind customizing doll master Laurie Everton has tackled salutes to Stevie multiple times, and the results, as you can see here, are mesmerizing. Check out more at http://www.thebarbiecanvas.com/)
Plus, marketing strategy alert, her official Web site has a heavily trafficked apparel and collectibles store. Wouldn’t a Stevie Nicks doll make the perfect addition? (http://stevienicks.fanfire.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/Store.woa/wa/artist?sourceCode=SNIWEB&categoryName=All+Products&artistName=Stevie+Nicks) In her own collecting efforts, she doesn’t hold to an arena of provenance and pedigree. Instead, she enthusiastically embraces dolls that speak to her and clearly have spoken to others. She is egalitarian with her choices.
Nicks is heading to my neck of the woods this summer, and wouldn’t it have been nice to see a sea of her admirers hoisting up her vinyl likeness alongside the lighters that delineate a call for an encore? Come on, someone, give this doll aficionado a doll to call her own—perhaps, then, the doors to Stevie’s fabled trove will swing open!
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