A Brazilian artist has injected a fun new flair into the basic Barbie, elevating the much-loved dolls to a whole new level with his incredibly realistic and detailed wigs, which he creates for each custom toy he makes.
Rafinha Silva, 26, of São Paulo created his company The Royal Dolls in 2013, which sees him taking regular dolls and totally revamping them with new make-up, faces, and elaborate wigs – his specialty.
He shares his creations on Instagram, where over 190,000 fans are fallen head over heels in love with his dolls – even Rihanna.
Luscious locks! Arist Rafinha Silva of São Paulo founded a custom doll company called The Royal Dolls, which sees him specializing in hand painted faces and luxurious hair wigs
Hair goals! The dolls are famous for their unique hair dos, and Rafinha dedicates over a week to each wig, using thread, to create impressive sheets of hair (above) in varying colors and styles
And far from simply being focused on the doll’s long locks, Rafinha’s toys offer so much more than that – and go far beyond the stereotypical blonde model-esque woman being represented by the traditional Barbie.
The dolls are representative of everyday women thanks to personalized choices of make-up and hair, and his detail-oriented work even pays attention to nails, beauty marks, and freckles.
His dream started when he was just a child, obsessed with long flowing hair.
‘I have always had a lot of affinity with art, and drawing women with long hair is one of my earliest childhood memories,’ he shared to Cosmopolitan.
An artist at work! The 26-year-old started his company in 2013 but his passion for hair and art started when he was just a young boy
In 2013 he started The Royal Dolls with the heart and soul of his operation lying in the luxurious and elaborate hair wigs the dolls don, with options ranging from bubble gum pink curls, blonde ombre, Little Mermaid red, and unicorn highlights of purple and blue.
His first doll was inspired by jazz singer Amy Winehouse, which sparked a passion to continue a customization career.
‘My first inspiration was to create a doll with the characteristics of the singer Amy Winehouse, my admiration for the artist made me start the brand that changed my life. I loved the experience of being able to customize, and wanted to be able to continue producing more and more pieces,’ he said to Daily Mail Online.
He shared with a friend his desire to customize more dolls and she unexpectedly purchased him four dolls off E-bay to jump start his career.
‘I began to look for groups to make sales and exchanges of dolls on Facebook. I got into several, I made my ads and believe it or not, I sold my first four creations,’ he added.
Since then the talented artist has recreated celebrities like Cher and Britney Spears as well as Disney characters like Princess Jasmine and Ariel – and his reproductions are strikingly similar.
Art in the making: Rafinha’s process is to take the head of regular Barbie dolls, erase their face paint and create a new face then add a specifically dyed and designed wig (above)
All in the details: His custom dolls allow him to create dolls of any race and skin color with details like beauty marks (above) and elaborate hair styles such as this top bun
Magical hair! Rafinha recreated this doll to have unicorn highlights of purple, blue and blonde
Curly girls! His most popular request are dolls with curly hair such as these two, and they also come in a variety of types, shades, and sizes as well
Rafinha’s art isn’t easy work, the artist dedicates over a week to each wig, created through different threads.
‘The hardest part is selecting hair, they are fibers of various textures and colors, which need to be selected in a very delicate way,’ he shared to Daily Mail Online on the tedious task.
The young entrepreneur follows a strict four step process in his doll making career.
‘It all starts with the list of features that the client requests, from this point I can make an analysis of what is possible,’ he said.
Second he purchases the dolls, usually Barbies, and switching heads and bodies of different dolls to create one unique look.
Third he removes the paint from the faces of the dolls and strips off the hair from their heads to create a blank canvas for his work.
‘The fourth and last step is to dress each doll with an exclusive outfit, made from the taste of the client,’ he shared.
This is when he uses thread to fashion his prized wigs, with curls being his most highly requested hair-do.
Hair for days! The artist mixes and matches doll heads with different bodies, creating a truly customized doll when topped with their unique wigs such as this dark blonde ombre
Seeing double! Rafinha models dolls after celebrities like Cher (left) and Britney Spears (right)
A magical feeling! Disney princesses are a popular request and he knows exactly how to recreate Princess Jasmine from Aladdin and Ariel from The Little Mermaid
Something for everyone! Frida Kahlo’s unibrow, floral hair, and accessories were perfectly recreated in Rafinha’s collection, which also includes male dolls complete with facial hair
In addition to fashioning the wig, he paints on an entire new face on the doll, sometimes adding freckles, beauty marks, and edgy make-up. He also creates boy dolls, complete with mustache and beard.
His favorite part, however, isn’t the makeover process, it’s photographing his final masterpiece at the end.
‘It’s the moment where I meet them, with the camera I can see them looking me in the eye. Without a doubt, it’s the moment that I like the most,’ he revealed.
He’s created 500 impressive custom dolls so far and is honored that he has followers who fawn over his work, and is tickled that one of them is the hitmaker Rihanna.
‘It was great to know that my art came and conquered an artist like Rihanna, she is undoubtedly a woman with a lot of attitude and personality. Because, of course, unique style inspires me a lot,’ he gushed.
As for the future, he hopes to build up his business into a bigger doll empire.
‘I want to continue doing what makes me happy, and with it, to lead happiness wherever my art goes. One thing I hope for the future is to be able to make a commemorative edition of The Royal Dolls on a grand scale,’ he shared.
And his thousands of fans can’t wait for that day.