Monday, February 23, 2015

A Girl For All Time - Behind the Scenes

I am both excited and quickly becoming infatuated with A Girl for All Time. I love historically themed dolls and these dolls are unique and beautifully made and the clothing is exquisite.

A Girl for All Time founder, Frances Cain wanted to create dolls specific for intelligent feminine doll play. There are currently four dolls, all from the fictional Marchmont Family spanning 500 years. Each doll has her story within the family tree which began with Matilda, Your Tudor Girl, followed by Amelia, Your Victorian Girl then Clementine, Your 1940's Girl. Clementine took the UK win for Playdoll of the Year 2014. And Lydia, Your Georgian Girl is the newest family member. Each doll has a unique face mold yet they do look like family.

The girls arrive dressed in their "meet outfit", but have separate outfits within their collection as shown above. All are made using beautiful fabrics with dressmaker details

 Quality fabrics are selected in thoughtful creation for each time period garment; which for me says "specialty" not cookie cutter. Behind each doll is a team of successful, empowered women whose talent hails from the world of British fashion and film. The meticulously detailed costumes have been created by fashion designer Katya Wildman and Emmy-nominated costumier Caroline Harris, while the thrilling novels that accompany each doll have been written by twice-BAFTA nominated screenwriter and director, Sandra Goldbacher.

Shown here is Matilda's ballgown design. Made from sea green taffeta-silk, the skirt has a cream kirtle; the separate top comes with lilac velvet ribbons and pearl beaded trim. Dancing shoes and a silver-trimmed mask are included.

I recently had the opportunity to chat a little with Frances about her company, Daughters of History, Ltd who produce A Girl for All Time. I was curious about the brand, it's beginnings as well as the design process. She graciously agreed to permit LADL readers a little "behind the scenes" look at what really goes into designing and birthing a doll brand.

Promo photo shoot.

"We have worked long and hard on getting A Girl for All Time to the standard that we wanted. One of the reasons I started the brand was that I was disgruntled with looking for toys for my then 9 year old daughter and her friends and finding only throw away items or things that were clearly poorly made or worst of all - had no intelligence behind them. So being a double history major and somewhat obsessed with personal family history and genealogy,  it made sense to me to bring those two loves together in beautifully made dolls and stories."

A Girl for All Time launched at Harrod's (London) May 11-12, 2013 and sold out in just 10 days. Again proving the "specialty" of this unique doll brand.

 "We’ve created the A Girl for All Time range to appeal to modern, young girls aged 7+. Our aim is to provide girls with a sophisticated, intellectually stimulating play companion who will take them on authentic adventures through British history, opening their minds and showing them how girls’ lives differed in eras gone by. A Girl for All Time also counters the age-compression trend, where younger girls increasingly reach for older toys –we’re embracing childhood imagination in traditional play by creating a toy that allows girls to  understand and compare  their own experience of childhood in a new and enriching way."

"It has been such a journey, from initial thought of 'oo yes that's a good idea !" to the process of getting if off the ground and then actually getting all the product onto store shelves ! And there is so much in between, too. Drop testing for packaging, colour fade testing for fabrics, heat and cold testing for transport, etc etc. Unbelievable how much it takes to get product from drawing board to toy shelf... and I would love to share some of that with you. "

You can see in these images how design concept from paper to reality can be a laborious process. These images show the rolls of ribbon and trim Frances and her design team must look through and choose for garments.

Here are fabric swatches presented to the AGAT team in selecting materials for Clementine, Your 1940s Girl.  

Once a doll is created, the work continues with designing promotional materials, packaging specific to each doll, photographing the doll for media and showing products to the industry

A Girl for All Time continues to have a strong presence at Toy Fairs including most recently NY 2015 and in Europe both at London Toy Fair and Nuremberg.

I received Clementine, Your 1940s Girl for review, stay close to see her review and learn about her story. Thank you Frances for allowing LADL readers a behind the scenes look into the world of A Girl for All Time.


  1. Wow. Thank You learned something new. Didn't know that there were books for them! I like the PC appeal, but for the last 2 years that I've "seen" them I just thought they were another doll. Their faces really don't attract me though..they seem to me as surprised. Hopefully they create other face sculpts.

  2. I love these dolls. So beautiful. The attention to detail is amazing in both the wardrobes and books. I'd like to have one, but don't think it will happen. Clementine is my favorite; she reminds me of a friend of mine. The bloggers that have them always do such lovely photo shoots with theses girls.
    Thank you for giving them a bold spotlight here.