When I was a kid, I was never much into Barbies. I really wanted to be, because all my friends were, and let’s face it, all of Barbie’s clothes and furniture was totally awesome. But the main problem I had with Barbie was that she was, you know…human.
I did have one, finally. I can’t remember if I asked for her, or if my friends gave me one so I wouldn’t be left out, but for my 9th birthday I got a Malibu Barbie. She came with sunglasses, a swimsuit, and some sort of white linen pantsuit, as I recall. I really only remember playing with her at my birthday party, in the pool…and then, the swimsuit, sunglasses and the top part of the pantsuit ended up on a plastic orange tabby cat I got in a Sunshine Family pet set (which was insanely cool – it consisted of a two-story house, a brown-and-white hound/Lab mix, the orange tabby, collars, pet bowls and toys). Later on, Tabby (short for Tabitha) and Han Solo had a rather steamy love affair…I still have her, somewhere.
So you can just imagine how incredibly psyched I was to discover Petworks Nikki dolls. These are, basically, cat-shaped fashion dolls from Japan (where else?) and they are addictively enchanting. There’s a human version, called Odeco-chan, but eh…
Nikki comes in both boy and girl styles and in the entire feline spectrum of colours and patterns. The boy version was just introduced this year, and the very first one I found for sale just happened to be a gold-orange solid colour with mesmerising copper eyes…
He came without clothes, but luckily Etsy is a bustling Nikki outlet mall for Nikki clothes, and in short order he was clothed.
I call him “Jack.”
But the thing is, as lovely as boy dolls are, the real fun of fashion dolls is the female of the species. I mean, look at Ken. He’s a good guy to have around, but there’s only so many versions of shirt and pants out there…Not to mention shoes!
Obviously, I needed a girl Nikki. But she had to be just the right colour…like Jack, but lighter, and of course with the same colour eyes…
And so, I got “Angie.” The girl Nikkis have “sleep” eyes, with incredible long lashes, and there is evidently a big subculture devoted to customising her eyes. In fact, the official Petworks website even gives you instructions on how to mess around with Nikki’s eyes (in Japanese, but there are illustrations)!
It didn’t take me long to fix Angie’s eye at all!
So now, admittedly about 40 years too late, I have Jack and Angie.
Nikki cat has been around for about 5 years, but North Americans are only now discovering her charms. And there a lot of people on Flickr who share their Nikki fashion photos, too.
Jack tends to wear green, while Angie prefers purple…go figure.
I just feel fortunate that the dolls I was able to find – and afford! – just happened to be an Abyssinian-coloured pair…a darker boy…
…and a lighter girl!