Find designs worn by Rihanna and Kylie Jenner in this new Bridge Street store
“We recently sent a gorgeous outfit to Beyoncé but then she got pregnant with the twins and couldn’t wear it,” chuckles Karen, general manager at The Dolls House boutique. It’s an impressive name drop by most people’s standards. And, while dressing one of the most famous singers in popular music may appear a bold aspiration, this Manchester fashion brand is no stranger to A-Lister affiliations.
Take Rihanna, equally the pop superstar, who wore the boutique’s sensational ‘Lanna Cami’ jumpsuit – fringed, lime green, low cut with sheer lace panelling - to the 2015 VMA awards. Soon after, Kylie Jenner’s stylist ordered the exact same jumpsuit for the reality TV star, cementing The Dolls House's credentials as expert dressmakers.
The celebrity and influencer kudos is just one reason to visit the team's brand new city centre boutique on Bridge Street. After establishing their first store in The Northern Quarter during 2012, they decided to expand to a more central prime location (we guess their former neighbours at the Big Issue headquarters may have encouraged the move).
Though the word 'bootylicious' may be defunct these days, that's exactly how they make you feel.
Inside The Dolls House's overtly opulent new home - all decked out with gloss white walls, gold finishings, ceiling-to-floor mirrors and floral centrepieces - comes extraordinarily glamorous creations designed in-house by talented founder Rebecca Henry and hand-stitched by a talented team of dressmakers on the ground floor of the boutique.
The time, effort and love gone into each piece is clear; from the painstakingly stitched beading on floor length jumpsuits, to the cascading satin and lace dresses designed to flatter feminine curves. These are sassy outfits made to be seen in – whether red carpets, Instagram or otherwise. Though the word 'bootylicious' may be defunct these days, that's exactly how they make you feel.
When we sent the jumpsuit to Kylie Jenner, many people copied it on Instagram...
With a commitment to skilful craftsmanship, in-house manufacturing and unique designs, The Dolls House is a rarity on the high-street, both online and bricks and mortar.
“Becky would never copy anyone’s designs yet sadly she gets copied quite a lot by designers on Instagram and online stores. Obviously it’s so frustrating for her," shares Karen.
After their designs became sought-after by international stylists, The Dolls House claim their ideas were copied and their credibility questioned.
“When we sent the jumpsuit to Kylie Jenner, many people copied it on Instagram and even Missguided copied the dress version."
“We initially sent Rihanna the jumpsuit in white, her stylist customised it and made it green - they asked for it in green and we said no. So we sent it in her specific measurements and they changed it. Yet there was a bit of an outrage as her stylist claimed the design as his own,” Karen adds.
Copycat creations have become an increasingly common complaint by many independent designers. Brands such as Zara and ASOS are frequently accused of plagiarism. In an oversaturated online marketplace, how can a designer prevent ‘copy and paste’?
“You can’t stop it,” says Karen. “So we’ve been making our designs a lot harder to copy with all the detail that goes into making our clothes. The sad thing is people think we’ve copied, which can be bad for our reputation.”
“Every piece has been touched by a designer, they’ve not been bulk made in a factory,” she reiterates.
Do The Dolls House really cater for those with a low Instagram follower count?
Away from all the industry 'beef' and celebrity names, who are wearing these beautiful, though daring, outfits here in Manchester? Do The Dolls House really cater for those with a low Instagram follower count?
"We cater for confident women who are sophisticated and want to feel glamorous - they can be sixteen or well into their later years. Our prices are expensive yet not inaccessible - we even offer you the choice of paying in two instalments," says Karen.
The Dolls House do seem to have one woman in mind. Sizes range from an extra small to an extra large, which works out as a size 14. It sadly means many of Manchester's women - who are on average a size 16 - couldn't shop here.
Still, while there are few occasions which call for a low cut blood orange tassel dress when parading around Deansgate, The Dolls House is an extravagant shopping destination the city has been crying out for.
They are keen for their customers to enjoy the ceremony of trying on their glamorous clothes. They'll encourage you to twirl in front of the huge mirrors while they gush and praise you. Then they'll take lots pictures, of course.
After all, if it hasn't been posted to Instagram, did it even happen?