Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Santoro London's Gorjuss Dolls by Paola Reina

This time of year is all about being with family and friends...and exchanging gifts, of course!  In the spirit of the season, I wanted to take a moment to showcase a beautiful gift that I received last summer.

It's very rare for me to get a doll as a gift.  That may sound strange since everyone knows I love dolls and all of my family and friends are supportive of that fact.  But, let's face it, it's pretty intimidating to buy a doll for somebody like me.  First of all, not even my husband would be able to guess what kind of doll I might want at any given moment.  But more obviously, I spend all of my time critiquing dolls!  I mean, I love most of them, but I also look at them with a critical eye.  And nobody wants to have their gift choice criticized, for goodness sake.  

But the friend who sent this doll to me not only knows the doll world really well, but also somehow knows what dolls I'm coveting!  So there will be no criticisms today.  Just a celebration of this wonderful friend (you know who you are), her incredible generosity, and the Gorjuss doll that she gave to me:

Gorjuss doll, "I Love You Little Rabbit."
I have been aware of Gorjuss dolls for a little while now, mostly because they're sold at Dolls and Dolls, the Spanish shop where I bought my Biggers girls.  I've browsed the Gorjuss selection at Dolls and Dolls on many occasions, but could never make up my mind which character to buy.  I think because they're all interesting in one way or another, none of the options can be easily eliminated.  That makes it hard.  I'm so relieved that somebody else finally made a decision for me!

It's rude to talk about the price of a gift, I know, but for reference, I should mention that these dolls cost around $80 dollars (without shipping).

My doll came in a classy cardboard window box that is decorated with grey and white stripes and has bright yellow accents:

The bottom of the box says Santoro, London:

From what I can tell, the design of these Gorjuss dolls is based on Santoro art, but the actual dolls are made by Paola Reina--a company I have reviewed several times before.  The Santoro, London company seems mostly focused on graphic art, and accessories which feature that art.  

There's even an image that inspired this exact doll:

The overall design of the doll box is consistent with the Santoro aesthetic, and features bold colors and fabric-like prints:

There a lot of text on the back of the box, including a little blurb about the Gorjuss products:

Here's a better look:

Like all Paola Reina dolls, this girl was made in Spain.

The front of the box lifted off, shoebox style, to reveal the doll.  She was held in place with some clear rubber bands, and a hairnet to keep her long black hair under control:

It was easy to get the doll out while leaving the box unharmed.  

The box has a brown and black flower print backdrop, with a circular hole to accommodate the doll's large spherical head:

It's a beautiful box, and I'm not sure I'll ever have the heart to recycle it.

I named this lovely creature Patina: 

Her hair was a little messy right out of the box, but I just love her simple, sweet face.  It's an excellent reproduction of the Santoro art:

Her head is ball-shaped, with no contours whatsoever.  Her only facial features are her capsule-shaped black painted eyes:

It's so unusual for a doll to have a completely smooth profile like this, but for some reason it works:

Patina has thick, black hair that I assume is high-quality nylon (like other Paola Reina dolls):

She came with one accessory, which is a soft imitation leather bag:

The bag has a bunny decal on one side, which follows the simplistic Santoro style:

The bag is stitched neatly, without reinforced seams, and has a cute little canvas label on the inside:

Patina also came with a black polka-dotted hand tag:

The black and yellow design of the tag is striking:

And the inside repeats some of the information from the back of the box:

One item of note is that these dolls are scented.  They do not have the vanilla scent that I associate with Paola Reina dolls, but rather a honeysuckle and rose smell.  It's pleasant, but I don't like it quite as much as the yummy vanilla smell.

Here's Patina again after I brushed her hair:

The hair fiber is not as silky-smooth as kanekalon or saran, but it's thick and soft and fun to play with.  And it has some lovely waves and layers at the bottom that keep their shape really well:

The hair is accented with a black and gold bow, and there's a small ponytail behind the bow on the right side:

The rooting pattern is excellent, and the scalp is painted black to make it even less conspicuous:

Patina is wearing a summery lace dress, with a zig-zag hem and a sage green satin cord sash:

The fullness of the skirt is because of a crisp tulle petticoat:

The dress closes in back with velcro:

I love the polka-dotted texture that's embroidered onto the skirt of this dress:

And there's a cute little Gorjuss label sewn into the left side seam:

You might also have noticed that Patina has a dark stain around her neck:

This was caused by the black hairnet.  I dabbed a little Remove-Zit on this mark, and it has virtually disappeared (thank goodness!).  But I wish a lighter-colored hairnet had been used.

The dress is sewn beautifully, and the cotton fabric is soft and delicate:

Here's a closer look at the construction:

Underneath the dress, Patina is wearing her tulle petticoat, striped knit tights, and shoes:

The tights and shoes add a lot of personality to this outfit!

The tights are really well-made, too:

I mean, look at the tiny turned heel of the foot!

The shoes are standard imitation leather flats, but they have big white pom-poms glued onto the toes:

Underneath her clothing, Patina has an all-vinyl body with five points of articulation:

Realistic details like the rounding of Patina's tummy and the definition in her shoulder blades and bottom are in stark contrast to the simplicity of her face.

Her limbs are more aligned with the design of her face in that she only has four fingers on each hand.  The fingers are short and pointy and remind me a bit of salamander feet!

Here's a fire salamander for comparison:

Salamandra salamandra MHNT 1

In fact, not only do this salamander's feet look like Patina's hands, but the whole animal is following the Santoro box art color scheme!

Coincidence?  Maybe.

Anyway, Patina also only has four toes on each foot, but these are less amphibian:

Her toes also point slightly inwards, which is a common Gorjuss trait.  Here's an example:

The bottoms of Patina's feet have some molded marks that say "Gorjuss" and "Santoro:"

Her five joints only have simple rotation, but this allows her to sit nicely on the ground:

And do some wonderful front-to-back splits!

I put Patina back into her full outfit for some indoor portraits:

She is such a sweet, beautifully-made doll.

I feel calm and happy whenever I look at her!

For size reference, Patina is about 12.5 inches tall, so an inch taller than my full-featured assistant, Lina:

Santoro Gorjuss doll (left) and Barbie Signature Looks Lina (right).
And she's slightly shorter than a Paola Reina Las Amigas doll like my Cleo:

Santoro Gorjuss doll (left) and Paola Reina Las Amigas (right).
I want to show you some photos of Patina in natural light, but first, a confession: I actually de-boxed and photographed Patina way back during the summer--right after I got her.  It's just taken me this long to fit her in to my stream of reviews.  So the outdoor pictures are not really going to match the current season.

However, since it's been unusually cold for so many of us this week, perhaps these pictures will offer a welcome reminder of warmer days:

Patina may not have many facial features, but I could see the wonder in her expression when she gazed across this beautiful meadow:

And I could see how hard it was for her to stand still while I took her picture...

...especially when there were flowers nearby that she wanted to sniff!

After I'd gotten a few headshots, I let Patina run around and explore.  She was captivated by this metal sculpture:

In fact, she was drawn to all of the sphere-shaped objects in the garden:

Maybe because they look like her head?

She's also a bit of a climber...

And there was no fear in her eyes as she attempted to scale these tall vines!

How else could she reach the dense comfort of the taller hedges, after all?

Patina definitely has an adventurous side... 

...and a goofy side:

But she can be contemplative and quiet at times, too:

Overall, she was the perfect companion for this lazy summer day:

Bottom line?  I really cherish dolls that offer something new and different--whether it's something about their concept, manufacturing, backstory, or design.  Patina's nearly featureless face is unlike anything I've ever owned.  I guess the closest thing would be the Little Apple Erro doll that I reviewed in 2012, but Erro has creepy eyes...and a bit of a nose and chin.  Patina is definitely not creepy.  She has a sweetly innocent vibe, and I'm able to imagine a whole range of emotions flitting across her open face.

Patina is a very well-made doll, too.  Her vinyl is attractive and luminous, without any unwelcome color tinges.  Her nylon hair is thick and well-rooted, and its subtle, wavy layers frame her unusual face nicely.  Her lacy dress has a romantic feel, but the zig-zag hem and boldly-striped tights give the whole ensemble a spunky playfulness.  I like how the dress follows the basic concept of the graphic art version, but has some of its own extra details.  The sewing is impeccable and the little knitted tights are a treat.  I'd love to be able to collect more Santoro outfits for Patina to wear, but there are very few clothing items that are sold separately.  Patina's scent is not as nice as the Paola Reina vanilla smell, but it's still pleasant.  As an added bonus, the Santoro packaging is classy, attractive, and reusable, and it compliments Patina's coloring really well.

I am so happy to have Patina in my collection.  Her sweet, quirky presence keeps me company every day, and is a constant reminder of the rich diversity in the doll world--and the beautiful kindness in the human world.  Thank you. 


  1. I am on Dolls and Dolls a lot (your fault). I noticed these dolls but was off put by their simple faces at first. They grow on you with time, I am now at the point that I would not mind adding one to my cart. lol I did not know they were based on art, that explains their appearance.

  2. How lovely. I like their beautiful clothes! Have you see the 8 inch mini amigas? Paola Reina makes a lot of very interesting dolls!

  3. I found out about the dolls only recently. I would have thought this kind of art is impossible to translate into a 3D doll, but they managed it. I'm glad you have at least a friend who knows you well!

  4. Patina is very sweet (as is your friend)! She almost makes me think of Precious Moments taken to an extreme.

    1. I realized what she really reminds me of are Joan Walsh Anglund dolls. My mom still has hers from childhood. They are cloth, but have the same round head and eyes as the only features.

    2. Oh, those are really sweet! I had to look them up because I'd never heard of that brand before. I can see why Patina reminded you of them!

  5. What a special doll! I've never seen these dolls before. I find it fascinating that although her face is so simple, just the eyes alone give her a sweet, innocent look and make it possible to project various emotions onto her. I think she would also make a lovely doll for a child because of that. It's very easy to take a concept like this and make it creepy in some way or another (like Little Apple), and I think the somewhat dark/moody/gothic Gorjuss art style would actually lend itself well to that. But I'm glad they chose to keep it cute and sweet instead, with just a slight dark tinge in the colors and patterns used (the stunning box really showcases that). In any case, I think it's amazing that you got such a wonderful gift and I'm sure she fits perfectly into your collection!

  6. I happen to have a red headed Gorjuss doll, and I agree with your sentiments. I’m sure your friend is just tickled that you are so pleased with this gift.

  7. I love Gorjuss dolls and their outfits! I have a lot of them because I live in Spain and they are easy to found. Great review, as always! Thanks. Happy 2023!!!

  8. This one in particular, what an interesting addition to your collection, and what a great gift! She feels so unique and expressive to me, and the simplicity of the design really adds a sense of innocence and wonder to me.

    You are spot on about the packaging ng, lots of effort went into the design of that, a box worth keeping! It's so nice when the packaging really adds to the experience of whatever it holds.

    The little tote is super cute too, and they did a great job capturing the feel of those illustrations. Just a bang up job all around.

  9. perhaps she might be able to share clothes with the Mini Pals or the many 14" dolls you have floating around? she's awfully adorable, all she needs is her own rabbit! XD

  10. Oh I love these dolls. i saw them when we were in England the last time. I wnated one, but they were so expensive. This time around when we were there I came across the little keyring dolls, and settled for one of those!

  11. I love Gorjuss dolls! If they weren't scented I'd have run myself broke by now buying one. lol! Thanks for showing us all these pretty pictures.