Interview: Francesco Catalano from The Black Swan Company

¡Hola a todos!

Francesco Catalano y, sobre todo, The Black Swan Company son muy conocidos entre los coleccionistas de Barbie por las maravillosas OOAK que llevan creando ya varios años y cuya seña de identidad, como más tarde nos explicará el entrevistado, son las plumas. Por eso, es un enorme placer y un verdadero honor poder sumar a Francesco a las entrevistas que en los últimos meses he realizado a grandes diseñadores.

Por respeto hacia este gran maestro, reproduciré sus palabras tal cual me las envió, es decir, en inglés para evitar así con mi traducción alterar el significado de alguna de ellas. En la entrevista, Francesco nos desvela, entre otras muchas cosas, cuándo y por qué surgió The Black Swan Company, en qué se inspira para crear sus diseños, qué material utiliza siempre en sus trabajos, cuál fue su primera Barbie, de qué OOAK se siente más orgulloso y… apunta un consejo para todos aquellos que quieran seguir sus pasos.

¡Espero que os guste!

Odette, The Queen of Swans by The Black Swan Company
Odette, The Queen of Swans by The Black Swan Company

Hello everyone!

Francesco Catalano and, above all, The Black Swan Company are well known among collectors for the wonderful OOAK Barbie that they wearing creating several years and whose hallmark, as the interviewed will explain later, are feathers. So it is a great pleasure and a real honor add to Francesco to interviews that in recent months I have done to the greats designers.

Out of respect for this great master, I reproduce his words just as he sent to me, ie in english, to avoid with my translation alter the meaning of any of them. In the interview, Francesco reveals, among other things, when and why did The Black Swan Company, in which is inspired to create his designs, what material always used in their work, what was his first Barbie, what is his favorite OOAK doll, and … points a tip for anyone who wants to follow in his footsteps.

Hope you like it!

Dulcinea from Don Chisciotte by The Black Swan Company
Dulcinea from Don Chisciotte by The Black Swan Company

Rebeca (R): What is The Black Swan?

Francesco (F): The Black Swan Company is a project started maybe when I was 5 years old. At that time I used to play with a lot of pink box Barbies that I had in my collection. During university years I used to create dolls for myself and thanks to the hard lessons of my grandmother I learned all the tricks of tailoring. Mary Deneb, my talented mother, have been doing all the hairdressings of my dolls since the very beginning. When the Black Swan has been created it was supposed to be a Prima Ballerina for our private collection and we would never imagine the consequences of this doll. The Black Swan was a worldwide success but the White Swan reached even higher records. The first prototype was sold for 1.300 dollars and in 2010 we founded the Black Swan Company. Today our dolls are requested all over the world.

R: What inspires you to do your job?

F: Love inspires me. Heart inspires me. It could not be different than this, there is no other way. It is not a job, it is a way of life. You feel to have all the love of the world for what you do, you could not love it more than you actually do. Barbie came into my life when I was very little, so I guess I had a “priming” with her. She is one of my first memories, when you are a child your heart is like a white paper where you can write on. The mark that Barbie left in my heart is still strong and unforgettable and it is clearly visible in the love, care, details and efforts I put in each one of my creations. This is the secret: love.

Safari by The Black Swan Company
Safari by The Black Swan Company

R: What makes your dolls are different? 

F: I guess our dolls are different not just for the huge amount of details, high standards or the severe perfectionism we put in our creations. They are different because we really put ourself on the line, who buys one of our dolls is buying a part of our lives, days, feelings and true passion. One of our last dolls was The Firebird, a customer congratulated for how human the doll was alike, maybe she had this feeling because of the reasons I said above.

R: Do you have any material (fabric, jewelry, etc.) that is always in all your OOAK dolls? 

F: There is an element that is always in our creations: feathers. From the very beginning, when we launched the Swans or our Showgirls and Carnival in Rio in 2011, the feathers were our signature. You can clearly see in our logo: a black feather. If you see a feathered doll, it is high probable that is one of our ooaks, we use feathers in 90% of our creations, or maybe inspired by. Before being artists and designers, we are collectors and we have been following the Barbie world since a very long time. In the past, we saw feathered dolls only occasionally by other artists, today you can see feathered dolls more often and in succession. In fact a lot of our friends contacted us saying that our works are inspirational, that is just wonderful.

Carnaval in Rio
Carnaval in Rio by The Black Swan Company

R: Since when do you like Barbies? Are you a collector? If the answer is yes, what was your first Barbie? 

F: Like I said, I love Barbies since the age of 5. Today I am a collector and a museum owner. My first doll as a child was Barbie Benetton from the series released in 1991. My first collectible doll as an adult was Bob Mackie Holiday 2006. Today I have all the Bob Mackie and Byron Lars Barbie dolls, they are my favourite designers.

R: Do you have any doll you’ve made that you feel the most proud of? 

F: If I have to choose one of the dolls we created that I am particularly proud of, I would choose our last doll we did not already released. Her name is The Flowers of Evil, inspired by Charles Baudelaire poetry book. Her gown is magnificent, the embroidery is outstanding, her face, jewels, hat and bouquet of black roses create a mystic atmosphere. When I look at her I am in love. You are going to see her just this week, so don’t worry, you don’t have to wait too much.


R: What advice would you give someone who want to make a OOAK?

F: My advice to everybody wants to make ooak is to follow you heart. I have heard that a lot of people wants to approach this world because it is profitable. That is horrible. Don’t make it for business or to emulate other artists, it is the worst form of art. Creativity and love should be always in the first place and they have nothing to do with business that is secondary. But if you have strong passion, if you really believe in what you do, then go ahead and follow your instinct as I did and create, design, day and night. There are people who can’t really imagine their lives without Barbie. I am one of them

Thanks Francesco for everything. You make us happy with your designs. You deserve all the success in the world.


The Black Swan by The Black Swan Company
The Black Swan by The Black Swan Company
Imágenes: The Black Swan

8 comentarios en “Interview: Francesco Catalano from The Black Swan Company”

¡Anímate y comenta!

Introduce tus datos o haz clic en un icono para iniciar sesión:

Logo de

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Cerrar sesión /  Cambiar )

Google photo

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Google. Cerrar sesión /  Cambiar )

Imagen de Twitter

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Twitter. Cerrar sesión /  Cambiar )

Foto de Facebook

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Facebook. Cerrar sesión /  Cambiar )

Conectando a %s

Este sitio usa Akismet para reducir el spam. Aprende cómo se procesan los datos de tus comentarios .