a vacation is a great game
His dolls make thousands of children happy around the globe. And for Michael Röthling they are also a way of demonstrating the love and gratitude he feels for Forte dei Marmi, his family’s “place of the heart” for generations. He spoke about it with high emotion.
Interview by Francesca Navari - Photography Alessandro Moggi
Vacationing is play. Or is it play that is the eternal sign of a vacation? Children’s pastimes have their own strength, a force that ties us forever to places and moments in time. And now, in Forte dei Marmi, the emotions of friendships born on long afternoons on the beach resurface thanks to toys.
Michael Röthling, vice president of Dimian, represents the third generation of his family at the top of the toy company in its sixty-year history. It was this very young exec who decided to dedicate a line of dolls to the “places of the heart” most meaningful to him and his loved ones in Forte dei Marmi, in remembrance of his father Dirk who died here five years ago. Now, from Versilia, Michael and his mother Antonella are sending out a message bursting with color and fantasy, anything but nostalgic. “We have created dolls inspired by the places we went to together while we were here on vacation,” Michael tells us. “There’s one with a cute animalier outfit for Twiga, a sailor-suited habituée of Bagno Augustus, and this summer, a doll inspired by Maitò, with a backpack and a robin’s-egg blue dress, is debuting in a limited edition of 200 pieces. We’ll be giving it away to little girls but also to “bigger girls” who still want to dream, because a doll is still an ideal beach buddy and a great opener for socializing, and as the years go by it dresses itself in memories. I can still call to mind the light happiness of playing with marbles on the beach with friends, excavating wobbly tracks in the sand, back when there weren’t any iPhones or iPads to keep us glued to screens in our beach tents. For me, the most beautiful magic is the spell that can conjure the feel of a stay at the seaside with the family. That’s why these are hard body dolls: they can go anywhere, dive right into the water, and their outfits are waterproof too!”
Last Christmas, some Dimian creations were donated to a fundraising effort to help Forte families that were experiencing difficulties after months of lockdown. “When we saw that same smile that Forte dei Marmi always put on my lips when I spent vacations here with my grandparents, my mother and I found the energy to begin thinking positively again. Play, you know, is a medicine and an act of freedom all rolled into one. And it can be a key to abolishing certain stereotypes, for example by helping accustom boys and girls to a family model of shared responsibilities and joys. I’d just like to say, to kids and adults alike: seriously, get out there and play!”
we have created dolls inspired by the places we went to together while we were here on vacation