It all began with a kiss: Dr. Kiss, the toothbrush designed by Philippe Starck for Alessi in 1996, which looks something like a pen curving out of an inkwell. “That was the first toothbrush I collected,” said Anna Rabinowicz, 43, a designer and the founder of RabLabs, a maker of nature-inspired home furnishings. “It was so beautiful and so out of the ordinary, I couldn’t resist it.” Since then, her collection has grown to about 40 toothbrushes from around the world, made of materials like plastic, wood pulp and even ground-up money. Ms. Rabinowicz does not brush with any of the pieces in her hoard, which she displays in her San Francisco home. She uses the Nimbus Microfine toothbrush, which she says provides a “fantastic brushing experience” because of its extra-soft bristles. But she was eager to search for other models that were notable in form, function or both.
At Muji in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, she pointed out petite porcelain toothbrush holders that resembled small doughnuts. “You could have the most ordinary of toothbrushes, but because it is given a beautiful presentation and its own spot, it looks really special,” she said. “I think they need to exist in multiples in order to manifest visually in an interesting way,” she added. Online, she chose a toothbrush invented by Radius more than 30 years ago that she has collected in multiple colors. “You can choose a left-hand or a right-hand design, which is unusual, and the thumb goes in a very specific spot,” she said. She deemed Viktor, an 18-karat gold-plated toothbrush holder set by Kontextür, “antithetical to toothbrushes, which come and go.” Because the pieces feel like jewelry, she said, “they elevate the topography of the bathroom.” Also online, Ms. Rabinowicz found the black bristles of Binchotan’s toothbrushes at Rikumo “disruptive visually and in the way they actually work: The bristles contain charcoal, which is antibacterial.” A bonus for the vain, she pointed out, is that teeth look whiter against the jet-colored material. Ms. Rabinowicz, a mother of two, declared the Baby Banana toothbrush “a home run,” noting, “It has a cute stance, with its hands on its hips, very sassy.” Even if your children aren’t particularly amused, she added, “you’ll laugh because it’s so cute watching your child brush their teeth with a banana.”