Life in plastic, it’s truly fantastic. Designer makeovers, dream houses, any occupation imaginable, you can have it all. Extending its line, Mattel gives the iconic Ken doll, a counterpart to the classic Barbie, a fashionable glow up. LVMH-owned Berluti, the Parisian menswear brand collaborates with Mattel on the occasion of Ken’s birthday. The doll is 60 going on 20 and celebrated his big day on March 11.
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Three unique Ken dolls were developed by Berluti’s Creative Director Kris Van Assche and are fashionably attired in Berluti x Brian Rochefort collection looks. Sporting a brown leather jacket with a short-sleeved printed silk shirt, trousers and braided calf leather Camden shoes, Ken looks like the perfect birthday boy. A Prince of Wales double breasted suit with a Ken & Berluti logo tee and Camden shoes, and a printed shirt combined with black trousers, a belt and braided calf leather Stellar sneakers, are part of the collection, as well as a miniature version of the Nino clutch. Ken receives a Hot Wheels birthday gift, aka the Berluti beach buggy.
“During such a restrictive time, it felt joyful and liberating going into fantasy mode to create all these products and this storytelling. Ultimately, it all goes back to the idea of dreaming,” says Van Assche. The Berluti’s store windows in Los Angeles and rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris will be especially dedicated to the collaboration. The three dolls will be digitally auctioned in May with proceeds supporting the children’s charity, Make-A-Wish. Berluti also has human-sized products on offer, a t-shirt ($380) and a scaled-up version of that Nino pouch ($1,030), both emblazoned with the Berluti and Ken logo.
To celebrate his birthday, Mattel has even released a Ken 60th Anniversary Doll, a replica of the original 1961 Ken, created by Angel Sofia. While the anniversary edition will set you back $50, the first Ken doll cost only $3.50.
Pioneer of high-end men’s streetwear, Dapper Dan has also created custom Ken x Dapper Dan looks for Ken’s big day. In a style throwback, Mattel has released 3 iconic Ken looks. One of them is a cool rocker in black shorts, white sneakers, bright pink jacket with a neon graphic print, collar and yellow shirt. In another Ken looks beach-ready, in a red striped top and a pair of red swim trunks, while the third is workout attire, complete with joggers.
Kenneth Sean Carson was introduced by toy-maker Mattel in 1961, two years after the release of Barbie. While Barbie is named after the founder couple, Ruth and Elliot Handler’s daughter Barbara, Ken is named after their son, Kenneth. The plastic doll boasts 3 body types, 9 skin tones, 10 eye colours, 27 hair colours, and 20 different hairstyles.
Though Ken has been a part of designer gift sets with his girlfriend, this year designers Kris Van Assche, Dapper Dan and Tan France mark a milestone for the hunk. In 2006 Zac Posen designs featured Ken in a casual yet chic look, with jeans, a silk jacket and pin-tucked tuxedo shirt, and Barbie in a vivid violet, extravagant gown. The Moschino looks for the couple emulate Jeremy Scott and Stella Maxwell outfits at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.
Barbie has always been a trendsetter and is no stranger to designer collaborations. Zuhair Murad, Givenchy, Vera Wang, Moschino, Karl Lagerfeld, Kate Spade, Versace have all played a part in Barbie’s designer history.
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