Doll Digest

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Doll News 7/25/03

By John Medeiros

It's Raining Ken!

Fans of Ken doll have a reason to rejoice this month. Mattel has released two new and very collectible editions of Barbie's boyfriend. In a nostalgic nod to collectors, both dolls use head molds based on the original vintage Ken doll released in the early 60s.

1 Modern Circle Ken

According to the official Mattel website: "1 Modern Circle™ Ken® doll is a passionate set designer whose style reflects his line of work" Featuring a version of the vintage face sculpt, his black hair has been updated to a more modern style with yellow highlights framing his face and the beginnings of a mullet in the back.

His strong face paint features include freckles which may be a first for Ken doll.

The body is very articulated. He is jointed at the elbows, neck, waist, hips and knees. The head is on a pivot joint allowing for subtle details when posing.

He wears dark denim jeans with orange thread pocket detailing. His avocado turtleneck coordinates nicely with the streaks in his hair. Over this he wears a hip leatherette jacket with working zipper and functional front pockets.

His accessories include a black leatherette portfolio with set design blueprints, tall black motorcycle boots and stand.

He also comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.

Other dolls in this new Barbie Collectibles series include Barbie, Melody and Simone…all part of a film production company called "1 Modern Circle". The dolls come packaged in unique triangular clear plastic boxes and feature liners with sharp modern watercolor artwork of the 1 Modern Circle Studios and the characters.

I do like these dolls in general. The concept is clever and fun. The dolls are cute and very colorful. They are considered part of the Barbie Collectibles line. However, I think that the only thing that separates these from play line dolls is the $40 price tag.

Fashion Insider Silkstone Ken

According to the Barbie Collectibles website: "In the know and on the go, the first-ever Silkstone™ Ken® doll makes the fashion world take notice"

He sure me made me take notice. When I first saw the photographs circulating on the Net I was skeptical about how I would respond to this doll that echoes the original 60s Ken doll but fast-forwards him to 2003. Now that I have him, my fears have turned to yet more admiration of Mattel and the Barbie Fashion Model line. This is one of my favorite dolls of the year so far.

When you lift the doll out of his box he has that same luxurious heavy feel the gals in the series have. At almost 13" tall, this guy is one tall hunk-o-silkstone!

His vintage-style head mold is nicely painted with blue eyes, dark brows and light rust lips. He somehow maintains the original 60's Ken "blank" or neutral look and at the same time, the paint designers have added a bit more real character to him.

His chestnut brown hair is great. The majority of the neatly cut side-part style is rooted, but a quality flocked fade is added to the back and sideburns. Really good design work here. It looks very realistic.

The Silkstone body looks very much like that of the original Ken doll with the right elbow molded in a partial bend. He is jointed in the same places as 60s Ken…neck, shoulders and hips. I wish Mattel had added a twist waist to him as they did with the Barbie dolls in this series. It adds so much to the fun and the posing possibilities of the dolls. Perhaps in a later issue.

He comes dressed in a crisp white t-shirt and blue and white gingham boxers. His black nylon dress socks are held up by garters-a real fun detail.

The gift set pieces include a lined black and white tweed-look suit with black button detailing. White dress shirt with pocket, pale blue necktie (a real one…nimble fingers needed!) leatherette belt with golden buckle, black loafers, black working leatherette briefcase, pale blue sun glasses with silver frames, a Fashion Photo magazine featuring Model Life Barbie, press pass and a cup of black coffee.

Word has it that there will not be a Silkstone Ken produced in 2004, so get him now. There will be an outfit released for him in next year's collection however. The "New England Escape" fashion gift set will include outfits for both Fashion Insider Ken & Fashion Model Barbie.