Mad Men: The doll versions Mattel would not approve

Michael Williams is a very talented guy - if you read the blog, you will have seen his incredible photography and styling in the post about Jonathan Adler, one of the most popular posts ever in my blog. He is a fan of Mad Men as I am and had done an incredible photoshoot re-creating characters and sets along with many other talented people for Haute Doll magazine in 2010. But after last weeks incredible 11th episode of the 5th season of Mad Men, he was inspired to present all female stars of the series as they have evolved now.

Michael's layouts are ironic and stylish, presenting very cleverly the series' characters in doll form. Let's start with Joan Harris - the femme fatale of the series, who makes a major move - for her career, her life, her reputation. He restyled Dusk to Dawn Silkstone Barbie and she wears a OOAK little black dress from Marirose with a black fur coat from Coquette Cissy. The stroller is the Sindy baby carriage from the UK, repainted black.

Next up is the Other Woman (the title of the crucial episode in the series), Peggy Olson. Peggy is the BFMC Continental Holiday Silkstone Barbie in a Randall Craig cardigan sweater, Something Cool Isha Fashion Royalty convention bodysuit, Tiny Kitty "Perfect Knit" wool skirt, thermos from a Beverly Hillbillies Lunchbox keychain re-covered in custom plaid print; Jason Wu Event III FR Dark Medley Missima Luxury Accessory pack handbag, RE-MENT popcorn, Barbie Generation Girl Lara artist easel, custom-printed story boards.

Meghan Draper is the third star of the series: the doll is Kate Spade Barbie on a Dynamite Girl body wearing vintage Barbie Lemon Kick minidress that was photoshopped (not dyed) black; accessories include a RE-MENT sherbet and Isha script.

The Ex Mrs. Draper is Betty Francis. She is the Mattel Betty Draper Silkstone wearing Ken Rally Day coat, Barbie & Kelly Children's Doctor scale, Alfred Hitchcock The Birds purse, BFMC New York Yorkie scarf, Fashion Royalty skirt, RE-MENT whip cream and sundaes.

And finally little Miss Draper, Sally. Michael used the 1969 Dramatic New Living Skipper doll wearing Skipper Dreamtime #1909 pajamas with Skipper Me 'N My Doll miniature Barbie. What a gal.

Michael once again had done an incredible job - his photography and styling are impeccable and make me drool and want these dolls.  And, as Joan below proves, humour is always a major element of his work.

As a final note, here are some photos of his previous Mad Men photo session, for Haute Doll Magazine. The doll posing as Joan is the same used in the photos above.

Photos ©Michael Williams/ (for the Mad Men ladies) and © Michael Williams/ for Haute Doll Magazine for the last three photos.

Michael Williams does it again with Jonathan Adler!

Remember the brilliant sets Michael Williams had done inspired by Jonathan Adler's designs? He has been at it again, this time for Haute Doll magazine's May/June 2009 issue. I am honoured to present his take on the cover of Adler's book "My Prescription for Anti-Depressant Living".

In his flickr albums, check the "Barbie Loves Jonathan Adler" album for more - Michael does amazing work! And check the news:

Jonathan Adler Loves Barbie – For Grownups: Barbie’s fabled Malibu Dream House becomes a reality, thanks to famed interior designer Jonathan Adler. Style and design décor enthusiasts who want a slice of Adler’s “happy chic” style and Barbie doll’s Malibu mystique will be able to get the look at home with a capsule collection of “Jonathan Adler Loves Barbie” décor pieces, including designer pottery, pillows, decorative objects and more – available at one of Adler’s nine stores or on his website. Additionally, Jonathan Adler and Barbie will partner on an ultra stylish Barbie Collector doll, which comes with coordinating doll-size furniture (of course!). These chic creations will hit retail shelves in the U.S. in September 2009.

Welcome to the Haute Dollhouse - A homage to Jonathan Adler by Michael Williams

Meeting talented people has been one of the many joys of collecting fashion dolls. Meeting people like Michael Williams is an honour. His talent in creating exquisite dioramas, that not only look realistic, but are bristling with taste and style, is unique. I will present here his amazing diorama inspired by the interior designer Jonathan Adler, letting Michael talk about it in his own words.

Michael: I was never your "normal," or perhaps I should say "ordinary," little boy who liked to play with action figures and toy cars in the sandbox. I got my first Barbie, Sweet 16, when I was 5 years old, and progressed to Malibu Barbie & Ken, Pretty Changes, and Superstar Barbie before selling them all off at a garage sale by the age of 10. As a child, I simply loved the escapist fantasy of these glamorous characters in their Dynasty gowns going on James Bond-like adventures in their bright yellow plastic mobile home, since we couldn't afford the A-frame Dreamhouse, back then. They were an outlet for my imagination, and I got to be the costume & set designer, hair stylist, screen writer and director, all in the confines of my small-town, Midwestern, middle-class, orange shag-rug-carpeted living room.

"BEFORE" living room scene
Superman Ken in LB BOYZ polo shirt with Sleepytime Gal reproduction
Barbie in vintage blue "Belle" dress; vintage sofa set found on eBay
for $15; Gloria table lamps repainted by photographer; picture frames
found at flea market. Thin sheet magnets adhered to back of all items
on wall; diorama magnetic walls by Room With A View; parquet hardwood
floor from royalty-free stock photo, printed on 13x19
inch Epson R1800 panoramic photo printer; Barbie and RE-MENT
miniatures abound.

The first time a doll resurfaced in my adult life was right before moving to New York in 1994. I was on a yearlong fellowship studying studio photography in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, when my best friend there gave me a Dutch-talking Barbie, complete with little wooden shoes. He and his boyfriend would often buy cheap play line dolls to repaint and restyle as their favourite silver screen icons, like Joan Crawford or Bettie Davis. And so I had my first introduction to grown men who play with dolls, and not the inflatable kind.

When I returned to the US and moved to New York, I discovered the Barbie on Madison boutique at FAO Schwarz and fell in love with retro reproductions of the very first #1 ponytail Barbie dolls from 1959, and I got a couple as novelties for my bookshelf, because I love vintage 1950's and 60's film and fashions, personified by actresses like Audrey Hepburn and Doris Day. An older friend once recounted nostalgically how he remembers when there was a time that you could HEAR a woman enter a room just by the ruffling sound of her crinoline petticoats. I enjoy escaping back through time to that era, where women wore pearls and little white gloves and both men and women wore hats, and these dolls can personify our idealized vision of that bygone Camelot.

This presentation gets its name from my September 2007 HAUTE DOLL Magazine feature on diorama doll house furnishings, and it serves as a laudatory homage to Bravo TOP DESIGN guru Jonathan Adler (age 41),who first fell in love with ceramics at age 12 in summer camp, but took a brief detour in the movie business before launching his initial line of pottery at Barney's in 1994. The line was an instant success, and in 1998 he opened his first store in Manhattan's SoHo neighbourhood, which has since been followed by several boutiques across the country, as he expanded his line into a glamorous new furniture collection, along with bedding, towels, and pillows (some of which are licensed and carried by Bed, Bath and Beyond and department stores). He even redesigned the Le Parker Meridien Hotel in Palm Springs, now a hot resort vacation destination.

Jonathan Adler catalogue photo

First, I thought I'd start off with the inspiration for my dioramas - from the catalogue of Jonathan Adler.

Jonathan Adler catalogue photo

Many of the pieces in the feature come from either bargain vintage finds on ebay (the centrepiece red corduroy sofa set cost only $15)or IKEA's line of doll house furniture that closely match Adler's lacquer-finished end tables, along with items like the wall screen from Barbie's My Scene and Fashion Fever line, accessorized with many simple and easy handmade projects like the Adler-inspired pillows (printed onto ink-jet friendly fabric), star burst mirrors of painted toothpicks and foam core, a George Nelson clock made of pins and paper, vases and lamps from fluted metal beads that closely resemble the gourd-inspired signature pottery of Adler, and an Adler place mat that doubles as an area rug.

Jonathan Adler catalogue photo

RED, WHITE & BLUE living room

Repainted black IKEA picture frames; all images by French fashion
designer Rene Gruau (he is pictured in small horizontal white photo
frame on shelf); white plastic "lacquer" look nesting side tables and
bookshelf - IKEA doll house furniture; lamps made from metal beads;
authentic Jonathan Adler-designed vases, lampshades, books from
Bozart Kaleidoscope Doll house accessory set; TV, record player -
REMENT; radio vintage Barbie by Mattel; wooden ashtray by Carolyn
Allen; Miss Honey, Silkstone Barbie accessory set.

Silkstone Fashion Designer Barbie (with gelled-back bangs) does
Gloria Vanderbilt in reproduction Commuter Set jacket with vintage
crest and "Open Road" vintage Barbie pants; pillows based on Jonathan
Adler designs, created in Photoshop and printed on 8.5x11 inch ink jet
printer fabric.

Vintage Allan head on VOLKS articulated body wearng vintage "Victory
Dance" Ken fashion, area rug - Jonathan Adler placemat from Bed, Bath
& Beyond.

IKEA dollhouse nesting tables, lamp of metal beads, Integrity Toys
Monsieur Z Fly Girl stainless steel cocktail shaker set and tray,
custom-painted vintage Barbie phone, Fashion Fever Barbie wall
screen, custom painted Gloria ice bucket as planter with fake fauna.


Blue circular wallpaper based on Jonathan Adler design; George Nelson-
style wall clock made of metal ring, foam core circle, push pins and
paper cut-out hands; Barbie My Scene coffee table, cordless phone and
customized floor lamp, Hobby Lobby photo frame chair, RE-MENT
teacups, bead lamp; area rug is Jonathan Adler place mat from Bed Bath
& Beyond.

Hobby Lobby photo frame chair (about $10, purchased on-line from
another board member, since there is no store in New York City I can
get to); Barbie My Scene table and customized lamp (I combined two
lamps to get this stand-alone upright); Barbie phone, RE-MENT tea
set; George Nelson clock made from foam core, pins and beads.

VITRA miniature white Panton chair (similar to the new Dynamite Girls
chairs, which are a better bargain, as VITRA can be quite expensive),
Barbie lamp and Fashion Fever screen, Bratz side table, IKEA
doll house chest of drawers, white enamelled and silver beads and wall

IKEA doll house chest of drawers, white enamelled and silver beads and
wall ornaments, Barbie lamp, star burst wall mirrors made of foam core
circles with metal rings, Mylar reflective adhesive paper, and
metallic spray-painted toothpicks.

Black & White Living Room (below from left) My Scene Barbie china cabinet with RE-MENT china set (top shelf), beads (middle) and custom painted Barbie My Scene stereo and lamp; cruelty-free (and pet-friendly!) zebra "skin" rug from ink jet printed fabric glued on black felt base, vintage Allan head on VOLKS articulated body in vintage houndstooth sport coat and fashion, repainted black flea market picture frames with added magnetic backing, custom ink jet printed pillows based on Jonathan Adler designs, Barbie My Scene repainted coffee table and RE-MENT tea set, vintage Barbie Go-Togethers end table with custom printed tabletop liner, white enamelled metal dollhouse birdcage (severed from original attached table bottom, lined with felt), Hobby Lobby photo frame chair, Silkstone Lingerie #3 Barbie doll in I Love Lucy Barbie fashion, Haute Traveler Susie doll in handmade reproduction Francie Japanese exclusive fashion by Joan Hudson; black and white wallpaper scanned in from fabric and printed on my Epson panoramic photo printer (about 3 pieces of 13x19 inch paper fitted together for each room width).

And some detail photos below:

China cabinet detail - looks so realistic!

The birdcage is one of the amazing details put by Michael into this exquisite diorama.

Even seasoned decorators have a lot to learn from Michael.

All photos are by Michael Williams: check him out at: MAWPhoto and also at his Flickr album.


Room With A View magnetic diorama from Cleabella

Carolyn Allen
Mod-O-Rama Fashion Doll Furniture

Matt Trujillo
Custom OOAK reflocked Ken dolls

Joan Hudson
Reproduction Francie fashion

B&J Fabric (for black and white pattern on wallpaper)
525 Seventh Avenue, 2nd fl at 38th St
New York, NY
(212) 354-8150

TOHO Shoji Bead Store
990 Avenue Of The Americas/36-37th St
New York, NY
(212) 967-2088