Stephen Jones does Barbie: The Mad Hatter is in town for the holidays!

One of my two favourite hat designers in the world (the other one being Philip Treacy) is the indomitable Stephen Jones. His extravagant and outré objets d'art (it seems unfair to call them simply hats) are always sure to catch the eye and be the centre of attention when the wearer appears in an event. His new project is a collaboration with Mattel: he designed five Barbie dolls for them, with his unique vision and flamboyant style making them coveted collector's items.

The talented designer says that "Barbie is the most fabulous private client. She came into the salon for her Christmas morning hat and left with five glamorous outfits! Barbie and I have the same design vision; we love tradition, but have an eye for the future." The dolls will cost £250 each (ouch) and will be available from Selfridges London's Toy Shop on November 15, where Barbie opened a space earlier this year. "We're enamoured with the idea of truly one-of-a-kind gifts this Christmas," said Selfridges' head of accessories, children's wear and toys, Erin Moscow. "More than ever before we're aware of the demand for pieces which offer something really special. These pieces don't necessarily come with a million-pound price tag - they're not about ostentatiousness - their beauty lies in their rarity. All of the storytelling and fantasy of Stephen's work, realised with fun and witticism that's synonymous with Barbie, has gone into these beautiful dolls." 

Of course the designer also commented on each doll. Above is Holly Barbie, his favourite: "This is my personal favourite, using the contrast of soft velvet and spiky holly leaves. Barbie also has her very own pet Robin to give her a Christmas peck."

On Santa Baby Barbie (pictured above): "Every Barbie needs a fabulous Christmas outfit, so I used the idea of a Santa hat to make a fantasy cocktail dress, dedicated to Mrs Santa."

And how about Snow Globe Barbie? "There is nothing more magical and glamorous than floating snowflakes encased in a snow globe."

Yes, there is a Christmas Tree Barbie too: "I ensured the drama and volume of a full pine tree by illuminating the multicolour baubles within her Christmas tree headpiece."

Luckily the last one is not named Rudolph, the red nosed Barbie doll but Toffee Ice Barbie: "Rudolph, Prancer and Vixen are some of Santa’s reindeers, so I wanted to make Barbie an outfit in which she can dance and prance on the ice rink."

If you think it is the first time Stephen Jones has done something with the iconic doll, think again. He has presented a collection of hats on Barbie mannequins in the past and this August he made the headband shown above, for a short clip titled "Punk: Not Clueless" starring himself. The headband is sold for a hefty £1000 + VAT on the Showstudio website. I bet you can make one for much less.

Barbie gets her own dedicated space at Selfridges and lots of London pizzazz

Later this week, within the new Selfridges Toy Shop opening up on its fourth floor, Barbie gets her own dedicated space. And what better occasion to ask some up-and-coming London designers to dress her up for than this? Three of the British capital's (and one of fashion's top cities) emerging talents are making the bill: Fred Butler, Nazir Mazhar and Sister By Sibling.

It is not the first time that the iconic doll is dressed by a real fashion designer but I think it's a first in promoting up and coming names instead of well established brands. It's London Babe! The dolls are 15 in total, five per designer, and will be available in Selfridges alongside other collectible Barbies.

Each designer concentrated on their strengths: Sibling’s Cozette McCreery, Sid Bryan, and Joe Bates designed quirky knit looks (below), Fred Butler did a series of  sculptural ensembles (first photo), while Nazir Mazhar went for hard-edged street-wear styles (above). Check out poor Ken in a bucket hat and sweat suit.

Sister By Sibling had made a nod to Barbie 18 months ago on London Fashion week in February 2012 by having five looks presented on Barbie dolls. And of course this is not the only current designer Barbies around this time of the year, there's the Coach thing going on as well but that will be in another post. Enjoy the London chic: