Barbie: exhibition dedicated to the iconic doll at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris

The venerable Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is mounting a breathtaking exhibition dedicated to Barbie. 700 dolls in 1,500 square meters along with objects from the museum and art works from contemporary artists that try and present the various aspects of "Barbie's lives". The show opens today and will be on display until the 18th of September. The opening fits right in with the Paris Fashion Doll Festival opening this Friday. The curator  is Anne Monier, conservator at the  department of toys in the museum and the set designer is Nathalie Crinière, who also designed the incredible Le Petit Théâtre Dior exhibition in 2014.

Catwalk set up with Silkstone dolls, evoking both similar set ups from Barbie Collector photo sets and old couture runway shows in France.

The exhibition is geared towards children and adults alike: it showcases both the iconic toy that spans so many generations and also the historical and sociological context of the various incarnations of Barbie. I think a trip to Paris is needed pronto. Check out the gorgeous set ups of the exhibition.

The atmosphere of a private atelier showing is next to the catwalk space above

And the seamstresses of the atelier are also shown on their sewing machines - brilliant!

Modern style display - the flying catwalk

Another aspect of the modern display

Various aspects of Barbie and Ken's incarnations through the years

Glass domes showcasing collectible Barbies. I bet the girl wants to take them all home!

The wall of clothes showcases various Barbie outfits in doll size...

...while life-sized versions of them are also on display

The design process is also displayed in a very interesting way

The boxes that Barbies come in are also given their own space

A display showing the variety of molds, skin tones and hair styles and colours

The much sought after queen incarnations of Barbie - I'm surprised Empress Josephine is missing.

And something more plebeian - a table football with Barbies!

Exhibition photos courtesy of Getty Images

First photos of the new articulated Silkstone Barbies are out!

The new year has begun and with it new fashion dolls are starting to appear. Some of the most anticipated dolls this year will be the articulated Silkstone dolls that were announced late last year. The first images have already appeared from three different sources: an interview in Wall Street Journal of Mary Jordan, stylist for Mattel (to read the interview google the article and read it from there as it is locked if you try to access it directly from the link), the instagram stream of another Barbie stylist and designer, Zlatan Zukanovic. and the official Barbie Collector site with a Robert Best interview. The dolls look really good and if the quality of the vinyl is the same as their non-articulated sisters, the bodies will be a hit for re-boding some of my Mattel dolls, depending on the final price of course.

The image above is from the Barbie Collector interview of Robert Best.

In this photo we can see four different versions of the new Silkstone.

The dolls seem to have two different bust sizes - or is it just an illusion?

Tools of a doll stylist - and the new articulated Silkstone as a red head.

Zukanovic posted this doll in his Instagram feed.

A close up.

And another shot - if I get more than one, I might keep one complete.

Photos courtesy of Wall Street Journal/Emily Berl (first three from top) and Zlatan Zukanovic (last three).

High Visibility Agnes Von Weiss

Last year, during the presentation for the main Integrity Toys collections, the event doll was none other then Agnes Von Weiss as a lovely gift-set. This incarnation of hers is called High Visibility and it caused a minor uproar among collectors at the time because her lips were not painted in her usual scowl but in a more straightforward line. I think it is interesting that changes like this appear from time to time on the dolls - it makes the characters more varied and nuanced. She;s a good looking doll and I really enjoyed taking her photos. The edition size of this doll is 1350, made according to the dolls ordered by event attendees.

She comes in a variety of clothing with great mix-and-match possibilities, not only between them but also with the other outfits of the Urban Safari Fashion Royalty line of 2014. These include a corset made in a thick patterned fabric. The thickness of it is a bit off and it makes the corset look huge, destroying its shape, despite the nice detailing with the criss-cross cords on the sides. The hooks for closure in the back do not help either - it would have been better using a zip. The long skirt flares from below the knee. It looks good and matches the rest of the pieces nicely in colour and fabric. The shape though would hold much better if the fabric used was stiffer. It has a zip at the back, which again makes me wonder about not using one on the corset too.

The rest of the pieces make up a day-time outfit: a cropped, sleeveless jacket made of suede, with a belt and buckle closure on the side, over a skirt made in the same fabric as the corset. Remember that Faded Desert Kyori had a skirt made in another shade of this fabric (and the criss-cross detail missing here). You can tell the fabric is too thick by the awkward waist - it does not even have a waistband - not possible with a thick fabric like this.This is a detail that makes the skirt look unfinished and cheap, despite the luxurious texture.

Lots of accessories to use as well. Two pairs of shoes (white strapped sandals and dark brown strapped pumps, both with extra lacing which I could not figure out how to tie properly (hence the sloppy look or total photoshopping of them on the photos). An extra company photo of the shoes properly tied would have helped a lot. There is also a huge tote and a brown straw hat along with sunglasses (in lilac) which are the same style used throughout the Urban Safari outfits. The hoop earrings are a colour variation of the ones Faded Desert Kyori is wearing as well, as are two of her bracelets. Excellent colour co-ordination throughout.

She has an intricate hairstyle - a middle part, with hair swept backwards in two waves, and then forms a double bun at the back. The copper shade matches her Japan skin-tone, as does her make up - coppery eye-shadows and orange-red lipstick.

As I had recently acquired some Silkstone Barbie outfits, I decided to try them on Agnes.and they do fit well, despite the height difference (the skirts just look a bit shorter). 

Here she is wearing the Boater Ensemble from the BFC Barbie Silkstone doll of the same name. She absolutely rocks it. I just added the Lady Dior inspired bag from the Fashion Royalty Fashion Spectacular accessories set. Even the tights fit (very tight though due to the length of the legs). I did not try to put on the gloves as they look like oven mittens. She is also wearing another Fashion Royalty bracelet.

Under the jacket is a lovely two-toned dress that looks fantastic on its own as well. I should have put on her a couple of Chanel-style chain necklaces or even a chain belt, they would look lovely with this. The spectator pumps fit perfectly.

The second outfit is from the Capucine Silkstone Barbie doll. Again it fits her nicely and the skirt looks a lot like her own - albeit in the stiffer fabric better suited to this shape. Here you can tell how her height makes the skirt look short. The shoes and jewellery are from On The Rise Elise Jolie from the Urban Safari line. This outfit reminds me a lot of Gianfranco Ferre's work at Dior.

All photos copyright © 2015 by Stratos Bacalis - not to be used or re-published without reference and/or permission.

New Audrey Hepburn dolls by Mattel - Roman Holiday and Sabrina

These are the first Audrey dolls that Mattel releases after the sought after Breakfast At Tiffany's dolls. One is a Pink Label doll and one is a Silkstone Gold Label doll. Let's find out more about them.

Audrey Hepburn™ in Roman Holiday Doll

This is one I have been waiting for impatiently.They are using a new Audrey mold than the one they used for the Breakfast at Tiffany's dolls back in the 90s and she looks different than those dolls. She also now sports the ModelMuse™ body. My main interest though is the outfit as there was none whatsoever released so far from this film. It looks faithful to the original and the shoes at least have what looks like real strings on them. The price is right to and she's already on her way to me.

Let's see how Mattel describes the doll:

This lovely Audrey Hepburn™ in Roman Holiday portrait doll is exquisitely sculpted in the actress’ likeness. She is dressed in a re-creation of Princess Ann’s costume: a beige A-line skirt worn with a crisp white blouse and finished with a wide buckled belt. A pretty printed scarf and brown laced sandals are her stylish accessories.
Doll Details Body Type: ModelMuse™ Arms: Left Bent, Straight Right Skin Tone: Afra Facial Sculpt: New Audrey Hepburn Fashion Sewn On?: No Eyelashes: Painted Included with doll: Stand, belt buckle, shoes, blouse, belt, panty.

©2013 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. AUDREY HEPBURN™ & LOGO IMAGE™ TRADEMARK, COPYRIGHT © 2013 AND LIKENESS PROPERTY OF SEAN HEPBURN FERRER AND LUCA DOTTI LICENSED THROUGH LICENSING ARTISTS, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. For ages 6 and over. Production doll may vary from the photo shown above. Mattel reserves the right to modify the fashion/fabrics, sculpt, hair color/style, and accessories. Doll cannot stand alone as shown.

The photos above are the official Mattel ones, but of course everyone wants to know how she will look in real life. I looked for photos and found some on-line from a seller on eBay:

She more or less looks like the promo but closer to the BAT Audrey face, which is good. 

Audrey Hepburn™ as Sabrina Doll

This one is on a Silkstone body, which means the price is triple than the previous one. I already have the outfit in this scale from the Integrity Sabrina collection so I was not thinking of getting this, unless they produced a doll that was the spitting image of Audrey. The prototype is not a great likeness...

...but searching on-line I found some real life photos of the doll, from the same eBay seller. Not only she looks nothing like the promo, she is far from a perfect likeness of Audrey. For those who missed the Integrity Sabrina though, it's a good alternative, at least for the dress. The finish of the hem does not look promising on the promos and I cannot see it in the photo below. She's too expensive for what I see.

The Barbie Collector website has a neat feature for some of the dolls, where you can rotate the image 360°, which lets you see even the back of the doll:

Let's see how Mattel describes the doll:

This first-ever Silkstone® Audrey Hepburn™ as Sabrina portrait doll is beautifully sculpted in the actress’ likeness. She wears a re-creation of the famed black and-white embroidered long gown Sabrina wears upon her entrance into Long Island society. White opera gloves, faux pearl drop earrings and black stiletto pumps complete the elegant ensemble.

Doll Details Body Type: Silkstone® Skin Tone: Classic Beige Silkstone® Facial Sculpt: New Audrey Hepburn Fashion Sewn On?: No Eyelashes: Painted Included with doll: Stand, shoes ,earrings, dress, train, gloves, tights. There is a limit of 5 dolls per order.

©2013 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. AUDREY HEPBURN™ & LOGO IMAGE™ TRADEMARK, COPYRIGHT © 2013 AND LIKENESS PROPERTY OF SEAN HEPBURN FERRER AND LUCA DOTTI LICENSED THROUGH LICENSING ARTISTS, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Audrey Hepburn™ as Sabrina doll fashion designed exclusively for the Silkstone® Barbie® doll body; not for use with other Barbie® dolls. For the adult collector. Production doll may vary from the photo shown above. Mattel reserves the right to modify the fashion/fabrics, sculpt, hair color/style, and accessories. Doll cannot stand alone as shown.

Mad Men dolls: here come the guys for the season finale

In my previous post you read about and saw the gorgeous dolls that Michael Williams made for the female characters of the 5th season of Mad Men, the incredible series of AMC. Now, as the season's finale is upon us, he presents the men of the series. Again, he accessorizes them with all the necessary props they used in this season.

Don Draper is of course the star of Mad Men. For him, Michael used a Silkstone Ken, the unfortunate victim ex-flame Andrea is a Barbie Basics leg wearing a Silkstone Red MaryJane pump, and the car is a Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen car that only cost $10 at a dollar store 10 years ago. He photoshopped it from turquoise to red.

Roger Sterling, the wise-cracking partner of SCDP: Again he is a Silkstone Ken, he is holding a Barbie baby and the accessories include a My Scene phone, a Re-Ment repainted table, a VITRA miniature chair and custom-printed paper paraphernalia.

The man everyone loves to hate: Pete Campbell. To make him. Michael put a vintage Allan head on a VOLKS Neo-Go Guy Color articulated body. He wears a vintage Ken Special Date navy suit and his accessories include a repainted pencil sharpener film projector, a pair of generic fashion doll skis purchased at a doll show, a custom-printed lobster bib and book jacket.

Michael Ginsberg is the new guy on the show. Actually he is a Wedding Day Sparkle Ken groom, with a Misaki Destination Milan necktie and Barbie Loves Frank Sinatra jacket. His accessories include a College Student vintage Ken typewriter, a RE-MENT Hotel Buffet warming tray with RE-MENT French Restaurant and Fun Meals Lobsters, a Barbie Generation Girl Lara artist easel with custom-printed story boards and a One Modern Circle Ken portfolio.

Once again Michael has done an incredible job of bringing the Mad Men characters to life in a most iconic and ironic way through his dolls.

All photos ©Michael Williams/