Ken® is 50 today, and Mattel release a commemorative portfolio of images shot by Daniel Sannwald featuring Cassette Playa x Ken® collection first revealed at the Cassette Playa Fall/Winter 2011/12 show, with a finale of gold-sprayed models. Cassette Playa x Ken® launched earlier this week with windows at colette in Paris, and an in-store party, KEN-Club @ colette. Born Ken Carson, 11 March 1961 in Willows, Wisconsin, the first Ken® doll was $3.50, had flocked hair, wore red swimming trunks, and was carrying a yellow towel.

Munden readily embraced the project: “Ken® is the ultimate boyfriend – my ultimate boyfriend is fearless and intelligent, and has individual style; a warrior! I wanted to celebrate Ken®’s history, while showing another side to him that maybe hasn’t been seen before. Every girl loves a bad boy – even Barbie!” Cassette Playa has recently collaborated with: Nike, Stussy, Nintendo, and Medicom, amongst other brands. Previously nominated for Best Menswear Designer at the British Fashion Awards alongside Christopher Bailey and Alexander McQueen, Cassette Playa’s loyal following includes: Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, and Wiley.

In 1973, Mod Hair™ Ken® introduced his first ever rooted hairstyle, straight or curly, and even came with additional hairy accoutrements; including sideburns. By 1978, Superstar Ken® was wearing an electric blue boilersuit, and in 1979, Sun Lovin’™ Malibu Ken®, with his molded blond hair and golden tan, underlined his surfer dude credentials. Sunsational Malibu Ken®, the first African American Ken®, was introduced in 1982, featuring a rooted Afro hairstyle. In 1984, Dream Date™ Ken® was the perfect arm candy for Barbie®, in his bow tie, tailored tux with a pink rose on the lapel, and grey pants with pink cummerbund. Totally Hair Ken® in 1992, even came with a tube of styling gel! In 1999, Shave ‘n’ Style™ Ken®, a scruffy cool 90s heartthrob, wore regulation jeans and white Tee. By simply pressing his ‘heart’, newly-released Sweet Talkin’ Ken® will talk and you can record your own messages.


Gareth Pugh has previously dressed a limited edition Ken® to compliment all the Barbie® collaborations commemorating her 50th anniversary in 2009.

Cassette Playa x Ken® collection is now on sale at colette.