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Barbie’s boyfriend Ken is getting his very own exhibition

Written by
Miriam Bouteba

Barbie’s life in plastic is looking pretty fantastic right now. The iconic doll, who celebrated her fifty-eighth birthday this year, was given a makeover by London’s fashion superstar Matty Bovan, has seen the publication of a perfectly pink book based on her Instagram account and last year was the subject of a beautiful exhibition at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Poor old Ken must have been left feeling that, contrary to popular belief, it is in fact a woman’s world. Until now. Attempting to redress the gender balance, Machine-A’s buying director – the always impeccably turned-out Stavros Karelis – has curated an archive exhibition of Ken dolls. The two-week long exhibition, which will display a 1991 MC Hammer Ken, a 2009 Ken by Gareth Pugh and a Chogo-Ken by Ambush, coincides with news that the Barbie brand has expanded its Fashionistas line. Ken's makeover sees the release of a whole spectrum of new dolls which come in four ethnicities and have different body and hair types, including some with cornrows and man-buns. 


The exhibition opens this Friday June 23, and meanwhile there’ll be an exclusive Ken-based T-shirt with a 1968 print reworked by the brilliant Martine Rose available in the pioneering shop famed for its dedication to new talent and noteworthy collaborations. 

The Ken exhibition runs from June 23 until July 7 at Machine-A, 13 Brewer St, W1F 0RH.

Machine-A is one of our favourite shops in London: see the rest of the list here

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