Some things get better with age...like the now 76-year-old designer and renaissance man Dapper Dan of Harlem, N.Y. (also the inaugural recipient of The Glow Up 50's “Dap Award,” a lifetime achievement honor we named for the fashion legend). But another male cultural icon recently hit a major milestone—Mattel’s Ken doll. The Stedman to Barbie’s Oprah turned 60 this year, and proving that he’s still got it (or at the very least. is perfectly fine with being the old guy in the club), the muscle-bound doll received a wardrobe refresh from Harlem’s finest, who outfitted him in a capsule wardrobe of street-savvy and logo-heavy (because Dapper Dan) styles.
Barbie, who dis man? Ken has clearly come a long way from the beaches of Malibu, abandoning his original Robert Redford-like blond coif for man-buns and baldies. Is that a pastel track pant we see paired with a color-blocked jacket? Ken’s rocking skinny jeans now—and Timbs?! (For the sake of little fingers, we hope those jeans stretch.) Are the leather and fur trim on the branded puffer parka faux? And does that ascot-wearing bald brown Ken doll come with a pair of the designer’s signature oversized shades, so we can pretend he’s Dan himself? (Managing Editor Genetta Adams: I’m sorry, we have to call him Kenny. He’s too dapper for “Ken.”)
We have questions—and, as always, Dapper Dan (who knows a lot about pretty much everything, in our experience) has answers, courtesy of Mattel.
With every look that I design, you get a strong sense of the wearer’s personality, and Ken’s custom looks are no different. I created three looks that were daring and bold because of who Ken is today—he defies expectations, sets trends, and is a true original. Our mutual ability to respond to and reflect people’s thinking is what has given us both longevity. Ken’s looks are fit for a new age, featuring high-impact-tailoring, a play on logos, and powerful color combinations.
So, there you have it—straight from Harlem. According to Mattel Ken’s new looks will be showcased on Barbie’s global platform on March 14 and 15.