all dolled up
February 6, 2007 9:20 PM   Subscribe

Surreal Barbie and Ken jewelry art by Margaux Lange. Previously (but her work and site have evolved since then). While in China, voodoo dolls have been banned and immediately became a jewelry/accessory craze.
posted by nickyskye (20 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
That Barbie stuff is amazing. I never knew such a thing existed, but now I will spend the rest of my life coveting bracelets made out of Barbie arms.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:54 PM on February 6, 2007

Ooooh. Mattel's gonna be piiiissssed! When I worked there, they loved loved loved their lawyers. They were suing someone every five minutes for making "Crackwhore Barbie" or even creating a Barbie-themed website. The in-house photographers used to secretly pose parody Barbie porn shoots in between product photography, and it was very scandalous. Everyone knew that everyone involved would be unemployed in seconds if found out (I think some people WANTED to get fired, though). From my experience, Mattel has no sense of humor whatsoever about the Barbie brand.

And they paid like crap too, between you & I. But that's okay 'cuz I had a slice of Barbie's birthday cake reserved for me in the cafeteria every year. (Yes, her birthday cake is always Barbie pink too.) Oh, and there was literally a lifesize Barbie & lifesize Ken standing in the lobby. Barbie's neck was freakishly long, at lifesize she's horrifying. Ken just looked like an incredibly dull guy, Barbie was WAY out of his league. He may just be her gay best friend, I'm not sure.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:02 PM on February 6, 2007

And on second viewing? I also TOTALLY COVET the jewelry. I sent the link to all of my friends at Mattel. Especially people who did the porn shoots. ;)

Thanks so much for this post!!!
posted by miss lynnster at 10:06 PM on February 6, 2007

What a fun find!... The Barbie eye bracelets gave me the heebie jeebies... lol
posted by amyms at 10:35 PM on February 6, 2007

Cool find nickyskye. My sister makes wacky jewelry similar to this, I'm sending her the link. The Ron Mueck info on the second link is cool too.
posted by vronsky at 11:11 PM on February 6, 2007

I am both totally in love with and completely mortified by this jewelry. I waaaaaaant ooooooone!
posted by Brittanie at 11:20 PM on February 6, 2007

That line of dolls in your last link are all over Japan as cell phone charms, though they are from Thailand.

I myself have two.
posted by dreamsign at 3:58 AM on February 7, 2007

oh such a timely quote from the article about the chinese government banning the sale of voodoo dolls:

"The government looks foolish when it acts scared of some silly toys. These things only have power if you believe in them."

just wait 'til the mooninites get there...
posted by lapolla at 4:19 AM on February 7, 2007

I liked the Barbie jewelry, but at the same time it squicked me out in sort of a Joel-Peter Witkin sort of way. Those voodoo dolls, OTOH, are adorable!
posted by maryh at 6:21 AM on February 7, 2007

I'd like to buy one for my wife for Hallmark Profits Day, er, Valentine's Day, but couldn't find prices listed on her site or the gallery's site.
Which makes me think it will be a tad pricier than a bottle of Merlot.
Anyone know offhand what these pieces cost?
posted by Dizzy at 6:48 AM on February 7, 2007

I'm having some feudal thoughts right now.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:25 AM on February 7, 2007

Dizzy, here is the contact page on Margaux Lange's site for the galleries that sell her and other artisans' work. Some amazing stuff there, worth a look for the sheer enjoyment of it, particularly Julie: Artisans' Gallery, I called them (their number's on that page) just now to find out for you and the range at that place is from $400 to $3000 (they were sold out of a lot already). Yup, a little more than a bottle of Merlot (although a bottle of Chateau Petrus 2000 Merlot would run you about $3 thou).

dreamsign, when the voodoo dolls were banned in China, savvy entrepreneurs in Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam started making them and now they're a big item all over the East, as mentioned in this cute Malaysian blog.
posted by nickyskye at 8:15 AM on February 7, 2007

I have always relied on the kindness of strangers.
Thank you!
posted by Dizzy at 9:42 AM on February 7, 2007

Damn, the Barbie jewelry is beautiful.
It's also, in a frightening way, probably the future blueprint of cosmetic body enhancement.

I mean eventually we're gonna bore of a pair of breasts
or a flawless botoxed face, and we'll need a whole row of em, right?
posted by Peter H at 9:56 AM on February 7, 2007

Have you ever seen an Academy Awards telecast?
posted by Dizzy at 10:33 AM on February 7, 2007

The Voodoo dolls are indeed adorable yet, somehow, made me feel a bit weird.
posted by squashy wol at 10:59 AM on February 7, 2007

I just wrote a few e-mails to the artist, and she wanted to hear my stories of what it was like to work at Mattel. I told her about walking through the Barbie Dept. to see all of these Barbie heads lined up on wooden sticks & people designing her "official hairstyles" using toothpicks dipped in hairspray.

Anyhow, so here's one of my favorite stories... which I will never forget as long as I live & represents all I hate about Barbie.

I used to work in the board games department 10 years ago (gulp. time flies.) and we were proposing game ideas to the Barbie Department. They seemed incredibly pompous to me at the time, like Barbie was the Queen of the Mattel dynasty & they were her minions. There were three Barbie people in the meeting, one snippy effeminate guy and two women wearing those little Heather Locklear too-short pink suits, and they just seemed to have an air of entitlement to me, so I didn't have much interest in them at all. One of the women did most of the talking while the others just backed her up mostly.

Anyhow, so one of the ideas was based on the Magic 8 Ball, which Mattel owns. There is also a pink Magic "Date" Ball that instead of saying "Signs point to yes" says things like "Oh, like TOTALLY!" Well, the games marketing department thought the Date Ball could be rebranded for Barbie & wanted to pitch it. So the marketing guy starts pitching the idea and this is the interchange that I witnessed (not exaggerated):

Marketing Guy: "...okay, so we could do a Barbie version of this Magic Date Ball."
Snooty Barbie woman: "Uhhh, well. I don't think so. The core age for Barbie is 3-5. We don't really want to encourage them to DATE."
Marketing Guy: "Oh, well, no of course not. But we could put Barbie phrases in there..."
Snooty Barbie woman: < blank stare>
Marketing Guy: "Oh, wait... if it's from 3-5, they can't read yet..."
Snooty Barbie woman: < blank stare, folds arms>
Marketing Guy: "Ok, so what could we do? Hmmm. Ok, well... umm... maybe we could put happy faces and sad faces on there."
Snooty Barbie woman: < takes deep breath> "There ARE no sad faces in Barbie. Barbie is NEVER sad."

So I told the artist to just remember that as she chops her up into a million tiny pieces. Barbie's still very very happy.

posted by miss lynnster at 11:28 AM on February 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ugh. miss lynnster, that story makes me long for a real life Golgafrinchan B-Ark....
posted by maryh at 12:27 PM on February 7, 2007

Hmm, I just came from Taiwan but didn't see any there.

I thought the Thai ones were original, since we now have local rip-offs of even those (and they're not as nice).
posted by dreamsign at 1:41 AM on February 8, 2007

misslynnster, meant to get back to your comment earlier. Wow, what interesting stories and details of your former Barbie job and sadly hilarious too. Glad you made contact with Margaux Lange.
posted by nickyskye at 4:29 PM on February 8, 2007

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