Toy Karl And Karl’s Toy

You don’t have to be a teen pop star or a mouthless cat, or a fictional war hero to be immortalised in plastic. Japanese toymaker Tokidoki has released the one-thousand-pieces-only Karl Lagferfeld (action?) figure that is more for fashionistas than little girls who sleep with their Bratz . The designer for Chanel looks unmistakably like himself: oversized sunglasses, and high-collared shirt, fitted suit, and chunky belt buckle that are supposedly from his K Karl Lagerfeld collection (mostly available in department stores).

This is not Karl Lagerfield’s first association with toys. Back in March, in the too-hip and too-crowded Paris multi-label store Colette, Mattel showed a Ken in the likeness of Karl as part of their 50th anniversary celebration that included an exhibition titled Barbie and Ken by Karl Lagerfeld. Karl-as-Ken is as likely and believable as Lindsay Lohan-as-designer (er, “artistic advisor”)! Fortunately, Barbie was allowed to remain Barbie (despite the clearly-Karl couture). Ken, apart from looking like the German-born couturier, was also Mr Lagerfeld’s constant companion, the French model Baptiste Giabiconi.

You could argue that Mr Giabiconi’s sartorial sense (for that matter, Mr Lagerfeld’s as well) is too polished for Ken, who, if I remember, is less of a fashion plate than his alleged girlfriend. In fact, so regular was Ken (read: boring) that Mattel had to engage the stylist Phillip Bloch to give Barbie’s arm-candy a makeover back in 2006. I don’t know how involved the stylist-to-the-stars was, but Ken still looked Californian and forever beach-ready. Mr Giabiconi, directed by his photographer-mentor, gave Ken a style that was not only modern, but long overdue. Sometimes, it really takes a mannequin to play a doll.


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