1983-1987 GREAT SHAPE

1983 #5821 Kmart Fashion Classics

1983 The Outfits

In 1983 Mattel ended the Fashion Collectibles and Fashion Favorites lines, and replaced them with Fashion Classics. These outfits all came with shoes. They are better-made than the Superstar series, and there are some great classic outfits among them. The
1984 #7495 Hawaiian Ken

1984 Sun Gold Malibu Ken, Sunsational Malibu Ken, Crystal Ken, Safari Ken, Campin' Out Ken, Great Shape Ken & Hawaiian Ken

In 1983 Mattel created three brand new racially-diverse head-molds for Ken. The Hawaiian/Hispanic head was only used for three dolls, but the other two appeared on many dolls over several years. The Caucasian head-mold was still being used up to
1984 #4887 Twice As Nice

1984 The Outfits

In 1984 the Twice As Nice series began. They are very similar in approach to the Fashion Classics (a single complete fashion outfit), except that each outfit contained one item which was reversible. They are great, well-made outfits, produced in
1985 #9019 Day-to-Night Ken

1985 Sun Gold Malibu Ken, Day-To-Night Ken, Beachtime Ken & Sea Lovin' Ken

SUN GOLD MALIBU KEN Mattel released the black and Hispanic versions of Sun Gold Malibu Ken, which seem to have replaced the Sunsational Malibu Kens. They came with the same blue towel and three pairs of sunglasses as the Caucasian
1985 #9117 Twice As Nice

1985 The Outfits

TWICE AS NICE The Twice As Nice reversible fashion range continued, all produced in Taiwan. Mattel used some experimental fabrics here, which didn’t all stand the test of time. All my pieces are in mint condition, but the red vest
1986 #2388 Music Lovin' Ken

1986 Tropical Ken, Dream Glow Ken, Music Lovin' Ken & Great Shape (Walkman) Ken

The Rockers collection began this year. All information about the Kens and Dereks from this series can be found in the section 1986-87 Derek & Ken Rockers. During 1986 production of dolls moved from Hong Kong and Taiwan to Malaysia, so
1986 #2304 Twice As Nice

1986 The Outfits

This was sadly the last year of the Twice As Nice and Fashion Classics ranges and the end of an era. Both ranges were produced in the Philippines, with some shoes from Hong Kong. The Fashion Classics were all exclusives
1987 #1761 Tennis Ken

1987 Jewel Secrets Ken & Tennis Ken

This is the last year described here in any detail. Ken and his clothing became simply too tacky, as the ridiculously uncollectable Jewel Secrets Ken below demonstrates. Since 2006 things have certainly picked up, and some fantastic Kens have been
1987 #3311 Ready To Wear / Pret-A-Porter

1987 The Outfits

By 1987 the new dolls and clothing had become just far too tacky. It would be easy to blame it on the fashions of the times, but Mattel managed to produce much lovelier outfits throughout the 1970s and earlier 1980s, despite the
1986 #2428 Derek

1986-87 Derek & Ken Rockers

A new line for 1986 was the pop band series of dolls and clothing called Barbie and The Rockers. Originally, the only male member was a new boy called Derek. Ken (with the Jewel Secrets Ken head-mold) was added in
1986 #3141 Kiss & Cuddle (European version)

Heart Family Dad

Between 1985 and 1990 Mattel released a Barbie & Ken spin-off series called The Heart Family. This is a vast series, presumably produced for very young children. It is mostly quite tacky and even a little creepy: Mom & Dad
1987 #105310 Ken Sport

Bob & Ken by Estrela Brazil

ESTRELA in Brazil introduced Ken as Bob, because Ken sounds very much like ‘who?’ in Portuguese, so was thought to be confusing for small children. Estrela was certainly prolific, and their Kens are my favorites of all the South American
1987 #51-0297 Ken Llanero

Ken by Rotoplast Venezuela

ROTOPLAST in Venezuela produced several Kens and Ken outfits (as well as Heart Family dads and at least one Derek) under license from Mattel during the 1980s. They used the regular Great Shape era head (and occasionally the Derek head
From 1984 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue

Great Shape Clones & Clothing

Sears continued to sell their own boy doll called Craig during the mid-1980s. Craig (and his clothing) was also sold by Shillman as Our Boy/Sport Club (see also section Superstar Clones & Clothing). Totsy seems to have had a similar