KEN & FRIENDS: MALE FASHION DOLLS & CLOTHING FROM 1961-1987
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 1987, along with a second version of Derek. Mattel Spain (and possibly Mattel France) produced their own unique Dereks and Ken. In the rest of Europe the dolls and outfits themselves were identical to the US versions (with the exception of the logo on the 1st edition Derek’s t-shirt), but they were packaged differently, as Barbie & the Rock Stars. There are several foreign versions of these dolls, probably more than listed below.
The European version came with a variation print t-shirt (modelled below right by Hawaiian Ken)
Mattel Mexico and Rotoplast in Venezuela also produced versions of this original Derek.
Mattel Spain produced unique versions of all three Rockers boys, but, as you can see, they weren’t particularly attractive. I know Mattel France also produced their own version of this Derek, with similar looks and the straight arm body-mold, though I have yet to find one complete.
The shiny gold coating on Derek’s jacket often disintegrates with age, even in the factory-sealed box, revealing a kind of tan ‘leather’ look fabric (see pic below). This is often mistaken for a variation. Even when the gold coating remains intact, it is as fragile, and prone to flaking, as all Mattel ‘leather’ fabrics of this period.
Mattel-meets-Amadeus with this Derek clone Rocker doll called ‘Boss’ by EL GRECO in Greece. El Greco produced their own Barbie & Ken-type doll range called BiBi-Bo. The unpacked doll on the right is presumably a later version, as his face is practically identical to the Rockers Ken.
There were three extra outfits produced. The Rockers Fashions were released in 1986, and the Concert Tour Fashions in 1987. At least one of these outfits (#2691) was also produced by Mattel Spain. The Concert Tour Fashions outfit came with a whole load of stickers and cut-outs. I bought the Rockers Fashions out-of-box, so do not know if they also originally came with extras.
BARBIE AND THE ROCKERS FASHIONS #1177
BARBIE AND THE ROCKERS FASHIONS #2691
CONCERT TOUR FASHIONS #3395
BOOKLETS & CATALOGUES
The Sears Wish Books for 1986 and 1987 offered unique own-brand clothing sets for Derek & Ken.
Despite the stock photos in the Spanish booklet below, their Derek was only ever produced with the straight-arm body mold. The French booklet above also features a straight-arm Derek, looking remarkably similar to the Spanish doll. I have noticed this Derek for sale (out-of-box) in France. I’d always assumed he was the Spanish version, but now I’m convinced that Mattel France also produced some Dereks like this.
THE SOUTH AMERICAN ROCK KENS & DEREKS
Basa produced a Rockers Derek/Ken with the Great Shape Ken head-mold with two-tone brown hair. His outfit is a unique silver-grey version of Derek’s gold ensemble. There are three variations of t-shirts, glove and socks; purple, red and blue. Basa Kens usually have pale ghostly faces, as the plastic discolours with age. The screenshot is from a period BASA TV advertisement.
TOP TOYS ARGENTINA
Top Toys released a Kenny Rock Star doll, a very watered-down version of the Rockers Ken, with the Great Shape era head-mold with mid-brown hair.
Estrela produced several Rock-inspired Bobs and Kens, all with the Superstar-era head-mold. Curiously, they start off really wild, all tight leather and chains, and become slowly more conservative each year.