Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Basic Barbie styled by CFDA Designers

Barbie, as most collectors know already, is no stranger to real-life designers making outfits for her. She celebrated her 50th Anniversary last year with a spectacular runway show at New York Fashion Week. Mattel recently introduced the Barbie Basics dolls, who come wearing little black dresses, have various skin colours and haistyles. Five acessory kits were also introduced to allow the owners to personalize their look. To celebrate the launch, 12 of the top CFDA designers have dressed some of these basic Barbies: Tory Burch, Isaac Mizrahi, Rachel Roy, Justin Giunta, Lorraine Schwartz, Alexis Bittar, Monica Botkier, Deborah Lloyd of Kate Spade, Philip Crangi, Albertus Swanepoel and Devi Kroell, all gave the perennial fashion doll some stylish garments, recycling their own iconic pieces.

Tory Burch

Kate Spade

Justin Giunta

Lorraine Schwartz

Isaak Mizrahi

Devi Kroell

Rachel Roy

Monica Botkier

Alberuts Swanepoel

Phillip Crangi

Each of the one-of-a-kind dolls will be auctioned off on Ebay. The proceeds will benefit the CFDA Foundation and the organization's scholarship and educational programs. The auction goes live on January 28th at 10pm EST and will run through February 7th. To bid visit

All photos courtesy of Mattel Inc.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tatiana's Doll House: The Dining Room

The very talented Tatiana has started making a series of rooms in 1/6 scale - all together they will make a big dollhouse. I will be presenting her work here in the blog - one room each month. We start with the dining room. Tatiana was inspired for the table by the dining room from Calvin Klein's Doll House by architect Josh Prince-Ramus (see previous post and photo below) . She liked the "dressy" posh impression conveyed by the dark brown and white colour scheme, and decided to use black & white for her dining room.

Calvin Klein Dollhouse - for photo credit check previous post

The idea to make the whole doll house in black and white with style and colour coordinated rooms came to her after making the dining table from wooden frames, which she purchased on clearance for her craft projects. They are solid wood shadowbox frames with high quality black finish. Her husband kindly cut them to desired height with a mitre saw. She then finally had enough modern looking furniture to make not only the dining room, but also the living room and bedroom. These furniture pieces with their rich feel of solid wood and almost jewellery-box quality finish are her favourites.

Tatiana had several dioramas in foamcore boxes before and after discovering that they don't hold their shape and warp under furniture weight, began looking for something more sturdy. She found oversized double corrugated cardboard in a local art store and decided to give it a try. She scored the sheet with a construction knife, then proceeded to fold and glue it into a box. The result was much better than she had hoped for. Using oversize coverstock for walls and floor added more durability and allowed her to avoid unsightly seams.

The columns are 13-3/4" wedding cake pillars, bought here. The white chairs came with Dynamite Girls convention chair packs. Tatiana purchased some of them on e-bay and some on doll boards. Plates are Gloria accessories that were repainted white. The cutlery, candelabras, wine bucket with bottle and "crystal" glasses are from Gloria play sets too. Vases are by Mattel, except for the clear one, which is a lipstick base.

She cut out placemats from acrylic screen on collectible Barbie box. The white table runner is a candy box ribbon. The Fashion Royalty liquor cabinet was a part of her office diorama, that was disassembled to make room for this one. Tatiana thought that it would look much better as a china cabinet and, after arranging some Re-ment plates and tea sets in it, she was happy with the result. And so are we.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Madison Avenue (Doll)House - Rex Architects for Calvin Klein

CLIENT Calvin Klein, Inc.
PROGRAM (Doll)House for the “Calvin Klein Woman,” displayed in the Calvin Klein Collection storefront on Madison Avenue during the 2008-2009 holiday season
AREA Dollhouse: 4.0 m² (43 sf); Concept House: 190 m² (2,000 sf)
WEIGHT 450 kg (1,000 lbs)
PROJECT COST Confidential
STATUS Completed November 2008
KEY PERSONNEL Jeffrey Franklin, Joshua Prince-Ramus, Jacob Reidel, Alejandro Schieda, Eugenia Zimmermann
CONSULTANTS Magnusson Klemencic, Situ Studio

Calvin Klein’s Senior Vice President for Creative Services approached REX to design a concept house showcasing pieces from the company’s apparel, accessory, and home lines. The catch: the house would be realized in miniature and displayed in the main window of Calvin Klein’s Madison Avenue store during the 2008-2009 holiday season. REX dubbed this fusion of concept house and doll house a “(Doll)House.

For a practice committed to using constraints as generative opportunities, the project was challengingly whimsical, presenting an exciting (and fun) opportunity to test the limits of our methodology across multiple scales.

A response to two markedly different scales and purposes, the (Doll)House had to reconcile—in one design—the contradictory constraints of a concept house and a doll house:

1. The concept house had to be designed for the “Calvin Klein Woman,” a professed city-dweller; the doll house typology is traditionally a suburban, detached, single-family dwelling.

2. The concept house had to provide privacy for its hypothetical inhabitant; a doll house has to be open, at eye-level, and easily viewed in the round.

3. The concept house had to respect the minimalist aesthetic of Calvin Klein; the doll house had to be bold enough to attract the attention of holiday shoppers.

4. The concept house required a hypothetical site in New York City; the doll house site was already fixed—a Madison Avenue storefront.

By siting the concept house in the ‘landscape’ above a Manhattan intersection, the competing demands of the two scales begins to reconcile. Suspended in air, the concept house remains a freestanding residence while capitalizing on underutilized urban space. Undeniably frivolous, the Madison Avenue (Doll)House nevertheless contains a kernel of an idea for accommodating growth in rapidly-densifying cities.

Meanwhile, elevated and freestanding within the storefront, the doll house can be seen closely in the round and from afar, and can be opened from all sides for play.

The conflicting constraints that remained unresolved by the selection of the concept house’s site are reconciled by the (Doll)House’s design itself. The design begins as four, minimalist floor plates (dining room, living room, bedroom, and rooftop pool terrace) following the precedent set for Calvin Klein by John Pawson, the store’s designer. The plates are then shifted to maximize visibility into the doll house, and to provide views out for the imagined occupant of the concept house.

To balance the opposing desires for views and privacy, the (Doll)House is wrapped in a cocoon of translucent white textile. Conceptually, this fabric layer operates as a sunshade, outboard of a glass façade.

The interiors and roof terrace are furnished with miniature replicas of pieces from the company’s apparel, accessory, and home lines. These items were designed by the company’s creative directors: Francisco Costa, Calvin Klein Collection for Women; Italo Zucchelli, Calvin Klein Collection for Men; Ulrich Grimm, Calvin Klein Shoes & Accessories; and, Amy Mellen, Calvin Klein Home.

Architect Joshua Prince-Ramus in front of the Madison Avenue (Doll)House

Images Credits: James Lattanzio; Luxigon; Situ Studio

(text from REX Architects)