Page last updated at 17:58 GMT, Friday, 10 February 2006

Barbie's Ken gets mid-life makeover

The new look Ken and designer Phillip Bloch
Sales of Ken and Barbie dolls have fallen as kids buy younger models

Ken, the plastic boyfriend of Barbie, has been given a makeover that could breathe new life into sales of the world's best-selling children's doll.

Two years after Ken and Barbie broke up, he is back and - according to maker Mattel - he has "revamped his life, mind, body and soul".

Gone is his big hair and bright tops and in their place are T-shirts, board shorts, leather jackets and torn jeans.

Mattel hopes shoppers, and not just Barbie, will fall for his new look.

Exploring himself

The company has seen its share of the world's doll market eaten into by younger rivals such as Bratz.

Even though Barbie is still the best-seller worldwide, total sales last year dropped by 13% and the company recently blamed its poor earnings performance on the doll losing her allure.

Ken has emerged from these difficult times with the help of Hollywood stylist Phillip Bloch, who has dressed A-list actors Pierce Brosnan and Johnny Depp.

Mr Bloch said the doll's new look reflects the time Ken spent "exploring the world and himself".

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