Saturday, May 13, 2006

Björk -- the Doll

by Mark Burbey

I know you’re going to notice the pictures before you read the text, so before you rush down to Target to buy your very own Björk doll, please read before you run.

In my on-going web search for new pictures of Björk, I happened upon something rather interesting. Back when the planet was waiting for the Y2K bug to plunge the world into a dark age of untold digital squalor, amateur doll designers were too busy to notice. Jetliners might soon have been falling out of the sky, and the calendars on our computers might have been forever trapped in a dead century, but a very special contest was underway, and the deadline was January 1, 2000.

It’s not quite clear who was sponsoring the contest, but this announcement – which still lingers on 6 years after the fact – spelled out the specifics:

Charice Doll Makeover Contest! If you'd like to enter the Charice Makeover Contest, the Entry Form is in the middle of the Home Page of The Entry Fee is $15, and the first 50 entries will receive a free nude Charice to work with - they will also be billed $3.20 for shipping. The Winner gets to design for Paul David and MIKelman a Limited Edition Charice (500 pieces). The Winner will also get $75. Second place will get a boxed Charice doll, and Third and Fourth place winners will get Charice clothing sets. Some excitement, huh? Ready - Set - Go!

Rock Stars & Rock Groups Makeover Contest! Makeover your favorite fashion doll into your favorite rock star or rock group! Or ... make one up! Be as outrageous as you like! Fashion doll makeovers only, please. $15 entry fee for each star or group entered. Deadline January 1, 2000! Winner to be announced in the March/April Issue of Designer Dolls Magazine! Send 1-2 photos of your Rock Stars creations, along with a check or m.o. for $15, and a printout of this Entry Form. Send photos only, not the doll. However, we may request your doll for our own photo shoot, if necessary.
First Place Winner gets $75! Second Place Winner gets $25! So, get busy! Join the fun! Be creative! And Happy Designing!”

Apparently there’s a serious scene of fashion doll designers – or re-designers – who re-make dolls like Barbie and Charice into Cher, Tina Turner, Greta Garbo, etc., so when this contest was announced, at least one talent little doll maker was inspired to re-create Björk in her HOMOGENIC garb. After the judges had made their decisions and the results were in, an unknown issue of Barbie Magazine devoted a one-page feature to the Björk doll’s showing as 2nd-place winner in the contest:

“The ‘Björk’ doll was created for the ‘Rock Stars Contest’ in Designer Dolls Magazine. She won 2nd place in the competition. Alexander McQueen designed this outfit for Björk and she wears it on the cover of her HOMOGENIC CD. It’s a mixture of Asian and African style. The hair of her extravagant two discs hairstyle is re-rooted. Her extraterrestrial face is repainted. The rings of her neck are African style. The metallic flowers of her kimono and the stripes on her sash are hand-painted. Matching with this she wears long metallic blue fingernails. Even her red no-heel sandals are exceptional. She stands right there in the photo studio to make a great photo for her CD cover.”

I never imagined that the writing in Barbie Magazine would be so flat and monosyllabic, but outside of not bothering to mention the winner’s name, it gets the job done.

The doll is probably the best one could expect from something cobbled out of an inhabitant from Barbie World. It lacks the alien intensity of Björk’s expression on the HOMOGENIC cover, but the contestant did a great job of replicating McQueen’s multi-ethnic attire and hair-styling. (Click on the full-length photo for a larger view.)

The 2nd place prize of $25.00 is undeniably meager (especially given the $15.00 entry fee), and the “article” makes no mention of who or what won first place, but what could it possibly have been? Madonna in one of her many personas? All four members of Kiss?

Designer Dolls Magazine seems to no longer exist, but the art of turning Barbie and her kin into celebrities has carved out its own odd little niche. It’s probably too much to expect, but perhaps Mattel will be inspired to produce a collector’s line of pop star dolls. How cool would that be, if only to be able to run down to Target and buy your very own Björk doll -- and all her attendant accessories, of course!


The Gathering