Révillon Haute Fourrure
Mr Boy* and his dolls
"Hommage à Schiaparelli"
"Petite robe noire"
The ever stylish Mdvanii in Thierry Mugler haute couture. Zhdrick wears "Jazz" from 1993.
MDVANII'S HIGH FASHION WARDROBE
1992- 1995 - The Transition
As explained in the introduction, during the course of 1992, BillyBoy* realized that there was a contradiction in letting the commercial doll market represent his dolls, which were entirely hand-made from A to Z, along with other dolls, which were mostly mass-produced dolls. The incredible success and press coverage generated by Mdvanii, greatly helped by the mediatic presence of BillyBoy*, had created a demand that BillyBoy* Toys could not fulfill. Mdvanii was still hand-made, in France, which is certainly not the easiest and cheapest way to produce a doll! Everybody wanted Mdvanii, but dealers were difficult and whiny about paying the price for it. They wanted more and more dolls but wanted to keep them in unrealistically competitive prices. Competitive with what? There was nothing else, miles around, that could remotely be compared to the way Mdvanii was conceived or made. Mdvanii was NOT a commercially-made doll and there was nothing you could do about it to lower the costs. Collectors could really see that Mdvanii WAS different, but many of them did not understand why she was, to their eyes, so expensive (which she was not in fact). It is very easy to understand, though. When Mattel does “limited series” such as the “Feelin’ Groovy” Barbie by BillyBoy*, it is made in 10 000 example minimum (which is what was announced). The biggest series of Mdvanii was of 200 example, which is a fact, and each one of them was exactly made the same way that the one-of-a-kind pieces.
A radical change
When the Gulf War ocurred, all the Exclusive Representative in the USA cancelled their orders, which had some very negative consequences for BillyBoy* Toys. BillyBoy* felt totally betrayed by this attitude, specially after the abnormal pressure that some of the dealers had put on him. So in 1993, BB* took the hard decision to stop dealing with the Exclusive Representatives in the USA.
This decision had two main consequences. The first one is that the place left vacant by Mdvanii was rapidly invaded by new fashion doll products, commercially-made and very “competitively-priced”, which, for a while at least, fufilled the craving of fashion doll collectors. It took only a few years to totally saturate the market and this “craving” has greatly faded away. The second one is that many early Mdvanii collectors thought that she was discontinued and rumors even spread at some point that BillyBoy* was dead! The truth was that Mdvanii was impossible to find without making the effort for it: she was only available through BillyBoy* Toys in Paris, until 1993, when BillyBoy* and Lala decided to leave Paris and create the dolls just as artists, without the burden of a company. A chapter was closed, a new one was being opened. The production was mostly absorbed by Sumiko Watanabe (later SW Japan) in Tokyo, who is the only representative in the world to have had access to the entire doll creations of BillyBoy* and Lala. The splendid limited series as well as the one-of-a kind dolls created for her all bear the purple woven label marked BillyBoy* Toys - SW Japan Exclusive. During all these years, Sumiko Watanabe remained a faithful and enthusiastic support of the Mdvanii creations (as well as of all other BB* dolls) for which she organized many exhibitions and founded the selective Mdvanii Society Club of Japan. The club, still existing today, had its own newsletter, published every two months. It featured articles, interviews, comments, poems, a cartoon by Lala about BillyBoy*’s adventures and of course all the latest news concerning Mdvanii and her friends
"Chez Colette" and "Hommage à Schiaparelli"
"Studio Harcourt" and"Frug" Edie - "Valentina" Mdvanii
The Mdvanii Society game for fun moments with friends.
Zibbi, The Modern-Age Doll
Mademoiselle Rivière, la poupée Merveilleuse
La petite fille modèle, the only doll created by BillyBoy* for children
The abrupt withdrawal from the US market did not affect, in the very least, BillyBoy*’s creative production of dolls. His own convictions were leading him more and more toward the total blending of his artistic creations, his painting and designing which always had been one, were now melding together in a natural way, his artistic expression was maturing, not the other way around and he also aspired to a radical change in his career. In 1993, when BillyBoy* and Lala took the decision to leave Paris and move in Trouville, a charming little sea resort near Deauville in Normandie, it was a real break. This period proved to be particularly rich creatively. BillyBoy* had already created in 1993 his Petite Fille Modèle, a fashion girl doll in the Bleuette style. She had a composition body, she had her head and hands in resin and was entirely hand-painted. Her wardrobe was stunning and in of an amazing quality. She was made in confidential quantities, less than a hundred examples of this doll exist in the world.
As soon as 1993, BillyBoy* decided to discontinue the resin doll to have a porcelain version of Mdvanii and had initiated the long and complicated operations for it: sculpting, moulding, first essays (trials), the new sculptings etc. In the meantime, along with Lala, he created the Merveilleuse Mademoiselle Rivière and Benedict, the Incroyable, two hand-sculpted wooden dolls evoking the period from just after the French Revolution. They were hand-sculpted by real sailors in Honfleur in Normandie, and refined by hand by Lala in the atelier. He also did the delicate oil-painting of the bodies and faces designed by BillyBoy* based on German Grödenthal dolls and early wooden dolls. At the same time rustic and extremely refined, they were all made in very limited series and are extremely rare. Look for up-coming completed article about these amazing dolls on this site.
While the porcelain Mdvanii was was progressing, BillyBoy* invented Zibbi, the Modern Age and Art Deco doll, whose face was inspired by a ceramic sculpture from Wiener Werkstätte’s artists Walter Bosse and Dagobert Peche. Her clothes paid homage to the fashions of Paul Poiret, Madeleine Vionnet and Madame Paquin and used authentic Art Deco fabrics from Ducharne, Bianchini-Férier and Colcombet. All these dolls were successfully launched in limited-editions, mostly in Japan, where they had regular press coverage, and to private collectors in Europe. All these extremely precious creations will be featured in a completed article on this site soon.
As soon as 1995 the first Mdvanii porcelain dolls were finally created, as well as Dheei and Soraya. The rest of the familly at large followed: the male dolls, Rhogit-Rhogit, Zhdrick, Tiimky the teenage girl dolls Edie, Tzulli (Dheei’s teenage sister), Ouimi (Soraya’s teenage sister). Three other teenage boy dolls were also created in 1996: Muio-Bix (Edie’s brother), Jobii (Tzulli’s) and Ishwar (Ouimi’s brother). There was also Yucef, the North-African Kabyle boy, who in fact was an Ishwar with white skin. This doll was called Yucef because after BillyBoy* and Lala’s assistant, who also had Kabyle origins, and as a symbolic support of the political cause of Kabylie in Algeria. It is also at this period than BillyBoy* initiated the creation of the 70 centimeters-high porcelain version of Mdvanii, of which we will talk later.
Amongst Mdvanii’s refined fabrics, which include real high fashion materials, some dresses for one-of-a-kind dolls used authentic fabrics from Poiret, Chanel, Patou, Dior, Balenciaga, Schiaparelli, Dufy for Poiret (given to BillyBoy* by his daughter) and authentic Bianchini-Ferier and Ducharne prints and lamé, as well as authentic Poiret embroidered fabric, authentic Fortuny velvet and pleated fabrics, fabric with original drawings by Bernard Buffet, Yves Saint Laurent (red fabric given to BillyBoy* by YSL himself).
BillyBoy* also printed his own fabrics for Mdvanii’s world, such as gold and black fabric recalling the 18th-century, as well as the BillyBoy* newspaper fabric from his Surreal Couture days which is housed in the Louvre museum’s textile department along with a great body of his early fashion work as well as the fabrics done for BB* by artist Patrick Imhof. Many other fabrics were embroidered in Paris for BillyBoy* and others in India for BillyBoy*. BillyBoy* used many rare antique fabrics from the 18th and 19th-century , notably for the wooden dolls Mademoiselle Rivière and Bénedict, authentic art deco fabrics for Zibbi, the Modern-age doll, as well as re-edition from from the famous House of Braquenié in Paris and classic LIBERTY prints.
Design by Lefty© Fondation Tanagra