The 1992 Catalogue Collections
MDVANII'S HIGH FASHION WARDROBE
The 1992 Catalogue Collections
The outfits in Mdvanii’s second set of catalogues from 1992, The European Collection and Exclusive Representatives, were way advanced, in their conception, than anything proposed at the time on any other fashion dolls. For the first time also the outfits where photographed on the dolls. No huge ball gowns, but stylish and stark variations of floor or ankle-length strapless sheaths. They were either worn with a short cape, long black gloves and rhinestone bracelets (Diabolo), or with a bolero jacket, like Gilda, a bias-cut sheath gown in old rose marocan crepe, simply accessorized with a high fashion belt, embroidered in gold thread, with matching purse. Nothing “dripping” either here!
Boleros were “in” that season in Mdvanii’s world: the sumptuous bias-cut Gilda, the ultra chic Dale and the exquisite Charles était trop généreux, all had boléros. This outfit (Charles Was Too Generous) was nothing else than a mourning outfit, initially designed for a Mdvanii collector who wanted a sober suit for his doll to wear, after the passing of his canary bird. It was a black silk shantung version of the F.A.O Schwarz Notre Dame suit. It had a black velvet collar, black organza seamed stockings, black pillbox hat with veil, black heels and white gloves matching the ultra-white mink shade hair colour named Sage. The jewelery, gold cuffs or ruby bracelets and pearl choker were here to remind us that Charles, indeed, really had been generous! The doll even came with a “dainty hankerchief”. This outfit was identified as “a true mourning glory!” (but who, for goodness sake, was that Charles??? The text remained elusive about it!).
Introducing Dheei and Soraya...
Amongst other outfits, remarkable for their fashion touch, was Flame , an embroidered fire engine red cocktail sheath with a peplum seen so much on Paris runways this season, red choker, gold gloves, shoes, earrings, hosiery, feather-trimmed red hat. Sizzling chic, you’ll love this outfit!. Also featured in this catalogue, Dheei, the Afro-European friend of Mdvanii, initially launched in Spring,1991. This time her creators said "she has a new edition too and it’s HEAVENLY! ": a superb silk gown with stole in either pink (with matching beehive) or turquoise and a smart day dress in Liberty of London print with “a gorgeous long-sleeved jacket in a solid colour matching the print and a matching beplumed hat” . Also introduced for the first time, Soraya, (who for one year was nameless and the clients had to "visualize" her name, and were told "it would come to them in a dream" the psychic Indian friend of Mdvanii, who wore different versions of a short sleeved sheath dress with sophisticated pearl embroidery and “diaphanous silk georgette sari”, with contrasting silk belts and accessories.
SW Japan Mdvanii newsletters
Le Smart Set
These catalogues featured also Le Smart Set, which was a novelty in Mdvanii’s world. As the catalogue said:
"Leave it to BillyBoy* Toys to come up with a fabulous new way to dress your Mdvanii and Dheei dolls. Jetting off to Rio for the Carnival...or to London for an important Sotheby’s auction at a moment’s notice doesn’t give Mdvanii and Dheei much time to pack their steamer trunks with elaborate outfits. With Le Smart Set de BillyBoy*, they can throw together delicious fashion looks of impeccably tailored clothes (the Mdvanii haute couture quality you know and love) effortlessly.
As a matter of fact, they really could! Le Smart Set was a genuine opportunity for collectors to purchase separates which were pieces of Mdvanii haute couture priced to please most fashion doll budgetsn. Attractively and inovatively packaged in Mdvanii garment bags along with a hanger and an accessory, these pieces are available at only $60!. Most pieces are under $160 and you can build your collection in the greatest tradition of fashion dolls. These outfits could be worn by any of the three dolls and included sheaths, jackets, skirts of all kinds, blouses and dresses. Along with Le Smart Set were proposed a whole line of accessories called Les petits riens qui font tout (Those little nothings which do everything!). These early Mdvanii doll items were produced in very small amounts, not exceeding a few hundred pieces, all of them in exquisite selections of colours and fabrics.
Le Smart set concept was a bright attempt to propose choice and endless possibilities for collectors. However, it remained confidential, very few collectors having had access to it, notably in the USA, since not all the Exclusive Representatives endorsed it. One can also say that the average collector feels more comfortable when being taught what to buy, all ready and boxed, that when being confronted to such an over-whelming choice. One should also never forget, especially when prices are concerned, that each one of those items was hand-made in France and not in an eastern country where hand-working is often subject to exploitation. They are extremely rare today. BillyBoy* really believed that high fashion is for dolls,(some of them were even lined with authentic Chanel logo print fabrics) and it certainly was the case...for Mdvanii! Lucky (and wise!) are the collectors who acquired some of these refined items!
It is interesting to point out that the “Fashion Avenue” concept for Barbie, which was launched only a couple of years later, was directly inspired by the new interest in high fashion looks for dolls, notably developed by Le Smart Set and Mdvanii’s fashion innovations. Along with the usual fluo lace, sequin overdose and other not at all elegant apparel, such as jogging gear, for trendy little numbers, Mattel developed for Barbie a brand new line of trendy fashions, including what some observers felt were line-for-line copies of Mdvanii’s fashions: gowns with identical necklines or details, similar cut coats, accessories, stockings, gloves and guess what? Bolero jackets! What else is a corporate design team to do? (Have more couturiers and designers dress her and Studio Harcourt photograph her for example...Yet other BillyBoy* innovations!).
Mdvanii and Dheei photographed by Harcourt, 1990.
The refined choice within Le Smart Set ensembles...
Design by Lefty© Fondation Tanagra