The jewellery created by BillyBoy* have left their mark on their time for their inventiveness, originality and visionary inspiration. From the Surreal Couture years in New York to the Surreal Bijoux years in Paris and until today, in Switzerland with the mdvaniiisms of BillyBoy* & Lala, they will be extensively featured on these pages.
Some of these creations are in the permanent collections of many major museums throughout the world and are sought by collectors today of haute couture costume and artists jewellery.
Surreal Couture Jewellery
New York - 1975-1982
Paris - 1983-1992
A success story
Bettina Graziani, who was the most famous fashion model right after the Second World War, by then a society lady always at the forefront of fashion introduced BillyBoy* to Paris high fashion people and would be the first to wear these jewels at parties or fashion shows which she attended with BillyBoy*: for a défilé of Yves Saint Laurent, she wore a stunning airplane brooch, a taxi cab bracelet and early cameo earrings with gold leaf all from Surreal Couture, and they made quite a sensation in this rather blasé world. Another day, wearing her question mark earrings - a collection of jewellery made from cardboard shapes from the 1960s recycled by BillyBoy* it comes to the attention of Miss Gerry Stutz, owner of the prestigious Henri Bendel store in Manhattan who immediately ordered 100 pieces of BillyBoy* jewellery. Made in a few days, they are brought to New York by BillyBoy* and Lala themselves. The star journalist John Duka wrote in the NEW YORK TIMES a laudatory article entitled "Winning with a 'Cartoon Chanel' collection":
"NEW YORK: when last heard from, Billy Boy, a 23-year-old American fashion designer who collects Schiaparelli memorabilia or designs in his spare time, was heading off went into the sunrise in the general direction of Paris. Recently, he returned to deposit his first collection of jewelry on the coffee table of Geraldine Stutz's office at Henri Bendel .
And the collection is a winner. It is, says Billy Boy "cartoon Chanel. Like Daisy Duck were designing her own jewelry." His description is quite accurate, although it may not do the pieces justice. The jewelry is made of plaster fashioned into medallions inlaid with stones, painted pastel shades and brushed here and there with gold leaf . It is the best work of this kind since Ken Begun revitalized costume jewelry six years with its golden mesh, putty and gold leaf.
Because he has used Chanel's well-known Maltese cross designs as his inspiration, the result is rather cartoonish but only in the best sense of the word. It has a free-form chic to it. There are, for example, circular pins with stones that form cross shapes, all surrounded by gold chain.
Chanel is not the only point of creative departure here. Schiaparelli is another. Some of the medallions are shaped like ellipses, or eyes, each set with one large amber stone, and connected by gold chains to form long, elegant necklaces. There are, as well, the designer's gold four-chain necklaces, twisted around each other, from which hang miniature rectangular picture frames set with rhinestones. The effect is pure, heaped-up luxe. The jewelry is now at Bendel's, the pins starting at $80, the necklaces at $150.
But what is Billy Boy's real name? "Billy Boy" says Mr. Boy.