Generally created as a fashion doll catered to the adult art enthusiasts, the Mdvanii dolls debuted in London on February 14, 1989. The 25-centimeter doll made of hard resin was created by designers and artists BillyBoy and his life partner Jean Pierre Lestrade who is also known as Lala. It was the first anatomically-correct fashion doll yet the characters are based on a more adult storyline which verges on homosexuality and bi-sexuality. The creation of this doll was fostered by BillBoy’s fascination of antique French fashion and Kamkins dolls that were made by Louise Kampes. He got into the hobby of collecting dolls due to his love of vintage fashion dolls of the early 1970s. He even created dresses and repaints for Barbie dolls when he was a teenager.
In 1983, Mattel got in touch with BillyBoy and asked him to create a line for Barbie with his designs. Mattel then launched the first ever designer series with the designer’s name on the box and it was called “Nouveau Theatre de la Mode Barbie”. His second collaboration with Mattel came up with the series that was entitled “Feelin’ Groovy Barbie” which was launched in 1986.
The Mdvanii dolls originally wore clothes that was tailored with French haute couture and were also originally made in France. Yet in 1997, the clothes were already made in Switzerland. The first doll collection was launched at Liberty & Co. which is a popular department store in London with the blessing of the store’s head fashion accessories buyer Carol Lister and the store’s owner, Richard Stewart Liberty. The dolls were made in limited numbers and there was an exclusive edition made for F.A.O Schwarz.
The dolls were then introduced in New York where its exquisitely adorned masterpieces were priced from $3,000 to a whopping 10,000. Furthermore, 10 doll houses were made which cost $20,000 each. In 1993, BillyBoy ventured into creating porcelain Mdvanii dolls instead of its original resin material. The first porcelain collection of Mdvanii and her friends was made of 15 characters and all were handcrafted in France.
Today, there are several Mdvanii dolls which are included in museum display such as in Musee de Louvre, Musee de la Mode et du Textile, Victoria and Albert Museum and New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. And for Mdvanii fanatics, creations made by other artists who take inspiration of BillBoy’s creation call their art work as “Mdvaniiism” which was believed to describe pieces that evokes glamour through the concept of Mdvanii. Even some dolls also sport a stamp that could say “Mdvaniiism de BillyBoy & Lala, “This Is A Work Of Art”, or Manifesto Mdvaniiism de BillyBoy & Lala”.