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Born (1960-03-10) 10 March 1960 (age 62)[1][2]
Occupation(s)Artist,[3] costume jewellery and fashion design
Years activec.1974—present
Organization(s)Surreal Couture, Mdvanii, Surreal Bijoux, Foundation Tanagra
Notable workBarbie: Her Life and Times[4]
Spouse(s)Jean Pierre Lestrade ("Lala", 2012–)[5]

BillyBoy* (born 10 March 1960)[1][2] is an American artist, socialite and fashion designer who was a muse of Andy Warhol.[3][5][4][6] Born in Vienna, he was adopted by a Russian couple who moved to New York City when he was four.

In 1979 BillyBoy* began to design and manufacture costume jewellery under the label Surreal Bijoux in Paris.[7]

A bracelet made by BillyBoy* and owned by Elizabeth Taylor was sold at auction in 2011 for $6,875.[8]

BillyBoy* had a collection of over 11,000 Barbie dolls and 3,000 Ken dolls, and in 1987 authored the book Barbie: Her Life and Times.[4] During 1984–1990 Mattel sponsored two tours called Le nouveau théâtre de la mode (New Theatre of Fashion) curated by BillyBoy*. Like the original 1945 exhibit Théâtre de la Mode, the exhibitions consisted of hundreds of dolls—in this case Barbie dolls—wearing miniature outfits made by Yves Saint Laurent and other prominent fashion designers.[9][10] The exhibition toured France on board a TGV-train entitled Le Train magique des jouets Mattel..[10] BillyBoy* designed two Barbie dolls for Mattel working as a designer and consultant, "Le Nouveau Théâtre de la mode" in 1984 and "Feelin' Groovy" in 1986.[11][12] After finishing working with Mattel, BillyBoy* formed the "BillyBoy* Toys" company,[12] and in 1989 BillyBoy* and his partner released the Mdvanii fashion doll.

Warhol's last work Barbie, Portrait of BillyBoy* was a painting of BillyBoy* depicted as a Barbie doll and was presented to BillyBoy* in New York on 10 February 1986.[6][12][13] The painting was gifted to BillyBoy* and hung in his living room.[12] In 2014 the painting sold at the auction house Christie's for £722,500 ($1,161,780).[14][15] A second version of Warhol's painting, this time with an orange-red background instead of blue, was created for and purchased by Mattel.[13][15]

In 1978 or 1979 BillyBoy* moved to Paris,[7] where later his shop would be at 6 Rue de la Paix, Paris.[16] In 1993 BillyBoy* and his partner Jean Pierre Lestrade ("Lala") moved to Trouville-sur-Mer in France,[17] then in 1997 to Switzerland,[18][17] and finally in 2011 to Delémont,[18] the capital of the Canton of Jura[18] and near Basel. On 6 February 2012 BillyBoy* and Jean Pierre Lestrade married at the L’Hôtel de Ville in Délémont.[5]

On 13 February 1998 BillyBoy* and Lestrade founded the Fondation Tanagra non-profit in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland.[19] In 2012 the website of the Foundation was updated to reflect the creation of a future museum in Delémont.[20]


  • BillyBoy* (1988). Barbie: Her Life and Times. Outlet Book Company. ISBN 0517671751.
  • BillyBoy* (1993). Bleuette: La Petite Fille Modele (Collection Billyboy) (in French). Maeght Editeur. ISBN 2869412045.
  • BillyBoy*; Lestrade, Jean-Pierre (10 August 2007). Ewing, William (ed.). Mdvanii; ceci n'est pas une poupée (in French). Infolio. ISBN 978-2884740173.
  • BillyBoy*; Druesedow, Jean (17 March 2015). Frocking Life: Searching for Elsa Schiaparelli (Biography of Elsa Schiaparelli). Rizzoli International. pp. 1–472. ISBN 9780847843862.


  1. ^ a b Axe, John (1986). "Billy Boy and Barbie" (PDF). Doll Reader. pp. 176–182. French-based … designer Billy Boy … he was born in 1960 and that the name on this document is Billy Boy.
  2. ^ a b Boy, Billy (24 November 2011). "Introduction: Excerpt Number Two from "My American Family – In One Era, Out the Other" by BillyBoy*" (Pre-publication biography extract). Mdvaniiism blog. I was manufactured and came out on the market in the year 1960 on March the 10th.
  3. ^ a b "Christie's Veilt Yves Saint Laurent's 'Mondriaan' Jurk". Glamour (in Dutch). 1 November 2011. Archived from the original on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015. couture-collectie van Parijse socialite Billyboy* geveild.
  4. ^ a b c Cross, Mary (2013). "Ruth Handler and the Barbie Doll". One Hundred People who Changed 20th-century America. ABC-CLIO. p. 337. ISBN 9781610690850. Billy Boy, a jewelry designer who also wrote a book about Barbie: Her Life and Times, describing her history and his collection of more than 11,000 Barbies and 3,000 Ken dolls.
  5. ^ a b c "D'amour et d'art". L'Est Républicain. 27 May 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2015. 6 février 2012 : l'union de BillyBoy* et Lala est célébrée à l'hôtel de ville de Délémont.
  6. ^ a b Moore, Hannah. "Why Warhol painted Barbie". BBC News. Andy Warhol made his name creating images of iconic American names and brands … The last of these works, painted in the year before he died, was a portrait of his muse, a 23-year-old jewellery designer called BillyBoy* – in the form of a Barbie doll.
  7. ^ a b White, Edmund (1989). "Billy Boy in Paris – The Jewelry Designer's Crush on Schiaparelli‒and Barbie". Architectural Digest. 46: 94. Billy Boy, who owns Surreal Bijoux, for which be designs charming, eccentric pieces of custome jewelry, has been in Paris since 1979, though he was born in Austria and grew up in New York. He first become famous for his jewelry in New York, thanks to a highly successful show at Bendel's.
  8. ^ "A Rare Bracelet with Skulls, by Billy Boy". Christie's website. New York, Rockefeller Plaza. 15 December 2011. Price Realized $6,875 … gilt-metal bracelet designed as a band of skulls with rhinestone eyes, … Signed Billy Boy Surreal Bijoux
  9. ^ Warhol, Andy; Hackett, Pat (1988). Andy Warhol's party book. p. 70. ISBN 9780517566985. BillyBoy*: BarbieBoy. BillyBoy* has the world's largest collection of Barbie dolls. Mattel sponsored a tour of America and Europe for a show Billy created
  10. ^ a b Haxaire, Laurence (22 December 2010). "Haute-Couture Barbie (A French story)". A Woman's Paris in Style. Between 1984 and 1990, BillyBoy* organized with MattelFrance the exhibition of the "New Theater of Fashion" featuring his collection of vintage Barbie dolls … dressed by French, British, Italian and American couturiers and designers. … toured the main cities of France in a "Train à Grande Vitesse," a high-speed train baptized "Le Train magique des jouets Mattel."
  11. ^ Herlocher, Dawn (2005). 200 Years of Dolls: Identification and Price Guide. Krause Publications. p. 86. ISBN 9780896891678. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  12. ^ a b c d Bogart, Anne (14 March 1990). "A Doll for the 90's: Beautiful but No Bimbo". The New York Times. after a rift with Mattel, Barbie's manufacturer, where he was a consultant and designer, BillyBoy quit, citing disillusionment with the corporate toy world. He soon formed the BillyBoy* Toys company with his partner, Jean-Pierre Lestrade. … A 1987 special BillyBoy-signed Barbie doll edition, Feelin' Groovy Barbie Glamour a Go-Go Gift Set, now sells for about five times its original market price of $29.99, … Though an Andy Warhol portrait of Barbie, a gift from the artist, looms large in BillyBoy's living room,
  13. ^ a b Capella, Massimiliano (19 October 2015). "Barbie, regina della cultura pop". Il Sole 24 Ore (in Italian). Retrieved 3 November 2015. Andy Warhol che presenterà a New York, il 10 febbraio 1986, il celeberrimo ritratto di BillyBoy* as Barbie. …il doppio ritratto di Barbie, il primo con fondo blu molto brillante, ispirato alla giacca Surreal Couture BillyBoy*, donato allo stesso BillyBoy*, il secondo con fondo rosso-arancio, acquisito da Mattel.
  14. ^ "Andy Warhol (1928–1987) Barbie, Portrait of BillyBoy*". Retrieved 1 October 2015. Price Realized £722,500 ($1,161,780) … Sale Information … 17 October 2014
  15. ^ a b Neuendorf, Henri (3 December 2015). "Limited Edition Andy Warhol Barbie Hits the Shelves". Art News. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 1986 painting Barbie, Billy Boy depicts Barbie … against a light blue background. Warhol later made a second version of the piece, titled Barbie, with a red background. The blue version sold at auction at Christie's, London in October 2014 for £722,500 ($1,161,780).
  16. ^ Buck, Genevieve (27 September 1989). "If You Can't Make The Scene in Boss Or Abboud, Try A Coolie Suit". Chicago Tribune. write him, not us: BillyBoy Toys; c/o Surreal Productions; 6, rue de la Paix; 75002 Paris.
  17. ^ a b "Nom de l'artiste : Jean-Luc Verna". King's Queer Art Collection. Retrieved 30 October 2015. En 1993 Lala et BillyBoy* s'installent à Trouville où ils poursuivent leurs activités. … Depuis 1997, Jean Pierre Lestrade/Lala et BillyBoy* sont installés en Suisse
  18. ^ a b c "D'amour et d'art". L'Est Républicain. 27 May 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2015. 1997 : le couple s'installe en Suisse. Eté 2011 : le couple s'installe à Délémont, capitale du Jura Suisse
  19. ^ "Statuts de la Fondation Tanagra" (in French). Vaud: Departement de l'Interieur. 7 December 2010. p. 5. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  20. ^ I.Q.U. (8 August 2012). "Une vitrine flambant neuve pour BillyBoy* et Lala". Radio fréquence Jura (in French). Retrieved 3 November 2015. Les deux artistes ont également remis à neuf le site de la Fondation Tanagra dans la perspective de la création future d'un musée à Delémont.

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