Fashion Review — Sui Generis

Up front, I should note that I am a friend of Cajsa Lilliehook, the owner of Sui Generis, but I have attempted to put that aside for this review.

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Cajsa Lilliehook is well known in the world of Second Life for her fashion blog, It’s Only Fashion, her excellent photography, and her sense of style in putting together clothes for any look. Now Cajsa enters the field of the storekeeper and shape artist with her new store, Sui Generis.

You don’t see many reviews for shapes, do you? But shapes are as necessary to the avatar experience in Second Life as skins or clothes. The shape, of course, is the matrix that the skin stretches over, giving…well, giving shape to the face and body. Even if you’re running around a a blob of ionized gas, the shape is in there. (Usually, you just need to rezz up to show it.) Creating a shape that is pleasant to the owner is as much a work of art and patience as a good skin or suit.

Cajsa is no stranger to tweaking shapes, when allowed. Her photographs almost always show her in the perfection of fit, something I still strive for at times with my usually no-mod shapes. Now she’s putting to practice what she has learned, adding a dose of real-world “shaping” to the mix. Her Sui Generis shapes are nearly unique, not only because of the limited amount for sale — 75 of any shape — but because she makes the faces non-symmetrical.

A quick word of explanation for the unaware. RL faces are not like SL faces, partly because of their normally lower level of “beauty,” but also partly because the features are not symmetrical. Take a face-forward photo of yourself RL, split it down the middle at the bridge of the nose, copy half of it, then mirror that half and past it back over the other half of your features. Sure changes the look, doesn’t it? Some say that one side looks more “evil” or “sinister” than the other, but that may be open to interpretation.  But it is this imperfection, this asymmetry, that gives us our looks in RL, some for the worse, some for the better (think Pierce Brosnan and Christie Brinkley…), and often makes our faces just plain interesting instead of “monotonal.”

Cajsa has brought this principle into Second Life.  Her Sui Generis shapes contain small imperfections that alter the “complexion” into something more realistic, without giving up the other characteristics of an SL look.  It is usually subtle in nature, such as a slightly crooked jawline or similar.  (If she does male shapes eventually, some of them may have bent noses….)  The results are not what you normally find in Second Life, famous for its dozens of picture-perfect people, but they can be more interesting than the “normal” uniform Vogue-cover beauty.

As an illustration, here are three of my six stock looks from my list on the Fashion page of this blog.  Each photo has a baseline shot of what I would look like with another shape, then shots of the same skin with the three review shapes I received from Cajsa:

Give Sui Generis a try, and I think you’ll like what you get.  You can see pictures of Cajsa’s current stock at the store blog.

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Around the Grid is willing to provide unbiased and unreserved reviews of Resident-created and -sold, non-pornographic products, especially fashion and hairstyles, and of Real World books on Second Life. Virtual submissions for review should be sent in world to Harper Ganesvoort, and preferably marked as an item for review.

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