Archive for the ‘Second Life fashion’ Tag

Arrivederci, Signor Valentino

I beg your indulgence for a little time spent in the Real World, but with something that has probably touched every fashion maven in Second Life as well.

Chrisy Jewell has done a brief appreciation of the Italian fashion designer Valentino, who isValentino says farewell at his final spring/summer show (Reuters — Benoit Tessier) finally hanging it up on the clothes rail after some 75 years of life and 45 of them in the rag business. His last spring/summer show, according to Reuters, finished up with a parade of models in his signature lipstick red dresses forming a walkway, down which the Italian maestro came for his bows, as well as waves of farewell to the fashion press (see photo). According to the article, his retirement is seen as the departure of the last of the great individual couturiers, celebrities in their own right.

Pair of gowns from the Eighties by ValentinoThe fashion life of the Grid certainly has a lot to thank Signor Garavani (his actual last name) for. Probably half, if not all, of the women avatars in Second Life own at least one ball gown; and the love of floor-sweeping hems, bright jewel tones and accents such as bows and ruffles comes from designers such as Valentino. In an age when fashion is often meant more to shock than impress, Valentino stood for the age-old mystique of the beautiful woman, who dressed to enhance her femininity — and yet still be a part of the modern age. The proof is in the number of socialites and movie stars who frequented the couturier’s house for so many years. The maestro, along with such stalwarts as Giorgio Armani, helped bring back tasteful dressing to the red carpets in the Nineties after some of the more disastrous excesses of the late Eighties. (Just find any decent, up-to-date book or Web site on Oscar fashion, and you’ll see what I mean.)

Buona fortuna, maestro. Like I suggested in the comment I made on Chrisy’s blog, perhaps you won’t give up entirely, but will come on in to SL and open an atelier….

Ewing Fashion Agency Design Awards

The Ewing Fashion Agency held its 2008 Design Awards on January 20th. While I was unable to attend, I had some interest in this season; 1, it was my first season in Second Life; and 2, I had purchased nominated items from two of the designers in the competition.

And I’m very glad to say that both of my nominees won! Personal congratulations go out to Ann Otoole for her Andromeda gown, which I wrote up and modeled as one of the holiday trio between Christmas and New Year’s Day; and to Digit Darkes for her wild Cher-like mohawk hair called Defiance, which I just couldn’t resist! And a batch of general congratulations and best wishes to all of the winners.

Andromeda, by Ann Otoole and Unique Needs

Andromeda, by Ann Otoole

Defiant, by Digit Darkes

Defiant, by Digit Darkes

Defiant, by Digit Darkes (gold catsuit by Nicky Ree)

A Vicious Saturday Night

Vicious Studios was celebrating a grand opening, or re-opening, this past weekend. I was asked to do some guest-blogging for them while they were busy with the building and decorating, and Gidge Uriza invited me to the festivities in thanks for my small contributions.

Me at the Vicious PartyI was able to take her up on the opportunity for a party last night, the venue being their dance floor on top of a shark pen. (Well, they are Vicious.) The theme of the party was “Come dressed as you’d appear on American Idol,” and I’ll admit I stretched it quite a bit. I showed up in the “silver appliqué” top and pants I found in the Canada in SL mall (which I’ve been favoring quite a lot in my less formal times lately), hair like a celestial biker chick (Omayrah Silver from Sinsation), and the excellent dark silver skin from chroma — yes, that’s how it’s spelled if you search them up. Gidge said I looked fantastic, and I think I heard at least one jaw drop — virtually, of course.

The music was hot, spun by disc jockey DJRobyn Writer, and Robyn was hot herself in a set of royal blue silks that had me voting for her in the best-dressed woman contest. And whoever programmed their dance system was a master; I was doing moves I’ve never seen, or dreamed of, before, while the entire crew danced along in almost simultaneous formation. Partway through, Vic, the owner, put in an appearance, complete with his guns; Vic likes guns, you see (grin). When he started shooting them — over our heads, I emphasize; the man’s not a lunatic to drive away his customers — I rezzed up a katana and wore it on my belt for the rest of the night. It actually seemed the thing to do, since the rest of the Vicious staff had all pulled guns as well, and were dancing with them. I felt a little undressed without some weapon, even if it was a prop sword….

En fin, a splendid time was had by all, many sweepstakes prizes were awarded from the sim’s merchants, and I ended up in a 3-way time for best-dressed woman with Arcadia Nightfire and one of the Durants (I can’t remember which, but congratulations!)!! A cool £300 and several of the raffle-ball prizes, plus that dancing, made for a very nice night.

More photos are available at my Flickr stream.

Custom Couture by Hanalyn

How many of you have dreamed of commissioning a couturière to design a dress, suit or costume just for you, an exclusive that only you have? I’ve wanted things like that for my second life; and, with a little tasteful persistence, I was able to achieve one.

I’ve admired for many years the work of William Ware Theiss, the costume designer for Star Trek‘s original series, and the creator of the original run of Starfleet uniforms for the more modern versions of the franchise. It’s not a Starfleet uniform I’ve always wanted, though. You can go to the Starfleet Museum in world and buy a Voyager-vintage uniform for L$300 or so, and other clothing creators have done their own versions across the Grid. No, I wanted some things that expressed more creativity, more beauty, more…more flesh (grin). You may recall that Bill Theiss operated on a now famous maxim for his designs; when he created a gown for a woman on the show, he wanted the audience to ask themselves, “Will she, or won’t she, fall out of that costume?” Even in the uniforms, that resulted in those famous miniskirted uniform dresses that made Nichelle Nichols, Majel Barrett and Grace Lee Whitney freeze their legs for three seasons. (Of course, it helped that miniskirts were in style back in the Sixties.)

The alien cultures were even more interesting. You didn’t see it so much in the first season, aside from Barbara Anderson as Lenore Karidian in “The Conscience of the King.” Remember that fur dress she wore onto the bridge? But in the second season, we have T’Pring of Vulcan, the Alices of Mudd’s Planet, and Carolyn Palamas’ peplos-inspired gown in “Who Mourns for Adonais.” (For some pictures, see this blog article.) And in the third season, there was Natira of Yonada (“For the World is Hollow, and I Have Touched the Sky”) But my all-time favorite costume from that season was worn by Diana Ewing asDroxine from the episode, first entrance Droxine, in “The Cloud Minders.” Theiss placed Droxine in a dress that was little more than a full skirt with a slingshot-bikini top. What made it so fascinating to a young kid was the long train, like a cape, that was attached to the neck of the top in back, and the way it moved about her, almost floating like a cloud, as she moved. You have to see the episode to appreciate this; it’s not the best story they ever did by a long shot, and some might raise a Vulcan eyebrow at Mr. Spock’s seeming interest in a girl who starts out shallower than a thimble of water, but oh that dress!

Now I’m no good at drawing with Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, though that could probably be solved with a lot of practice; but, when I realized the possibilities of getting one of my favorite costumes of all time, I leaped at the chance. Approaching the big-name designers of the Grid was out of the question, of course. They had their own businesses and their own lines, and were busy enough not to be interested in doing commission work. So I wrote a classified ad and posted it to Search, and waited…. And waited…. And waited, until I was flabbergasted one night to get a response from a neko avatar named Hanalyn Ferrer. She had read the ad, and wanted to tackle the job. We negotiated briefly, and I sent her a series of screencaps from my DVD of the episode.

Frankly, I think Hanalyn undervalued her work. She got back to me a few days ago saying she was done, and I invited her to the loft to deliver it. When she modeled it forHana and me, wearing the new Droxine gown me, and then when she passed it over to my Inventory, I almost squealed with delight. Hana got the fabric practically perfect, and the fit and “feel” of the gown as I walked about the apartment were excellent. The one thing that I eventually had a problem with was the glitch pants — they needed to be longer, and it took me a few days to decide that for sure (grin). Here we are together after she delivered the gown; she shot a few images for herself as well. I’m placing some more photos on Flickr, so go to my Flickr pages to examine them. (More on that below.) Oh, something else, more important than the gown. Out of that commission also came a friendship with a person who sounds very warm and is a pleasure to talk to.

So, can you get this for yourself…pretty please? No, not quite. I gave Hanalyn permission to sell this, as long as she makes just enough changes to render this unique. She doesn’t have this in her store yet, but it pays to have a look periodically. Just don’t turn it into a feeding frenzy, like has been going on in the Quad lately. She has a small storefront, God’s Eden, in the Wando region, where she sells a few designs, AVs and neko animations. Drop in and check out her work, especially those neko animations. (Search all the way in the back for the stairs to the second floor.) There’s a coat downstairs on the first floor; and if you know who Selene is (hint: Kate Beckinsale), then you may want to drop a few hundred lindens on Hana, followed by rushing out and finding some more black leather to complete the outfit! You can even try the coat on before buying, through a clever arrangement of a posing stand and display that is the first time I’ve seen such a setup. The detailing on the back of that coat is wonderful!

Now, for the story. When I shot my suite for Flickr, I cast about in my head for a good, exotic location befitting an alien’s gown — and it came to me. A quick rummage through the landmarks, and I teleported to the Star Trek Museum in TovaDok II and Minshara. Once there, I found the holodeck and set up the Vulcan simulator, where I snapped the photos. But then, seeing that there were some more Residents running around the place, I decided to have some fun! And so I went up to them and said hello, waiting to see what the reaction would be. I now feel officially old, guys; not a single avatar there recognized Droxine!! Of course, as I say, that wasn’t the best episode they ever did, but yeesh!!! When I commiserated with Hana in IM, she laughed at me and said she feels the same way about people who don’t recognize all the lesser-known characters in Star Wars.

(Cross-posted to Vicious Studios)

Fashion for the Holidays

Let’s face it; I’m a fashionista at heart. In the daytime, I can knock around in a T-shirt and jeans (sometimes supplemented by an “intelligent” Oracle cloak from Avilion Mist). Although I am considering adding in some proper daytime suits (grin). But at night…. Well, let me quote from a story by a writer I’ve found online (with permission):

[F]estive gowns were the largest part of the catalogue. Dannta explained it this way: “Work mostly takes place in the light of day, and is done well and to your best ability, and its clothing reflects that utilitarian time; colors change, but the basics don’t. So it is, to a lesser degree, with other clothing of the day.

“But the night is a time of relaxation, of celebration. The work of the day is done for the most part, and you rejoice in its good completion. Your friends are at hand, and you enjoy their company. There are arts to be patronized, entertainments to see, children to play with, parties to attend, and love to make with your lover. The creativity of the dress reflects that change in mood, for creativity lives in dreams, and dreams live in the night.”

I agree with that philosophy, and I try to uphold it in this place, where such a life is easily possible.

When I see a fantastic new gown, it’s hard to resist buying it right off. (I usually give in [sigh].) So, when I spotted these gowns while tag-surfing through SL fashion blogs and articles, I just had to rush out and snaffle them. They come from several different designers: two not so well known (at least I think they aren’t, but they should be for this work) — and, sadly, one who is not among us anymore. I’m modeling them here in photos I shot in a photosphere park.

Read the rest of this entry »

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