Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Doll's Eye View: Milan Spring/Summer 2017 Trends

One thing I can count on in Milan, somewhere during their fashion week, there will be pretty clothes. And spring summer trends here do not disappoint. Many of the trends we've seen elsewhere--stripes, black/white themes, asymmetrical detailing, short-shorts and maxi hems--also all woven into designers' messages here. But here in Italy, true to form, there is lots of lace for super girly styles, interesting fabric treatments for upscale looks, as well as crisp clean lines, all of which makes for timeless, keepsake fashion.

Cloak Room
Coat hemlines race up and down the leg. Our favorite is the mini length coat, belted at the waist. Here, they're shown with sandals, but we also love accessorizing this length with thigh high boots as well. If you're going to make a coat for your doll, consider making a trench coat. Here we love the foiled florals on the face of Fendi's coat. But watch out....the 1980's with its super wide shoulders has begun creeping onto the catwalks! It will take awhile for our eyes to adjust to this silhouette, but slowly, shoulders are getting pumped!
We really loved the look of the Fendi coat. On close examination, we noticed the floral decals with areas of foiling. For Estelle's coat, I selected a linen. I had a bit of cotton chintz on hand. I carefully cut out a bit of its blue floral print. The idea is to simulate a "placed motif" effect (as opposed to an all over print--which is why I didn't use the print fabric for the base of the coat). Think of this as "decoupage." Using fabric glue on the back, I applied my cut-outs to the face of my A-line coat and ironed them in place. I applied foil to parts of the floral pattern. Though I had made a belt out of the printed fabric, everything came out so lovely, I decided not to belt the coat.

Peasant Girl

A very popular look that began last summer, this year's version of the peasant dress reappears with bare midriff tops, off the shoulder puff sleeves and cotton lace stovepipe pants.

Crème Fraiche

Creamy, rich with just the right amount of swirl and tangy goodness, these are very pretty feminine dresses for late day and evening. Silhouettes are pretty much straight forward and simple. Silhouettes skim the body in light, airy fabrics or lace.
Bringing back the simplicity and grace of the 1960's, Naomi wears a simple shift dress with full sleeves. For the embellishment, we made small loops from 3mm ribbon, flattened them with an iron and stitched them in place.

The Pin-Up
These are not bathing suits! They are super-short-shorts and a micro-mini dress, inspired by the pin-up girls of yesteryear like Betty Grable or synchronized swimmer, Esther Williams!

This was such a cute look with its bra, short-shorts and shirt, we couldn't resist interpreting this for our doll, Violetta.

Towing the Line
By now, we can see that stripes are a staple for summer styles. What we like here is the simplicity of style and the boldness of line.

To illustrate how simple stripes are worn..... Billie's dress is a simple tube dress made from a striped sock! Stunning!

One of the most stylish ways to wear denim blue! From the denim top and shorts to Armani's sheer coat over sheath dress, it's the details that make all the difference. And the details here are frayed or fringed edges.
It's interesting to see how few designers incorporate denim looks in their collections. So my younger Barbies were thrilled with this look. Jerry wears a flared tunic over shorts. Denim on this scale would have been too stiff, so we used a denim-toned silk instead. (You can also use a blue cotton chambray.) The neckline and armholes have lace trim added to mimic the look of a lace shirt. What we also liked here, are the matching boots!
Fruit Punch
There's not a lot of color on the catwalks these days. But what there is that my girls liked, were taken from the colors of fruit: raspberry, kiwi, lemon, mango, tangerine....

The Gallery Scene
Soup can labels, pizza box tops, abstract etchings....everything art has been lifted from the galleries and transformed into clothing. The things to note here: again, simple shift or sheath dresses, mix and match of patterns, matchy-matchy: dress with matching handbag and shoes.

Time to cleanse the palette. Choose simple lines and shapes for a classic look that works for most dolls.
This is an easy, 3-piece outfit that simply works. This is a shortened wrap blouse, straight trousers (where I extended the waist and have not closed the darts), and a straight coat with a collar

Summer Storms
From overcast skies to ominous clouds and  raindrops on the window, the mood is subtle elegance delivered via interesting fabric treatments.

Angels and Demons
What's black, white, naughty and nice? This group of lacey dresses with off the shoulder flounces, layers of lace and punctuated waists. Note the range of hemlines.

 She's a pin-up and a devilish angel, Carmela wears a version of Ermanno Scervino's "bathing suit" dress. This is a super short slip dress that we added medallions of lace. Over her shoulders in the opening shot....a vintage black "chapel veil" made of netting and velvet ribbon!

Coming up next... the final stop of Fashion Month....Paris!

Text and images property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2016.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Doll's Eye View: London Summer 2017 Trends

In selecting fashions for the Doll's Eye View reports, we look for items we feel will translate best for 1/6 scale. Unfortunately much of what the girls saw on the London catwalk this season had too many ruffles, too much frou-frou or was too big, too loose or too.....ordinary. Fashion is about change. We've seen skinny silhouettes for a long time, so don't be surprise to see wider silhouettes begin to replace them. And yes, it will take a while for our eyes to adjust In the meantime, my dolls understand a trip to London is a trip to London and so with that, they were instructed to find something (anything) to make this trip worthwhile.

Who's Line Is It Anyway

Certain trends we saw in New York continue right over the Atlantic. Stripes of all shapes and types is one of them.

I'm With HER.....
Think of this as the "Hillary effect." Like her or not, the first female Democratic party nominee to run for president of the United States is impacting fashion trends! Whether it's deliberate or a subliminal suggestion, once again, fashion is waking up to see to power of pants! Expect to see lots of pants for next spring and summer. Dolly may not be overly willing to give up the leggings, so consider making her a pair of slim pants instead. Or...go all out with a looser trouser.

Prints of Wales

We love the subtle, almost silver glow to these prints. Animal prints are there but less "in your face," while florals take on that "south of the border" flavor. Consider using more than one print in a single look. Also..if you must put ruffles or flounces on your doll...think south of the border with a slim dress or skirt given a bouncy gathered, fishtail.

What's Your Point
Another carry-over from New York, assymetrical hems, dresses or tops with one shoulder, handkerchief hems are a strong trend for next summer. Here, we've chosen a classic flared silhouette for late night formal affairs.

From here we move over to Milan, where the selection must-have styles is larger. Stay tuned!!!!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Doll's Eye View: New York Fashion Week: Spring/Summer 2017

It's always interesting to see how fashions evolve from season to season. Right after Labor Day, New York City kicked off the month long "Fashion Week" events which is always the biggest, longest of the major four fashion capitals. There were many show room presentations. Those along with many of the catwalk revealed a "back to wearable clothes" revolution. And that's really okay with me because, at the end of the day....clothes should be designed to be worn, not to serve as theatrical costume.

Inasmuch as there are a number of new visitors to this site, I want to first explain what you are seeing on this post. The premise of this blog is to provide a direct link between real fashion and clothes for the fashion doll. So for our purposes, fashion trends are most important to the process. Each season, I present "Doll's Eye View of Fashion Week."  All of the original model's heads have been replaced with those of our favorite dolls. This is to help both inspire as well as provide a hint as to what the look could resemble on the doll. In addition, I choose a few outfits to make (photos of dressed doll standing next to the original model) to illustrate my own interpretation. This gives a reasonable idea of what you can expect. When looking over the catwalk shows, I choose styles that I feel will translate well to the scale of a 12" doll. If there is a look in particular you'd like, don't hesitate to bring it to my attention so that at a later date I can feature a tutorial..

Let the show begin!

Dolly Long Legs
There are two principal looks: super short and long. The super short look of a micro-length coat dress or jacket and swing skirt is the perfect (and sexiest) way to kick off Spring. Note how the silhouette pulls into the body at the waist and note the reappearance of super sized shoulders! These looks are best when accessorize with over the knee (or thigh high) socks or boots.

Breath of Fresh Air!
Pure white cotton! It's clean, cool and a timeless approach to summer whether the story is about pants or dresses. Notice how trousers are fluid and have moved away from skinny jeans. Next summer is also about extremes in hemlines. When they are not super short, dresses are way past the knees and sometimes down to the ankles. Everything is easy to wear. Nothing is complicated.

Panting for More....

And while on the subject of are a few more ways for dolly to wear them--full trousers, bells, palazzos and jumpsuits. Though colors favor a neutral palette, look for floral prints as a pretty alternative.

A Flash of Flesh
Peek-a-boo! Look for the bare midriff look to be big next summer. Along with that are also tops or dresses that show a sliver of skin. What's interesting here is how designers have reinterpreted looks from the bygone eras: 40's, 60's and 90's. Lengths are super long or super short.
This dress by Alexander Wang translates perfectly into a very pretty dolly dress especially when cut out of English cotton lace. China's wearing a simple cotton bra with ribbon that radiates from mid-bust and wraps around the waist.
Bea, on the other hand, wears Michael Kors "Summer of 1942" look. This is another bra worn with short-shorts (cut like old fashion panties) in a micro floral print. Note how a self belt marks the natural waist of the doll.

Yikes, It's Stripes!
A trend that started this year, look for more stripes to continue on through next summer. There's lots of variety here: horizontal, vertical, radial or gingham checks.

Pretty Young Thing
Get dolly out of those skinny jeans and stretch dresses and into something more romantic. The look here is soft with a bit of swing, especially when it comes to the classic shirtwaist dress (Zak Posen).

Make Your Point

Asymmetrical hemlines  or...even better, in handkerchief points are big! What we particularly love about the Prabal Gurung styles is how a matte jersey or knit is paired with a colored satin or silk in the same palette..
A knit T-shirt worn with a handkerchief pointed satin skirt is worn with a pop of color thanks to the
satin bra Laeticia wears underneath.

How Does Your Garden Grow
Next spring will expect to see some very pretty dresses blooming in dolly wardrobes. Designers were not bashful about selecting delicate florals and embroidered flowers for day and evening dresses. This is a very girly look with bare shoulders, sheer fabrics and the classic slip dress.

A Graphic Affair

We love the stark contrast of black and white color blocking used in otherwise very simple silhouette. It is the simplicity of the style and the drama of contrasting values that makes these looks a stand-out.
Kate is stunning in her black and white jumpsuit. I used a rayon knit to get a nice drape over the body and she can slip in and out with little problem.

Red Hot Chili Peppers
But not everything is neural. For night, red comes out with a vengeance in sometimes, big, bold shapes. We particularly love Christian Siriano's dramatic strapless gown (center). Note how all of the dresses have lots of movement built in thanks to volume!

Summer Breeze
This story is largely built on the use of softly colored sheers with layers that seem to blur the edges. The dresses are simple though the drama is in the details: tone on tone embroidery on pearl grey chiffon slip dress, organza petals that float about of a flared skirt. Note how some of the materials are iridescent, others have a pearly sheen. Everything is soft, feminine and very girly.

The Slink
It's lean, it's thin, it's chic and it's magic. This a very modern story where the gowns are lean and the drama is spelled out in details. One shouldered, strapless or a maze of tiny straps, this is about taking a classic look and updating it with small details to make it 2017-worthy.

Simple and sexy, Anna is caught in a maze of tiny straps that wrap around the body over a hip hugging narrow skirt.

The girls weren't all that thrilled with London Fashion Week. The shapes and silhouettes were too overpowering and for the moment, they aren't quite sure what to do with the handful of items they found. For the most part, our next big focus will take everybody to Italy for Milan Fashion week.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

That Special Dress: Valentino

Fashion weeks are underway and while I await my girls' report on New York fashion, I thought I would revisit a dress from last season and use it to illustrate the principle of reinterpreting a design.

To the layman,  making a 1/6 of a designer's dress constitutes "copying." But as I've stated matter how much you know about sewing and pattern making for humans, the tiny proportions of the doll forces you to simplify, stylize and reinterpret. By the time you've worked all of that into the design, the garment becomes your own. Sometimes I can get pretty close to the original but when it comes to embellishment.....that calls for my own interpretation. Also, there might be times when you see something you like, but think it might be cool if other materials were substituted. For those of you who are keeping a croquis book (sketch pad), this is why it is also important to note down garment details.

Last season (Fall/Winter 2016) I saw a Valentino gown I wanted to try. I love the way the feathers stretch out over the body like a bird in flight. For the doll this dress is a challenge. While the dress is simple enough, you will not find flat feathers small enough. (And even if you do, they will be too difficult to handle.) The first thing I did was to look at the photo and decide what it is about this dress I like. It is the texture and the movement of the feathers against the delicate dress. I first bought silver grey feathers with the thought of cutting them down. But I soon discovered the final effect didn't come close to the original. On the contrary, I thought I could get a similar effect using raffia painted silver.

We begin with a dress with lots of flare. I chose a floor length princess line dress. You can also use the basic 2-piece dress (bodice+flared skirt), but I didn't want to take the chance of bulk around the doll's waist. The original dress appears to be tulle--which is not so easy to handle. So I used a sheer nylon (from one of my mom's old nightgowns). I cut a double layer.
1. Baste the two layers together using a running stitch. Then assemble the front, then the back together.
2. Trim within 1/8 inch from the seam and press each seam towards the nearest side. (Don't press flat.)
3. Sew the front to the back at the shoulders. I am adding on sleeves. (Hem them first.) Then stitch up the sides.
4. At this point you can redesign or readjust the neckline. If you decide to line this dress, I would use a simple (sleeveless) sheath dress pattern and attach it at the neckline. In my case, I rolled and stitched the neckline (like a silk scarf). Though you see her body through the dress, remember, we are adding an embellishment which will cover all of her privates.
5. The basic dress will be your canvas.
6. Take a good look at the movement of the feathers and make a rough sketch.
7. With that sketch nearby, I begin to pin my raffia (or whatever material you chose to use) on my dress.
8. Pin a little at a time onto the dress and then sew it to the dress. Then pin a little more and then sew.
9. Because the top will overlap the bottom. I stopped to add strips around the waist.
10. I use a simple whip stitch to keep the raffia in place. I'm using a silver embroidery thread. The stitches will be visible and using silver thread will add to the decorative edge of this embellishment.
 I've stitched down the strands to a point. But then I frayed the ends so that it forms a ragged edge of fringe. When it's all finished, I add a few auto-adhesive rhinestones to the bodice.
 Here's the finished result. The original is more of a "bird." Mine is more rustic....perhaps the nest! One concept--two completely different interpretations simply by changing up the materials! And that's how some  designs are born!

Up next....the girls are back with their picks from New York Fashion Week!

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