Friday, February 28, 2014


To all of our friends in the Caribbean (particularly those of you in Trinidad & Tobago) Fashion Doll Stylist wishes you a very Merry Carnival which officially takes place on March 4-5 this year.

From the time I spent in your lovely country, I know all of you have been out partying at the many fetes for at least two weeks now. Though officially the holidays encompass "Carnival Monday and Carnival Tuesday," I am fully aware you are also celebrating Carnival Friday, Carnival Saturday and Carnival Sunday, as well.

Our girls (who are playing in the Barbie band) are in their sparkly and feathered best for  "Pretty Mas." (They decided to skip "Dirty Mas" this year. No one wanted to wear mud!) Getting the girls in a festive mood was quite simple. I used a bit of Christmas tinsel to make Karen's silvery bikini. And I draped plenty of rhinestone costume jewelry around the necks of our dolls. Out came the feather boas wrapped around the head and shoulders of each doll. It's almost like Christmas, except instead of decorating the house, the bikini clad body is adorned with lots of beads, bangles and feathers.

This is the most beloved holiday for those living south of the border. So once again, I bid all of you a very Happy Carnival. Stay safe! Stay happy! And when you wake up after all the rum and dancing in the streets, come back and see us.....and bring your dolls!

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Poster behind Jamilia, by

See you on the red carpet very soon!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Doll's Eye View: Milan Fashion Week FW'14

Italian fashion has always been a favorite market of mine. The industry is well known for small, family own textile mills that produce some of the most beautiful and prestigious fabrics in the world. Their knits are legendary. Though icons like Giogio Armani continue to produce beautifully tailored suits and impeccable eveningwear that defies time, Milan, for the most part, departed from their reputation for producing timeless fashion in favor of headline grabbing trendy clothes. Still, there are many lovely styles parading down the catwalks here. And, as you can see from this Doll's Eye view, it's easy to distinguish strong and precise directions even before we look at what Paris will bring to the table for Fall 2014.

Big City Girls
I like to begin here because jacket topped skirts and trousers is the staple of a good Italian wardrobe. And as you noticed in the above photo, Monica wears her Emporio Armani inspired jacket and trousers very well. We like the look of the classic jacket teamed with either a flared skirt or slim skirt with a deep slit or asymmetrical hemline. And if you think I've mislabeled the "Chanel" styled suit, take another look. It's a tongue-and-cheek version sporting lots of gold chain put out by Moschino.

Coat Check
The shift in weather patterns has designers rethinking coat silhouettes. Of course, every doll still needs a classic, grey tweed redingote, but you should think about cutting something in larger, more ample proportions.

It's a Wrap
There are alternatives to the classic coat. Capes, ponchos and wrap can all be made with a rectangle of wool or jersey.

Stormy Skies
There is a lot of black and grey strolling down everyone's catwalk. Personally I have much to much black in my own wardrobe and frankly so do my girls. (It was, after all, the Barbie Basics in those stylish black dresses that started me collecting!) But don't be afraid of experiment with patterned knits. Just as with the above photo, keep the dress or coat super simple.

Cat Calls
This is such a strong look. When you are shopping for fabric, don't forget to pick up something with spotted cat prints. It doesn't have to be faux fur. It could be anything, so long as it has spots!

Bear Clause
This is the third fashion capital to featured big shaggy coats and jackets. Needless to say, this will be a very important look next winter!

Autumn Florals
Underneath it all....the muted colors of Fall expressed through florals. Rayon and viscose are perfect for these looks and will give you the softness to pull off these looks. Don't stop with just dresses. Those floral pants look great worn with a leather jacket.

Printed Edition
There's also a return to paisley, jacquard prints. The scarf dress by John Richmond is something you can make with a single pocket square!

Night & Day
Black and white is usually a look reserved for spring. The Italians are telling's okay to wear them for winter.

Just Fur You
Another strong trend....touches of fur here and there. Trimmed hoods, cocktail dresses with furry trim on the cuff and hem, jackets with big fur collars.

Time to cleanse the palette with an LBD (little black dress.)

Downton Abbey, Italian Style
We could not resist putting this up. A clear reference to Downton Abbey (a trend we saw during NY Fashion Week), the silhouettes are easy and the details, pure luxury. The basic silhouette starts with the Shift dress. Of course, your choice of fabric is everything. Add beads to areas of the Art Deco pattern and through a fur collar around the doll is now part of...Fashion Royalty!!!!

Our French team of dolls are already on the ground and busy at Paris Fashion Week. Before we take a look there's all the red carpet action from the Academy Awards coming up this weekend!

A bientot!

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Doll's Eye View: London Fashions for Fall 2014

 I have to admit, I've always found the UK market somewhat of a puzzlement. There is a little of this and a little of that and at the end of the day, it's hard to zero in on what the exact trends are. A former colleague of mine always felt strongly about the London shows, explaining that the UK is where "raw," unadulterated fashion begins before it is tempered by the French market and commercialized by the Americans.

Nonetheless, it is the first of three stops in Europe. And we were able to find some interesting things we'd like try out for the dolls.

There is a fair amount of grey and a fair amount of black, as to be expected in any fall/winter collection. However, the British are never content to leave things in tidy little boxes, so you will also find lots and lots of color, pattern and print.
And this is precisely what we love about the British. They have a colorful sense of humor. So that beautifully tailored overcoat may be drenched in a tangy tangerine, so might be the fur jackets with matching trousers. And why not pink or red. Just remember that when you are looking at faux fur. It doesn't always have to resemble the animals you know!
Of course, if dolly find these jackets tacky...(many of my girls do not have a sense of humor!!), you can always opt for shaggy jackets in monotones. If you cannot find a similar faux fur and you know how to knit (which, unfortunately I cannot), you can knit a shaggy coat for dolly. She'll be just as happy!
While on the subject of black and white, I came across these lovely little dresses by Christopher Kane.
I don't know if we can make a version for the doll, but these cuties are so very interesting, I think it's worth a try. Like pages of a book, there are layers of super thin fabric incorporated into the design of the dress.
And then there's John Rocha's black flower garden of dresses we thought were quite interesting as well. When simplified for the doll, it could be quite pretty.
I did say there was something for everyone...including those lean black silhouettes that show a sliver of flesh....or not!
And what would be a trip to London without visiting the art scene. The mumbo-jumbo of pattern, print and interpretative art all played out over a simple dress is the newest way to step out at night.
Even Burberry has gotten into the act by sprucing up class outerwear with doodles from the artist.
Could blue be the new black? Solid, splashed or cut up into a tiny mosaic print, it makes for interesting alternative to black.
And of course, the animal kingdom continues to dominate the night time scene, through the use of spots or scales over a wide variety of textures and fabrics from silk to faux fur and vinyl.
Catch your breath as the girls catch a plane for Italy. Milan Fashion Week is up next!!!
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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Doll's Eye View: New York Fashion Week, Fall 2014 Pt.2

As to be expected with a Fall/Winter collection, there is a lot of black. What I really enjoy this time around, is the combination of different blacks, perhaps with a spark of white or another color. For day time, the looks tend to be long and lean with lots of flare.
 Note the accessories. We first saw the cummerbund last season in an outrageous show in Paris. Here, the New Yorkers have fine tuned it, transforming it into a must-have accessory for next Fall. Inasmuch as I am a huge fan of basics, I chose the halter neck sweater over a simple leather pencil skirt.
In another era (1950's) these flared silhouettes were called "trapeze." Today, it is a refreshing, dare I say, more "lady-like" approach to fashion than we've seen in quite awhile.
 There is still a bit of color-blocking effects. But this time, it is largely bold strokes of black with a dash of color stirred in.
We all know our dolls love to "dress for success." The best work day looks have interesting jackets teamed with soft, sometimes flared skirts. Jackets with peplums or those that simply flair out from princess lines look particularly fresh and feminine.
For daywear look for urban patterns in slate, concrete grey, asphalt black. Do we need to even suggest....don't be bashful when it comes to mixing patterns and print.

Another palette taking its cue from big city street, graffiti prints are big, particularly for clubwear.
I love LBDs (Little Black Dresses). However, your dolly will want to get out of the black and into the red.
For daytime, think reds in spicy, tangy, tropical reds, either as an all-over look, or just to spark up otherwise neutral tones. Note that trousers are easing up. Pant legs are more fluid. And the shift dress in gradated tones of tangerine is a cool substitute for the LBD.

Okay, so you remember this dress from the Valentino post. Just goes to show how popular both the silhouette and the color is amongst the world's top designers.
These are the new neutrals. They are soft with a touch of grey. These are clothes with lots of verve. Clothes that jingle, jangle and move even though your doll stands still. Notice the palazzo pants, the trim on Oscar's dress and the strips that provide lots of interest in the dresses in the middle.

Those neutrals move into night time mode. The star fabrics you will want to buy: jewel-tone satin (silk charmeuse if you can afford it), panne velvet, and crepe.
 Of course, when the sun sets, it brings us back to the basic concept of black. Big this season, lingerie dresses with lace inlays, baby-doll looks....and the occasional, femme fatale in a black satin blazer, garters and thigh high boots.
The huge popularity of "Downton Abbey" has inspired designers to take us back on a venture to a more regal period in fashion history. The super-duper bling-bling is out. In its place are sultry, feminine looks featuring devore velvets, lace trimmed satin and a few jet beads sprinkled over vintage lace. Think "antique" or "bric-a-brac" shops for bits of old lace. Later, we will do a project on devore.
The take away here.... The fabrics and colors to invest in are basic. The styles are fairly simple but always with a strong air of femininity. Faux fur will be your doll's best friend....again! And if you still have a bit of money left over....go crazy with abstract prints.

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Next up: The girls head over the pond to London Fashion Week for a jolly good time. Stay tuned!!!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Doll's Eye View: NY Fall/Winter 2014 Fashions Pt. 1

Lots of patterns at Diane Von Furstenberg at NY Fashion Week.

Can you's fashion season...AGAIN!!!! This time, the styles prancing down the catwalk is what we can expect to see in the stores next Fall and Winter.

Skirts and dresses falling into handkerchief points at Tommy Hilfiger.
I was asked why designers show so far in advance. It has to do with production schedules. In effect, the things sent down the catwalk during fashion week are proposals. These glitzy shows are PR vehicles held essentially for the benefit of the press. Buyers, magazine editors and designers meet separately in the showrooms far from the podium. The actual orders placed determines what will actually appear in the stores. Moreover, sometimes modifications are made to a designer's collections to suit individual markets impacted by the morphology, culture and buying patterns of any one regional customer base.

Coats are supersized for Fall/Winter 14
By the time the orders are placed, manufactured, promoted and delivered, the process takes about 6 months. Like Paris, New York Fashion week is massive. It is 10 days long, followed immediately (literally the next day) by the UK collections on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, followed by Milan Fashion Week and concluding in Paris. Of the two sets of seasons, Fall/Winter is the most important because women spend more of their wardrobe budget for winter clothes more so that for summer gear.

How do I select the outfits to feature on this blog? I look for items I think sums up the message of the season and will translate well for the proportions of the doll. There cannot be too many tiny details, lots of layers or heavily draped silhouettes. I try to select styles that will come close to the human version when completed. And...I look for new ideas, or timeless items that will provide the doll added value.

Polar Vortex fashions
Inasmuch as the styles featured here original from real fashion weeks that show real fashions for you and me....sometimes I sneak in a few wonderful pieces as "eye candy" just for you full scale fashionistas.

Consider fantasy patterned faux fur for coats, jackets or just for trim.
When looking at the fashions in these posts, I want you to be inspired and use these photos as references. Don't think the fabric or even the color has to be the same, unless that is a selling point for you. Play around with the proportions, the fabrics and make the design your own. I've tried to select items I think you can create using the basic patterns we've made thus far. But don't hesitate to simply take fabric (or paper), tape and pins and try to recreate the silhouette before your eyes....sort of like sculpture. We use patterns to get to the final destination, but the reality is...whatever it takes to arrive at a gorgeous outfit is just fine.

Grey skies....comfortable knits, oversized jackets, layered looks keep us warm.
 Trends coming out of this fashion season, thus far, seemed to have been impacted by the severe weather trends. Fur and oversized coats point to this.

Back to the future...op-art prints from the 1960s are recut into contemporary looks
There is the usual amount of grey and black, but we are also seeing tiny checks and op-art prints, larger "urban" or camouflage patterns. What is also new are uneven hemlines falling into handkerchief points,

A certain point of view....hems fall into handkerchief points
Some of the patterns and prints are outstanding. Quite naturally, you will not be able to find the same fabrics, however let yourself be inspired to source unusual fabrics. And don't forget to experiment and perhaps design your own fabric.

Eco-patterns, laser cut "lace," silhouettes are simple, but the fabric speaks volumes.

Bird Land...dresses are all aflutter with the addition of feathers.
We're not finished with New York. Stay tuned for Part 2 !!!!!
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