Friday, November 22, 2019

Dolls Eye View: Paris S/S 2020 Part II

Ah...Paris in the springtime! As I stated in Part I of this report, the good thing about Paris fashion week is there is always something for everyone. Not too interested in experimenting in edgy looks? No problem. Paris is awash in feminine looks for the next spring summer season!

Rive Droite
We start our journey in early spring when the chill is still in the air and color has not yet bloomed. On the right bank of Paris is where the proper « nice girl » looks reside. Here we see everything from lightweight linens cut in easy to wear tunics over pants to jackets etched with lace, flirty little coat dresses....all drenched in the go-anywhere tone of Parisian black!

Rive Gauche
Across the river...left bank chic, an easy going look with the tough edge of leather was literally invented by St. Laurent in the 1960’s. The good thing is, it is still alive and well and defined by a new generation of designer, 50 years later! This group is essential a collection of leather (and vinyl) jackets over straight legged trousers and mini skirts. Once considered on the edgier side of style, these are now fashion classics.

Joan fell for the shiny vinyl jacket. She has a feeling we’ll be seeing much more shine in the seasons to come. Here she’s put together a hip grazing navy vinyl jacket belted over pencil thin pants and ankle boots.


Plaid is big for spring. The girls really like the big « chalk » strings...white on on white. No matter which plaid you choose for your diva, the silhouettes are young and flirty. 

Veronica was quite intrigued with the combination of oversized plaid and her favorite...fringe! We made this 3 piece outfit for her consisting of a bare midriff wrap top with leather straps that wind around the waist over a double breasted skirt trailing in fringe. Over her shoulders is a tiny « shrug » (a small bolero in the shape of a open ended tube.

Summer Breeze

Oh but summer is final here and what could be more befitting on a warm day than a pretty white ensemble. All super feminine, the girls flipped for a body skimming dress with ruffles dropped off the shoulders, a multi layered dress with plenty intrigue or the simplicity of a pure white pantsuit.

For Kym, however, summer is all about the coolness and easy chic of a shift dress cut in sheer white cotton with a simple over coat. The dress is the basic sheath without the seams stitched down. I added in an separate layer that stops at the top of the thighs. It’s basted together with the dress which is then sewn together at the side seams.

Jardin des Plantes

Bring on the color! After all, it is summertime! We loved the big splashy floral and tropical prints as well as the tender roses painted against a white backdrop. More importantly, we loved all of the things that make overall look irresistible...fabric that wraps around the bustling, waists that are marked, and especially drop shoulder sleeves with plenty of volume.

I love the colors of this print, especially when splashed against a white background. I took liberties with the silhouette. My fabric was a tad too thick to blouse over the waist with any success, so after gathering the neckline I simply used a small belt to tie under the bustling. The sleeves (poufs attached to small tubes hidden underneath) were added afterwards and attached to the underarm of the dress. I did not like the shorter length nor the boots, so me and Sophia agreed the dress should be ankle length.

Caribbean Beat

Continuing on with our color fest.... we loved the movement, the ease and the brilliant tones of this group. The prints are more abstract but the silhouettes are whatever makes you happy....skinny pants and wrap tops to a giant scarf dress that flows around the body with the greatest of ease.

And that is exactly what caught Grace’s eye. A nice big splash of color in the form of a triangular cut of silk suspended from a small gold wire necklace. 

Basking in the Basque

We thought France was being invaded by the Spaniards but realized there is a whole culture of this lacy, swashbuckling style down Arles, in southern France. That stark white coatdress with its lacy petticoats is quite nice, but the girls went crazy for the over abundance of lace, especially when presented in such graphic contrasts. 

Noor fell for this sort of contrasting vibe...the toughness of leather softened with the gentle touch of lace. The dress is made in two parts: a leather corset belted over a gathered handkerchief pointed skirt, with lots of lace appliques. And though the dress is quite lovely as is, we felt it could use one more element...a tiny bolero jacket made from a tiny bit of sheer lace.

Not to be outdone...Stefani stepped up and grabbed this glamorous gown made from black taffeta and feathers. The dress is a classic draped dress in a short length with a train that trails out from the side. Marabou feathers are then added to the front. 

Orient Express

When I saw these dresses I was most anxious to make something from Chinese brocade. I love the exoticism, the richness of color and print. In the end, the garments themselves are like jewelry!

Right in time for Christmas.... I found some red and gold brocade. The best part is, both sides are useable! I decided, however, not to adhere to the original coat because I’ve made a kimono coat out of brocade for the girls already. So I decided to have some fun and let myself be inspired by a coat designed by Martin Margiela (we featured in a previous post). Tiah’s coat is cut in one piece and the sleeves are added afterwards. Instead of letting the collar drape over the shoulders that reveal the reserve side of the fabric, I draped it then stitched down the tucks on both ends. The cuffs are separate—worn like bracelets. As you can see I didn’t line this. The fabric is polyester (and unravels mercilessly). So it is essential to melt the edges with a flame. The pants underneath are just regular stovepipe trousers I cut using the reverse side of the fabric.  

If I took an extra day to post this, it is because well Sofia begged me to make her something out of brocade and even chose the color! Again, I strayed from the original design. I didn’t have my beads and needles with me, so instead, I cut out extra butterflies, melted the edges and added them back on to a basic bodice as appliques. I also had a pressed tin ornament to which I added a bit of gold wire to transform it into this necklace. The original skirt is a chiffon with gathering just above the knee. Instead, I opted to make a sarong skirt our of a single square of the same fabric. Hint: should you be tempted to work with Chinese brocade,  beware that, unlike the pure silk version, this fabric is a bit stiff and frays terribly! For that reason, I melt the edges of all pattern pieces. If, on the other hand, you are fortunate enough to find pure silk, it is a dream to work with. You will not be able to melt the edges, instead you will have to hem or line the garment.

On that note, I’ve given the girls a little time off to explore and enjoy Paris. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. So they’ll be sending back lots of photos to share for an up coming post!

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Dolls Eye View: Paris S/S 2020 Fashion Trends

As expected, Paris had something for everybody. It wasn’t as « pretty » as the Milan collections, but there were plenty of ideas, no matter where your esthetic sensitivities lay. This is a very large report, so much so, we decided to present it in two parts. For this, part one, we look at the somewhat edgier side of Paris style. Much of this does not look like spring as there is lots of « Parisian » black!!! The girls were more intrigued by the designers’ ideas presented. But don’t worry. If this is not your cup of tea, stick around for part 2 when the classics return!

For this group, the design isn’t really all that extraordinary. It’s more about the material involved. A leather dress, a bustier and pencil skirt that puts skin to skin... we liked the simplicity of silhouette and the richness of the leather.
Again, we all loved the simplicity of the garments spelled out in soft, supple leather. For the doll versions, no need for all of the seams. (It's there in the full scale dresses due to size of the pelts in relation to the pattern pieces.)

Power Play
This is about the power of a jacket and trousers drenched in the color black. It’s the pantsuit in its purist form presented in everything from leather to sequins. 

For Margot, we chose a classic leather power suit: blazer and straight-legged trousers.
Graphic Language
We take black and cut it with white—whether expressed in color blocking or etched in stripes—for an eye popping contrast. 

Boyz Club
Men’s into women’s wear, androgynous dressing, or transgender mode—it’s all about mixing it up by looking in monsieur’s closet and putting your own spin on things. The man’s jacket can be cut away to expose its girly side. And who knows, sometimes HE might invade HER closet for a most unusual look.

Noor was quite intrigued by what first appears to be a jacket over slim Jim pants with cut-aways over the hips. In actuality, this really appears to be a jumpsuit. In order to bring this to life for Noor, I created this in two pieces: the top (which closes in the back) which is attached to waistband, also holding up the trousers at the center point. I added in another « faux waistband » to give the illusion of the cut-outs over the hip bone! Originally I did not add this waistband in. The overall look was VERY sexy—a little too much for Noor’s taste! So we decided to adhere more closely to the original look!

Edge of Night
This is really a walk on the wild side where punk, Goth and an assortment of looks with a hard edge reside. Most are wearable except for the one look Anna chose!

We were both quite intrigued by the way this « bondage » look wrapped around the torso. I cannot image the human version (unless the straps are attached to a flesh tone foundation) because the slightest gesture would result in milady completely falling out of the top! Anna has a very tiny body with almost no bust.  I made this in two parts: top and pants. The fabric is stretch and the straps over the front are attached to a solid back bodice. This was fun for the pix, but I’m not so sure she’ll get much wear out of this outfit1 

Soft Serve
Another edgy theme, largely based on the exotic esthetics of Japanese avant garde. More art than fashion, all of the ribbons, the handkerchief points, the cut-outs make for a very interesting conversation. 

With a Twist!
Here are basic styles with at least one element that is slightly askew. It can be a top where one side falls off the shoulder in a twist, or perhaps a simple black sheath given a jolt with a twist of color!

Upon close inspection, the original dress looks as if it might be part bra, part asymmetrical gown. For Noor’s version, I cut the dress in one piece and changed the colors of the insets to something more interesting: fusha and mandarine orange. I used ribbon for those insets and decided (in contrast to the original), to let the ribbon stream down the back of the gown.

We are not finished yet with Paris. I have few more outfits to finish. Paris Part 2 should be up in a few days!  Afterwards, the girls have decided to stay in Paris for a little rest & relaxation. They’ll be reporting on the sights and events around the City of Lights!

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Dolls Eye View: Milan S/S 2020 Trends

It has taken me awhile to get back online because.... the girls fell in love in Milan. Unlike NY and London where I had to send them back for a second or even a third trip just to find something to their liking...Italy was love at first sight!

Desert Storm
The classic look of safari wear is always a winner with me and my girls for summer. In this group we loved shorts teamed up with animal print bras and the super fun look of a fringed sued jacket and mini skirt. If your diva doesn't have a safari jacket in her wardrobe already...this is something you must make for her!

My dolls do have one of those safari jackets, so they opted for this "safari meets western" ensemble. This is a simple jacket with yoke bouncing with a lot of fringe, worn over a wrap skirt. I do have that pinstriped shirt but due to the difficulty of getting it on underneath this suede jacket, I decided instead to make Zoe a strapless bustier instead.
These flirty little gathered shorts caught the eye of Kate. We gave her a simple bra top cut from animal print jersey that match her shoes and topped everything off with a long swing coat.

Animal Magnetism
Let's face it, animal prints have become a classic. What is new here is the all-over, top-to-toe, matchy matchy look. We absolutely love the same print in different fabrics--from sheer to matte--sometimes all worn in the same look! For some of your dolls, it is too much, but for those who dare....more is more!!!

Garden Party
Whether you like them or not, my girls were pleased to see a collection that really resembles spring! We like the "garden party prints" on contrasting backgrounds, the all-over florals in shocking, bright colors. But the one my girls really fell for is Blumarine's floral on pink satin worn with a kitten soft sweater top! (Sorry, couldn't make this because I didn't have the fabrics!)

Art Smart
Figurative or abstract, hand painted fabric is a great way to express your inner artist and it makes for interesting fashion!

It's In Her Jeans
Not only is the color blue a trending color, the return to good old fashioned blue jean denim is making a big comeback. The other news here is the return of 1980's big shoulders. Put the two together and well... This is what this looks like. My girls weren't around back when Claude Montana's football sized shoulders were in vogue, so for them this look is really a big deal (no pun intended)!
Radiah loved the jacket but not so much the baggie jeans and cowboy boots. So I high fashioned it up a bit and put her in a pencil skirt made from the pocket of my dad's old jeans. The jacket is an elongation of the classic jean jacket but with exaggerated shoulders. Take a close look and you'll find the denim flower on the yoke which adds to the whole couture concept.

In a number that was clearly inspired by the movie, "Grease," we see a lot of leather on the catwalk. What the girls liked best was the 1950's interpretation of the leather look...jackets with over-the-knee pencil skirts that evoke both tough chic and feminine sophistication;
From the moment Morgan saw this on the screen, she began begging me to make it for her. The look is really quite simple...a motorcycle jacket over a long pencil skirt with cargo pockets and a furry pouch hung from the waist belt. For this outfit, I used a faux leather fabric with a bit of stretch. The texture is perfect and convincing and, unlike real leather, sewing was an absolute dream! (I will be buying more of this fabric whenever I see it again!) I couldn't keep everything close to the body without bulges or bulk, so I dressed Morgan in a wrap white cotton bare midriff top instead.

Suits Me
It's the return of the pant suit, but with loose fitting trousers cut from soft fabrics. If you are interested in pulling off this look for a 1/6 scale doll, make sure your fabric is soft enough yet still has a bit of body. Generally speaking, rayon fabrics are a good bet.

Suits Me 2
Taking the theme of the suits a step further, consider coat dresses or super sized jackets worn over the briefest of mini skirts. As you can see, lengths don't matter so long as it looks good on the doll!  
This is a classic example of why fabric matters. Liu is modeling my doll sized version of Salvatore Ferragamo's jacket and skirt. The original is made from a soft fabric...perhaps rayon. In my mind, I assumed linen would have the type of body I wanted to make the jacket look crisp and sharp. I thought a softer fabric might be too "frumpy." The end result surprised me. Liu's body is quite tiny but the bulk of the linen (and yes, I did use an interfacing) proved to have a life (and a silhouette) of its own. Liu is still happy, but if I were to make this jacket again, I'd go with a softer fabric to make the look more feminine.

A Star is Born
The monochromatic look of silver grey is another big hit in my house. (My girls love to sparkle and shine!)  
We already have tons of silver lame, lurex and leather outfits so there is really no need to make more. But Waris was intrigued by the texture of this Blumarine mini dress. To make an otherwise boring dress quite special, we decided to create our own texture with the help of medallions of beaded lace cut from the fabric and our own bead embroidery. The dress underneath is a grey sparkle tulle to which we added the lace medallions. Then we filled in the "spaces" with silver beads. We added crystal stars to Waris' hairstyle and gave her dark silver lurex boots. No need for any more jewelry because the dress itself is quite a gem!

Lady Sings the Blues
This is Giorgio Armani's sumptuous take on the whole blue forecast for next spring summer season. Had I had more time and the right fabric, I would have been tempted to make a few of these looks.
 Nadja was not going to let me out of making this look for her even though this version is white. We both loved the almost "whipped cream" topping over the slinky sequined dress. The dress is quite simple...a long sleeved sheath with a V-neck lined in ruffles. The shawl is a triangular piece of sheer polyester organza covered in ruffles.
 To keep from having to hem the fabric, I flamed sealed the edges instead.

All A-Flutter
My girls loved the light, simple look of these dresses that, thanks to ruffles and feathers seemed to take flight. We see a pink version of Armani's ruffled gown, along with two other summer beauties.
Another Tonner girl came upstairs to see what the commotion was about. When everything was said and done, she walked away with this version of Ermanno Scervino's pretty little dress. With Gunilla (a 16" doll), we began with a foundation garment and then added lace medaillons to literally build the dress. I added bits and pieces of frayed fabric for texture, then tacked on a bit of marabou feathers over a row of gathered tulle under the hem.

What attracted Violetta to this dress was the tender, nude quality of the overall look. The body of the dress is a typical couture draped gown, but using a very thin, pale fabric. I used a soft nylon sheer fabric for Violetta's dress. But I didn't have time to cut out feathers. So instead, I cut tiny, irregular squares of the sheer fabric and then tacked them onto a wedge of the dress. I then sliced up these little added squares to give a more "flutter" effect to the over all look.

Oh my oh my...Italy was so fab. I don't know if Paris can top this, but we'll go there and see!!!

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