Monday, April 29, 2019

Dolls Eye View: Paris F/W '19 Trends: Part II

Strap on those seat belts, me and the girls have gone a little bit off the beaten path!!! Paris is not only about about beauty and the woman, it's also about creative experimentation.

Gender Bender
In the 1960's it was called "Unisex," a single look worn by men and women alike. By the 1980's when Japanese designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakuba arrived on scene, the same man/woman concept was translated into a more exotic, "cerebral" look and tagged "androgynous." Fast forward to today...we're in a "fluid" wave where men and women swap styles depending on the moment and the mood. Look for silhouettes that have the structure of a man's suit jacket mixed with the fluid lines of a dress. What's interesting here is that you can make a few changes that can adapt to both the girls and the dude dolls!
For example, take a look at this Alexander McQueen suit. We see both the masculine and feminine elements in the same garment. On the left is Zoe in her version of this suit. On the left is Kim. We kept most of the main features but took a few liberties with the collar the taffeta drape on the front. Kim's suit can be worn with or without a shirt.

Aliens Amongst Us
This is not the wildest of the catwalk circus. Just a few things that actually work when you remove most of the hi-jinks!!! The proportions are a little bit off, layering is quirky and the mix of fabrics and patterns, a wee bit....bohemian. Think of it as "Fun with Fashion that break all rules. But before you close the door on's a hint: change the proportions and the accessories for some really nice (and wearable) clothes!
Essentially Natasha is wearing a traditional evening dress with an asymmetrical hemline showing off a flash of thigh. (I made this quickly by crushing a bit of taffeta and tacking in place.) What sets this look into the new millennium is her metallic tights and, in Natasha's case, her aluminum foil head gear! Take away all the got a classic red carpet gown!

Panting for More

In the last report, I said that you will need to make at least a new jacket for your doll to keep her in style for next Fall. Add a pair of trousers to that list as well! Pants come in all sizes and shapes. The skinnies are still around, but you should set your sights to wider trousers and even perhaps...a pair of bell bottoms. One thing to note: from top to bottom, it's a total (polished) look.

Royal Flush

This is a color story. Peaking out from all of the greys, blacks and assorted neutrals is a pop of color, from time to time. In Paris we noticed quite a few looks drenched in royal blue! You have a wide range of fabrics--from knits to velvet and silk!

Carmelia couldn't resist this pantsuit. We made it out of jersey. A flutter of bias cut ruffles flutters around and down her one shouldered top which is belted over a pair of straight cut pants. Though you could make this as a jumpsuit, I decided it would be easier and faster to make it in two pieces (top plus pants with belt). The flounces on Camelia's version, by the way, were created by cutting circles which are slashed, stretched then applied to the shoulder line.

Autumn Leaves
There's another color palette in store for next fall. Its inspiration comes from nature itself. Think autumn leaves after the first frost when the trees are ablaze in rich colors of the season. These warm and inviting tones are absorbed all day long straight into evening wear. 

Animal Instincts
Animal prints are the new neutrals so each season we are likely so see clothes with fabric inspired by our feline friends. And there are many ways to wear these ferocious patterns and prints. When fabric shopping, look for metallics embossed with scales, abstract versions of spotted cats. Whether slightly over sized or right on the mark, there is no wrong way to wear them!
For Jourdan we made a micro-mini wrap dress worn and tossed a tuxedo blazer over her shoulders. Her thigh high boots give her a touch of bad girl glam.
Don't be limited to using only one print per garment. Feel free to mix and match and put together unexpected combinations of patterns. Here, Chrystele has fun with a lace trimmed leopard printed poncho tossed over the shoulders of a glitzy sheath dress.
Because we don't see the actual dress underneath the poncho, I took the liberty to make my own design. Since I liked the idea of something bling-bling that would contrast the spotted poncho, I chose a width of 4-inch (10cm) trim which I use on the wrong side! Here's a closeup of the bronze/blue dress Chrystele is wearing underneath. The necklace and the embroidered Barbie boots give it a luxurious tropical vibe.

She's on Her "A-Game"
Fit and flare...a throwback to the 1950's and early 60's silhouettes, is welcomed back this year. This time around you'll find this classic look cut from all sorts of materials from leather and wool to silk.
Here's another Dior. This time it's a dress that takes its que from an old fashioned school girl. Margot's dress is really in three parts. The "sweater" is a funnel neck top cut from a thin 2-way stretch knit. The dress itself is really in two parts--a corset top and a full, gathered skirt belted over everything. Most wools are too thick for this silhouette. So here, I used silk which has the look of herringbone but falls more fluid over Margot's body!  

Tall, statuesque, this is the simplest way to go for the glam in a season where everything is pared down to the essentials.
Of course, there are exceptions. Take these girly-girl ruffled dresses, for example. Like a whipped creamed filled creme puff it floats over dolly's body like a cloud. We do, however, like the idea of pairing ruffles with more sober silhouettes that allow a whisper of delicious curves drift beyond its borders. 

The girls went in search for Toni Maticevski who normally shows during Paris Fashion Week. We didn't see him on Vogue's roundup, so we headed to his website to see what he had been up to. I don't know if he has dropped out of the "fashion week rat race" to do his own thing. But we did find lots of new things to love including this dress. For Sybille's dress we used a fine grade of wedding tulle, cut into irregular squares which are attached to a strapless sheath foundation. As you can see...Sybille's dress is more "perky." We thought of dipping the dress in hot water to calm things down, but then decided to leave the dress in its fairy-tale like dimensions.

In Memory of Mr. Karl Lagerfeld

The Fall/Winter 2019 Chanel collection is the last creative endeavor of this industry icon. We don't know what the future brings for Chanel without Karl Lagerfeld's watchful eye, but we are thankful for the 35 wonderful years of incredible fashion he brought to the catwalk. Dorian, my FR model who normally gets first pick of our Dolly Chanel creations, insisted I make one more garment from this season which is pictured above.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Dolls Eye View: Paris F/W 19 Trends: Part 1

Vive la France! Vive Paris! The girls landed in the fashion capital looking for something special and Paris did not disappoint. In fact, there were so many ideas, we decided to split this  report into two posts. What is so wonderful about Paris is there is something for everybody. In this Part 1, we look at the simple, more sober, mostly daytime styles in neutral tones. We'll also look at edgier, more colorful side of Paris fashion but for now, let's take a look as some dynamic looks you dolls might want next Fall.

Livin' Large
The first thing you will notice about the Paris collections is that silhouettes have fattened up. We see more width in the shoulders, A-line shapes swinging freely from marked waists as well as wide, loose trousers.a la Katherine Hepburn in the 1930's.  Maxi-length coats, swash-buckling capes, great big faux furs and overstuffed parkas are all favorite looks that will be keeping dollies warm in face of blustery, polar vortex assaults.

Keep dolly warm with a hunk of faux fur! Harking back to the 1980's, fur coats over jeans is the best way to get a casual chic look. This look can be as easy as simply taking a big rectangle of supple faux fur and wrapping it around dolly's shoulders. But for Latoya, I took the faux fur coat I made back in Milan layered it with a matching long vest on top. 

Coat of Arms
More so than any other winter season, there was a good array of coats on the Paris catwalks. Most are long, ample and wrap comfortably around the body. In fact, the wrap coat belted at the waist is the best way to go. Also look for A-line coats especially those cut in silk and worn over cocktail length dresses!

In the path of glen plaids, checks, tweeds and other menswear fabric, we see oversized windowpane plaids making a comeback. Again, this is a revival of late 1970's when patterns were quite popular and worn in all-over effects. Notice this "total look" where everything matches or...positive/negative plaids are worn in the same garment.
Normally, I am not a fan of Maria Grazia Chiuri, the current designer for Christian Dior. But I saw potential in the design and thought it could be fun for doll fashion. I could not find a corresponding plaid in 1/6 scale, so I cut up an old pair of my dad's pajamas and made this oversized "bathrobe" style coat with the frayed hem for Veronica. I thought a lace skirt was prettier than the net used in the original. The added plus is that bulk along the waist created by the lace skirt forced the coat into a distinct A-line silhouette which, in my opinion, is a tad bit more interesting than the one designed by Ms. Chiuri.

Skin Flicks
Once again....leather will be in abundance next Fall. There are, of course, the usual blazers, jackets, skirts and pants, worn in monochromatic ensembles or under a crisp, plaid jacket.
However, the outfit that caught Anna's eye is this "Darth Vadar" ensemble...a flared skirt with a leather cape tossed over the shoulders. I used a faux leather-like fabric to make the skirt. But for the cape, I did use real leather because it's grain adds a richness to the overall look. If you don't have access to leather or faux leather, you can always use a heavy black satin which will provide a similar effect. The hat is not perfect because I used a synthetic felt instead of 100 percent wool. And I didn't have the time to make a proper hat form. So I improvised and was thrilled with the overall look. Looking for her gloves? Look here.

The Long & Short of It
Also recalling the 1970's mini-maxi fashions is this lineup. Today, super short and extra long hemlines co-exist on Parisian catwalks. Look for ankle length silhouettes in both basic and Japanese complex designs as well as short, curvy dresses and jackets!

Katarina has such a serine, almost anti-establishment look, I thought she would be the perfect model to pull off the androgynous look of Japanese icon, Yohji Yamamoto. There is something absolutely fascinating about his clothes. They are like little puzzles which led me to search for a way to create a simplified version suitable for a 1/6 scale doll. Katarina's dress was made from a coat pattern with an extended, triangular front. I made a slit in one side seam and stuffed one side into the hole. This is worn over a slim skirt. The ensemble is made from a lightweight sweater knit.
Oh, I couldn't stop there. Katoucha's dress is really a cardigan sweater with a scarf that was draped and stitched in place over the shoulders. I decided to keep the skirt simple instead of the multi-tiered skirt of the original to cut down on bulk.

Digital Noise
If I had tweed on hand, I would have made more than one from this group. I love the early 1960's loose jackets and dresses cut from this menswear tweed. Nonetheless, since the Barbies have been reminding me to make fashion for them, I decided on the Mugler outfit, a crisp white jacket over a scrambled printed skirt and skinny pants.
For Gloria's outfit, I used a black and white patterned fabric polyester for the slim pants and gathered mini shirt. Over it---a long, princess line jacket in stark white.

Champs Elysees
Sleek, chic with understated elegance...this a theme that is quintessentially Parisian. Black, white or a combination of both, we're talking impeccably cut classics that never go out of style. These are looks you will use over and over to dress dolly.
Simple to make, stunning to wear, this is the easiest way to wear Chanel, Stephani's top is a simple bodice with sleeves (basic sloper with added seam allowance) cut from black sequins. Her trousers are wide and straight, pleated into the waistband with pockets added in the side seams.

Basic Instinct
It all comes back to basics! Simple (not so little) black dresses with interesting neckline treatments.
If you can knit, this is a beautiful, two piece cable knit dress to make. But if you can't (like me), make it from a sock.
The body of Nadja's dress is a tube that I've cut from a single sock. I've added spaghetti straps (made from embroidery yarn). Over it: a micro-sweater or "shrug"--a small strip of knit with sleeves at each end that rides over the bustline. 

Day to Night
Black and white--a theme normally reserved for springtime, has popped up for winter wear. This theme is a culmination of other major looks of the season: the wider trousers, A-line silhouettes, and structured styles--all sketched out in a contrast of graphic black and white.
Hey, we're just getting started. There's more to come and it's color!!! Stay tuned for Paris F/W'19 Trends: Part 2!!!
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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Dolls Eye View: Milan Fall/Winter 19 Trends

Milan! How my girls love you! Again, there are still some wild and crazy things on the catwalk, but it seems, the Milan we once knew and love is making its comeback. Lots of tailored jackets, head-to-toe coordinated ensembles and some very pretty dresses sums up what we found in the Italian fashion capital. Let's get straight to the point. If you can only make one thing for your doll next fall, plan to make a jacket! And the fabrics you should put at the top of your priority list: plaids, tiny checks, herringbone and tweeds. Hint: head for the menswear fabrics!

The Jacket
The best way to wear a jacket---long, lean and slipped over the shoulders of a sweet, short mini dress. Silhouettes here are simple with sharp shoulders. The garments underneath are girly and flirty.
We love contrast of this look. A chic leather blazer combined with a tender girly girl peach satin tent dress. The original garment features a white shirt under her leather jacket. I dolled up Billie's outfit with a white satin scarf and a long rope of pearls.

Coat Check
Outerwear becomes an integral part of the over all ensemble. A coat or cape with matching trousers or even with matching fabric boots. This is called dressing from top to toe....a look that is timelessly chic. Everything is in the color of the winter skies...shades of gray to midnight blue. 
Liu was attracted to this coat with deep cut front and a hardware belt. I've seen this type of coat before and always thought it was curious how it exposed so much of the shoulders and bust. But dolls don't have to worry about that, so I made this version out of a menswear, pinstripe lightweight wool. It has matching straight legged trousers. And because this is for Fall/Winter season, Liu wears it with a funnel collar sweater..though for fancy evenings, this would also look wonderful with a black lace top!

Urban Nomad
Faux fur, fleece or shaggy knit...we're on an excursion at the tundra with these cold weather looks. If any of you knit, the first two are for you. My girls love the monochromatic look of a shaggy sweater coat over a silk dress or plaid jumpsuit. This tone-on-tone, top-to toe-looks is a reoccurring trend for next winter.
Tiah shows off her best polar vortex set.... a white chunky tweed jacket and matching shorts with a fur boa tossed around the shoulders and held in place with a beige fanny pack! Her boots are made from the same fabric as her shorts suit.

Pure white as the driven snow..a trend we first spotted in New York..has made it over the Atlantic in grand style. Coats over jackets, jackets over trousers... this is a story of layered, Frosty the Snow Dolly, complete with jacket, pants and overcoat. White on white as a "total look" is on point for next winter. Note how pants have grown in volume as have the shoulders of the jackets!

Plaid Your Case
Men's into womenswear...this theme plays with fabrics typically found in monsieur's closet: plaids, checks, tweeds and all variations in between. And yes, there is the traditional tailored jacket over skirts or pants, but you can have fun and use these patterned wools into unexpected softly draped silhouettes.

For Angelina, we compromised. Her look starts with a fitted, shawl collar blazer in plaid over a herringbone mini skirt. I've fringed the hems of both to add a soft, feminine edge and added a white lace scarf to feminize the overall look. Then over this suit is a great, big, swashbuckling shawl tossed over the shoulders. And yes, that is a smart watch on her wrist!

Thick and Thin
If you look closely, you will see a departure from some of the past trends. Silhouettes have grown wider, looser and longer. Pants are decisively wide and long...sometimes with raised waists. Be careful not to go so wide, the garment swallows your doll. (Make your pattern a little more narrow than what you see.) So even though there are wide elements, the look should still come off as long.
The trick is, however, to keep the doll from being swallowed by her outfit. And you do this by respecting the scale of the doll in relation to the fabric you choose. I love the big, comfortable shapes of this Agora pants ensemble. That everything is kept in a soft, pearl grey tone, the model is not overwhelmed. But I was concerned this might not translate well for Carla, a Barbie Model Muse (with the original body). So instead of using the plush fabric of Carla's coat all over, I cut the straight loose top and straight legged pants out of silk in the same color. The result is "wide" for the doll, but still "slim" enough to pull off for her scale. By the way, her straight legged trousers are 1" (2cm) wide seam to seam.

Dance, dance, dance!!! These are hot party dresses that are pretty classic...starting with the strapless sheath to a 1950's corset and tulle skirt as well as everything in between. The girls like slippery, shiny fabrics that shimmy and twirl.
For Natalia, who was looking for a modern day princess look, this two-piece dancing dress consists of a corset--lace and ribbon on tulle worn over a full tulle skirt marked with a red satin belt.
At the other end of the spectrum, we have Samantha who loves the edgy look of leather. But instead of biker babe, we dressed this strapless sheath up by adding a belt that wraps into a bow, long leather gloves and a frilly shawl to toss over her shoulders in the wee hours of the morning. We both love this dress because it can be dressed up or down, paired with soft or hard fabric accessories, worn strappy pumps or knee high leather boots. 

Twilight Hour
And then there is that one thing that sets the Italians apart from all the other capitals.....their ability to make a doll look drop dead gorgeous. For Fall, all is fair in love and war....from velvet and lace to satin and sequins. We love the lace but could not resist making a 1/6 version of Alberta Feretti's black paillette dress.
I only had time to make one dress, ladies!!!! Sophia models the one we all loved. It's an evening length slip dress covered with rows of paillettes separated with sequins and dotted with few beads and a whisp of tulle. Ciao Bella!!!

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Next and last stop on the fashion month train: Paris! See you there!!!!