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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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Dolls Eye View: London S/S 2020 Fashion Trends

 A little bit here, a little bit there....London fashion right now is all over the place. I suppose the problem is Brexit...Great Britain's planned exit from the European Union with all of its woes. Word is, many companies are looking to relocate their businesses somewhere else in Europe out of fear of potential problems down the road. In the meantime....what do you do! Design a collection with the idea of making a fashion statement or.....put together a collection of tried and true clothes guaranteed to sell! As a fashionista this makes finding something new and interesting difficult. The girls had to contend with pretty much a continuation of what we saw in New York...lots of chaotic concept clothes in odd shapes and mishap color palettes or.....seen that-worn-that (already) styles. Still, upon very close scrutiny when the girls were able to a find those few rare "jewels."

Neutral Territory
There is a lot of fashion left overs from the 1970's these days. Most of it me and the girls can really live without. On the other hand, we kind of like that decade's palette of neutral beige, ecru, brown and nature kissed hues. The girls agreed that the classic safari or sportswear separates: jackets, shorts and trousers are always a good bet. We even threw in a floral printed dress with "faded" prints in tones of off-white, coral and jade.
So if we have to go back in time to simple style, Giselle decided she'd opt for the timeless look of a short-set (safari jacket and cuffed shorts) worn under a chocolate brown micro coat. (Pssst....we also made her these lace-up boots in brown leather!)

The New Pants Story
 What we could appreciate in London was seeing a wide variety of pant silhouettes. If nothing else, we can have fun with pants. It's not just about skinny jeans here, but rather....loose trousers gathered into waistbands, wide pants of varying lengths and even the combination of shorts worn under sheer straight pants.

One-Armed Bandit
The one-shouldered look we saw last year, really takes off for next summer. There are lots of ways and many different shoulder treatments to explore!
Noor opted for the sleek look of a simple black jersey dress with a sheer, bias cut square added to one hip.

What's Your Point

And if you haven't noticed already...there are a lot of asymmetrical details to the hottest summer looks...especially those destined for party wear. The girls love how they almost look like puzzles that come together into sexy dresses with points over the thighs. 

Floral Kaleidoscope
Here is where things really became interesting. At first glance, this appears to be an extreme, even outrageous look. But when I stopped to think about it, I saw the resurgence of a popular trend from the 1980s....a proliferation of floral prints worn in "maximalist" mode. It started with the collection of Duro Olowu....vintage prints put together into a single outfit that somehow work together. The Erdem outfits may have you wondering...."who wears this." But again, this is about drawing inspiration from the essence of the concept, then simplifying or scaling it back into something charming, if not beautiful!
No, I would never wear Richard Quinn's dress, but I imagined how cute this look would be on a Barbie. Kimora made me promise I'd scale the look down into something she would actually wear. I also liked the idea of the matching stockings....but I went one step further and saw them as matching thigh high floral boots instead. So Kimora's outfit is a simple halter neck top and opera length gloves worn over a micro skirt bouncing with two rows of ruffles!

The original ensemble appears to be made from strips of brocade...perhaps even vintage ties. What we loved about the look is how three different prints could work so well together. Naturally I don't have those prints. And to be honest...the patchwork is too much work for a 1/6 scale ensemble. But the real message here is taking two or even three completely different prints and marrying them together into one beautiful ensemble. The trick to making it all sure there is one color shared by all prints! Inspired by Erdem, I went a step further by incorporating a "pop of color" via her gloves and shoes.

Fringe Benefits
Well... you know already how I feel about fringe! I love the use of long fringe here!. The black fringe top over the white fringe under skirt is sublime!

Easy Does It
At the end of the day...we are talking about summer clothes. So instead of super fancy, why not dress dolly in cool, easy to wear silhouettes that drop from bared shoulders and swirl around her calves. The overall silhouette is flared or one that cascades loosely from the bust or hips!

Marpessa loves the sheer simplicity of what appeared to be a strapless indigo denim dress dotted with tiny colorful daisies. For Marpessa's dress, I used a blue silk (with a twill weave) resembling denim. The dress is comprised of a strapless bustier top joined to circle skirt. Initially I had planned to add tiny white daisies cut from trim. But I soon discovered the scale was too big and there is much more embroidery detailing on the original dress than I had the time to reproduce. So instead..... I added medallions cut from a piece of beaded lace and sewed on tiny silver sequins to the body of the dress.

We're only half way through our fashion journey. Next stop......Milan!

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Doll's Eye View: NY Spring/Summer 2020 Trends

There was less New York Fashion Week, this season which was probably a good thing. Between the great big, floppy silhouettes, yards and yards of flounces, ruffles and flaps contrasted by many, many terribly ordinary "been-there-worn that" styles..... there was not a lot to love. Right now, there is something called "maximalism" where stylists are mixing the 1970's, 80's and '90's into a single ensemble, I hot mess. I had to send the girls back to New York a second time just to come up with enough looks for this report. My die-hard fashionistas braved traffic jams and crowded subway trains in search of a few morsels of fashion they thought they could live with..

Lady Sings the Blues
Blue is big, especially when inspired by vintage fashion. Look for light blue denim, indigo, 70's tie dye, batik and dip dye...

Summer Breeze
What caught our attention in particular was the mix of tie-dye and jeans. Katoucha wears her own version of Pam & Gala's look. There really isn't anything fancy about this, just a simple, long sleeve top and matching straight legged pants pushed up to the knee and topped off with a classic jeans jacket with a fluff of feathers on the cuff. 

When you remove all of the over-the-top looks from New York Fashion Week, a lot of what is left looks more autumn than spring. But this group features cut-outs, lace and lattice fringe that we imagined would look like summer itself on a nice, warm, breezy day.

Liu couldn't resist this dress. She loved the almost tissue paper feel to a simple, crisp white dress slashed into ankle grazing strips. The dress itself is made from cotton voile. The pattern is the simple foundation pattern without the dart stitched down. The trim is a double layer of the same cotton voile cut very carefully into 1/8" strips. You can use a little Modge Podge or white craft glue on the edges to keep them from fraying.

Modern day "She-ro"
In the spirit of Marvel superheros comes our female fashionista warriors. I'm not really sure why this is spring/summer, but we were intrigued by the harness and the belts worn over jackets.
For Samantha, we created this in three parts. The long sleeve dress with funnel neck has an asymmetrical hemline ending in garter. I cut this dress out of a thin, navy jersey. Instead of stocking and boots, we simply gave her navy stocking boots (which look less winter). Over it all is a simple, (black) jersey sarong skirt and a black leather criss-cross harness belt which fastens in the back.

Botanical Gardens
Ah....finally....spring is in the air! Me and the girls LOVED these dresses with their oversized floral prints, incorporated bows and bare shoulders. Even when the designer opts for basic white and black.....he tops it with a floral lined maxi-coat! This is how we wished the entire fashion month would resemble!!!

Le Bandeau
Le Bandeau.... it's a tiny little bra top....really a big "band-aid" looking bare midriff top paired with trousers or skirts. Hmmmmm..... the problem for me is that the look doesn't look complete. The model is just too....well.....naked. I began with the look on the right. Before I completed this dress, I took a look at dolly's dress and felt there simply wasn't enough "fashion."

Instead, I decided to make the look on the left. The skirt is a better example of a sarong skirt, but the top was just too simple. So for Sofia, I added a "twist" to my bandeau. Still though, the look didn't look complete, so I added a Chinese satin brocade kimono coat to the mix.....

In Stark Contrast
Relax, you're in style! Simple, easy with a graphic slant, the girls like all the black and white (or silver) color blocking that is going on here.
Dorian's version of this Brandon Maxwell ensemble consists of a one shouldered top, a slim skirt and a great, bit sash that wraps around the waist and descends diagonally across the hips into a long train. Again, nothing really extraordinary here, just the ease and elegance of a classic style.

On the Straight and Narrow
Again....nothing to sit up and cheer about, but rather, easy glamour girl column dresses that draw attention to a beautiful body underneath. These are the type of go-anywhere dresses that never goes out of style.

Pampered Princesses
Not every evening look is slim. Full skirts, fit-and-flare.... here is another way to celebrate night time glamour with girly verve. We loved the pleated bandeau top worn over a super-full gathered skirt. But we also thought the cut-out embroidered cotton lace dress in blue made for an interesting play of a classic silhouette.

Pretty in Pink
Ah....another breath of springtime (not to mention Barbie's fave color)! So soft and tender. Think pink! While you can opt for something structured like the little pink pant suit, be sure to take advange of the softer side of things by opting for silky, flowing, airy, body flattering fabrics. If I had the time, I would love to make this entire group.
But I settled on this extraordinary gown by the house of Oscar de la Renta. This is my girl, Stella...a 16" Tonner (Antoinette Spice) doll who had been "sleeping" in the cellar. She came upstairs to get a pair of boots made for her but also reminded how I had promised to make more clothes for her and her friends. The strapless foundation as well as the over-skirt are made of a peachy-pink tulle. I did not have anything I could use for the embroidered flowers. Instead,I cut out floral medallions from a piece of lace and stitched them in strategic spots over the front of the dress.

Next stop: London! We can't promise you a lot. With everything that is going on with Brexit and the like... it is a not an easy time for British fashion. But count on our girls to come up with a few of the more interesting styles that appeared on the catwalks there! See you in a bit!

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