Monday, October 19, 2020

Doll's Eye View: London Spring/Summer 2021 Trends

The girls were debating whether or not it was worth their while to stop in London this season. And for good reason. London fashion was not nearly as pretty as New York. Most of the designers seem to turn a blind eye to the pandemic and how it has impacted our lifestyles. It was business as usual: lots of crazy experimentation, designing from their ivory towers as though nothing had changed. And much of it looked so wrong. My dolls just want to look and feel good. It's as simple as that! Consequently their report on the Brits is short. (Only four themes!) There was a fifth group but frankly, at the last minute the girls were not in the mood for vinyl stretch jeans or tight plastic dresses. 

Candy Stripes and Coconut
There is something very refreshing about these dresses that recall how women once dressed on a hot summer day back in the late 1950s, early 1960s. Crisp cottons in a fruity stripes, patterns or simply pure whites shaped into easy silhouettes pinched in at the was a very pretty, easy look. 

Katoucha was instantly drawn to this striped cotton dress designed by Duro Olowu. The dress is super simple...a simple princess line bodice with a gathered skirt. As you can see, I had fun with the stripes, once again, relying on my textile markers to copy the pattern onto unbleached cotton. 

Crispy Cremes
Uncomplicated, easy to wear...this is another classic way to dress on a typical spring or summer day. The pants are loose and so is the jacket. And it can be as crisp or as fluid as you want.

So here's what happened... Nadja already had a classic, double breasted linen jacket. So I thought I only needed to make was this special style skirt/shorts. But I didn't consult the photo when I cut the shorts, so the proportions appeared too short. And the wider jacket seemed to overpower the doll. As a human, this is the jacket I would like wear right now. But for Nadja, she wasn't so sure so I decided to make her another jacket...this time a fitted blazer. The result... two completely different takes on the original look. Underneath it all, Nadja wears a T-shirt and the combination of a skirt with patch pockets over shorts. 

The Bra
Once again, the bra comes out from hiding and takes center stage for next summer. Granted these are looks for the very young! But hey....many of us have Barbies that are looking for something fun to wear. My more sophisticated dolls also like this look, but for them there's the addition of a jacket or another fun detail like the pleated skirt that tops pencil trousers. 

This is such a fun look that borrows a little from the 1970's at a time when mini dresses were worn over pants in a total look. Instead of a dress, Iman opts for a halter neck bra top and pleated micro mini skirt over stovepipe pants in a bright cherry red. 
When you're a teenager, you can get away with almost anything! This is just bra top (with a bow added) worn with a gathered skirt. Here Kimora does her babydoll look with a bow in her hair and little black heeled sandals. But most days, she's going to slip this look with a pair of sneakers instead!

Fade to Black
And so....we end our journey with another series of little black dresses. This just seems to be the easiest, most effortless way to pull off night time looks. 

A simple tube dress, I made in two options for Kym. Using one of the patterns in my Notorious LBD post, I cut the black dress out of a sweater knit fabric. I accidentally cut the pattern too small for my FR dolls. But it still fit Kym's impeccable figure! However, we both liked the look and fit so much, neither one of us really wanted to cut the center slit as seen in the original dress. For the human, this silhouette looks chic as well, though madame cannot walk because the dress is too restrictive around the knees and calves! So.... I cut another dress, this time using a polyester ribbed material from an old men's knee high sock! The knit has enough body to it that you don't have to worry about finishing the edges. And this time I cut it in the correct size which has more ease through the torso. I carefully cut the slit in between the ribbing. The end result is a bit wider on Kym, which I believe, is how this dress was designed fit. Incidentally, I saw this dress as something that could be worn in the daytime.

My girls can never have too many little black dresses AND I was somewhat intrigued by this little scrap of a dress by Vivienne Westwood. It looks a bit like a rag on her curious choice of model. But me and Zoe figured I could "clean it up" somewhat. It is a jersey dress with shirring on both sides. There is another piece of fabric that ties onto the main dress, stretches over one shoulder and across the bust. The dress actually fits Zoe better around the underarm on the left, but I pulled it down to better show off the detailing over the bust.

Well that was short and sweet. But we have bigger fish to catch in least we hope! Catch up with us later as the girls head to Milan. Stay safe. Mask up!!!

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Saturday, October 10, 2020

Doll's Eye View: New York Spring/Summer 2021 Trends

The show must go on! In spite of dire predictions that fashion week might be cancelled for the remainder of this year.... the industry still put on a show....sort of. Long before there were theatrical catwalk shows, there was something called... "Market Week." Design houses and manufacturers would invite buyers into the showroom for a preview of their new collections and take orders. The press was sent press kits with a few photos. With few exceptions, this pretty much sums up what happened in New York, London, Milan and Paris over the past month. This was a totally "different" experience for my girls, nonetheless it did not deter them in their quest for a few new looks to compliment their restricted pandemic lifestyles. In New York, there were those designers who continued "business as usual" with opulent designs and yes, they did look so out of touch. So very...2019! Given the last seven months of lock down, the girls, quite naturally gravitated to clothes that were easy to wear, unassuming and simply..made them feel good. 

Some of you will be bored by our selections. But fashion is not synonymous with flamboyance. Catwalk shows were not initially designed to serve as entertainment for the masses. They were staged for the eyes of the press and retail buyers. Most of is a reflection of current lifestyles. It's about a mode of dress reflective of the times in which we live. Most people have other concerns on their minds...Covid19 and all the restrictions it has placed on our lives, loss of employment, social distancing, the US elections.... We are in one of those pivotable moments where trends tend to move from one extreme to another.  We need clothes, however. For the moment.. is about simple, wearable clothes. Again...think of this as a cleansing of the palette at a time when the trends are shifting and making a passage into a new era.

Back to Basics

With my previous post, I did prepare you for this!!! It's about getting back to the simple pieces that can be dressed up or down. A chic little nothing that takes you from dawn to dusk and lets you express your mood or personality with accessories.

Denise is adding this to her wardrobe of little black dresses. It looks very much like one of those Patrick Kelly dresses we made awhile ago...a simple jersey dress with shirring on both sides. But I wanted to add a small new touch, so after shirring both sides of the dress, I added what appears to be drawstrings, each ending with a tassel. (There's are tassels on the ends of the neck straps in the back as well.)

This is Nicki (otherwise known as Keeki Adaeze), the newest model in the house. She chose the one shouldered top and a pair of trousers. It's nothing extraordinary, but with basic pieces, she can style herself with accessories any way she wants! 

But don't worry. All of fashion hasn't been blacked out. There is a lot of color planned for next summer. Again, the look is super easy, bordering on beachwear! These are all easy to create for your diva. Easy to wear. We like the ankle length tent dress in tangy stripes, a wide pair of trousers slipped over a bathing suit. And of course a turquoise caftan dress edged with fringe for effortless chic. It's the kind of look that I could see myself wearing around the house and out in public!

Sonia instantly took a liking to the caftan dress. It really looked more like a poncho to my eyes, so I thought it would be nice over a pair of matching stretch pants. The top is really just a rectangle with the neckline cut out in the middle. I lined the edges with a fringed trim. Note: I didn't have access to this time of trim, so I ended up making the fringe myself using embroidery filament yarn. 

Color Relief
Again, next summer promises to be drenched in bright, cheerful colors. Styles revert back to summer staples...tunics over pants, ruffled sarongs over tank tops, even a tie dyed dress strapless dress with a cascade of ruffles. Keep it simple but consider interesting details that add movement like ruffles or fringe.

Prints Charming
Printed fabrics are another way to spruce up otherwise basic silhouettes. When you go fabric shopping, look for colorful florals, jungle prints or even abstracts. Use them in a total look or  match and clash in a spirit of fun. But take a close the end of the day, we are still talking about easy to wear silhouettes...wrap tops with matching pants, dress length tunics over trousers, easy shirts over baggy shorts. And ladies....don't forget those masks. They can also be designed as a fashion accessory coordinated to match dolly's outfit. 

Adrianna shows off a cool summer look... a cool, asymmetrical tunic worn over a pair of pencil thin pants. Originally, I had styled this with wider trousers, but the outfit seemed to overwhelm the doll. Wide always works well with narrow! As for the print... this is why fashion week is so important to me...I was inspired to emulate the print with the help of some textile markers! (Note: I'll make this the subject of a future post!) The top itself is another rectangle. But instead of folding it over with the neckline cut out, it consists of two rectangles stitched together along the shoulder line on one side and tacked in place on the opposite side, thus allowing for the shoulder to peak through. I also made vertical stitches from the underarm to the hem on either side to contain the width of the garment. The important thing here... it was super simple which left me time to paint on the motifs of the print.

Summer Breeze
An all white cotton theme....these are summer basics...a flared, ankle-length dress with an English embroidered lace ruffle around bare shoulders, a long jacket belted over full pants, a shirt belted over a cotton dress with a flounce  bouncing away from the knees. What better way to get your doll ready for summer!

Garden Party
For when the only party you can throw safely is outside.... More fresh prints and easy going styles when the sun comes out! The flower gardens were the inspiration for many of the fresh prints we'll see for next summer. Roses, orchids, violets.... what could be prettier! Silhouettes remain simple to wear, easy to make.. Think tent dresses, shirt tops with gathered skirts, halter neck tops with evening length circle skirts, all covered in a botanical garden's finest! 

Again...I took my textile markers and a brush and got to work on Olympia's dress. The print doesn't have to be exact, it only has to capture the spirit. The original dress also has some beaded embroidery. But given the times we're in right now, my girls opted for something simpler. So I painted on the motifs and in the middle of each flower, tacked on a rose petal (cut from a sheer polyester with edges melted) folded in two.

I Feel Pretty
These easy dresses that look as though they stepped out from another point in time, dominate the catwalk for next spring. Again, it isn't the time to make big, splashy entrances, or wild, edgy statements. It's about calming down, chilling out, with something that is comfortable, easy to wear, something to feel good in! This means silhouettes that slink over the forms beneath, or fit and flare that flatter the body. When you are making something this simple...invest in beautiful fabric!

Springtime Promenade
There are two things going on here. In early spring, we want something to quickly slip into as we run to the store, answer a quick "non-zoom" meeting with a colleague, or feel the need to get away from it all by taking a stroll through the park. But six weeks later, under the warmth of the summer sun, there is still the desire to slip on something comfortable, but usually the weather inspires us to put on a pretty face. 
In a talk I had with a few other fashion professionals, the general consensus was that having been indoors and clad in pajamas, yoga pants and sweatsuits for so long, fashionistas are likely to emerge in post-Covid times--spoiled by the confort of their pandemic clothes, yet perhaps, yearning for a more luxurious version of them. In the original photo, I saw a jersey knit kimono spilling over the shoulders of a loosely fitted dress. (This might also be a grey cotton fleece used for sweatsuits.) Ingrid already had a white, long sleeve cashmere dress. But instead of making a kimono, I decided to treat this as an enormous shawl--almost like a blanket. She slips on the dress and wraps herself in a matching blanket and heads to...wherever... in style, warmth and comfort!

On the flip side...warmer weather encourages a certain flirtatious way of dressing... The original ensemble consists of a lingerie style top worn with a pair of flared shorts and a soft jacket tossed over the shoulders. The fabric looks to be a soft cotton or even perhaps a rayon. For Christie's outfit I wanted to keep it in the girly tones of pink. But I decided to go with a more "boudoir" version so I opted for silk satin instead. I wanted the jacket to "melt" over Christie's shoulders, so instead of a classic jacket with set in sleeves, I made a kimono jacket instead and belted it over the flared shorts.. 

Sweet Little Nothings
Hail the the charm of the little black dress with such precious detailing... netting re-embroidered with black lace, ribbon and fringe or simply pressed with white embroidered motifs to one side. 
I really wanted to make one of the Sukeina net dresses but unfortunately didn't have access to any of the materials or trims. So Giselle had to settle for the Naeem Khan dress. It's a simple little A-line jersey dress with white floral embroidered decals tacked onto one side. Again, easy to make and stunning on the doll. (I took the motifs from an old camisole.)

Cool Drink of Water
It doesn't get classier than this! The key to these elegant dresses is "simplicity." Even formal wear is paired down to its simplest element... the column dress. Designers have gone back to basic, understated dresses for formal wear with just enough embellishment to keep things interesting. Colors here remain neutral for evenings. It's about dressing up without outlandishly going overboard. 

Dorian shows off a super glam look--a two-piece column dress in heavy silk satin with it's own pearl necklace. What makes this dress a real class act is the fabric. Again, when the look is this simple and this easy to make....splurge on the fabric. The top is a triangle with its apex twisted d stitched into the collar. The bottom is a classic straight skirt. 

Veronique shows how easy it is to glam up a basic black dress. Though the original dress features a draped shoulder detail resembling a shrug, I decided to go the other direction by transforming that detail into a full train. The dress is a strapless sheath. (Easy to make). Over her shoulders... a rectangle of fabric that is stitched in a loop on one end. In the front, I twisted the fabric (and tacked down the folds so they wouldn't move). The top wraps around both shoulders. In the back, the free edge is fed through the loop, thus resulting in a train. Note: The photo in the upper right hand shows you what it looks like in the back.

Okay folks, this was the only the first stop on our exploration of Spring Summer 2021 styles. Mask up and follow the girls as they head for Europe. Don't worry. Unlike the humans coming from the US, dolls are all Covid free and, we are told, will be welcomed at the border!

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