Monday, November 9, 2020

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

The girls were happy to be back in Milan because, and as expected, there were a lot more choices even within the confines of more simplified silhouettes. That said, this report took me longer to create than anticipated.  At first glance, the girls' choices looked great as groups. But once I took on the task at bringing them alive, I discovered there were challenges. With so many basic looks, there was the temptation to fall into my usual mode of "glamming" up the look with a deluge of accessories or bling. I had to remained focused on keeping the garments simple and easy, yet not falling into the black hole of boredom. Each look required a lot of thought. Some I had to try on several girls to ensure the right look was presented on a model who conveyed just the right spirit. 

Easy Does It

The opposite of stretch dresses and skinny jeans, are these free and easy clothes: wide trousers and jumpsuits, full skirts, loose fitting tunics and kimonos tossed over the shoulders. Again, there are no fireworks here, just a retreat to a former time when clothes were designed to make the wearer look and feel good without needless artifice. 
On a hot summer day, this is the way we look chic but keep our cool. Radiah is wearing a day-to nightfall look featuring a white tank top and straight legged trousers wrapped with a sheer printed mid-calf tunic. (I used the fabric from a cheap chiffon scarf for her tunic.)

 Ventilation Nation
Even though there are lots of looks that cover up considerable areas of the body, expect to see flashes of flesh here and there thanks to peek-a-boo detailing and openwork fabrics.  Look for LOTS of bare midriff tops and even bras to be big next summer!

Short Story
Shorts, miniskirts, pretty little dresses, prepare to let your ladies show off lots of leg! Again, there are lots of options: hip-length tops over shorts, bra-shorts-shirts, mini coats and tent dresses!

Vanessa wears a tent dress suspended from spaghetti straps and belted at the waist. This took no time to make (the edges are hand-rolled and stitched). Though pretty...I wondered if it was too "boring" to include in this report. But at the end of the day, the next spring/summer fashion season will be understated, comfortable yet designed to make our ladies feel good and pretty. 

Bare Essentials
There will be no burning of the bra next summer. On the contrary, the bra comes out of hiding and bare midriff tops take center stage! Look for them to be worn with everything from short-shorts and pegged legged pants to full length sarongs! By the way...the girls also love the kaleidoscope of fresh printed fabrics!

It's Chrissie's first modeling job and for her, we chose this shorts set cut from a colorful cotton print. She wanted to add a few finishing touches so we added a big straw hat, a silk shirt (borrowed from the dude dolls, and great big Tiffany blue bag. 

In the Flesh
This is a color story. Look for rosy beiges, sometimes layered in monochromatic palettes of varying fabrics. Again, take a close look....everything is simple, loose, comfortable and very easy to wear (and make for dolly!) 

A bare-midriff look for the most sophisticated doll! But here's the problem.... I love the ease of this look, but when scaled down to 1/6 proportions, the top is not going to fall the way it does on her full scale counterpart. I began by changing the top completely, but lost the initial look and feel that had attracted Yvette's attention. So, instead of suspending the top from spaghetti straps, I took the basic bodice, cut it short, ignored the darts, flared the sides slightly..and added a second layer. I captured the look but felt was a bit "empty" as a look....which is why I added a matching coat....for those cool spring nights! 

New Green Deal

Again, this is another color story that includes a spectrum of tones ranging from kakis to forest green. There are "fashion staples" here: classic shorts and shirts, narrow (but not sausage tight) dresses. We're back in the age of clothing designed to allow the body underneath to breathe! Dresses that are simple but have just enough verve to give them a hint of sass! 

Urban Scrawl

This is a theme you'd expect to see in London. It's raw, it's urban with a rebellious undercurrent. The edges and hems are rough cut. It's hand painted, almost like graffiti on a brick wall. Together with the dresses made from ribbons of fabric, belted at the waist or the tie dye sarong skirt worn with corset....there is a youthful, unconventional vibe here suggesting a DIY (do-it-yourself) movement spurred on by lock-downs in the age of CoVid. 

I wanted to make the ribbon dress, but didn't have any suitable ribbon or non-fray fabric, so instead, I made this ensemble designed by Marni. Nichelle immediately gravitated to this 3-piece ensemble: bare midriff top and narrow skirt etched with "ethnic" stripes (freehand, irregular stripes). Over it all is a canvas coat tagged with images and graffiti in the same color palette. The original outfit has rough cut edges and hems which I "cleaned up. I did this because with the "handmade" stripes and print, the outfit would look too "amateur" for the look I wanted to achieve. 

Tutti Fruiti
Whether your dolls like it short and sweet or long and lean, one thing is for sure...there are plenty of looks drenched in thirst-quenching fruity colors...lemon, graph, tangerine, lime, orange, fruit punch. After so many seasons of neutrals, this is a refreshing and much needed change!

Charlize loved every look in this group. But mostly...she liked the idea of a great big hot pink blouse worn over a simple pair of black shorts. Though I was able to match the color (very important to me), I missed the mark on the volume. Here's what happened... Charlize tried on a silk shirt from one of the guys which I thought had the right silhouette. So that's the pattern I used. What I had not taken into consideration was the thickness of my fabric. The original is in silk taffeta, but my fabric was a polyester faille with a lot of body. By the time I finished the shirt and put it on the doll, the volume withered away. And what was supposed to be a great big shirt, turned into a pretty little evening coat. It's still nice, but not exactly what I wanted. Should I make this again, I will need to make a new pattern with LOTS more volume. This is a prime example of why it is always good to make a toile in a cheap fabric before cutting into the final fabric for the definitive garment!

Most of us have been wearing jeans everyday for the better part of this year. So why wouldn't denim be one of the themes for next summer...when we hope to emerge from this pandemic. The many "colors" of denim--from washed light blues to indigo-- are on display in the form of pantsuits, dresses, jackets and coat-dresses.

Lui loved everything she saw, but opted for this monochromatic pantsuit. The jacket is a classic blazer with studded with metal eyelets and worn over a cotton Tshirt and "taffeta" straight cut trousers...all in the same washed blue tone.

Victor, Victoria

Next to bra tops and bare midriffs, pants will be a major fashion force next spring. The range of offerings spans the gamut of girly looks cut from semi-sheers and soft rayon blends and curvy jackets and a pantsuit cut from striped shirt fabric to menswear trousers and tailored jackets adapted for her needs.

So for Emanuela, this was an easy choice. We took a white linen blazer and teamed it with matching wide trousers and a cropped sweater top that shows a sliver of flesh. 

In Stark Contrast
This is a popular black and white theme that remains a spring favorite. It's a go-to look for my girls that while simple, always packs a punch. 

Though the curvy little cha-cha dress sparked lots of interest among my girls, Nadja was drawn to this black pantsuit wrapped with a white cloak. I loved the overall look of this, however, the original "wrap" lacked structure thus resembling more like a bed sheet with armholes. And, by the way, none of us liked the holes in the sleeves. (It looks like the well worn sleeves of a sweater I should toss out, but insist on wearing because it is so comfortable!) So, the wrap I made for Nadja is, in effect a sort off-the-shoulder cape. I added a picture collar and frayed the edges as well as the hem. I also shortened it a bit which I felt look more like spring.

In the Black
Black is always a go-to color in my house and next summer.....the beat goes on. All the many "colors" of black are here. Whether its a long top over a pair of shorts or a two-piece dress with lots of pockets, everything is worn as is, without the need for glitz or glam. So simple. Purely chic

If I were 18 or 20 years old, I would definitely wear this. But I'm not, so I won't, however Shakira offered to wear it for me. It's very simple yet such a stunning look. The top is from the basic bodice sloper, cut short under the bust. (I did, however, scoop out the shoulders.)  On the bottom: hip-rider, boot-cut pants in jersey with a small leather "belt" holding up the dropped hipline. Other than the small gold chain around her waist....nothing else is needed. The look speaks for itself.

Prints Charming
As was the case in New York, there are soft silhouettes in pretty prints here in Italy. Instead of the more flamboyant garden variety, we see more abstract prints and subtle patterns in neutrals or muted colors. One thing is clear.....silhouettes remain loose, feminine and super comfortable.
There are lots of ways to go here, but Bella, one of our new models, went for the Giorgio Armani jumpsuit with full, palazzo pant legs. It's cut from a silky polyester black and white floral print with a chiffon scarf wrapped around the halter neckline then tied into a soft bow in the back.
As much as I do enjoy seeing how close to the original garment I can get with my needle and thread, there are times when  I take liberties. While I love the sheer print over the black sheath dress in the original look, I was beginning to get a tad bit bored. So.... over Grace's little black dress, I made a simple kimono cut from a sheer print zapped with bits of silver foil, here and there. And though I had originally put silver pumps on Grace, she reminded me there was a wonderful pair of metallic fabric boots on the shelf! The moral of the story--- when silhouettes are this simple, have fun. Let the basic look serve as a springboard to your own creative story! 

We have one more fashion capital to explore. Paris Fashion Week comes up next! It might take awhile to pull it all together, but stay tuned. We'll be back soon. Mask up. Stay safe! 

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  1. Well, Colette, loves YOUR Spring collection, and has put an order Of course she hasn't worked for 9 months, so you will have to take your chances on getting paid. I personally loved the soft blues, and would love to touch the 'denims' that made that collection. Now if we only could wear something out and about...Sandi

    1. LOL!!!! I wonder if my girls are out shopping without my knowledge! Hmmm...that might explain those strange charges on my card! ha ha ha!!! This has been a very interesting season that, surprisingly, has produced some really great fashions. The black Versace bare-midriff keeps catching my eye. I suppose because it is similar to something I made for myself as a teenager. And no, my mom didn't let me out of the house in that.... I sneaked it out and changed once I got to the party!

  2. All these costumes are fantastic. My girls would love to wear one. Thank you for a great fashion show.

    1. Thank you Dlubaniny. In these days of quarantines, when we can't go out, it is nice to fantasize about wearing the clothes we wish we could wear. Right now, I'm living my fashion fantasies through my dolls. And yes, they are loving it!!! Big hugs.

  3. I have to admitt I found all these outfits very inspiring. Something that hasn't happened for a long time. I really enjoy seeing these creations.

    And this time I love all your versions equally. They are all perfect! Just perfect!

    1. Thank you, Kamelia, for your very kind words. You know, this is the first season in a long time where I found so many outfits I actually liked a lot. It took a pandemic to shake up the designers and get them designing real fashion again, I think.

  4. Wow, I don't know where to start with this report. I love the Armani dress you made for Vanessa. I don't find it boring at all, it's just simple but classy. Another one of my favourites is the look you made for Chrissie (is that the new doll you recently got?). Love the print from the fabric, but also the shape of the shorts.
    Like I mentioned on Instagram, I really like the hand painted stripes, it's a way to create your own fabric if you can't find what you need on the store. There were other great fashions in this report,my top two being black and white and the colorful section.
    I'm glad to see that you're found something to inspire you again. Hope you enjoy the fashions fromt he Paris fashion week.

    1. Hi MC. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. Between the stress of the US elections and working on the Paris report, I somewhat lost the sense of time. The hand painted fabrics is a really good idea that I'll explore very soon in a separate post. It doesn't matter whether or not you can draw because everything...even scribbling..becomes a print.
      I too, am happy to be out of my slump. I hope this can continue. I've just put up the Paris report. It is, as they say.... another kettle of fish! But interesting.

  5. Hi April, thank you for this new fashions post. It is just amazing and for me, you give me some new ideas. It is like a new challenge. I need so much time to organize all my ideas for some new fashions. Again thank you to share with us.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Shasarignis. I'm so happy to know you found this post useful. By the way....your new project (the costumes) is wonderful. Can't wait to see a new post from you!

  6. Thank you so much Linda. The bare midriff is a flash back for me....back to my high school days. The Versace outfit really takes me back so much so, I stare at that doll every day. As far as the flesh tone outfit, though I like the original, it was looking not so special on the doll at first. I keep styling until I get it just right. And Chrissie says thank you. She was delighted that you noticed her! You stay safe as well. Big hugs!!


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