Friday, November 27, 2020

Dolls Eye View: Paris Spring 2021 Trends


At first the girls were very excited to get back to Paris fashion week. But their expectations were quickly dampened when they saw how little color there was...especially in contrast to New York. "Who died?" I heard a few of them saying as they rolled their eyes in response to the hefty doses of "Parisian black" that went down the virtual catwalks. But once we settled down to actually making a selection for our 1/6th scale renditions, their mood began to lighten up. The girls didn't choose much, but as I began to bring each fashion to life, they were quickly reminded as to why a fashionista comes to shop in Paris.... the subtle creativity of the design. The understated, je ne sais pas quoi, you only experience with French fashion. And as far as the color black is concerned... In Paris.... THAT'S what brings comfort to a fashionista! 

This post is far bigger than it should be. I should have had this post up last week. But once I got started, there were more and more requests such that, exceptionally... some themes I've made two or even three of the garments. And just as I was ready to upload my photos last night... Stella, one of my Tonner girls insisted I stop to make her something for the holidays ahead! 

Relax, You're In Style!

Of course, we come to Paris hoping to find a little Chanel number or two. This season, even this famous designer house had loosened up its silhouettes to offer softer, more informal versions of their iconic classics. A tailored suit is re-imagined as a one-piece dress with the familiar trim "painted" on. Pants and shorts offer alternatives to pencil skirts. There's even a stretch dress or two in the mix.

For Angelina, we chose a simple three-piece look comprised of a simple top cut from a nubby fabric, a pencil skirt, both worn over transparent soft pants. What really makes the look is the pearl chain belt!
For Kelly, we made a strapless sheath out of stretch jersey. The black trim at the top is also cut from stretch material. It was difficult to see what else the original model is wearing, but we figured out it must be a simple coat with a big silk scarf tossed over the shoulders. So we made Kelly a scarf by cutting a square out of a silk print. (I added the Chanel logos by hand.)

Skin In the Game

This theme is about both color and material. For early spring, we liked the lightweight leather fashions cut in simple shapes. We especially like the tender colors of eggshell white, blush, and rosewood. There is nothing spectacular here. Just easy to wear silhouettes in beautiful buffed leather. (No access to leather... no problem.... see our post on DIY vegan leather!)

Hyde & Seek
There is more leather to this spring story. The problem is that with so much black and brown, this group looks a tad more like autumn. At Alaia, they married a leather bare midriff top with a pretty little gathered skirt. At Hermes they also put bandeau tops under leather jackets. Northern France can be cold in the summer. Perhaps, that explains why we see so many "autumn" looks. 
Morgan played it safe. She chose a simple hip length jacket to wear over a black knit skirt. But instead of the little "band-aid" top, I exchanged it for a white leather bustier trimmed in black. And I added a white belt over the top of her skirt.

Fortunately there are a few rays of bright color in this collection. For Noor, we also didn't subscribe to a band-aid top. Instead I created this strapless tangerine toned sheath dress worn over a simple cherry red leather jacket. But since it is springtime and we really wanted to see color... I gave Noor a great big silk scarf to toss around her shoulders.

Rive Gauche
Once a haunt for its cafes and underground clubs populated by intellectuals and artists, Paris' Left Bank today has evolved into something more upscale chic. Still, this is the place where black is a color and individualism is touted. This theme is all about shape and silhouette. Once we really took a look at these outfits, we were fascinated by the details. The exaggerated A-line shape of the Lanvin dress is so simple yet so powerful and stunning. Recreating the Margiela blouse was as satisfying as solving a Rubik's cube.
The simplicity of it all! This is an A-line tent dress where I have exaggerated the swing of the silhouette. It opens in the front as a double-breasted coat dress. The buttons are tiny bits of gold elastic that I have tied into knots. 
Joan was the perfect model for this dress. With so many years of body hugging, pencil thin skirts, we have forgotten about the A-line skirt. Again, this season is about emerging from our quarantines and finding fashion that is both stylish and comfortable. So it is no wonder we are seeing the fresh new look of more ample skirt and dress silhouettes! The blouse bodice was easy. I cut two layers of the simple bodice sloper (minus the darts) but then hemmed each layer at a different length. But I miscalculated the length and ended up adding a third layer. The flaps that fall from beneath the last layer on the original made no sense to me, nor did the idea of adding a pocket to the front of an already complicated blouse. So I left them off. The sleeves presented the biggest challenge. Each one is, in effect, a square with a rounded sleeve cap at the top. Once on the blouse, I used a straight stitch define the sleeve opening, then tacked down the points so that they appear to be cascading down her arm. The skirt is an A-line skirt but with a high rise waist line. 

Black Out

After seeing so much color and prints, it was a little difficult on the eyes to see so much Parisian black. While it's nice to know black fits in everywhere for every occasion, the girls were growing a little weary.
One doll who was not complaining about too much black was Priscilla. Poor dear, she has not worked much since entering the house last December. I had not planned to featured this pantsuit, but the other girls pointed out that she really wanted to be part of this report so....... I changed a few things and here we are. The original pant suit is okay, but this is for spring/summer and as such, it needs color! The brown belt does nothing. So I changed the belt to the same color as the jacket. I had more fun with the trousers...swapping them out for bell bottoms. Then I added sparks of vibrant blue and green via her shoes, purse and scarf! 

"I love the dress, but does it have to be black?" I had to explain to Petra, "no it doesn't have to be black. It can be any color we decide." However....anything other than a dark color....the garment would cease to be Yohji Yamamoto. The iconic Japanese designer's signature is black. But to appease dear Petra and remain somewhat to the spirit of the designer, I chose to make this in navy blue. This is again, a simple, evening length sheath (without the darts), to which I have added a small piece of navy taffeta around the shoulders and twisted into shape. Petra's collar is bigger than the original. I started out with something more to scale but decided that on the doll... you need to "go big or go home" with more of a statement!

Nouveau LBD

You're not going to get out of the dark anytime soon, my dear dollies!!! If it's Paris, it's black! Short, medium or long.....

This is all about shape! Grace loved what appears to be a simple jersey dress with a twist. This started out as a simple jersey dress but more fullness is added towards the lower part of the left front which is then caught in the center back seam. 

Bleu, Blanc, Rouge
Red, white and blue....but not necessarily in the patriotic sense of the word. There are a few interesting looks here. The Alaia white 2-pc with the pleated black, Andrew Gn's fringe dress and scarf. 

But for Sonia, I chose this Dior ensemble. Not because either one of us liked it. We don't. We really don't like anything the current designer does for Dior. But we chose this with the idea of using the same silhouette but with a different fabric for a more luxurious look. Okay, so with Dior, we understand that it's all about relaxing an otherwise stiff, tailored look into something softer. But she doesn't have to look like she's working in the pantry. Sonia's jacket with its raglan sleeves, was cut from an embroidered silk. Her gathered skirt is acetate. The jewelry is a bit over the top for this moment in fashion, but I used it anyway because it compliments the design of the embroidered motifs on the jacket. 
Short Story
From my repertoire of fashion terms, the Isabel Marant outfits are known as "Esther Williams dresses." Esther Williams was a famous synchronized swimming star of the 1950's and these little dresses and shorts that resemble bathing suits borrow her name! I originally saw these as something my younger, playline Barbies would wear. After lock-down, they are anxious to get outside and strut their stuff. But my Royal girls had other ideas, especially after seeing singer Gwen Stefani on the (American) TV program, "The Voice." 
Stefani rocks a super short, pop star country look that sparkles with lots of beads, mirrored bits and especially....fringe!!! For Radiah, I began with the pattern for the strapless bathing suit. On the side, I embroiderer two medallions of lace with tiny seed beads. To each one I added a bit of chain fringe then tacked each one to the top of each hip. The top is a shrug made from a scrap of black micro sequined fabric. 

For Shakira, we did a 2-piece....a bandeau top made of taffeta with puff sleeves. The bottom "panties" are cut from micro sequined fabric with a strand of bugle beads--caught in a loop--and tacked over each hip. 

The Aliens Among Us
What would Paris be without its nod to the world of art. I don't see anyone really wearing any of these outfits, but we were intrigued by the texture and creativity. What sets this apart from most of the other outrageous things we saw, was how the silhouettes are kept fairly simple or the workmanship and thought that went into each piece. These are really museum pieces. Though we did find a way of making at least one of the wearable.

I had a piece of copper sequinned fabric which I used to make Charlize's dress. It would have been fun to add larger sequins to this, but alas, I didn't have access to a store selling them. In any case, I translated the original look into a simple sheath dress with a funnel collar. 

Chez Maxim's
We end our fashion story in Paris with hopes and dreams that by next summer, we might be able to go outside, once again, in style. Our fantasy takes place in the iconic Parisian restaurant, Maxim's. Known for its sumptuous Art Nouveau decor (right down to the silverware), this was the place at the turn of the last century for countesses and courtesans... a place to see and be seen. The clothes in this group are classic yet dramatic through the use of black or white.  

Star that you are, Sophia.... This is a 2-piece gown that starts with a strapless foundation cut from white satin then trimmed with marabou feathers. It is worn over a simple flared satin skirt. 

Perfect for midnight suppers in fancy places.... Helena opts for a satin blazer worn over a narrow evening skirt with train.

Basic Chanel. I had not originally planned to do this dress, but then Stella, one of my 16" Tonner divas, reminded me that she needed something for the upcoming holidays. When I first looked at the original, I saw what I thought was a velvet bodice over a sheer chiffon skirt. That's how I cut it for Stella. Her top is stretch velvet and I made panels made from diagonally hung squares for the skirt. The panels have ripped edges as a tribute to a set of dresses once created by the late Karl Lagerfeld. (That collection, by the way, was panned precisely because he left the rough cut edges! LOL!) When I looked at the original photo up close (after the fact), I realized I had missed the true details. The dress actually has a sheered bodice and shorts with the sheer, chiffon skirt worn over the shorts. I thought about this. But then decided to leave my version as is. 

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  1. Fantastic fashion show. All the outfits you sew look absolutely perfect. I'm very impressed. Thank you for this show.

    1. Thank you Dlubaniny for your kind words. At a time when we have all been confined indoors with little to do... fashion is a nice escape. Though I'm dressed in yoga pants and sweatshirts, it is a pleasure to see my dolls dressed in the high of fashion which I am very happy to share with all friends. Big hugs.

  2. I wish these outfit ideas will be possible in 2021, because are beautiful :-) Your dolls are happy to wear them. Hugs!

    1. Thank you Aya and thank you for stopping by. The fashion industry is in a crisis world wide. So it will be interesting to see if these clothes really make it to market. In any case, my dolls are lucky to own their own versions of this collection. Big hugs.

  3. I was going to write that I love Joan's outfit most but then I was scrolling down and down... And I love them all. :D

    1. Thank you Kamelia. At first I was unhappy about the lack of color, but as I began to work on each garment, I gradually fell in love with each one. And yes, Joan's blouse (Maison Margiela), is a real jewel. I enjoyed making that immensely!

  4. Thank you so much Linda.... ha ha ha....yes I've been quite busy. That's why no one has heard from me in awhile. I hadn't planned to make so many outfits. But it's like potato chips.... you can't stop at just one! I am thrilled at how "my" Dior turned out. Now if the designer of the original would take a hint...LOL!!!

  5. Hi April, thank you so much to give us a new post on your blog. I realy like the new fashions, and as always, it gives me so much new ideas. Jeep your very good job ☺️🥰🤗

    1. Je suis desolee, j'ai pense d'avoir repondu.... Je te remercie pour les gentil mots. Et je suis tress contente que t'es inspire par cette compte rendu des collections pret a porter a la poupee!!! A tres bientot!

  6. Flat shoes and boots my Hermes favorite. Definitely in Vogue. Stilettos take a break in fashion. No stumbles or embarrassing falls. Walk that walk girls!

    1. Ha ha ha..... Well..for many of us who have been in house slippers and sneakers for the better part of 2020, I tend to agree. But fortunately my dolls only have to strike a pose, so for them the high heel shoes still have a life... Thank you for your visit. Come back to see us again!


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