Monday, March 22, 2021

Dolls Eye View: Fall/Winter 2021 Trends Part 2

The colorful autumn leaves have fallen, swept away by the wind. We now see the neutral tones of the bare trees as well as a few animals scampering along, preparing for a long winter. And not far behind, the snow arrives.... Part 2 of our trend report commences.

Hot Chocolate

A nice alternative to our basic black... we felt that brown in all of its warm, earthy tones would be a natural for Winter 2021. Climate change is fueling our fabric decisions here. When dolly decides to leave the comfort of her home, she wants to take her cocoon with her. A (faux) fur coat or fleece coat flung over the shoulders of almost anything and the easiest way to get out of the door. And while we're at it... why not a quilted suit for those rare "business" meetings!
Casual chic...After a year of yoga pants and sweatshirts, Rashumba is not going to give up her easy clothes. Now that there are more places to explore she wears a funnel neck sweater, belted over a pair of jersey leggings and leg warmers. Over it all, a sheepskin jacket in tones of frothy mocha.
You've heard of quilted coats and jackets. Chrystele works from home, but from time to time, needs to take off for an in-person meeting. While the wind nips at her nose, she stays toasty warm in her Hershey's chocolate quilted suit....a fur trimmed classic jacket belted over a matching skirt. 
Some are predicting that after a year and a half of lockdowns, thee will be an appetite for flamboyant clothes. We don't see it like that. On the contrary, we really believe simplicity is the key to winter fashion as people ease back into their pre-pandemic lives. At first, we are predicting the clothes of choice will lean towards nothing too fancy, just simply chic. Joan wears this funnel neck ribbed jersey dress over which she slips on a matching suede coat. We left the rough edges of the leather as is. The texture adds an element of interest as are her cut-fringe handbag and boots. I did not add any jewelry because anything I put on her took away from the lusciousness of the materials and the richness of the dark chocolate monochromatic color scheme.

The nice thing about a great big fleecy sheepskin coat is that it keeps everything underneath toasty warm! Here's Katoucha showing off her favorite coat. Here she wears the lapels up. She likes the contrast of texture...the fleecy interior that bubbles up from under a chocolaty suede exterior.

She can also fold them down. The cut of this coat is really, one big rectangle stretched out. That simple shape is what creates this supersized collar.  Underneath she's clad in a little black dress with a black leather harness over it. By the way...I made this coat out of a single piece of sueded sheepskin and cut two "armholes" where Katoucha's arms are placed. The sleeves are made of a lightweight suede in the identical  color. The sleeves are then inserted and stitched in. There are no side seams. This leather is not easy to sew, so the fewer the pattern pieces, the better.
One of the things we've all fallen in love with has been the sweater. For next Fall, we believe the sweater becoming a very important part of dolly's wardrobe. It can be dressed up or left casual. But at the end of the day, we are still talking...comfort with a dash of glamour. Here, its part of a monochromatic scheme... Jordan's coat is made from strips of rabbit fur I found on sale. It is a basic,no-frills pattern with row after row of fur sewn on. For those of us who cannot knit.... her dress  was created from a sock.
At first, I had not planned to do any type of evening wear as a stand alone entity. We believe the average person will take something out of their daywear and then doll it up for night, this Fall. As a result, most of what we have presented are looks that can always be augmented with some sort of jewelry for a late day rendez-vous. But here, the girls decided to indulge. because there will be some fashionistas who will feel the need for something totally new. Nadja's look begins with a basic sheath dress cut from embroidered silk, hemmed in fur. A matching fur stole is wrapped around Nadja's shoulders

Still, once you remove the stole, you notice, the dress is simple and wuite comfortable. With restrictions lifted in the near future, everyone will leap at the chance of getting dressed and going out. But we don't see a "Roaring Twenties" right away. We predict people will start out with simple silhouettes and have a little fun with "dramatic" accessories" and glam outerwear that can transform a variety of garments into statement pieces.

Spotted on Fifth (Avenue)

Animal prints have become the new "neutrals." For us, this will be THE winter print. These wild spotted prints can be worn as an accent piece, worn in layers with different dimension of spots or mixed and matched with abstract prints or even colorful florals! 

This is easy glamour from the outside. Zoe's look starts with an LBD (Little Black Dress) embellished with fluffy faux fur coat, wrist length gloves and spotted velvet boots.

Think of this as a nice alternative to the jeans skirt. Radiah loves her biker jacket and leather high heeled boots. The stretch velvet leopard skirt and matching purse is a quick way to update this look for Fall 21.

As minimal as the preceding look was, Tatjana decided she'd push things to the maximum, again with basic pieces. At the base of her look, a simple, long sleeved oversized leopard printed sheath dress with a bow on one shoulder. Over it...a grey cocoon coat in mock "chinchilla." 

As we said before, think of animal print as a neutral. You'd be surprised at how many things work with it. Kym was surprised to see how a leopard spotted raincoat and matching boots worked well with a black and white abstract printed shift dress.
And surprise! Bella's vinyl leopard spotted jacket is a natural with a brightly colored floral velvet skirt. Again, this is an easy way to ease out of the house and back into a post pandemic social event!

Black in Action
A continuation of  the "Black Jack" theme from part one, the girls took a dressier route to this basic black look by mixing leather and jersey sometimes a touch of fur just for the fun of it.

Super comfortable, super chic....Latoya struts her stuff in 3-piece ensemble that works for any occasion day or evening. Latoya's jersey jacket falls in soft folds down from the shoulders in the front and is  trimmed in faux fur. She belts it over a simple top and matching stretch leggings.
Meanwhile, Tamron is living large in a one-piece jumpsuit with super wide pants legs. When she's invited out at the last minute to meet up with friends, her otherwise daytime looks goes all glam with a faux fur stole wrapped around her arms.
Otherwise, she goes as she pleases in total comfort since the jumpsuit is cut from a soft stretch jersey.

A symphony of black..each layer has a different texture: the faux monkey fur of her cape, the matte jersey of her dress and the luster of stretch leather for the accents.  

 Awhile back we did this dress as formalwear. This time we cut it short and cut the sleeve from stretch leather. 

To that very lovely but basic asymmetrical dress, I added a super wide belt that wraps twice around her waist and ties into a bow. To be perfectly honest, this dress is where we started and didn't need any other accessory! 

After much discussion with the girls, we first decided against including any formal dresses in this collection. Our thinking was.... coming out of the pandemic we saw lots of parties, but not so many black tie events. Perhaps later on..spring or fall 2022, trends will get fancier. But in six months, we believed people will still be too addicted to give up on comfort. With that in mind, we took a evening length sweater dress from last year, added a faux leather draped top, opera length leather gloves and a fur stole and voila.... touch chic glam!

Again, we really didn't need the stole. (It was just for Dorian to pose in her photos.) The dress underneath is a very simple tank dress cut from sweater jersey fabric. We created a top out of stretch leather. It is thin enough to create soft drapes over the bust. The back is simple...wide harness straps that close to one side and is held in place with velcro. 

Snow Bunnies
Soft, warm, fluffy, cuddly, as white as the driven snow...this is a theme that begs to be worn in the middle of winter. With the exception of the fleecy coat, everything is cut from (an old) cashmere jersey skirt.

Proof that fashion is the sum of its parts.... Each piece Grace is wearing is very basic. She wears a basic, hip-length top with long sleeves over leggings. Over it all...a great big rectangular blanket wrapped around the whole ensemble. What could be more chic or 
The girls and I all agree...big, cuddly coats will be a "thing" next winter. This one, worn by Liu  is super sized, cut from a fluffy fleecy fabric that resembles sheered rabbit and simply wraps around the body! 

This is another example of how the simplest of pieces can add up to the grandest of looks. Yvette is wearing a basic jersey sheath dress and a matching stole. In this case, we crisscrossed the stole over the front and belted it. It's that easy!
Instead of all glitz and over the top glamour, this is how we see our divas dressed for next winter's formal events. Again...a simple symphony of basic elements: A sweater top and ankle length skirt with a cardigan tied around the waist. Katherina could wear this during the day, but by adding a touch of fur to the shoulders, she's ready to head to the theater.

La Grande Finale

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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Doll's Eye View: Autumn/Winter 2021 Trends Part 1

True to our word, the girls and I decided to tell our own story for upcoming Fall/Winter 2021. Under normal circumstances, the design process usually takes way more time than two weeks. First there's research including fabrics, then comes the idea boards, the sketches, the toiles (or muslins), and finally the finished garments. Afterwards, there's casting, the collect of accessories, booking the venue, inviting the press and buyers and then the show. We did not have that kind of time, so we cut corners. We used existing pieces and created only the new pieces needed to get the look we wanted. But it still took a LOT of thought as this is a turning point in fashion!

It has been a year since the pandemic shut everything down, forcing us into new lifestyles that does not involve shopping or socializing. During this time, we became up close and personal with....comfort clothes. For some, "Zoom," "Google Meetings," introduced the world to a new aesthetic whereby only the upper half of the look counts. But now that the end of lockdowns are on the horizon, our job began with an attempt to figure out how our fashionistas will emerge from hibernation. Will they still feel like getting dressed up? Will we see the same exuberance of the Roaring 20's after the Spanish flu pandemic from 100 years ago? Or will everyone succumb to comfort clothes? 

From the looks of this season's fashion month, the designers appear confused. We saw way too many odd silhouettes, bizarre fabric mixtures and a helter-skelter, grab bag approach to styling that frankly could be labeled "The Salvation Army Collection." Me and the girls believe that while fashion will always play some sort of role in our lives, most people will want to dress in a way that remains comfortable yet makes them feel good. We're thinking about separate pieces (skirts, pants, jackets coats) that can be combined in a variety of ways to create a look for any time of day. Some are keepsake pieces, cut from luxurious fabrics to make them more special. 

At one time, Fall collections were designed using "cold weather fabrics" in palettes inspired by colorful foliage, concrete streets and billowy snow banks. We took our cue from this "old school" way of putting together things. Our show is a bit long, so we are presenting it over two posts beginning with this, Part 1, focused on our Fall trends. 

We begin with "Autumn Promenade." This group which captures the brilliance and sometimes unexpected color palette of autumn foliage, was inspired by the early works of designer Haiden Ackermann. We love his way of layering colors and textures together in a single look. We also dipped our imaginary brush into the iconic color palette of the late, great Yves Saint Laurent. 

Layering, we feel, is very appropriate for our current times because it is the easiest way to put a look together and allows the wearing to add or subtract elements depending on the time of day or the occasion.  Each piece can be combined with other elements in the wardrobe to create a new and completely different look. Sybilla's outfit starts with a funnel neck sweater worn over a pair of patterned nylon stovepipe pants. We tied a russet toned silk scarf around her neck which is caught with a brown snakeskin cummerbund belt. Over it all, a simple tangerine leather waistcoat. 

You will notice that we have included a lot of pants in our collection. Most of us have gotten used to wearing some form of pants over the past 12 months and we don't see that changing even as we resume "normal" life. But here again, what will make a real difference is color. Petra is wearing a forest green suede pants set. To wake up the color, we gave her a emerald green and sky blue silk top belted with a wide turquoise blue belt and wrapped at the neck with a matching pleated scarf.

Once we got started, there was simply no getting off the color train. For Sofia, we put together the St. Laurent color combo of hot pink and red in the form of a pantsuit. Her fuchsia suede jacket with its supersized shoulders ties over a hot pink satin tent tunic (which also doubles as a dress), belted over cherry red straight wool trousers. 

Jeans are an important part of every doll's wardrobe and we imagined that going into next Fall, looks will be built around this staple. Tiah's indigo boot-cut jeans are strapped with a hip rider snakeskin belt and a copper silk top with plenty of petals cascading down the front. Over it, a copper and royal blue brocade jacket. 

For Chrissie, we continued on by combining textures with big blasts of vivid color. She wears a flame red pleated silk tunic (also doubling as a dress) over a wool, pleated apron in the same shade. Basically she could wear this with anything...jeans, stovepipes or even a long, jersey skirt. But in this case, we've teamed it with a short fuchsia suede skirt and matching knee high boots.

The girls fell in love with Chinese brocade, particularly this deep blue satin with golden butterflies. Originally they imagined pairing this coat with its chocolate brown fur trimmed sleeves, with a simple pair of jeans. But then they had the notion to combine it with snakeskin. Jordan has a funnel neck black sweater with a colorful blue and green silk scarf crisscrossed over the shoulders and caught with a turquoise belt at the waist. It's worn over a brown snakeskin mini skirt and matching stiletto boots.

"Grey Skies" This group is a story sketched in grey, combining a palette of classic patterns like herringbone, plaid, and tweed. 

Black plus white equals grey. And this is just the kind of grey scale the girls love. There are three patterns in this one look. Noor's jacket is a black & white snakeskin vinyl print, teamed with a herringbone full mid-calf skirt and glen-plaid shawl tossed over the shoulders. We thought it was time to take a break from our usual form fitted short skirts in favor of a gathered one which is so much more....comfortable! And then to add a little autumn spark to things, we gave her flame red accessories.

Adriana already had the velvet flocked jacket and matching boots. We decided to give her suit a new look by swapping out the original straight skirt for a sarong, cut from herringbone patterned silk. The idea came to me as I thought back to a job I had years ago in the Caribbean. I needed a jacket for work, but instead of the traditional skirt, I took a different pashmina shawl each day and wrapped it into a skirt. Again, another "comfortable" option for a skirt. What I like here is how the draping breaks up the pattern into interesting directions. She can wear anything for a top, but for that special event later in the day, she can dress it up with a boa of black feathers.

Another day to evening look cut in grey flannel. Zoe is actually wearing a 1/6 scale interpretation of a Haider Ackermann pantsuit. It's a 2-piece pants ensemble that has the sort of draping detail over the front normally reserved for couture dresses. 
We awakened an otherwise dull boring fabric with silver boots and accessories. The striped grey faux fur stole gives this understated look a glamorous edge.

We can use a variety of tones and textures to pull together an interesting look using basic elements. Gail wears a grey ribbed sweater over a mohair skirt under a simple, straight cut grey flannel coat. A pop of color--like the chartreuse and grey silk scarf around her neck-- is all that's needed to give the look an added dimension. Her boots, by the way, are made from "birdseye" patterned wool, tipped with black leather.

And urban take on our theme. Akure wears an unstructured suit of grey tweed. The hip length jacket is square cut with grey knitted cuffs and is worn over a tie-print silk top and a rough cut tweed skirt zapped with a streak of silver foil. Her boots are cut from a dark metallic grey stretch fabric. 
"Black Jack" A monochromatic theme that combines the softness and comfort of jersey with the tough chic of buffed leather. 
This theme starts off with the simple look of a black dolman sleeve dress pulled close to the body with an asymmetrical leather corset and sleeve guards.  Nicki only needed the simple addition of stretch leather boots and rubber jewelry to pull off this look.
Again, we're back in the comfort zone with a big slouchy sweater belted over a pair of sleek stretch leather leggings. No stilettos for Samantha. She's accessorizing her look with fur trimmed Uggs! 
Iman's look begins with a navy blue ribbed jersey dress from a recent season. We belted a leather corset over it then topped it off with a black leather blazer. I resisted the urge to add any sort of "bling." We are expecting the trends will favor more understated, less ostentatious looks. Iman loved the navy/black combination and didn't want anything to take attention away from the luster of the leather.
Though the slim silhouettes won't be going away for the moment, we think looser, easier shapes will be a viable option. Here, Nichelle took a dress from her wardrobe and gave it a new look by adding a faux fur collar and a very wide wrap belt. 

Don't go away. The fashion show is not over. We have a few more sets of trends to share.

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