Sunday, July 25, 2021

Dolls Eye View: Fall 2021 Haute Couture


As we emerge from a worldwide pandemic, it is interesting to see what the world of Paris Haute Couture iis proposing to the estimated 4000 women who can afford to buy and wear it.  There was a good amount of circus stunts as young designers (invited as guests) attempt to grab their 15 minutes of fame, but my girls looked beyond the clownish costumes and focused on clothes that promise to make them look and feel like a million dollars. What we noticed is that many of the looks we favored were fairly simple with just enough embellishments or volume to make a spectacular difference. For this exercise, I didn't try for a line for line interpretation. Instead, I treated the original gowns as a springboard to something wonderfully scaled for my dolls. 

Fine Feathered Friends

It's quite simple....literally! Feathers in this case are used more as an accessory..something to add just a spark of drama to an otherwise simple silhouette. The little black dress goes to town with a great big picture hat, completely made from feathers with a trail of black raffia. A tent coat is marked with tiny plumes all over it's surface. Is it a coat or a big fluffy boa? All that counts is that it renders the small bubble dress underneath into something spectacular.

Me and Jordan couldn't resist the color. My fabric--a synthetic faille--has a lot of body which is good for retaining the shape of the skirt, but is also bulky. For that reason, I decided to make Jordan's dress in two parts, using cotton bias tape to finish off the lower edge of the top and the waistband of the skirt. For the sake of saving time, I treated the feathers as a boa tied into a circle and slipped over the arms. When I have more time, I'll probably make a cocoon coat and use the feathers as a trim.
Personally, I didn't find this dress to be couture. But I chose this photo because me and Monica loved the styling. Monica's dress is one of our "1 piece wonder" little black dresses. But what makes this look is really the over-the-top bird's nest hat. The original is made from ostrich feathers and dyed raffia. Ours is made from marabou and painted raffia.

All A-Flutter
The ultimate in girly girl dresses, these gowns all move to the romantic beat of ruffles and curvy flounces. These look more "spring" than they do "autumn," so I imagine the couturiers are counting on women wanting to express their feminine side after an 18 month stretch of jogging pants and sweatshirts!

Black Magic
We do predict the return to Black Tie events and believe me, my girls will be the first ones out of the door! For the most part, it continues along the romantic, black swan theme with lots of tulle, silk and grand entrance drama that's been missing for a long time.
The class ballgown worn by Angelina. This was such a pleasure to recreate. There is a waist length corset foundation under the bodice, to which I attached circles of tulle at the waist. I crumpled a small bit of taffeta, crushed it around the doll's torso then tacked it down. 
Scattered at random on the bodice and down the tulle skirt is a cascade of organdy flowers. For extra fullness, I added a tulle underskirt. 

This one shouldered, single sleeved, flared gown was most intriguing. It features cut-outs over the body which reveal the body underneath. I started out with a simple dress. But what I discovered is that you can't simply make cut outs. You must control those openings with an insert of tulle or they will stretch out of control. For Samantha"s dress, I used a two-way stretch fabric. Instead of cutting out triangles, I slashed then carefully rolled back and tacked down the edges which is why I didn't get the shapes identical to the original. While the dress pattern is still flat (before it's sewn together, I add stitch in the sheer tulle inserts. Unfortunately, the inside of the dress is not very pretty. There may be another way of achieving this by using a devore fabric where you plan the cut-outs. But that's a project for another day! One other decision I made was with the exposure over the legs. In the original, there are slashes exposing both legs. I felt showing off one leg was more sexy. 

On the Straight and Narrow
Sheaths, column dresses evening pantsuits...this is another way to go as restrictions are lifted and women head back out. We loved the shiny fabric used to create Armani Prive's fashions, but the dress we wished we had the materials to make was the Elie Saab dress dotted with lots of white flower buds marking the movement of the body.

Swing and Sway
But for most women, even those whose budgets have no limit, dressing up this fall may be as easy as a well fitted jacket and a soft pleated skirt or a dress with a bit of swag that swings to one side.
For Kym, we chose the simplicity of a sheath dress with a sash draped to one side, all cut from satin devore. We prefer a fabric with texture to show off the style and add more drama. The sash is gathered into one shoulder then pulled across the body and stitched in place at the waist. Kym wanted something  a tad more glam, so we added the pearl embellishment.

We love how these dresses seem to glide over the body like a cool drink of water. Though the trend is leaning towards full, wider silhouettes, notice the sweep of a diagonally cut cascade drifting from the bodice to the center back just above the ankles. These are looks I will bookmark and return to for when I can get to a fabric store. 

Twilight Time
Twinkle, twinkle, little star....this is a group of eveningwear ranging from an Esther Williams bather suit dress to a full strapless sheath with train all covered in tiny black beads or minuscule sparkles. It's another instance of subtle glamour designed to make you look and feel like a movie star.

I really wanted to make the beaded jacket but that would have added more time to getting this post out, so I chose the gown instead. Iman's dress is cut from lurex covered with silver spangled polyester organdy. 
The lurex under dress adds an additional layer of subtle sparkle while the spangled organdy brings the sparkle to the forefront. This is a classic strapless sheath with a train--in this case, a rectangle pleated at midpoint and added to the back of the dress. 

New Green Deal
Green is not always a popular color. But in this case, they are a spectacular choice for Autumn 21. The girls loved the boldness that was use in execution of these three looks. They wanted the Alexis Mabille coat, but unfortunately I didn't have enough fabric. So we settled on the dress with the cabbage rose sleeves. 
Olympia loved the idea of the sleeves, but felt the scale was perhaps, a bit off-kilter. So I took her over to a vase of silk flowers to see what could work. The silk flowers were a much better choice than the satin ones in the original dress and we added "leaves" made from petals used in the body of the gown.
The gown itself is a simple flared gown with a small train in the back and long, narrow sleeves.Instead of trying to fit the sleeves inside the middle of the flowers, I folded the flowers in half and tacked them to the sides of each sleeve. I used the flower cluster petal as a template for the "leaves"I cut from the fabric used in the dress. Once the flowers are in place, add the leaves on top. Again, I folded each petal cluster in half then stitched them on either side of the sleeve.   

Grand Entrance
These are great big dramatic gowns designed to make a grand entrance. We loved the graphic nature of each. If I had the time, I would have attempted all three. But time and fabric were an issue here, so I told Margot she could only have one. So she chose the navy blue dress in the middle, largely because of the sleeves. 
The sleeves are over-sized poufs with a long train while the dress appears to be somewhat simple. The back view leaves a lot to our imagination..something we took full advantage of. I toned down the volume of the sleeves out of fear they would overtake the doll. The other problem was the weight. Too much fabric, especially in each train, was pulling the sleeve off Margot's arms. On the other hand, this is couture and as such I felt the dress should be a little more "designed." So the dress has a draped component, a sash built into the top of a strapless sheath that drapes to the side and cascades down the front. (Very similar in construction to Kym's white dress, above.)

Up next..the boys are back! The Spring/Sumer 2022 menswear collections have concluded and a few of my dude dolls were on hand to tell me all about the trends. See you soon!

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  1. Hello April, it's always a real pleasure to read a new post.
    Eli Saab's black dress with one off shoulder, I imagine it must have been a challenge to sew it especially for the cut out. But the end result is successful.
    I really like your green dress with the floral sleeves. I admit that green is not very popular, I too have just realized that I don't use green. Sometimes you have to be daring and your result is magnificent.
    At the end of your post, you put that the boys are back, does that mean that the next post will be for men? We all can't wait. 馃グ馃グ馃グ

    1. Oh Shasarigis, thank you so much for your wonderful comment. Yes, the Elie Saab dress was quite a challenge. And though I found a solution, I am still trying to work out a better solution that looks good both inside and out.
      There are certain shades of green I do not care for. But I’ve always loved evergreen. They say green doesn’t sell because it doesn’t flatter most women’s complexions. But the funny thing about our dolls is that they look good in anything! Doing a blog there is the temptation to always do things you know how to do. But it’s good to dare to try something challenging because it improves your skills. this point, I think my readers tune in to see something different.
      Yes…the next post will be a menswear trend report. Menswear has been difficult of late. But this next season, I found enough cool things to inspire garments for our favorite dude dolls Plus, I have a new guy I want to show off! See you soon.

  2. Love, love,love the navy ballgown!

    1. Thank you. I went a little conservative on the sleeves, but if you attempt this dress, you can make them as big as you want!

    2. I would live to know how you made the little organdy flowers. They're beautiful.

  3. Wow! To fantastyczne propozycje dla lalek! Nie mog臋 uwierzy膰, 偶e to w og贸le mo偶liwe, aby uszy膰 tak pi臋kne stroje w tej skali! Wszystkie modele, kt贸re prezentuj膮 Twoje dziewczyny s膮 dos艂ownie wspania艂e! Uwa偶am te偶, 偶e mini-kreacje wygl膮daj膮 lepiej na Twoich lalkach ni偶 na prawdziwych kobietach! Zaskakuj膮ce s膮 Twoje rozwi膮zania a ju偶 u偶ycie kwiat贸w do ozdoby r臋kaw贸w przesz艂o moje najwi臋ksze oczekiwania! Cudowne!
    Pozdrawiam Ci臋 serdecznie ♥

    1. Olla wrote: Wow! These are fantastic suggestions for dolls! I can't believe it's even possible to sew such beautiful outfits on this scale! All the models that your girlfriends present are literally gorgeous! I also think that mini-creations look better on your dolls than on real women! Your solutions are surprising and the use of flowers to decorate the sleeves has exceeded my greatest expectations! Wonderful!
      Yours sincerely ♥

      Thank you so much for your sweet words, Olla. I have been in a design drought for so long, so this really makes me happy that I was finally able to make some gowns that turned out better than anticipated. My girls are really happy too. For the green dress with the flower sleeves, I did not think the satin ones on the original dress were refined enough. But the silk flowers placed further down on the sleeve are better designed, I think. And yes, I think my girls look better than their human counterparts, as well. It's always a pleasure to hear from you, Olla. Big hugs. April

  4. Your dolls look FABULOUS again April, wonderful creations! The navy dress with the puff sleeves is gorgeous. I also like the cut-out dress, what a challenge! Green is a colour that looks good on me, being a redhead. But I know it is not a very popular colour in the fashion world. The Mabille dress is lovely on your doll! Great work as always! Hugs

    1. Thank you so much Linda for your very kind words. The cut-out dress was too tempting to pass up and I am still looking for other solutions so that the inside of the dress will be as neat as the outside. But getting those cut-outs were very tricky business. But I do like the concept and whenever I am able to perfect it, I'll share the process. Oh yes, I do like the combination of green with redheads. Had it not been for the pink flower sleeves, I would have fitted the dress on one of my red-headed dolls (who are a little perturbed with me for not selecting them to model this dress). Personally, I think there is a shade of green that works with nearly any skin tone..but that's because I like the color green. Thank you again for stopping by. Big hugs. April

  5. You presented so many great creations that my women don't know which one to choose. All dresses are absolutely amazing.

    1. Thank you so much Dlubaniny. I am not sure it is a good idea for your ladies to see these posts. You might end up spending lots and lots of hours at your sewing machine. Ha ha ha... So happy you liked this post. Big hugs. April

  6. Darn, darn, darn, I have missed this reading list is jammed, so I have to go through the LONG list of who I had subscribed to. And, OH WOW, that last blue dress is to die for, and I loved the 'flower' sleeves on the green. You certainly interpret these to perfection and many are more interesting than the originals. I'm not getting notifications of your posts, now...will try to work off a list of my favorites. Hugs, Sandi

    1. Hi Sandi. Thank you for your kind words. I really enjoyed putting this post together and the results were way more than I expected. Google dropped the email notifications and I have not as yet converted over to another system. But it is my intention to put in place another email service to replace the one which was discontinued. The weather has been either scorching hot or very stormy and I too, have fallen way behind in not just my reading, but also in posting. Thank you for stopping by. Big hugs. April

  7. Hi April! I did see this post a few days ago, but haven't had much time to fully read it and leave a comment.
    I love the green outfits, specially the beautiful contrast they make against the purple background. It's probably that contrast what I find so appealing. I also think the one with the flower sleeves is my favourite of your recreations.
    Wish you a lovely new week.

    1. Hi MC. I am sorry to have taken so long to respond but this summer with the extremes in temperature and my not being able to get out to see things has resulted in me taking forever to get a post up. I'm behind in my reading and have been too exhausted by the heat to do our dollchat. In any case, I'm happy you enjoyed this post. The green dress (a color I do love) was the first one I attempted and I am extremely happy with the result. Again, thank you for stopping by. Big hugs. April

  8. Your dresses are amazing. I'm always so much fascinated by your projects

    1. Thank you Aya. Your comment is so lovely and very much appreciated. Big hugs. April


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