In the Spirit

…of what the Christmas season and event are really about (and no, I don’t mean mullets):

The birth of Unconditional Love is miraculous indeed.  All these years later, Bob Geldof’s musical collaboration and dedication to help others outside of kith and kin who were, and no doubt still are, in need continues to pepper my flesh with chills of admiration.   If I were asked to name one of my heros (I have more than one), one of them would be Bob Geldof precisely because of his selfless charity work.  I heard “Do They Know It’s Christmas” on the radio on my drive home from a Christmas celebration.  And I blasted the song, singing with all of my heart, feeling yet again what the spirit of this season is really about.  Unconditional Love, helping others, being grateful for all that we have, not taking things for granted because often times there are far more people in the world who have it far worse than we do…”There but for the grace of God (or Fate or Logic or the Singularity or -insert your belief here-) go I”.  Generosity of Spirit is as much a part of the human condition as anything and doesn’t get nearly enough props.  The song was a wonderful reminder to me that the Spirit is brought to life every day by good people doing exceptional things, unencumbered by Hallmark Cards or Black Friday sales.  And that reminder alone is a glorious gift indeed.

Sugar and Spiceness

Misteria Loon, creator of Pas De Deux fashion, brings us vibrant heat this holiday season with her latest creation, the “Spanish” gown.  But it’s really far more than a gown.  With four skirt choices (from bonbon, short, tiered, to full), “Spanish” is truly a tango in a package.   In “Spanish,” Misty crafts a design that is at once darling sweet and spicey smoldering hot…hot enough, in fact, to more than burn up any cold winter day.  Take a gander at “Spanish” in red.  The dress vibrates with a flirty naughty joy.

 

Firery Red Spanish gown by Misteria Loon from her Pas De Deux label

 

This is no timid red.  Not a reserved red.  No way a demure, refined red.  Instead, Misty’s red and this dress grabs the matador, brings him to his knees,  and is immediately noticed…without the need to demand it.  This is a pulsing fire-engine-five-star-alarm red that bursts with unmistakable energy and playfulness, even as it saunters toyfully toward the edges of a boisterous orange-red.  If you want joyful heat — and who doesn’t on these cold grey winter days — this is exactly the red you want in exactly the dress ensemble you want because this little number is chock full of exuberance in all of its skirt options.  Here’s the gown attachment, all billowy and sweet at the waist where it meets a plunging back that devours the body.

Smoldering Tamale in Misteria Loon's Spanish dress

Does even the gown attachment undulate through any dance or walk you put to it? 

You tell me…

Hot Tamale ... Misteria Loon's "Spanish" dress in fire engine red

And I’ll tell you, you can’t go wrong with any creation from Misteria Loon.  She’s an amazing talent who, in all seasons, creates festive dresses that love a woman’s body and that women love to wear.  With Misty’s playfully seductive design, multitude of skirt options, and incredibly reasonable prices, it doesn’t get much sweeter or much hotter than Pas De Deux, now with the new release of “Spanish.” 

You’ll find “Spanish” at Pas De Deux’s main shop in the Juliet sim or its satellite location in Phat Cat’s sim.

Oubliette

Oubliette is simply breathtaking and reduces me to say quite simply:  do visit Oubliette this winter.  Visit early and visit often.  Aside from the great shops there, the sim itself is just gorgeous.  Really best experienced firsthand, particularly if you’re in the mood for a spectacular old world winter wonderland.  As Shenlei has said of the artistry of Saiyge Lotus, “She builds with great love.”  Saiyge really does, as do all the artists of Oubliette.  And all of us so love that they all do.   Here are a few images, although I confess that I took several…it was almost Burning Life level bad in terms of not being able to stop taking pictures (the other images not in this entry I’ll post to flickr).  The vast majority of this small sample of images is straight out of the camera and uses various environment presets.

Oubliette Winter 2009
Winter in Oubliette
Christmas in Oubliette
Christmas in Oubliette
Magical winter in Oubliette

I added a touch of glow to this image (below), although it hardly needed it.  (I tried the glow tool while experimenting with GIMP.)  The brightness in the sky, upper lefthand corner is wonderful aurora borealis that gently morphs colors.

Oubliette's Winter Wonderland

As someone who sketches, I couldn’t help but be drawn to this wonderful build of an ice portrait.  The photo really doesn’t do it justice.  It’s gorgeous, with a mystical energy, and it’s very large…but so perfect in terms of presence, size, and scale as this dreamer emerges from the side of an ice mountain.

Grand ice portrait in Oubliette
Winter Fairy Queen in Oubliette, Evie's Saiyge gown, Saiyge's jewelry

I felt very much like a Winter Fairy Queen in Oubliette (photo above)…especially while wearing the gorgeous and appropriately named Saiyge gown from Evie’s Closet, and also wearing Saiyge’s twig necklace with iced leaflet crown.  Both shops are in Oubliette.  As is a truly magical winter wonderland that is the entire sim.  Do visit and immerse in the Spirit of the Season.

A Collaboration of Good Cheer

Typically, I don’t think of myself as a fashion reviewer, unless the work that I present comes from the designers in the Shengri La Marketplace.  As a Shengri La curator, I do like to present the work of the designers-in-residence there.   With this post, I’m including other designers because the other day, I received a review copy of a very cheery and festive fashion ensemble from designers outside of the Marketplace.  I’m flattered that designers outside of Shengri La chose to include me on their list of fashion writers.  As I think about it, this is the first time I’m writing about designers when I don’t know the majority of them personally or haven’t a shared context, so that’s different. 

One of the other things that I find different about this is how the outfit was created.  The entire ensemble is a collaborative effort between three design labels:  Beguiled, Baby Monkey, and Petunia.   When you wear their aptly named Christmas Collaboration, you really sense the three designers sitting around talking and laughing, celebrating and designing together.  The outfit is just that perfectly matched from head to toe…from the earrings and necklace by Beguiled, the dress and stockings by Petunia to the clutch and the shoes by Baby Monkey.

Beguiled Christmas Wreath earrings and Christmas Tree necklace

Gita Rau of Beguiled brings her confident and clean sensibilities into the holiday season with her Christmas wreath earrings and Christmas tree necklace.  In September, I wrote about Gita’s strong contemporary approach to jewelry.  Gita is the one designer, of the three, who I have talked with and do have a sense of context for, but still, our paths crossed maybe only once or twice.  Even with that very brief interaction, what I see in Gita’s contribution to this collaboration is her signature style of presence.  The wreath earrings have wonderful substance in size and thickness.  They’re rimmed in the same tartan plaid as the gown; and on their face, they display comfort detail in the form of round gold ornaments speckled along the wreath.  In contrast, her tree necklace is very delicate, which is unusual to see in a Beguiled piece but makes perfect sense in the overall design scheme for this collaboration.  The delicate tree necklace lends enough to continue the story in this outfit but is subtle enough to give the eye a resting place from the very strong presence of the earrings and the exuberance of the tartan dress.  It’s a perfect balance in my view.  In this ensemble, the earrings and the necklace come to you in two sets:  one set has a glow option; the other is non-glow.  (The set I’m wearing is the non-glow option.) 

The dress itself, by Aree Lulibub of Petunia, is very festive, confident, and well made.  It’s carried off best when worn on a soul with a similar type of disposition:  one that naturally exudes genuine happiness, confidence, and elegance.  While the bodice of the gown is green, I chose to wear a ribbon belt (from another dress by another designer) over it to cinch the waist only because I loved the idea of wrapping festive ribbons around my body, particularly when wearing a Christmas outfit.  Pixieplumb (what a great name!) Flanagan of Baby Monkey rounds off the presentation with an elegant clutchbag that delicately subdues the entire look with a wash of color topped off by a graceful red ribbon on the front flap.  I’m not much of a handbag person, but I have to say I do love clutches.  This one is beautifully refined, proving again that less is oftentimes so very much more. 

A peek at the back of the dress; again the belt of ribbons is something I added just for fun.  But if you want remarkable, take a gander at how perfectly the tartan design matches across each piece in the skirt layer.  It’s truly a meticulously crafted piece.  Here’s a peek of the gown in movement:

The tiered skirt flows beautifully, laying just at the knee in the front and gradually flowing down to the ankle at the side and back.  (Note:  all along the way, the harmony of the pattern is maintained perfectly.)

This clever and delightful ensemble comes with soft black hose and green shoes.  Green unifies the entire look, tying together the earrings, necklace, clutch, dress and shoes.   When I first wore the outfit, I wanted to shake it up a bit by wearing boots for warmth as I walked around a winter forest, but really I liked the surprise of these boots (which long have been my favorite).  They are strong enough in presence to hold their own against the vibrancy of the gown without being overpowered and without overpowering.

But so you’re not left wondering about the shoes, here’s a close up of the green shoe (again by Pixieplumb of Baby Monkey) and the black hose.  (And a bunneh too!  Looks like the one in my backyard who’s been noshing on organic baby carrots!)

Dashing through the snow is hard work after a while, but in this ensemble, dashing through the snow never came together as perfectly as it does with Christmas Collaboration.  (The skin I model in the picture below is one of 10 skins from Pulse, available at a special pricing:  10 Pulse skins for 100L!!!)

The entire Christmas Collaboration ensemble  — gown, earrings & necklace, clutch, stockings (without the bow peeking out from under the skirt) and shoes from design labels Beguiled, Baby Monkey, and Petunia — is available in one purchase and can be found at all three shops.  Get your mega joy in a box at:

Baby Monkey by Pixieplumb Flanagan
Beguiled by Gita Rau
Petunia by Aree Lulibub

Midnight Sparkle in a Winter Wonderland

Midnight Sparkle, an effervescent gown designed by FL fashion design student and SL design intern Missy Lavecchia, will be featured in the December 7th (4 pm slt) fashion show in the Shengri La Hope sim.  “Jewels of Winter” is the venue for showcasing this talented freshman designer’s creations, specifically formal gowns in rich jewel tones from her Bella Fantasique line. 

Midnight Sparkle

Missy Lavecchia (sl name) is an undergraduate fashion design student at Buffalo State University.  Missy interned with the Fashion Research Institute (FRI) for the past nine months, where she worked the craft of fashion design in virtual settings…and received academic credit at BSU along the way.  Jewels of Winter is Missy’s first fashion show dedicated completely to her work and is sponsored by FRI CEO and Shengri La estates owner Shenlei Flasheart (sl name).  As a Shengri La curator, I’ve watched from afar as Missy studied under Shenlei’s tutelage.  It’s truly wonderful to see this young talent grow and continually learn, and to watch as she gains greater mastery over her craft.

Please join us on December 7th from 4-6 pm SLT at Jewels of Winter for what will be a lovely review of Missy’s latest creations, a small collection of ornamental and festive gowns in an expansive color run.  The venue for the show is a gorgeous winter holiday setting, complete with ice skating, dancing, and horse carriage rides.   We look forward to seeing you there!

Jewels of Winter, December 7th, 4 pm SLT, Shengri La Hope sim