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Archive for July, 2009

(Credits at the end of the post.)

Some dresses are just made for balmy summer evenings spent outside, for Sunday afternoons in the garden or a stroll in the countryside. Prelude’s “Sorbet” is such an outfit. a cute dress, available in a variety of icecream-colours, with a romantic sweetheart-neckline and puffy sleeves, very reminescent of the 1940s.

I’ve been changing into and out of “Sorbet” for a couple of days before deciding to make it a little more demure, as required for vintage daytime clothing, and to wear Pink outfitter’s “Poppy” blouse in white chiffon underneath, tinted to match the dress. Its half-transparent texture compliments the diaphanous overskirt and sleeves and looks just airy enough to pass as a summer outfit despite the high collar. Thanks to a resizing script, you can easily fit the skirt and belt to match your avatar’s proportions.

Shiny Things’ “Brandys” cork wedges are among my favourite shoes in Second Life®, both due to the texture and the fine details, and the blue ones just happen to have the exact right colour to go with the pattern in the dress.

Body:

  • Skin: (5th & Oxford) FAIR Audrey English Rose GG [group gift]
  • Eyes: (Miriel) Realistic Eyes – Strong Green [not available anymore]
  • Lashes: (Miriel) Lashes – Feather [not available anymore]
  • Hair: Kin – Jennifer (black)

Outfit:

  • Dress: Prelude – Sorbet Mint
  • Undershirt: [Pink Outfitters] Poppy Sheer Chiffon Blouse – white [tinted; without chest ruffles]
  • Hat: Tesla “Melanie” hat [freebie]
  • Shoes: (Shiny Things) Brandys – blue

Other:

  • Pose: [LAP] – KB – Prissy
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Body:

  • Skin: (5th & Oxford) FAIR Audrey Fresh 2
  • Eyes: (Miriel) Realistic Eyes – Strong Green [not available anymore]
  • Lashes: (Miriel) Lashes – Feather [not available anymore]
  • Hair: ETD Juliana – Smoke

Outfit:

  • Outfit: *ICING* Ashley
  • Earrings: ~Muse~ Claris Pearl earring in Gold
  • Shoes: [Decoy] Francisco II Wedge Navy
  • Stockings: OPIUM Everyday L$1 Store – tan lace-trim stockings

Other:

  • Pose: ..::DARE::.. Relaxed Hand over Head

Even though I haven’t seen the film yet, I had saved pictures of the costumes Nicole Kidman wore in “Australia” to my hard drive, as a source of inspiration and reference. Imagine my surprise when two new outfits were announced in *ICING*’s group messages and they turned out to be recreations of just these costumes.

Shown above is “Ashley”, a travelling costume in navy and cream that comes with a lot of different options. I’m showing the full version here, but you can also wear it without the jacket, for example, without the scarf but with collar, without collar but with scarf, both scarf and collar… The skirt looks good without the prim flounce, too.

Rounded up by a hat and little gloves, “Ashley” really doesn’t leave much to be desired and the most difficult thing for me was to decide whether I wanted to lean more into the 1930s or the 1940s direction: the film is set in the years between 1939 and 1942, and “Ashley” can actually go both ways. In the end, my interpretation turned out to be a little more 1940s-style than the original – Decoy’s Francisco II wedges in navy look as if they had been made for this very outfit, they just couldn’t be ignored.

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(Credits and more detailed body shots at the end of this post.)

It requires only a superficial skimming through my blog to notice that I wear exclusively skins made by Roslin Petion and CJ Carnot. Not that there aren’t other good skins: some look very beautiful – on other people. I have tried a fair amount of different demos from various brands, but none of them really looked like “me”, except those by Fleur.

My love affair with the brand began in 2007, with the Vivant skins, and upon returning to SL earlier this year, I fell head over heels for the Allure line. Needless to say that I’ve been anxiously folllowing the progress of this latest project, waiting for the release – now under the new name of “5th & Oxford”, which is not merely a rebrand of Fleur, but (with Roslin’s words) more of a “lifestyle brand” that will offer many more products besides skins and women’s fashion only.

As much as I was anticipating the new skins, there also was a bit of nervousness: would I like the new skins just as much as the old ones? Or would I like them too much, perhaps, so that I wouldn’t want to use the old skins anymore? Would I still look like “myself”?

I count myself lucky to have a chance at taking a look at the new “Audrey” line a little early and there was no reason to fear, as I know now; Roslin and CJ have treated their skins to a careful renovation without demolishing the whole look. The strong points of the Allure line are still there, complimented by new features. There are other blogs publishing their reviews together with a complete overview of skintones and makeups available, so instead of doing a visual documentation, I wanted to put my thoughts about this skin into words and use pictures only to illustrate my point.

“Audrey” launches in three skin tones – fair, medium and tan – and with 24 different makeups. The shading under the bust and buttocks is a bit more pronounced and some body parts look a little shinier than in the Allure line, but “Audrey” still is a very balanced and subtle skin – which counts for much in my book. I prefer skins that don’t show any of the intense highlights you often find in examples which are based on images taken under studio conditions, because they look a little too artificial. CJ & Roslin, however, got the balance just right: their skins look smooth, neither too flashy nor dull.
A few subtle moles on the torso add a bit of interest without being too obtrusive, and the freckles are really good: neither too dark nor too pale, they are splattered over the nose, cheeks, shoulders and cleavage, thus creating a very natural look. Usually, I don’t wear freckled skins, but the one pictured above stole my heart and I will probably put it on once in a while in the future.

A novelty are different lip forms and textures within the same kind of makeup, meaning that you not only pick a lip colour you want, but also the texture and, to a certain extent, the shape of the lip. The makeup is excellent, as always. Very detailed and nuanced, just as great as in the previous skin lines.

A bigger difference between their previous releases and “Audrey” is the nose – I don’t know how they did it, but the shading of the nostrils is excellent. I daresay I haven’t seen any better yet in in Second Life®. Unless you have selected a slider value of 50 or more to turn your nose up, the way the avatar mesh works creates “creases” on either side of the nose – a fact that bothered me to the extent that I have openly wished for prim noses to replace the standard one. With “Audrey”, it seems that I can stop wishing for a different nose, because the shading hides those creases almost completely; they are hardly visible now.

The brows have a great shape and definition, but make sure you are using Windlight settings that don’t crank the scene gamma values too high up, or the black brows will wash out and look brown instead. If in doubt, just play a bit with the slider values until you find a setting that works for you.

If you have loved Fleur or Tete à Pied skins before, you won’t be disappointed by “Audrey” either. If those skins weren’t for you, there are enough differences to warrant getting a demo of the new line. For pictures of the other makeups or skintones, please check the blog of Grazia Horwitz (“More Than Meets The Eye”, link is listed on the right) or the feeds. I’m sure the updated blog of 5th & Oxford will be available soon as well.

The release of 5th & Oxford’s “Audrey” skin is announced for Sunday, so keep your eyes open for more information.

Both Pictures:

  • Skin: (5th & Oxford) FAIR Audrey Fresh Freckles 2
  • Eyes: (Miriel) Realistic Eyes – Strong Green [not available anymore]
  • Lashes: (Miriel) Lashes – Feather [not available anymore]
  • Hair: Tiny Bird – Olivia (pepper)

Picture 1:

  • Bikini: /artilleri/ Annalee bikini *purple*
  • Pose: *Torridwear* Drama 08

Picture 2:

  • Shoes: [Armidi Gisaci] Dhali Bow Platforms – White
  • Pose (left): *TorridWear* Curves 06
  • Pose (right): *TorridWear* Coy 06

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Usually, I keep my personal life out of the blog posts, apart from the odd comment on the side. Who I am outside of Second Life® does not play a role in them. Today, however, I’d like to take a stand on a topic I cannot discuss without bringing my personal life up: same-sex marriage.

I have lived most of my adult life as an out lesbian, and these days I identify as a bisexual woman with a preference for women. The day my home country, Germany, introduced civil unions for same-sex couples is still very vivid in my memory. Back then, I assumed it would be the first step on a road to complete legal equality, but the process slowed down and there still are differences between marriages and civil unions.

Being a second-class citizen hurts – because that’s what you are if you choose to spend your life with a person who doesn’t have a different gender than your own. It hurts not only when you already have a partner, but also when you are single. Every day you are reminded that you don’t have the same rights most of your fellow citizens take for granted.

Those who oppose marriage equality often claim that marriages and families need to be protected, and I agree with them. However, they don’t need protection from gay couples, but from the hardships life keeps serving all of us. Allowing two people of the same gender to marry does not wreck heterosexual marriages. Allowing a person to be covered by their same-sex partner’s social security benefits does not harm children. Granting same-sex couples the legal visitation rights should their partner end up in hospital does not make the divorce rate among heterosexual couples go up.

Legally, it doesn’t matter if the person who brings chicken broth soup to my bed when I’m sick, who I buy a house with or who I travel together with is a man or a woman. We live in a time where equal legal rights are claimed for men and women – why, I ask, do so many people still insist that a marriage can only consist of a man and a woman, then?

In the Western world, marriage is only legal if verified by an official of some sort – you are not required to wed in a church, synagogue, mosque or temple. Why, then, apply religious convictions to a civil union? Why deny civil rights to citizens? The religious groups may hold the views they chose, even if they don’t agree with mine. But the law and the government should not distinct between people based on who these want to live with.

In my virtual disguise, I may look old-fashioned or conservative to many people, prancing around the grid in hats and gloves and demure attire. But my convictions are neither, and this is why I chose to support this campaign, even if I live in another country. Everyday life can be hard enough as a “non-straight” person, especially in the beginning, when you only start coming to terms with the realisation that you feel and indeed are very different from the majority of people around you. It takes time to process and a bit of courage to openly acknowledge this and guide your life against the written and unwritten laws of how you should spend your days. But it is possible, and no government in the world should be allowed to have a veto in the matter of such fundamental questions as the gender of the person you want to commit yourself to.

In 1776, the Virginia Declaration of Rights stated “that all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”

We have overcome the legal discrimination based on social classes, based on gender and on race – it’s time to take the next hurdle in order to make this come true.

And for those who want to know:

  • NoH8-attachments: available at the gallery ( http://slurl.com/secondlife/Cupcake/54/51/28 )
  • Skin: Fleur Allure Alabaster Winter Nights 2
  • Eyes: (Miriel) Realistic Eyes – Strong Green [not available anymore]
  • Lashes: (Miriel) Lashes – Feather [not available anymore]
  • Hair: Clawtooth by Clawtooth – “Timeless Glamour” (Black Beauty)
  • Shirt: [Whippet & Buck] Cole Boatneck Shirt Alabaster

ETA: I completely forgot that those shots were supposed to be done wearing white shirts, so I updated it with a different image.

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Body:

  • Skin: Fleur Allure Alabaster Kitten 1
  • Eyes: (Miriel) Realistic Eyes – Strong Green [not available anymore]
  • Lashes: (Miriel) Lashes – Feather [not available anymore]

Outfit:

  • Bandana: .:StoRin:. – Hair Fair Bandana *chocolate*
  • Bikini: /artilleri/ Annalee bikini *purple* [tinted brown; the purple version was a hunt gift and is not available in store]
  • Bangles: Genesis – Aidan bangles

Other:

  • Pose: *ELISA* burlesque 1 [not available anymore]

Since today is “Bandana Day,” I am not wearing the usual prim hair, but a bandana I purchased at Hair Fair, with all proceeds going to an organization which helps children suffering from long-term medical hair loss, “Locks of Love.” I have some experience with hair loss myself due to a thyroid disease, so it goes without saying that today I will wear a bandana in support of the case.

The outfit -if you can call it such- is vaguely vintage inspired and goes very well with the hot RL weather my neck of the wood is currently suffering under. Even though this is not a review blog, but rather a public journal on my fashion-related experiences in SL, I feel a bit bad that today’s look can hardly be recreated by another person: Miriel’s designs and ELISA’s poses are not available anymore; the skin will go out of sale very soon, when Fleur’s new skin line launches; the bikini has a colour that was never available in store (and is tinted on top of it) and Hair Fair will close after the weekend as well.

Still, it’s fun to do something different once in a while, and for me, this was different.

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Body:

  • Skin: Fleur Allure Alabaster Kitten 2
  • Eyes: (Miriel) Realistic Eyes – Strong Green
  • Lashes: (Miriel) Lashes – Feather
  • Hair: fashionably dead – Dorothy’s Morning – Nothingness

Outfit:

  • Dress: Ibizarre Flower Dress Siri
  • Cardigan: []::Tuli::[] Cable knit cropped vest WHITE
  • Hat: From the “Timeless Glamour” hair by Clawtooth by Clawtooth (some of the feathers are tinted white)
  • Stockings: *Sheer* Stockings 01: Nylon Black
  • Shoes: Maitreya Group Gift Pumps – Pearl

Other:

  • Pose: Long Awkward Pose – [LAP] – CM-When I’m Alone

Towards the end of the 1930s, there already was a natural tendency towards fuller skirts in fashion which got stopped short by WWII and the rationing of clothing, cloth and footwear. Everywhere but in France, where women saw it as their patriotic duty to use up as much cloth as possible in their outfits so it wouldn’t fall into the hands of the German occupants. French women remained impeccably dressed through the chaos of war, and while everywhere else skirts became narrower and shorter each year, theirs remained full and wide and anticipated Dior’s New Look.

Today’s ensemble is inspired by such a French outfit from the early 1940s and proved more difficult than initially expected – I just couldn’t find some of the things I had in mind, or they did not look good in combination with the outfit, so in the end I kept it relatively simple. It’s so hot outside that I can hardly bear the sight of a cardigan and stockings anyway. 😉

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