Monday, September 30, 2013

Doll's Eye View: Paris Spring '14 Trends-The Art Scene

Karen in Gareth Pugh.

In Paris, the Capital of Style, Fashion is looked upon as a veritable Art. Whereas NY tends to concern itself first and foremost with business, Paris operates as a laboratory, where designers explore new ideas, new techniques. Often, what begins in Paris, affects trends all over the world. The second point of French fashion is its sense of femininity. The French love women. Women love French high fashion. For our first report on Paris Fashion Week, we present the creative side of the catwalk.

Paris is notorious for putting on a good show. Not everything on the catwalk will end up on store shelves. However, elements of the more outrageous items may inspire more wearable garments or even inspire accessory trends. For example, the feathered headdresses (Gareth Pugh) worn by the models in our opening photo have already set off a trend of feather purses, slippers and the like.

And then there are those coats splashed with a heavy dose of abstract art. What better way to spruce up a classic garment, especially for your favorite doll. (Our doll wears a dolly kimono coat version so very well!!) With these trends, textile treatments will prove to be most useful. Get out your textile paints and foam brushes. Get out your scissors and prepare to play. Have fun as you let yourself be inspired by the groups below!!!!

When it comes to Spring fashions, thing ART!!! Color blocking continues to be a strong force as well as bold stripes draped in inventive ways. Mix and match bold blocks of color layered over each other cut from sheer fabrics. Pants are loose and in some cases, skirts are long.
Geometric patterns, a mix of stripes and patterns, fractured geometrics. Don't be bashful when it comes to borrowing from the modern art masters....Picasso comes to mind.

 Here is where you can have lots of fun. The silhouettes are quite simple: shifts, coats (I've used a simple kimono coat and added a shawl collar to come up with the Celine inspired coat worn by Marpessa (far right photo). After I cut out the coat, I took a small brush and some textile paint to create my own "artwork." Honestly, it looked better than I thought it would by the time the coat came together.

 Here again, the textiles reign supreme. Again, silhouettes are super simple, acting as a canvas to the random scribbling of the fabric print. Karen on the far right, wears the basic coat and slim skirt of white cotton, over which I have scribbled, using a textile marker. You don't have to be an artist to do this. Just do what you do best....scribble!!!!

The girls are venting over styles that swing and sway. Strictly cut and slash, these looks feature openwork, slashed and fringed fabrics. I used chamois cloth for Soowan's 2-pc garment (second from the left), but doeskin or doeskin cloth would have produced better results and would have been easier to work with. Soowan's top is a simple halter neck basic bodice top. I took a single edged razor and made horizontal slits down the center. The skirt is a simple rectangle of chamois, fringed at both ends, wrapped around her hips and held closed with a square of Velcro.

Sexy, flirty, Summer '14 trends favor dresses with lingerie touches, spaghetti straps, lots of black lace and full skirts. Don't be afraid to do a touch chic look like leather bustier over a full lace & tulle skirt!
Paris at its most extravagant. The dresses themselves are fairly simple. In the case of Dries Van Noten, the addition of black silk flowers can add a spectacular flare to a simple top and skirt. Norma Jean (third from the left) wears a simple black nylon knit flared gown cinched in with a vinyl corset and topped off with a crown of marabou feathers. It's a look inspired by avant-garde designer, Gareth Pugh.
Fashion season is not quite over, folks. Next up: Doll's Eye View: Spring '14 Paris Classics
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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Doll's Eye View: Viva Italia '14

Inspired by the Italian iconic designer, our girl wear an Armani inspired suit.
 Ciao Bella!!! In my early years of reporting collections, Milan's fashion week was my favorite. The fabrics are some of the best in the world and up until sometime in the 1990's, the clothes were sophisticated, timeless creations any woman at any age could wear. Then something happened. The  Italians hopped began exploring "trendy" fashion, and (in my eyes) lost their way. At the beginning of this season's collections week, I was not terribly inspired. However, as the days filed by and some familiar names took to the stage, a surge of gorgeous fashions emerged.


Our Italian journey begins with that quintessential summer color: white. Pure, cut in clean, simple lines, it's the fashion equivalent to cleansing the palette and starting anew.

 Touring big cities in the summertime. Going for a stroll, the easy, breezy look of loose and flared silhouettes look best in soft cottons and cotton voiles drawn in a variety of stripes that crisscross around the body.

 What I love about European styles is that when designers use colors they go for it. Bustiers, wrap skirts, or dresses that loosely skim the body are etched in a bold collage of bluish toned prints that appear to have been lifted from landmark cathedrals.
RIFLESSIONI ITALIANE (Italian Reflextions)
 Like memories from cityscapes of the towns we love, monochromatic geometrics, jacquards and architectural patterns are worked in a kaleidoscope of layered fit and flare looks. The look is distinctively feminine. Oh by the way, have you noticed how many dresses there are!

 Let's connect the (polka dots) and borrow retro looks for a modern approach to spring fashion. Again, it's about fit, flare and especially....FUN!!!! Our girl (far left) is wearing a tent dress that's belted and worn over a slim fitting black lace skirt....inspired by the Dolce Gabbana dress next to her.


She's bold. She's sexy. She stands out from the crowd. Silhouettes are simple with the standout color of red. Jazz it up with texture or the juxtaposition of layered sheers. Keep it serious with basic shapes and matching accessories.

Let's just stay on the subject of flirty, feminine looks for spring. Take a stroll through the garden and be inspired by the flowers. Simple princess line jackets top slim or flared skirts. An oversized floral print goes a long way on a shift dress or a sexy, slip dress.

Easy to wear long or short dresses, these are wearer friendly styles with plenty of texture, all drench in hot, spicy colors of mustard and pomegranate.

And don't be afraid to mix unexpected patterns, stripes and prints. Postcard prints are also big for fun shifts and tent dresses.

 Reptile prints and embossed patterns continue to be big, especially for early spring. A snakeskin print spruces up a classic trench coat or jacket and trousers.
 The Italians are taking a break from rock star bling by going back to basics. Let the color or an asymmetric detail make the grand entry.

 Of course you can step it up a bit. But again, take a tip from the glamour girls of the 1930's. Say it with beaded detailing, feather trims, devore (burn-out) fabrics.


And so at the end of the day, we find ourselves back to big city neutrals....light beige, slate grey, blue mist. But these are anything but basic looks. Here is where you take control of your doll's look. Our girl in the center, is wearing a dress draped directly on her and stitched in place. It mimic the organic looks behind her designed by the house of Gianfranco Ferre.

Well...there's one more city to cover and we're already in place. Our fashion coverage is not yet over. We'll see you soon with a two-part report out of the fashion capital of the world....PARIS!!!!

A bientot!

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Mini Emmys 2013

We interrupt our regularly scheduled fashion programming to bring you a special report directly from last evening's 65th Annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. For anyone unfamiliar with this event, this is a yearly award ceremony celebrating the best performers, shows, movies, comedies and other assorted professionals involved in the American television industry.

Like the Oscars and Cannes Film Festival, red carpet events are ALWAYS a good source of inspiration for glamorous doll clothes. Everyone in attendance is more than happy to dress up, step out and shine under the glare of photographers snapping pictures. The rest of us like to watch, perhaps more to see the fashions than for the ceremony. However, unlike the rest of the media, we are not going to relate some silly list of who we think were the best and the worst dressed. Instead, we're here to show you a tiny sampling of dresses that should be fairly easy to replicate, no matter your level of pattern drafting or sewing skills.

Simplicity is the underlying theme with most of what was worn last night. Barbie should be in seventh heaven because most of the red carpet dresses were prom-girl, princess, dollicious! Yes, there were the usual fish tail gowns in black or flaming red, however, the same spirit of understated elegance prevailing in Europe has caught on in America. Pictured here are super easy to wear, easy to sew looks which consists of a two-piece dress or camisole top and a full or flared evening length skirt.

An A-line evening length skirt in a soft lace fabric and two triangles, dotted with sequins (which I glued on) and you've got something pretty close to the Armani Prive dress worn by Claire Danes.

 What could be more simple. We began with a black corset. We took a beaded medallion and stitched this on top. The corset is worn with a four-gore flared evening length skirt for a look originally created by Andrew Gn and worn by Elizabeth Moss.

We have the same dress, but my hairstyle is more glamorous!
A halter neck top in red silk worn with a gathered, evening length skirt is all that's needed for a graceful ensemble designed by Prada and worn by actress, Michelle Dockery. The halter top is joined at the neck with Velcro. I tacked on a large silk bow over the closure.

This dress, designed by Thakoon and worn by actress, Taylor Schilling, starts with a halter neck top you can drape over a twist tie right on the doll. The skirt is a flared A-line skirt with a center front seam.

The dolls wear the looks better than the actresses!!!!

Here's actress Anna Gunn wearing a gorgeous lace bustier over a pink silk fishtail skirt designed by Romona Keveza. For this asymmetrical corset, I took a piece of beaded lace and placed directly onto the doll. A separate piece of lace is attached on the back, allowing me to add a hook and eye closure on one side. Due to time constraints, I did not have time to draft the fishtail skirt. (We'll show you how to do this later.) So I took the flared skirt, and pinched it at the back over the hip, allowing the rest of the skirt to flow away from the body.

Photographs of the actresses from the Emmy Awards (behind the dolls) by Getty Images.

Stay tuned! Our Doll's Eye View of Milan Fashion Week will be here shortly!!!!!

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Doll's Eye View: London Spring '14 Fashion Trends

Doll sized digital prints inspired by Mary Katrantzou
I admit, the London fashion scene has not always been my cup of tea. Between the stodginess of  "Queen Mum" aristocracy and the extremism of raw "Punk" from the rough side of town, I've had difficulty finding that sweet spot I felt I could live with. Of recent, however, I've had a total change of mind. While most of the industries seem to be stuck in the last century,  today's young Brits have embraced technology as a way of propelling fashion into the 21st century. And they are doing it with textile design.

London Fashion Week produced many styles created from digitally printed fabrics. When combined with super simple silhouettes, similar to the 1960's "Mod" styles, one has the feeling of witnessing something truly special, new and unique.

In addition, there was lots of experimentation with textures, surface treatments, all with a very simple base. What this means for you and your dolls is that you can stick to patterns for sheaths, shifts and basic jackets, but you should go crazy when it comes to creating new textures and textiles for those garments!

Not everything was crazy. From time to time, there were classic clothes, even eveningwear that smacked of old-fashion luxury, which made us wish for more. Here in our doll-centric summary of London Fashion Week, we've chosen clothes we thought were stand-out examples of items we think will inspire you to not just create the garments, but to experiment with creating your textiles as well.


It's gritty and grey. It uses ordinary materials already in your environment. Play with paper, melted plastics, tortured fabrics. Just keep the dress simple!

Stripes are big. Stripes are bold. Stripes are hot especially when they are black and white! Don't fret about not finding the fabric in your local stores. These are stripes you create by stitching strips of fabric together to create your own (like the doll standing in the forefront).

Stripes of all types and sizes are in style. Wear them loose in caftans or fitted as in knits. Go crazy with a zebra stripe or one that is more free style like the doll to the far right.

Taking a classic silhouette and propelling it into a fresh new look for THIS printing can create a pop art look using a wide variety of over sized photo collages. We recently showed you how to print your own fabric using your computer and printer. There's also the photo transfer paper if you want a more "plastic" look. Our girls in green is wearing a Katrantzou inspired look. We photographed a man's shoe, pushed the hue and saturation in Adobe Photoshop Elements, then printed it out on cotton muslin.

This technique isn't new and we have seen similar fashions at the Zara boutiques. But still, we can never get enough of photo printed garments like those by Jean-Pierre Bregazzi. The middle dress is one we featured (Prints Charming) prior using photo transfer paper.

In each case, it's as if the image defines the silhouette and detailing of the garment. Print your fabric, then let your imagination take you away!


Free form painting, images of ink slowly dissolving in water...these abstract forms work well in silhouettes that softly float over the body.


 Digital printing continues.... a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns.....motifs stamped over a wrap around cotton shirt...silhouettes are loose and cool (and easy to sew).

The little black dress with a brand new twist. Four fun dresses that, thanks to interesting surface treatments, are anything but boring. Again, this is about taking a basic shape and embellishing it with scribbles, rubber, plastic openwork.
Though a lesser trend, the color blue has emerged as a major color for Spring 2014. Here, you see a variety of looks and treatments from hippie chic and menswear to Mary Katrantzou's oversized shoe prints. In the middle, our girl, Tonia, was inspired by Marques Almeida's denim pantsuit.
We love Tom Ford for bringing a new style of bling to eveningwear. While sequins and beads continue to be tried and true staples, he along with Julien MacDonald used mirrored mosaics glitter night time looks.

Even though London is about experimentation, funky prints and avant-garde, there are still houses doing classically elegant and positively beautiful eveningwear. A special nod to Julien Macdonald and Temperly London, both of whom had aristocratic collections!

Next week: Our girls report from Milan Fashion Week! Stay tuned!!!!

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Doll's Eye View: NY Summer Fashion Collections Pt.2

Though the classic Black and White theme is a clear front running trend for next spring/summer fashions in New York, a few (very few) color trends did emerge.

Silhouettes are easy, breezy, floating over the body like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. What we liked here are the abstract, free style hand-painted splashes of color over sheer cottons and silks. This is definitely a "create your own fabric" opportunity to do something spectacular.

For day or for night, he dress reigns supreme..etched in geometrics, wallpaper patterns, scarf prints or a patchwork of favorite handkerchief prints. Sarong dresses, shifts, or princess line sun-dresses, again the dress in its simplest forms serves as a canvas for pretty prints.
Our girl's wearing a raw silk dress with tunic overlay inspired by Narciso Rodriguez. Her handbag...a doll-sized version of Hermes.
 It wasn't easy finding hot and fiery color in the majority of New York collections. But when color was present, fashions were drenched in lip-smacking, south of the border, sun-kissed oranges, tangerines and mangos. Shift dresses and early 1960's silhouettes will be VERY big next summer.

Leaves, flower petals.....textiles with 3-D texture, graphic prints and embroidery make for soft and sweet evening looks. Consider adding ruffles, matching coats or lots and lots of tulle to your sheath dress. Remember our project "Late Summer Bloom?" Clearly when we did that project we were thinking along the same lines as the great Oscar de la Renta!

 Soft, filmy and slightly greyed, color palettes continue to be shy, for the most part. Sheer fabrics will be very important in next summer's styles. The look is decisively feminine.

Next summer, Seventh avenue is betting you'll bring home the gold....or....silver....or bronze. Lame is simply stunning and you'll want to pour some over your doll in silhouettes like wrap dresses, skirts or free style draped dresses. Super-size paillettes make for show stopping shifts. Beaded fabrics or sequins cut in 60's style A-line dresses are all the rage.
Leave it to Betsy Johnson to design a Barbie ball gown our of metallic tulle! Barbie joined in on the fun with her own silver paillette black tulle gown cinched in with a silver leather belt. Daywear is more down to earth. A tulle skirt holds a flared animal print dress in a perfect party pose!
This brings us back to the major theme of NY Fashion Week...back to Black..and White with reptile embossed fabrics for day, matte paillettes for night.
Next up: We go across the pond to bring you the best of London Fashion Week! Stay Tuned!!!!
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