Friday, September 26, 2014

Doll's Eye View: Milan Spring/Summer '15 Trends

 What I love about Italian fashion is that, for the most part, it is pure style. Silhouettes are uncomplicated and designed to flatter the woman's figure. Fabrics and details are what separate one season from the other. With contemporary Italian fashion, there are a few flights of fancy....just for the fun of it. But all in all, the Italians keep in mind that clothes should underscore the beauty of the wearer.

 Remember the paper gladiator group we made earlier this summer? A version of that look--bejeweled golden corsets-- surfaced in Dolce et Gabbana's collection for next summer!
And then there was that show put on by Moschino, inspired by......Barbie!!! How ironic that here at Fashion Doll Stylist, we are inspired by human clothes when dressing our Barbies. And for this edition, we emulate an outfit inspired by Barbie for humans but present it on a Barbie!!!!
 For this group, think pink, uber girly style with flirty skirts, bubble gum tone suits and dresses and simple 1960's Carnaby Street silhouettes.

We loved the crisp, white looks of washed cotton, white cotton lace for day and etched satin and devore dresses for warm nights. Again, silhouettes feature simple, body skimming dresses that are easy to wear on hot summer days.
Here again, are super feminine looks cut from eyelet or cotton laces, sheers with lace appliques or embroidery in soft, fleshy boudoir colors. And while we're still seeing short lengths, hemlines that flirt with the knees or drop down to "tea length" provide a distinctive romantic touch to these pretty summer dresses.
Borrowing their colors and patterns from the great outdoors of the Grand Canyon, here, we reminisce the good ole days of 1970's western fashions. Lots of fringe, leathers with details, denim patchwork silhouettes with lots of etching, appliques and fringes. The Pucci dress can be made with a handkerchief! And don't forget strappy sandals, purses with fringe.
 Out of that same era came the bold plaid. But for next summer, there are many modern variations of stripes and plaids. Again, note the longer hemlines.

 It's not as if summer is void of color. On the contrary, color is everywhere from a single monochromatic color scheme to whole garments inscribed with bold splashes of color or even...poster prints of country landscapes...the message is to have fun. Don't worry about scale. Anything goes as long as you keep the silhouettes simple.
 A more urban theme, here a more subdued palette of earth tones define sophisticated city looks. Colored reptile embossed fabrics work well for early spring suits, while longer, more draped blouses, tops and dresses are the easiest way to get through city streets in style. For the most part, what you see are silhouettes with lots of built-in movement.

 Crochet will also be big as designers here promote"artisan" styles as a reaction against super simple stretch dresses that have dominated the stores for over two decades. Again, these looks are lovely, easy to wear dresses. Can't crochet? Neither can I whch is why in the lead photo of this post, I used pieces of vintage crochet trim which I stitched together and dyed navy.

 Again, the message is clear.... daywear has lots of swing. The dresses and ensembles are simple enough. But what makes the differences is the choice of material.
 We really like the black leather with cut-out patterns. The garments themselves are super simple which allow the attention to remain on the fabric treatments.

 Bling is kept to a minimum this season. Here the metallic looks were created with silvery satins and lurex as well as reptile embossed effects.

We could not resist the idea of starting off with a basic little dress. then dolling it up with flat rhinestones, pearls and beads!

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Stay tuned!! Fashion week concludes in Paris where the girls have been quite busy running from show to show!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Doll's Eye View: LONDON! Spring/Summer '15

I usually look to London for edgy, sometimes quirky looks. And this season, there was plenty of that. However, this time around, there were a few really wearable looks with just enough edge to keep them from teetering into that no man's land of boring frocks. With this report, I chose a few key garments I thought would translate well for our dolls. Many of the silhouettes are familiar. It's simply a question of fabric, detail or styling!
 The message for Spring Summer 2015 is quite strong. It's all about EASE! These are simple looks styled with a youthful, downtown flair. Simplicity of silhouette, fabric and color is the key element in pulling off the look.

Big city chic just got bolder. I like the crispness of black and white with a sliver of asymmetrical contrast. This is achieved by cutting the design right into the pattern, then fitting it back together like a simple jigsaw puzzle. The oversize lithographic print (applied by transfer method) is also a nice touch to this summer in the city theme.
 Again, we are seeing a dominance of black and white looks for next summer. Note how a simple silhouette is rendered quite dynamic with the use of contrasting appliques and trim.

 Deep, mysterious and exotic, the most exciting florals and fabric treatments are dipped in dark, intense tones. Abstract prints, upholstery fabric, feathers, sheer fabric with floral appliques or simply midnight blue tulle swirled around the body render very feminine and super lush deep summer looks.

Okay, so Apple has a new iPhone and Samsung is doing a one upping it with a bigger Galaxy Note. Our Fitbit trackers will soon be made obsolete by the crush of new smart watches. It's about time designers are inspired by the techno trends of our global world. We see it spelled out in shades of aluminum, copper, titanium brushed metals and wired circuit boards expressed through shiny satin, metallic lace and corrugated textures. The ultimate message here....Keep it Simple!

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The girls are knee deep in Italian Fashion Week. They'll be back shortly with the best of Milan!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Doll's Eye View: New York Spring Summer '15 Trends

What!!??!!! It's fashion week season already!!! Well, here it is.....your regular dose of current fashion trends as dictated by the fashion gods and goddesses of New York's Seventh Avenue. This time, we're looking at next year's Spring Summer fashions. In general, they are not trend setting creations, but rather, sharp, attractive styles we're sure you're doll will wear well!
There's nothing like stripes--well defined in black and white--to welcome in Spring. For 2015, designers work their lines like cross-hatched doodles, in combinations of horizontal and diagonal directions. We particularly love the oversized, blurred effects of Halston Heritage and the mix of striped silk and rows of feathers.

Another cool look for hot summer days, is the mix of waves, plaids and small prints, sometimes charged with a pop of color.
Bold, strong, abstract stripes and shapes, silhouettes are simple and the statement they make is quite clear. Graphics carved in strong colors and white are electrifying. What is particularly interesting in this group, is the interjection of movement to static stripes, thanks to paper-shredded color blocks draped diagonally over the body.
There's nothing new about summer blacks. Still, nothing is more chic than simple little dresses and sleek jackets carved out of blocks of black silk or cotton. In this case, less is more!

They're simple. They're chic. There's nothing more refreshing than simple silhouettes defined by a dynamic shade of red hot red for night....or tamed down a bit in shades of raspberry.
There are those times when dolly simply wants to sit pretty and let her fashion message play out in soft tones and pretty fabrics. Gingham was a huge trend in New York. Note that waistlines are back at the body's natural waistline! That hemlines run the gamut of mid-thigh to mid-calf. And that pants are also defined as jumpsuits and palazzo trousers.

For me, these Spring/Summer 2015 fashions show New York fashion trends at their best. There are no fireworks with these styles, no contrived shapes...just plain and simple clothes that are comfortable to wear and easy on the eyes. It's not about being super-sexy or making some avant-garde fashion statement. On the contrary, it's about clothes that make the wearer (even if it's your doll) feel good.

 Neat, tidy and very pretty, this is what New York does best....silhouettes that are easy to make, easy to wear and very easy on the eyes. Note the tops and jackets that enhance the body with a curvy peplum or even a cool white silk jumpsuit with a sleek tunic top.
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Up next: London fashion week has just finished and our team will return with their report shortly!!!
Stay tuned!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's in the bag!!!

For generations, "fashion" was only about "the dress." Then in the early 1950's, Christian Dior made history by being the first haute couturier to lend his very stylish name to stockings, shoes and an assortment of other chic accessories. Today, when you walk through the high fashion districts of Paris, one has the impression clothes don't count as much as.....handbags.

Admittedly, most of my focus with this blog has been placed on garments. Ok, so we did a few handbags using polymer clay (very successful posts, I might add). Up until the designer luggage post, I had really just skimmed through the handbag part, preferring to make terribly predictable, very boring simple purses. That post on Designer Luggage forced me to look more carefully at things like details and scale. It also forced me to reconcile the fact that designer bags are more than glitzy initials and quilted surfaces!

So for this post, I bit the bullet and did a little research on bags I'd like my divas to have. Inasmuch as I have two wonderful resources in Paris that sell leather scraps for a few Euros a piece, my girls get to have real luxury bags. Nothing beats the sheen or the touch! However, if you are not so lucky, vinyl, faux leather, pleather and the like are good substitutes. Should you opt for leather, choose the thinnest skin you can find for the sake of scale and manipulation. But first, let's go looking for pictures of the latest bags your dolls might want. Perhaps you may even have handbags of your own you'd like to make in miniature.
The idea is to take inspiration from these photos to arrive at an interesting interpretation. Most are based on very basic shapes. Start off by making paper models of them.
Have your doll nearby to check for scale. Figure out what you will or will not include in the detail in terms of details. Even if you are ambitious, realize that the scale will force you to simplify!
Take the paper model apart and use it for your pattern. I use a pastel pencil to trace the pattern directly onto the wrong side of the leather. Use sharp scissors. All but the first handbag (which I hand stitched) are no-sew.
I did this pretty much by trial and error until I was satisfied with the shape.
I drew this first on graph paper, then made it in paper. The straps and bag are all in one. The overall length is 4 inches (10 cm) by 2-1/4 inches wide (6.5cm) wide and 1/2' (13mm) deep. That inside strip measures 5-3/8" (13.5cm) by 1/2" (13mm).
Assembly is easy. The side gusset clipped along the seam allowanced and is stitched to the flat sides of the handbag. Turn the bag to the right side. I used an iron set on the lowest setting to press out the seams a bit.
The top of the straps are butted together and glued. I added a tassel (sold in craft and notions stores) to a 1/8 inch (2mm) of leather. The leather strip slips through an eye ring and is glued onto itself. That strap is glued to the back of the bag.
An even easier bag is my fringed "boho" hippie bag.
This is a simple rectangle of chamois cloth. The dotted lines are fold lines. On the pattern, you notice that there are two 1/4" folds. This is a soft pleat which I have glued together to add a touch of volume at the base of the bag. Though you are not obliged to do this.
I pricked a hold with a big safety pin then made rings to hold the shoulder strap. When you are making fringe, be sure to measure and mark directly on the leather before cutting so that it will be even! I added tassels (I made myself) to the side by taking a small strip of chamois, cutting it into miniscule fringe then knotting it at the end. The ornament is a bead cap, flattened and glued in place.
These next two are "classic"  bucket shaped bags with a bottom cut in the shape of a circle or square. A rectangular piece of leather wrapping around the base.
I turned both horizontal edges under and glued in place. A "cool" iron helps a bit with the glue. OR...take a hammer and pound! The seam allowance around the circular bottom is clipped first. I tried to fold and slightly press it as well to help in the process. Put glue on the seam allowance then press the side of the bag in place. Some of the clipped edges will overlap.
When you have finished, simply overlap and glue in place.
I use metal eyelets. First punch the hole. Put the eyelet in place, then crimp. My bag has 8 holes.
For the bag tie I cut a strip of leather 1/8" (2mm) then fed it through the eyelets. When you finish, make sure both ends come out of the front in separate holes. Pull the drawstring and tie. For my shoulder strap, I used a chain interlaced with another 1/8" sliver of leather, since my aim was to emulate a Chanel style bag. I thread each ends of the leather strips through opposite holes and glue it onto itself.
The next one, inspired by the blue Reed Krakoff handbag on my inspiration board, is a variation of this and begins the same way.
The bottom is a square which I have added 1/8" seam allowance then turned under and glued. The side is turned under on one horizontal side (which is the top of the bag). Manipulating this is much easier. You only need to clip the seam allowance of the bag's side at each corner of the bottom. Again, the rectangle simply wraps around the bottom base.
When you are wrapping the bag around the square, it is better that the back seam fall in the middle of the square as opposed to the corner. When you have finished, simply make a soft pleat on either side. My bag is held closed with a tiny square of Velcro discretely place inside. The strap is another 1/8" sliver of leather glued to the back. The loop in the front that holds it is simply a tiny rectangle folded inward. Thread the strap through it first, then glue it onto the bag.
Before I could conclude this project, I insisted on making something I have been searching for but could never find....a handbag with outside pockets.
Again, the pattern is super simple. It is a shorter, wider version of the tote bag we've made before with a side gusset.
The dotted lines are fold lines. This time, however, I wanted a bit more volume, hence the 1/4" section at the top of the bag. After cutting out my pieces,  I first pressed in the folds with a cool iron, then I folded the rest over the seam allowance of the side gussets.

At first I thought I needed to make cargo pockets. But the thickness of the leather is such that a simple rectangle folded into three parts and glued down provides the perfect illusion.
I cut out pieces of cardboard corresponding to the bottom of the bag as well as the top and glued those in place. Again, this adds structure to your bag. For the finishing touches, my bag closes with a button. I punched a hole on the outside of the bag. On the front I used a "brad" (Attaches Parisiennes). I attached a tiny self made fringe to the button and used pearl stickers for the pocket buttons.
One last thing....the shoulder strap. I cut slivers from my leather strap and made a braid. At each end I made a knot. It I attached to the bag at the sides with small metal rings. 
Well, believe it or week around the planet is in full swing. The girls have been on the ground for more than a week and will be back in a snap with their roundup of New York Spring 2015 trends!!!
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