Itâ€™s been a while since we were blessed by any new clothing designs for men from Shai Delacroix. I donâ€™t know about you, but Iâ€™ve missed her contributions to male couture and style in SL. Iâ€™ll be honest hereâ€”Shai was among the first designers of clothing for men whose style leapt out at me as being fresh and unique as well as comfortable and accessible. Thatâ€™s a lot of adjectives, I know, but I thought the accomplishment was impressive. I loved her designs then, and I love them now. Although in many ways the world has moved on, and weâ€™re somewhat spoiled by the addition of sculpted-prim components to our wardrobes, Shaiâ€™s early garment-only designs still hold up for me. This is entirely due to the quality and beauty of her texture work.
Itâ€™s nice to know that, even though the world does move on, some things donâ€™t change. Shai was indeed away for a while (learning the ins and outs of Maya 3D, it turns out), but sheâ€™s back now, and she has just released the new fruits of her labor: â€œThe Instinct Collection.â€ Inspired by instincts both animal and human, and showcasing nine ensembles for women and three outfits for men, Shaiâ€™s Instinct Collection works luxurious, autumn-hued fur, leather and fabric textures into gloriously high-fashion designs just in time for Fall. The extensive use of sculpted forms is something of a departure for Shai, but a welcome and intriguing one.
Clement Fur Vest, Grey Duotone Shirt & Tweed Green Pants
Shaiâ€™s Grey Duotone Shirt is handsomely textured in monochrome tones that are detailed, rich and deep. Sculpted collar and oversized cuffs are handsome and add dimension, although fitting the collar was a bit challenging (see below). The Tweed Green Pants have a bold, almost-plaid pattern that suggests a possible if distant punk-era inspiration. Their sculpted cuffs are slim and close-fitting rather than loose and slouchie, so the effect is subtly realistic rather than dramatic. The showpiece here, though, is theÂ Clement Fur Vest. Provided as a simple linked-prim attachment, itâ€™s fairly easy to size to fit and place properly on your avatar. More importantly, itâ€™s also quite beautiful, with rich, sink-your-fingers-in fur and broad ribbed-weave lapels. L$950 for the set.
“Hardwood” hair by Sebastian Aries (SHAG)
“Fifty” glasses by Nibb Tardis (primOptic)
Sable Fur Coat & Abas Trousers
TheÂ Sable Fur Coat is probably the least conventional, most runway-ready item in Shaiâ€™s new collection. The base construction is simpler than it might appear at first glanceâ€”itâ€™s the texturing and ornamental details that make it really work. Big, bold fur textures cleverly convince the eye and mind that the sculpted forms are really a dramatic, plush fur coat fit for a contemporary Viking. A shinyÂ gold chain closure in front adds a bright touch of hard mineral elegance to the soft animal garment.
For convenience and flexibility, you can wear the coat either as a single â€œvestâ€ (so to speak) plus sleeves, or as two separate pieces (upper and lower coat) plus sleeves. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, so itâ€™s nice to have the choice. I did find the single-piece version easier to fit. The Abas Trousers are textured in chocolate-brown fabric with fine, subtle detailing. L$650 for the set.
“He’s Come Undone” hair by Sebastian Aries (SHAG)
Bostonian Limited necklace and bracelet by Jori Watler ([AB]Male)
Cortes Trench, Camel Duotone Shirt & Leopard Pants
Sumptuous charcoal-black leather (is it Corinthian? Ricardo MontalbÃ¡n would know) gives theÂ Cortes Trench its rich, distinctive look. Note theÂ wide lapels, the shiny brass buttons, and the heavy, rolled-up sleeves. Shai has paid careful attention to the detailing all around, and it showsâ€”the result is both technically impressive and artistically beautiful. This is easily my favorite single clothing item for men in her new collection. TheÂ Camel Duotone Shirt is similar in design to the Grey Duotone Shirt (above), and the pants here boldly leopard-spotted. L$1200 for the set.
“Savage” hair by Sebastian Aries (SHAG)
Homespun Hornrimmed Glasses by Posy Trudeau and Snippy Yifu (Homespun)
As you undoubtedly know, sculpted clothing pieces donâ€™t flow or drape over the avatar naturally, as garment-layer clothing items do, more or less. This can lead to interesting and unnatural conflicts with your avatar in certain poses, especially (but not necessarily limited to) those that are more dramatic or extreme. Also, as is the case more often than not with clothing made up largely of sculpties, achieving the proper fit with more complex pieces can be a challenge. Decidedly non-trivial editing was required for fitting the shirt collars. I found it necessary to alter the relative angle of the two pieces of the integrated shirt front as well as the relative position of the collar itself. (Say hello to your old friend, Mr. Edit Linked Parts, remember that one side of the shirt front is decorated with prim buttons, and be sure to make a backup copy before you start.) I was able to get to a fit that looked right for the shape, but I couldnâ€™t get the edge blend between sculptie shirt front and garment to look quite as neat as it does in Shaiâ€™s store artwork. This is not so critical with Clement Fur Vest when itâ€™s worn as whole outfit, as the vest largely covers the shirt. Itâ€™s more important with the Cortes Trench as the shirt is visible even when youâ€™re wearing the jacket.
Shaiâ€™s new Instinct Collection can be found at Casa Del Shai (Casa Del Shai 97, 100, 510). This is a special shop location just for this collection. Youâ€™ll find a handy TP-link sign at the main store entrance, if you happen to find yourself there.