I was in a barren and empty sim, the hour was late and it was dark (I had forced midnight) when a mysterious message urgently demanded my attention. â€œYour mission, should you choose to accept it: for the next issue of Second Style, highlight some of the best individual designs in SL fashion of the last twelve months. This IM will self-destruct in ten seconds. Nine. Eightâ€¦.â€
I logged out quickly, but not before triggering a sly smile ( }:-> ). I knew that this assignment would challenge me like no other, and I would have to rely on all my skills and training. How to select just a handful of items from the many released over the past year? It seemedâ€¦impossible.
Hopefully my superiors will agree that I have succeeded. All of these creations epitomize the best of what SL design has to offer. In chronological order by month of release:
Donovan Brennenâ€™s â€œRacer Lion 52â€ racing suit is beautiful in both form and function. The clothing-layer leathers include dark-brown leather pants and jacket with prim collar, plus gloves and socks. You also get a helmet (with and without integrated hair), elbow and knee pads, racing boots, utility belt, and wrist/forearm braces. A lion rampant prominently graces the back of the jacket, his aggressive stance sending the clear message that you pass from behind at your own risk. The well worn prim accessories are moddable, so you can resize them for a better fit to your avatar, but itâ€™s worth noting that some are already at or near minimum size and cannot be sized down. I’m not a big guy, and the belt was big on me but not really big. If your avatar is smaller, you may not be able to size some of the accessories satisfactorily. Two different purchase options allow you to buy just the clothing items (L$500), or the complete set including all the accessories (L$1000). This set will outfit you in glorious style, whether your need for speed manifests itself in lust for motorcycle or rocket bike. Available at GearShift (Varado 78, 162, 31).
hyasynth Tiramisu isnâ€™t the only designer of elaborate period/fantasy garments in SL, but she is one of the most consistently interesting and surprising. Her sense of color and flair for the subtly dramatic (if thatâ€™s not an oxymoron) are unparalleled. The Serendipity Suit (L$500) is highly formal, with extensive embroidered embellishments in Autumn-perfect colors on heavy, dark tapestry fabric. hyasynth has somehow managed to unleash a riot of color and pattern, yet constrain it within the bounds of formal propriety–it’s completely luxurious and absolutely decadent without going over the top. The set includes shirt, pants, socks, and jacket with prim French cuffs and both flexiprim and skirt-layer long tails (the prim tails are shown here). Three versions of the jacket allow you to choose a cream, dark brown or grey (“gris”) jabot. Available at Silent Sparrow (silent sparrow 182, 93, 604).
Is there an author more gothic in tone than Edgar Alan Poe? His story â€œThe Masque of the Red Deathâ€ is one I remember vividly from childhood readingâ€”the tale of Prince Prosperoâ€™s confrontation with the dark figure masked in red has never lost its power for me. Is it concerned simply with the inevitability of death? One wonders at the desirability of a straightforward allegorical interpretation. Draconic Lioncourtâ€™s â€œRed Deathâ€ costume (L$1100) brings the forbidding figure of Prosperoâ€™s nemesis to virtual life. In addition to the dead-white skin with restrained gothic makeup, the set includes a simple black shirt, crimson tapestry vest, jacket with long flexi tails, prim collar and flexi fabric cuffs, pants and top hat. The deep black jacket is highlighted by a double row of death’s-head buttons, and the black jacket tails are lined with deep red satin, with a baroque fabric texture used inside and out. The piÃ¨ce de rÃ©sistance, though, is the sculpted Red Death masque, shockingly blood-red and in some ways disturbingly reminiscent of Frank, the â€œrabbitâ€ who haunts Donnie Darko. Be sure also to take note of Draconic’s “Poelita” designs for women–the series includes outfits called “Annabel Lee,” “Black Cat,” “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Available at Draconic Kiss (Koreshan 193, 93, 25), where the Red Death holds sway over all.
Iâ€™m unable to use the word â€œconventionalâ€ to describe any of Shai Delacroixâ€™s creationsâ€”itâ€™s only in context with the other designs featured here that her Alfonso Suit could seem at all â€œusual.â€ Unlike these other designs, this suit is something you could wear to a business meeting. Letâ€™s consider it fine daily wear. In fact, itâ€™s more than fineâ€”this is an opulent suit, perfect for the gentleman who appreciates and enjoys items of luxury. The three-piece suit includes jacket, pants and waistcoat (lovingly detailed, both front and back, plus shirt with tie, in various combinations and on various layers for complete flexibility. You also get a prim gold pocket watch, scripted to keep time in Manila, Shaiâ€™s home city. Available in your choice of Black, Blue, Burgundy and Olive, as shown here. Priced at L$800 each, or L$3000 for the “Fat Pack” of all four colors. Available for purchase at Casa Del Shai (Casa Del Shai 150, 100, 691),
The use of prims as clothing components (and not just accessory attachments) isnâ€™t new, but mirai Jun is aggressively pushing the envelope with designs that consist almost entirely of prim pieces. The Full Sculpted Jacket (L$360) is a perfect exampleâ€”the jacket-layer clothing piece is really more of a â€œbaseâ€ and only provides leather texture and shading for more graceful integration with your avatarâ€™s skin and other clothing. The garment itself is made up of six sculpted-prim attachments, textured in highly detailed leather. This approach presents obvious fitting challenges and may not be for everyoneâ€”in fact, although the prim components are moddable, the bottom coat section is already at minimum size, probably due to tiny prims in the buckle, so it canâ€™t be made any smaller without editing individual prims.
mirai makes the ad modelâ€™s shape available in the shop at no charge, so you can simplify your life by wearing the shape with the coat, or use it as a guide for how the coat pieces should look and fit on your own shape. I was able to achieve a fit that looks good to me, but others with different sizes or proportions may have varying success. Still, this is an innovative design approach and the result is an impressive garment. Permissions are Modify / No Copy / Transfer. No demo is available; this would be helpful given the all-prim construction of the jacket. Also, it would be nice to have the choice of a Modify / Copy / No Transfer version–the prim pieces may require extensive adjustment for fitting, and it’s nice to be able to make a backup copy first. Available at Cubic Effect (Born East 166, 50, 40).
June Dion may well be the Mistress of Glorious Excess in SL. Her outfits and costumes are always highly if not ridiculously elaborate, and her recent steampunk-inspired offering, called â€œI Saw the Lightâ€ (L$150, previously featured rather more elegantly here), is no exception.
At the base is a classic flight suit: shirt, pants, leather flight jacket with back artwork and prim collar, leather gloves with prim cuffs, and prim goggles. The resolution of the jacket’s back artwork could be a bit higher, but it looks fine at normal viewing distance and will be covered by the wings anyway, when you’re wearing them. The pants are moddable, but even at the minimum setting the cuffs show more than a little flare; I’m not sure this is authentic to any particular era, but it works well with all the accessories.
And it is the accessories that tell the taleâ€”sculpted Da Vinci-style ribbed wings, a flickering candle lantern, rolled maps, oil canisters, various pouches and mysterious tools and implements. The steam-powered wings have gauges and dials that feel completely at home, but the inclusion of, apparently, a jet engine exhaust really caught my eye and made me laugh. Available at BareRose Tokyo (Bare Rose 146, 12, 30).
Although Iâ€™ve focused on clothing designs in this article, this represents only a part of the amazing work being done by SL designers. In the accompanying pictures Iâ€™m also wearing the “Adam” skin by Hart Larsson (PXL Creations) and the “Jack” skin by Posy Trudeau (Flesh Peddlers). In a highly subjective evaluation, these are my favorite tintable and non-tintable skins released in the last year; you can click through to read my original reviews. Iâ€™m also wearing and have been consistently impressed with the menâ€™s hair designs by Truth Hawks (TRUTH).
This is an expanded version of the Menâ€™s Corner column originally published in Second Style Magazine (Issue #18).