Memories in a Box

“I imagined a small lacquered box inlaid with silver and gold in a pattern of curling waves, inset with silver cranes. Into this imaginary box I placed all my memories… and secretly tucked it away in my heart.”
~ from The Tale of Murasaki by Liza Dalby

Memories in a Box

As the year closes, I will tuck into my box a few wonderful memories—the thank you from Marianne McCann at SL7B, the last views of my beautiful villa on Avant Garde before I took it down, the way RFyre looked when we first remodeled it, the day I got a proposal from Callie saying, “C’mon, you know what you to” in my email, how fun it was modeling for SC Tracy and then meeting him and Raven and Nevar and Amethyst and Cashel in Florida.

The beautiful fictional Murasaki reminded me of this with her words. Therefore I choose to show a dress as elegant and regal as Murasaki, made by Nicky Ree. Leave it to Nicky to still be able to come up with a dress that makes this jaded old fashionista still gasp with wonder. The textures are absolutely exquisite and the prim building is, as always with Nicky’s work, rock solid. Nicky’s translucent textures make the most of alpha clash, allowing the beautiful flowered train under the sheer overcoat to shimmer through when the flexis move. The front skirt includes the magnificent vision of a phoenix embroided on these royal robes. If this is a peek of what Nicky will be doing in the coming year, 2011 will be a great year!

Memories in a Box

I have donned one of  Hart Larsson’s newer skins, which he has fashioned with an eyeshadow layer as the makeup for the skin rather than a different lip color. I wonder which is more successful on the grid—optional lipstick or optional eyeshadows. I wear a retired hair from Elikapeka Tiramisu, who has blessedly come back to make more such beautiful pieces.

Memories in a Box

“Though the body moves, the soul may stay behind.”
~Murasaki Shikibu

Hair: ETD Loraine 2 – Black by Elikapeka Tiramisu for ETD (sadly no longer available but her new styles are at Elikatira)

Skin: [PXL] Kasumi SK BlushLips with [PXL] Kasumi SK Black Eyes by Hart Larsson for [PXL]

Dress: *DNR* Phoenix Costume in Black by Nicky Ree for Designing Nicky Ree *

Earrings: Kunstkammer Black Forest Earring by Nuala Shippe (no longer available)

Belle Femme

A few weeks ago in Plurk I stated that I thought “Broadway Empire,” the new series on HBO was not engaging because people living in our times of economic difficulty aren’t really interested in watching shows about corruption, crime and free-flying money. I have changed my mind on that. I have gotten sucked into the show, which has exquisite costuming and sets and a great sense of drama and history. The story is compelling, historically and dramatically. And I have wondered more than once if the constant shot at the Republicans in the show is intentional. It’s all there if you give it time.

Belle Femme

This dress from Callie Cline reminded me of the series. In the latest episode, Margaret goes to the boutique of the French fashionista, Mme. Jeunet to view her beautiful imported dresses and convinces her to give her a $480 dress in exchange for political favor. (By the way, I love reviewing the recaps of the show on the A.V. Club from Noel Murray—much recommended.) Callie’s pattern on this dress is so reminiscent of that feeling of glamour from the 20s (though women would never wear a dress like this—bare shoulders, etc.) She cleverly fades the top of the skirt into a transparency so it truly seems to float around the body. The edges are crisp and clean and the bodice has a great neckline.

Belle Femme

I show it with the gorgeous jewelry from Mouse Mimistrobell, who has made it a passion of hers to make vintage jewelry among her offerings. I love how she has arranged and textured the prims to make the necklace glamorous but realistic as well. I could see a piece like this perhaps being worn by one of the ladies on the show. My hair is an older offering from Elikapeka Tiramisu, no longer available. But her work is!

Belle Femme

 

Margaret: “I didn’t want you to know how selfish I was.”
Nucky: “I would never hold that against anyone.”

Hair: ETD Flapper – Black by Elikapeka Tiramisu for ETD (no longer available)

Skin: []::Tuli::[] The Dressing Room :: Helena 02 by Tuli Asturias for Tuli *

Dress: ECHO’S SONG by Callie Cline for Callie Cline

Necklace and earrings: Dark Mouse Deco Squared – Silver by Mouse Mimistrobell for Dark Mouse

Ring: Dark Mouse 30’s Vintage Art Deco Pearl Ring by Mouse Mimistrobell for Dark Mouse (Yes, I see the date. I couldn’t help myself.)

The Color of Money

LL has a new VP of Marketing. While many proffered their suggestions for what she should be doing, I simply sent my congratulations in the comments. I will add the rest here–Kim, forget the combat sims, the lag, the romance at the Eiffel Tower, the prim toes… what you need to know is it’s all about the money.

Green is the Color of Money

Now that I have sent that cryptic message (and she’ll know what it means), let me talk about this lovely dress, which happens to be the color of money in the US–green. The beautiful ethereal textures that Poulet Koenkamp has pulled off (with lovely borders and without troublesome alpha flickering) push this dress beyond the ordinary. With a tiered skirt (that becomes more apparent upon moving), a simple system bodice, and an interesting waistline, this dress has received many compliments as I have worn it around the grid. Poulet Koenkamp has studied the means of production for SL clothing as is apparent by her stunning work.

Green is the Color of Money

I show the dress with the Stumblebum offering from Ivy Graves–a preview of a new skin she’s offering. As opposed to Ivy’s other skins, which had lovely eyes but lips that were too large for my taste, this skin has a much more subtle demeanor with beautifully glistening eyes and skin. For a Stumblebum offering, it’s an inexpensive way to see Ivy’s coming attractions.

Finally, I wore my own necklace, offered under the Fyreworks label. Made of hand-made concentric loops, decorated in the middle with a jade stone, the necklace was a labor of patience I made a couple years ago as I placed each piece by hand (this was before there were jewelry scripts to do such things).

Green is the Color of Money

Eddie Felson: Do you smell that?
Vincent Lauria: What? Smoke?
Carmen: No. Money….
~ from The Color of Money (1986)

Hair: ETD Roslin – Blonde by Elikapeka Tiramisu for ETD (no longer available)

Skin: [ATOMIC] Skin Morgan_Honey – Stumble by Ivy Graves for [ATOMIC]

Dress: :: PM :: Sunshine in Green & Brown by Poulet Koenkamp for PurpleMoon Creations

Necklace: Frida Necklace in Green by Harper Beresford for *Fyreworks*

Compared to a Summer’s Day

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm’d:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

~ Sonnet 18, William Shakespeare

Compared to a Summer's Day

Something about a dress from Sachi Vixen makes one want to quote Shakespeare. Perhaps it is the ornate embroidery on the bodice of this dress, soon to be released, or the exquisite brocade on the skirt. It could be the romantic open sleeves topped with gold stitching. Sachi has been creating in SL since it seems the dawn of time. She is one of SL’s most practiced and skilled creators along with her partner Damen Gorilla (he being “Adam” to her “Eve”). They are also well-known for their original, from-scratch work and integrity (for those concerned about an issue with skins). If you require your SL to be top quality, their store is where it’s at.

Compared to a Summer's Day

I juxtapose their studied creation with the skin from a new designer—Brandon Papp. I showed a similar skin yesterday, but can’t seem to take these skins off. With its delicate shading, this skin is a perfect match to this exquisite dress, transporting me from everyday avatar woman to Shakespearean muse.

Compared to a Summer's Day

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

~ Sonnet 130, William Shakespeare

Hair: ETD Anisa – Crimson by Elikapeka Tiramisu for ETD (no longer available)

Skin: !Imabee: Stigma – Umeko – Pacific Ocean / DKbrow / by Brendon Papp for Imabee

Dress: Adam n Eve Rosalynd Red by Sachi Vixen for Adam n Eve *

Jewelry: *** TBP Fantasia Set*** by Pheonix Piek for The Blue Pearl now {*Aglaia*}

Old School

You know, if you pull out older content, you find out that the designers of the past were pretty darn good.

Old School

Take this dress from Blaze Columbia. Blaze starts with rock solid system pieces in a sexy champagne color with wrinkles and seductive shadowing, showing a satin moving against soft skin. Then he adds beautiful diaphanous prims with draped satin running through them, for the skirt and a slit up to there side. No seams, no disjunctures, just sexiness from top to bottom. Many dress makers that have followed him have not quite hit his formula but they sure want to try.

Old School

Then Elikapeka Tiramisu’s beautifully constructed and textured hair, one of my all time favorites. How many hair makers have pulled apart her hair to see how she did it and took tips and ideas from her brilliant work? I wear a group gift from Tuli Asturias, the tan and luscious Tanya, which is available at her store. Tuli is another one of those classic designers in SL who sets the mark.

Old School

They built this city…

Hair: ETD Loraine 2 – Crimson by Elikapeka Tiramisu for ETD (no longer available)

Skin: []::Tuli::[] Tanya (tone 1/bl) :: preview by Tuli Asturias for Tuli (group gift)

Dress: Blaze* Lush Dress/Gown – Champagne by Blaze Columbia for Blaze Fashions

Earrings: Ear Candy ~ Black Oblong Earrings by Maeve Mortlock for Ear Candy

Shoes: Blaze* Classic Pumps – Champagne by Blaze Columbia for Blaze Fashions

Exoticizing the Avatar

In previous posts I have dabbled with creating avatars are other than myself—either male or of another race. In fact, when I show Harper, I am typically showing one other than myself—I am not a redhead and I am definitely not tall and thin. However, when I dabble in such representations, I try very hard to represent the avatars positively or thoughtfully, and sometimes I still have misgivings about what I am doing.

So when I heard about the new Maasai avatar created by Hart Larsson, Clio Cardiff and Bronco Graves, I was really interested in what they came up with. Hart gave us a beautifully rendered dark skin placed over a body that had a thin nose and green exotic eyes with colored markings as makeup. Bronco gave us beautifully made necklaces with pretty colored beads. Clio gave us a shift that would be lovely as a summer dress. All of them are very well made by great SL artisans. However, none of it has any connection to real life Maasai people or for that matter, any people in Africa except the ones in their imaginations. And old Tarzan movies.

And that’s what really brought me short. The exoticization of the “Other’ (if we want to get all postcolonial on this or even worse, the ‘subaltern’) has been going on for years. It’s our means of not connecting with people who live lives different than ours but distancing them. By making them Others, by making them exotic, they become pretty THINGS, not people.

(To straighten this out, by the way, Maasai women typically have wider flatter noses, thicker lips. They wear substantial piercings in their ears as well as necklets that are large round constructions with colored beads but no kewpie shells or feathers. They wear woven cloths wrapped around their bodies (shuka) and sandals. This is when they ARE dressed in traditional clothing—which is not always.  And they never EVER wear colorful markings on their faces. Incidentally, the Maasai happen also to be one of the few groups that still practice female circumcision, which is deeply entrenched in their culture, even though it is illegal in some countries like Kenya. How exotic is that? Screw cultural relativism–it shouldn’t be happening.)

Bottom line? Maasai people are not exotic or fantasy like drows or fairies. They are living existing people with specific political and social concerns, just LIKE WE ARE. Exoticizing a drow or fae is excusable–they aren’t real life people in this world. They are made-up creatures. Maasai people aren’t fantasy creatures–they REALLY exist.

Exoticizing the Avatar

I appreciate the attempt that the creators made to bring a different sort of person into this overwhelmingly white (or rather, deep tan) world. I really dig that. And Hart’s skin, as you see here, is beautifully rendered and would be perfect for say, an African American woman. (However, I have changed the shape he used to show it to one with a more realistic facial structure and I have given her beautiful deep dark brown eyes.) Why did she have to become a Maasai woman? Wouldn’t it be enough to make her African-American?

Exoticizing the Avatar

I have also dressed our beautiful woman in an outfit of pure class. Think Kathleen Battle here or Rita Dove or.. ha, Michele Obama! Our beauty wears a gorgeous dress from Su Scarmon. What catches my eye the most about this dress is the silvery-gold texture. Giving off this kind of luster is not easy in SL, especially for a fabric. Su really captured the richness of a champagne-colored satin.

Exoticizing the Avatar

Be careful what you swallow. Chew!” ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

Hair: ETD Anisa – Black by Elikapeka Tiramisu for ETD (No longer available)

Skin: [PXL] Efe DeepTan NoMakeup by Hart Larsson for [PXL]

Dress: *LaLei*Josephine-silver by Su Scarmon for *LaLei*

Necklace and earrings: Donna Flora ASIA black set by Squinternet Larnia for Donna Flora

Want to read more about “native appropriations”? Click here to Mimi Thi Nyugen’s article on threadbared.

First Flowers of Spring

It’s a little early here to trumpet the arrival of flowers. Even the crocuses know better than to poke their heads out just yet. But a certain flower has decided to poke her head out and grace us with her beauty.

First Flowers of Spring

Eshi Otawara has ventured back into SL tentatively, first with her showing at the McQueen tribute show and now with another one of her One-Hour Builds called Symphony of Science-The Poetry of Reality. Despite the abstract title, the flowers are really truly beautiful. There is a fashion hook here, folks. She is offering the beautiful necklace you see, your own wearable piece of this beautiful build.

First Flowers of Spring

The dress is from a Japanese designer, ruby69kill Moonites. I stumbled on her shop on one of my weird exploratory adventures. The dress works well for this piece of jewelry and has a nice little peekaboo. The luminous skin is from Mallory Cowen and suits the glow of the entire build.

First Flowers of Spring

Come see Eshi’s work. Buy the necklace and take a piece of her with you.

First Flowers of Spring

First Flowers of Spring

Wake up, little flower.

Hair: ETD Loraine – Blonde by Elikapeka Tiramisu for ETD

Skin: LAQ ~ Pearl – 06 [Peach] Glow skin by Mallory Cowen for Laqroki

Dress: *dg* Katie by ruby69kill Moonites for *deviant girls*

Necklace: LOTUS – Necklace and earrings by Eshi Otawara by Eshi Otawara, available at the Symphony of Science

P.S. All photos unedited except for crop. It’s really this beautiful in SL.

P.P.S. I checked my Siberian irises today, and they are coming up!