Sew Crafy

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Which way should we go, Alice!?!

Welcome to Fashionland!!

When I first saw Challenge 2 - well actually the companion video, I was almost drooling at the thought  of the mahvelous concoctions Alice In Wonderland could inspire!  However, the CDDC contestants (and moi) were quickly brought down to reality with the now almost guessed it...twist!  They were going to be designing an ensemble inspired by a character from children's literature - mostly heroes/heroines, of course.  That's because heroes/heroines have a distinct style, you see!  And a new look must be designed for their subject, using colours and a style that was true to their character's taste!

Okay, who were my heros and heroines, I thought, still fuming at losing Alice as the total focus of this challenge!  Why of course, this was too simple.........for me!  Too bad I'm not even in this competition!! But, anyway, in my mind the consumate hero would have to be Prince Charming!! Well, hasn't he shown up in every fairy tale from Snow White to Sleeping Beauty with a whole lot of heroines for him to rescue thrown into the mix - think Cinderella.

Although they were only being rescued from being Old Maids,
some by sleeping, some by continuing to exist ever so boringly,
he was still a Prince!

Compare the pictures of a Prince dressed more traditionally, to the one dressed by Jean Paul Gaultier.

Swoon!  While he is a hunk - in my mind this is more what the
Prince would be wearing in the more relaxed atmosphere AFTER
the wedding than during a rescue. Oh dear, indeed, this would
never do!

When that didn' t work out  I turned to one of my most fave characters - Peter Pan and, of course, Tink!  A dubious hero by hero standards!

You know, I doubt  J. M. Barrie ever imagined how this character would be developed!  I can't think he imagined his bright eyed boy would ever be played by Ms. Mary Martin!?! which way should I go?? Well, patootey, as I looked over many stylings of Peter, I can't say I found anything very interesting!!

 So I decided to stick with the modern day movie version and just dress Tinkerbell.  Can't you just imagine her in this dreamy design where Elle Saab gives us a glimpse into a world of fairy tale beauty?? Hum.....this definitely has possibilities - only thing is will the judges really identify her as a hero like I do?? Dang, perhaps another pass!?!

Gosh, all this thinking had this diva dizzy!! So my mind went back to my sweet Alice. I thought using her could still be justified.  However, one would have to be very clever using a character from this tale.  After all the guest judge, David Buttry, is also the creator of the fabulous Alice companion doll for the 2010 IFDC Convention.  David certainly moved her into the 21st Century while keeping her original style, so how could anyone compete against him??

 No problem, I thought, "I am not one of the contestants," were the last words I remember as I floated off to dreamland...all the while spilling my tea cake and tea all over the carpet!!  Yes, I was drifting off to my own fashion Fashionland...a place where fashion rules and Alice (and her friends) really rock!  A place I cannot imagine Lewis Carroll envisioned when he wrote his fantasy novella, Through the Looking-Glass.

The main costume of my dream doesn't belong to Alice at all, though!  After I got past the makeup - think eyebrows - I realized Colleen Atwood had designed the most perfect Princess dress I have ever seen for the White Queen!

Yes, this White Queen, who could be considered a protagonist and ally to Alice, wore this diaphanos beauty well!

Anne Hathaway's character  fits right in with her fashion, and I  think  this design is most appropriate for a Queen who doesn’t walk, but instead floats. She is very eccentric and dramatic - in my opinion - think  diva!!

“I’m Late, I’m Late!” I thought I could hear off in the distance.  The White Rabbit was constantly fussing about time, so any fashion influenced by him would need to incorporate it!

And I cannot think of anyone who did it with such fashion flair as well-known U.K. photographer Rebecca Parkes.  Teamed with U.K. make-up artist Sarah Terry, hairstylist Sean Butt, and designer Bibian Blue, Parkes created a dark vision of the Rabbit.

The team used, said Parkes,  "...a look perhaps from the Victorian and Edwardian eras that was created with more than just a hint of mischief!"  I vote we follow her and them down that path, shall we?

 Then, again, my thoughts crept back to Alice, and of course  the twins, the caterpillar, Mad Hatter, and others come to mind. Each one could actually inspire a more up to date frock of a character from children's literature - the new directive I heard on the CDDC group.  Yes, it's true Alice's frineds weren't heros/heroines, but they were definitely among the characters immortalized in all different forms around the world!

From  the moment the whisperings began about Tim Burton's latest movie, designers of all kinds went totally mad, mad, mad about using Wonderland characters as their muse!  I say designers of all kinds because items from makeup to home interior, and even edible delicacies, began showing up with an obvious Alician/Wonderlandish influence.  The items would be far too many for me to comment on here, so I have developed a little slide show - without music - to show you a little of what I mean:  (Notice any difference between Disney's original, and the Disney of today - oh my!!)

Play Me!

And that was the last of my sweet dream, and the last of the examples of literature musings I will offer.  Instead I will put my pouting for Alice & company aside, and await with gleeful anticipation what the designers have to offer this time - weren't those Gothic numbers dreamy??

Featured this week are David Buttry, guest judge, and Rob Thompson, permanent judge. 
DAVID BUTTRY - Guest Judge Deux

Some of you might have remembered David Buttry from Integrity who was nice enough to serve as a guest judge in the original CDDC.  David has always been a doll collector, specifically of fashion dolls, because his sisters and mother collected dolls. David not only designs dolls today, but he is also a graphic designer who is well known for his logos and other fashion doll illustrations - in fact that's the original job he snared at Integrity Toys.  He has worked under Vaughn Sawyers and Jason Wu, but David has a style all his own.
His work with Integrity does include illustration as well as design for ads and packaging, and even working with the doll design team.  

But the general public probably knows him better for the doll lines he's worked on that include Misaki, Dynamite Girls, and most recently, Poppy Parker.  He works on doll designs that include loads of personality, and designed the doll that inspired this challenge - the IFDC Alice in Wonderland companion doll.  David has been published in Fashion Doll Quarterly, and  other popular doll magazines.  

ROB THOMPSON - New Resident Judge

Rob initially served as a guest judge on the original CDDC.  Since then he has been busy with conventions; especiallly this spring and summer.  He did the Grant A Wish convention in Livonia Michigan, IFDC in Las Vegas, and Barbie Convention in Cleveland.  So far this year, his charity auction dolls at these events have raised over $5,000 for the various charities.  He will be at the Fashion Royalty convention in Pittsburgh in October to round out his convention season, so should any of my viewers like to meet him, Rob is always up for that, too!

      Rob also continues to teach workshops at IFDC, as well as doing collaborations with Steven from Dressmaker Details, and Randall Craig on charity auction dolls.  And he is currently working on articles for Fashion Doll Quarterly including one about the charity auction he will soon be running personally. For the FR convention he is planning on getting back to his roots of sewing and fashion, so he will be doing more fashions than ever before for convention.

Besides dolls, Rob's interests include anything vampire related - he loves the Vampire Chronicles, True Blood, the Twilight Saga, as well as many other vampire related books, movies, and TV shows.  He is also addicted to the PlayStation Final Fantasy games, and has been playing the Sims on his PC since the beginning!  He loves so many different music icons...from Lady Gaga to Stevie Nicks!  In fact, when he was in Vegas this summer  for IFDC,, he had to make a trip back to the Cher shop at Caesars Palace to pick up the show program and some tour goodies.   Rounding out his collections are those developed around his loves Japanese anime, Japanese culture and Hello Kitty stuff!  In fact he has a Hello Kitty themed cell phone!  I suspect he's just a kid at heart!

In fashion, Rob's a bit more serious.  He loves everything from vintage Haute Couture to the very cutting edge Avant Guard.  His favorite modern designer was Alexander McQueen, but he also loves Alexander Wang, Jason Wu, Heatherette, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, miu miu, Nina Ricci, Vivian Westwood, Betsy Johnson, and Atsuko Kudo; just to mention a few.  

In vintage fashion houses his favorites are Chanel, Valentino, and Givenchy, along with many others.  He like his fashion to be forward looking even if vintage inspired.  He adores seeing little modern updates to vintage design, and thinks styling is as important as the design in the overall look.    He keeps up with the latest fashion through his  addiction to magazines,  and freely admits he subscribes to and reads a ton of them including, Vogue, Elle, Bazaar, Marie Clair, W, Esquire, GQ, Details, along with other interesting fashion magazines he finds when he is out and about.   Fashion also plays a part in his movie preferences as he spends many happy hours watching old movies, and independent and foreign films while working on his doll designs.

And now for the juicy part you've been waiting for -  Rob 's criteria for judging other people's work as well as his own!

 "Details, details, details…. The scale has to work for every item in a fashion.  The scale of fabric is critical to the design as well as the weight of the fabric choice.  If any part of the fashion is oversized in scale, then there has to be a reason, and it has to work.  I look for how the item fits.  There is no excuse for a poorly fitted garment when you have 2 weeks to make it.  I look for originality, as well as how creatively the designer tackled the challenge.  I look at how the fashion is finished -- every detail counts.  Finally, I look at the overall image:  How is the doll styled?  Styling is as important as the design in the overall look.   No matter the skill set in sewing, the fashion should look as if time were spent in the design process, and in the fabrication process, as well as looking as if some thought was put into the overall finished look of the design.  Details matter, and as always, I am not afraid of giving a zero when scoring!!  Put thought into the work, and don’t waste our time with less than the best you can do."

Well, I guess he told us!  But before you think Rob is a curmudgeon, take some time to visit his website and his delightful dolls, and even talk to him sometimes on the CDDC Board - Rob promises to be more active there during the competition!  Rob is really a nice guy......he just knows what he wants in fashion! 

All right, I'm going to fly back to my nest, little birdies.  But I'll be back with the news of Challenge One's winner before you know it - ooooooooooh, such anticipation!! I guess we can all just go play dolls until the results are ready.

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