Vanity Fair

Being out of fashion journalism for a several months, I was delighted to rejoin right in the middle of Menswear Fashion Week 2012, a two-sim affair underwritten by SL fashion giants, Siren Productions, MENstuff, AVENUE, KMADD and Secondnights.com.

Using the SLURL from the secondlife.com website, I landed directly in a small shop called (PDA) where I got to sample several still-poses amidst of various male avatars plopping in behind me at the rate of one every 15 – 30 seconds. A few of them were slightly distracting and helped make an otherwise underwhelming display a tad more interesting. It also served as a reminder that much of the male fashion market is bloggers themselves (who would require such poses) … and not the thousands of male avatars requiring emergency makeovers.

Deciding to circle around, I hit the KMADD shop immediately … and I was immediately impressed. When I had last seen their mainstore, it was an artistic impression to behold, almost overwhelming their famous shape kits and hair products. Just visiting the shop at MWFW, I made a mental note to revisit the store … impressed that it seems that they’ve enlisted the help of some of their more popular bloggers in putting the styling cards together.

The second shop that caught my eye was that of Tableau Vivant, a skin and clothing creator that had previous missed my radar. Some of the clothes were “a’ight”, nicely done, but appearing to be heavily influenced by CheerNo … but the skins, oh my! If a person can fall in love with a texture … I’m totally in need of an intervention!

Prodigal Skins was new for me as well … the faces are cute, but a bit waxy – a reminder of those earlier SL days when “realistic skins” were the rage, those frankensteinian photographs superimposed over a SL skin template. The bodies … well, the nipples are really, really large … okay, I guess, for those who like to … well … there’s a niche for everthing, I suppose.

I was impressed to see SF Designs still in the game, nothing terribly trendy, but a good staple of basics, using the latest mesh technology.

Birth Skins was a new surprise for me as well, faces meaningfully drawn with subtle expressions that make you want to break their tough exterior. The “Age of Aquarius” presentation boards left a lot to be desired, but I left wanting to buy their entire selection.

Halcali::: was one of those rare stores that requires an immediate visit their regular location … if you’re interested in the cutting age of men’s Haute Couture, then this store is a “must visit.” I had to keep my hand off the “pay” button … another store I wanted to clean out.

Being currently involved in roleplay at the Chateau de Versailles, I thought that the Roleplay Chic store would be a store right up my alley, but sadly – while all of the costumes are interesting and colourful … they are that … costumes. Great for parties … for more accurate apparel, one can attend the offerings of the clothiers that meet those stricter standards of your RP niche.

Gabriel was another shop I instantly fell in love with, and another I had to make a side trip visit on. This creator seems to have mastered sculpties and mesh … the clothes seem to fall effortlessly onto your body, exuding a chic-nessand elegance not often seen in SL.

Of course, the shop that gave the biggest joy to enter was one of my favourite designers, Emilia Redgrave’s … her spot-on “Edward” skin is the most realistic avi skin I’ve ever seen actually drawn … no photo-shopped pic swiped from the net here, and no half-assed “celeb look-a-like” job we’ve seen before around our virtual world. If you haven’t seen it yet – check out the booth, or her mainstore.

A few other honorable mentions: Zenith Fashion Design, Signature Skins (I enjoyed covering his skins before – great talent, Shag (great mops!, Vaya Con Dios, among others. It was great to see a ton of vendors that were new for me, although I missed seeing some of my old favourites. If you haven’t checked it out yet … better hurry before it disappears into the digital phantom-zone!

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