Dolls Eye View: London F/W 19 Trends

London was no New York! With Brexit (Britain's exit from the European Union) looming, designers are clearly rattled. Not knowing what the future holds and how this will impact them financially, many didn't hold a traditional show and when they did, some played it super safe. Others threw caution to the wind with a chaotic palette. We were tempted not to stop in London this time around. But my girls spotted a few interesting items and so we transform this trip into a learning experience.... It is a quick pit stop on our way to Milan and Paris.

Neo-Afro Post Modernism
Doru Olowu is a young Nigerian designer best known for his innovative combinations of patterns and textiles drawn from his own native land. Looking at his work showed, once again, the influence Africa has on western designers and it gave me a better insight into the mind of the late, great Yves St. Laurent. The French couturier was born and raised in Morocco, an area of the world which impacted his designs throughout his historically successful career. He made much of his fortune by translating the the clothing of local women with its kaleidoscope of patterns, prints and colors into chic western wear. When I spotted the first two garments, I admired how Olowo used three colors of the same print in the same dress. Even more interesting is the middle ensemble where there are three different patterns topped off with an animal print! Personally, I am not really drawn to this color palette and I feel the dress itself is more complicated than it need be. But  still, I appreciate the beauty of this set.

To pull off such an audacious use of pattern and print, there must be a connection. In my case, where I have combined five different prints in one look, each pattern contains black. Also, the abstract print used for the blouse has a light tan streak running through it with ties it to the leopard spotted coat. Her skirt, by the way, was made from a silk men's tie. (Tie prints offer the perfect scale for doll fashion!) Unlike Mr. Olowu, I kept each element very simple. There is a dolman sleeve top, a straight skirt and a cummerbund belt underneath a standard straight coat. Instead of putting Grace in black boots, I pushed the envelope a little further and gave her velvet flocked plaid boots.
 If you want to opt for a less ethnic vibe, remove the head wrap and it easily fits right in with western wear!
West End Promenade
Simple wardrobe staples for a stroll around town.

 The original Vivienne Westwood coat is made from a soft, fleece fabric. I tried to copy this look using the wrong side of a sweat sock. The end result was..well...underwhelming. The moral of the story here is that when something is this basic, your garment is only as good as the fabric itself. So I started again with the approach, "Go big or go home!" This time I opted for a faux fur super plush effect. (This time around, I used a furry head band I found at a beauty supply shop! It contained just enough fabric.) It's a little over-the-top but well suited for all Natasha's silver accessories including her silver stocking boots.

Soft Shoulders
It's not that I'm all that wild about this group. But there are times the clothes on the catwalk look more like they should be cut in 1/6 scale!
Such is the case with this red and fuchsia dress. An empire waistline filled in with two tiers of ruffles makes for the perfect dolly dress, modeled here by Peaches, one of three My Scene dolls in our house!
Though I like the leather corset over the blouse and flared skirt, personally I found the original dress to be a little sad. So for Kimora, I added length to the corset as well as little bit of lacing under the bust. The blouse underneath is a crinkled taffeta bustier and, as you can see, we've added a mini circle skirt cut from faux stretch leather. I have these boots left over from my post on fancy footwork which I feel adds more of a pirate girl charm to the entire look.

Nottingham Hill After Dark
This is a hodge podge of evening looks with no real thread. But you know....dollies got to party! And these were the best uptown looks of the season here.

 When I first saw the Marchesa Notte gown, I thought..."what an interesting use of tie dye." But when you look more closely a second time, you see that the print is really a blurry watercolor floral print. Still, I went with my first impression to create Zoe's gown. I had some purple tie dyed cotton on hand and I must admit....I am very happy with the results. (Moral of the story: think outside of the box for a truly creative look!) And, making this dress could not have been easier. I started out with a simple one shouldered sheath gown. Then, I draped fabric over one should and tacked it on the side just above the hip. The volume tossed to the side and back is more interesting than the original dress where it made to cascade down from the high shoulder point. Again....what I did was to make a basic dress, then drape fabric over the bodice and tack in place!

A pair of wide trousers, a bit of polyester organdy draped into a top.....what better way to look while walking the dog! 

That's it for London. We're headed for Milan where my girls tell me there is LOTS more to love!!!
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