Dolls Eye View: Fall/Winter 2019 Paris Couture

To all my friends here, I apologize for the lull in between posts, but I have been working on a project I know many of you will love. I have been teaching myself to make shoes for my divas! Inasmuch as this is not my area of expertise, I feel the need to take my time to do things right and figure ways to surmount the challenges of creating such tiny objects. When I began this blog, I was a huge fan of "Fashion Doll Shoes." Unfortunately Tarja has not updated it in years (though she is kind enough to leave her tutorials online). And as I combed through all her posts, I noticed that she focused primarily on dolls much bigger than Barbie. So I decided to pick up the torch and focus on 1/6 scale footwear for those dolls' high heeled feet.
I have been making LOTS of shoes! And I have made LOTS of mistakes. And while I will not be putting Fashion Royalty out of business anytime soon, I have made a LOT of progress! I am experimenting with different materials, methods and techniques, the most successful of which, I plan to share with you over a series of tutorials in the very near future.

Even though my dolls are THRILLED to have their own personal "shoe making machine" at their disposal...they have been reminding me it's time to post a new fashion report. So here we go.....

While busy making stilettos and stocking boots, the Haute Couture shows in Paris took place last month. With the exception of a couple of couturiers, I cannot say I was thrilled with much of what I saw. I didn't see the kind of innovation, genius cutting style or fantasy that was once a huge part of this art. Still, we took it as an opportunity to look for ideas for our own creations, so in a few cases, I used the dresses to come up with my own versions. There is very little daywear in couture these days which explains the preponderance of eveningwear and formal gowns.

So Chanel Faux Chanel

Who wears couture daywear? High profile women in the media, CEO of Fortune 500 companies, women who express their power and position, starting with the clothes on their backs! It's a circle of women which is shrinking but nevertheless still in existence. As for our dolls... what brings more jaw drops than Barbie in Chanel!!!

Tailor Made

This sort of pristine dressing permeates straight through to late day cocktail attire where pants and blazers rule. Creating custom tailored blazers for a tiny 12 or 12-1/2 silhouette is a challenge but oh my doesn't our divas look devine when decked out in in a suit!

Fancy Pants
Just because pant suits are expected to dominate winter parties, doesn't mean dolly has to wear the same old boring silhouette. Look for a wide spectrum of pant shapes from slim stovepipes to swash-buckling pleated pants all cut from luxury fabrics and topped with an array of tailored, embroidered, unconventionally cut tops and jackets.
At first when I saw this Armani jacket, I wondered...what's the big deal. But upon close inspection, I discovered what I thought was plaid was actually rows of beaded embroidery. For Grace's jacket, I started out with a micro-boucle fabric, then I added rows of shell beads alternating with silver beads. I kept the jacket itself simple, opting not to add a shawl collar. After all, the story here is really about the beads. Her pants were cut from a heavy silk satin....

Misty Melodies
Personally, this looks more like summer than winter.... but I suppose it's sunny and warm somewhere in the world at any given moment. My girls like the nouveau vintage look and feel to these dresses. From the sassa of the fringed "Gatsby" dress to the simplicity of a sparkly slip dress with its matching satin stole, these are easy glam looks to create for your doll.

Duchess of Diva
Continuing along the above theme, this group has perhaps a bit more sophistication by its cut and regal detailing. Worth noting with both groups..... the trend towards soft pastels or flesh tones, filmy chiffons or tulle, and a little bit of pure luxe like beads and baubles.

Tower Power
The timeless sheath dress remains a regal classic in couture thanks to some interesting draping and asymmetrical effects. My dolls were drawn especially to Elie Saab's velvet gown. Velvet is a fabric we don't see very often. But here, with the way it is wrapped around the body terminating in a partial cape over one arm, we can see this being a hit for winter parties. It's also good to see Antonio Grimaldi's use of color!
 I took some liberties with Iman's dress. When I first looked at the photo, I thought I saw a deep fold over the bust. And that is exactly how I created her dress. The drape was very hard to achieve and for good reason.... it isn't a drape at all.... It is, in fact, a separate piece with what appears to be some sort of flap or "collar." For me, the story of this dress is its asymmetrical line falling from high on the hip to the ankle and a "drape" from just under one bust to the other side of the body. I used China silk for Iman's dress. But here, the lesson learned is.....when the dress is so simple, fabric becomes a major player. A better grade of silk would have yielded the more luxurious look of the original dress!

Bewitched!
Black tulle and re-embroidered lace, these dresses all have a mysterious, almost Agatha Christie haunting aura to them. It's part glamour, part goth, and one hundred percent fabulous!
This is quintessential Hollywood glamour at its best. And...it's a good use for that oversized sequin fabric you might have purchased as well. The actual gown has specks of gold on tulle. But in the photo, all you see are spots reflecting the light. This is a halter neck skinny sheath dress with tiny tuffs of tulle at the neck and on the hips with rows of gathered tulle cascading down to the ankles.
I'm not a huge fan of Dior these days. When I examined this outfit up close, I thought the overall look was more interesting than the actual result. I really did not care so much for the black lace body suit. For Noor's dress, I wanted something edgy but more practical. So I imagined this dress in pieces. Underneath it all is a basic lace slip dress in stretch lace. The collar was attached to the front of the dress afterwards but falls free over the shoulders and in the back. The sleeves are detachable, And she's wearing stretch lace stocking boots. Over it all.. an "apron" of black organza and tulle. At any given point (the after-party for example)  the dress can be disassembled and worn as a very simple party dress!

The Empress
Harking back to the golden age of couture, debutante balls and "Gone with the Wind"  style formal events, the ballgown in all of its glory returns to the stage! From the great big Empress Eugenie gown (with its tulle petticoat underneath) to a dress falling from sumptuous pleats tucked into an embroidered empire waist bodice, this is a regal return to era that made its mark on style.
I had fun with Brie's version of Elie Saab's dress. My fabric (a polyester novelty blend) wasn't as supple as I'd hope to pull off the drape of the bodice but I still loved the result. I decided against cutting a slit for the leg because, it didn't make a lot of sense to me. Legs are generally lost under layers of petticoats and, except when the model is walking, the leg would not be showing from under such a full skirt. Since the gown is so simple, I thought to let the tulle petticoat peak out from under the hemline as Brie twirls down the catwalk!

Frou Frou
These are shorter evening looks with lots and lots of ruffles worked in. I'm not really sure what, if any, rapport this has to do with couture, but I included them because they make for nice dolly dresses!
Though I usually love the work of Alexandre Vauthier (who works a lot in ruffled tulle), I was rather disappointed with this particular dress. A stretch dress with a huge flower, is not enough to call it couture for me. Both me and Kimora felt.....half the dress was missing. So even though she thought it was pretty, Kimora gave her dress back to me so that I could elaborate on what was there.
What was a dress for Kimora was a top for Tiah! I added removable long sleeves to her stretch velvet top. I had a straight, wrap skirt out of pink satin. Then I added a drape of peach chiffon just under the flower on the top. And now we're talking couture!!!!!


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