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Still Alive

April 1st, 2014 by Roland

It’s been a couple of years…like four…since I posted last. I’ve been basically off grid for a long time. I don’t know if I’m coming back, or if this is just a quick stop on the way to somewhere else, but I’m still alive.

SuperELITE Model Search Summer 2010

July 25th, 2010 by Roland

The finals for the Mr. SE Summer 2010 contest wrapped up yesterday and congratulations to the three guys who took home the prizes. In my own typical fashion, I managed to miss the boat somewhere but it’s worthy of a post.

The theme as presented to the contestants:

Theme : “Dark side of the Moon” – The chaos and the apocalypse reigns over our Earth, Angels and Demons fight for the dominance of this world and restoring the broken order.
(futuristic, dramatic, battle, metallic)

There’s an interesting challenge here. First, they’re looking for something that’s as cliche as it gets when we’re talking about male fashion on the grid–the warrior look. Second, it will need to be something that shows off the modeling skills of styling, posing, presentation, and description. Third, the contestants were only given four days to address the theme. A formidable task!

My entry:

Mr_Summer_01

For me, this rather tired male-as-warrior cliche is a particular challenge. I dislike it almost as much as the “loin clothed muscle-man” and the “gay caballero” themes which seem to be the other common archtypes for males in the metaverse. Overcoming my distaste and coming up with a look which was within the theme, added something to the male aesthetic, and provided sufficient drama to have a chance of winning in a matter of hours was a substantial challenge. That challenge was made even more difficult when the organizers announced the show theme on Wednesday as “Fallen Angels.” Contestants were not notified of any contest theme change so I proceeded to create the look we were assigned.

The difficulty in dealing with warriors is getting out of the cliche in a way that supports the trope. In a fashion and styling contest, there’s also the challenge of not obscuring the model. There are lots of armors, weapons, specialized skins, etc on the grid that do a good job of making a warrior but mis-represent the model underneath — effectively turning the model into a dress-up doll, even hiding the avatar completely.

The key to any styling assignment is finding the inspiration. In many cases, that’s an item of clothing, an accessory, or perhaps a skin. In my case it was the stage. When we saw the stage on Tuesday for the first time, the dark, gritty, apocalyptic landscape started me wondering about how to stand out in the darkness — not only how to stand out against the field of contestants but how to be seen in the first place. I reasoned that the majority of contestants would opt for the “Black Bart” look, and going with an alternate would get me out of the pack. The idea of the White Knight appealed to me in terms of my ability to stand out on the stage.

It didn’t take long for me to select Lapointe’s Archangel Gabriel armor as a basis. It has the advantage of being white, scanty without being skimpy, and falls within the instructional parameters of “futuristic, dramatic, battle” very nicely. It’s not particularly “metallic” but I liked the possibilities provided. The immediate question was one of application — the theme specified an End Times scenario where the battle for good and evil becomes literal rather than spiritual and I needed to decide whether or not to wear the wings and be the Archangel Gabriel or to become an earthly champion of Good. I reasoned that most contestants would opt for wings and I chose the contrarian approach. I liked that because it allowed me to take advantage of literary goodness with an ancient story of a warrior named Roland — Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came — and use that as a foundation for my description. A great skin from Belleza and TTF’s mohawk gave me a fierce foundation. A classic two-handed sword from the White Armory provided the extra weaponry for the “sword and pistol by my side” idea and some very nice jewelry from Rozaregalia and an arm mounted clock for counting down to Doomsday accessorized the outfit. As a final touch, I picked a set of Celtic tattoos from Tat’ash Ink that complemented the knot work designs on the armor itself and tied the whole thing together.

I confess I had reservations about the choices.

The armor was a set piece. As a styling challenge, having so much of the outfit from a single designer was a risk. Frequently, styling competitions focus on the clothes and whether or not the contestant was able to mix-n-match. They sometimes overlook the cohesiveness of the avatar as a whole.

The overall subtlety of the look seemed a risk to me as well. I have a very minimalist aesthetic. It comes from growing bonsai trees where a single leaf represents an entire tree. That aesthetic manifests itself in my styling for maximum effect with minimum artifact. Coco Chanel’s famous quote about fashion being a triumph over vulgarity is one of my guiding principles, so I shoot for an overall look that uses the least amount of busy-ness. Unfortunately, that subtlety is frequently lost on judges who seem to be looking for the model to wear *something* on every mount point, whether it adds to the look or not.

Third, the issue of the theme change weighed on my mind. The contestants were never notified that the theme had shifted from the battle to ‘fallen angels’ and although the original statement of theme referred to the battle of angels and demons, I was left with my original instructions and the uneasy sense that I’d missed a memo.

Finally, I knew going in that I was going against type for SuperELITE. They have a consistent look for their male models that I’ve seen them choose over and over and over. Going against that type was a calculated risk.

In the end, the change of theme turned out to be significant and the three winners were either angels or demons. They had great looks and I congratulate them on their success with the contest. The nature of these contests is that I’ll never find out what it was that cost me. It might have been the theme, might have been the look. It might have been that they didn’t like my answer to their question. Whatever it was, my year of playing the SuperELITE lottery is over. After missing Mr Autumn, being caught by a rules change for Mr. Winter, traveling and being unable to make the mandatory rehearsal schedule for Spring, and now having missed the brass ring for Mr. Summer, I can finally get two group slots back by dropping the two slots taken up by the required SE groups. It’s apparent that SuperELITE isn’t buying what I’m selling and it’s time for me to move along.

Congrats and best wishes all around. It was a heck of a ride.

[Update: The day after the event, I was invited back to become an MSE Top Model which makes me eligible to participate in the finale show later this fall. I’m not exactly sure why and I’ve not had a chance to ask, but I’m looking forward to working as a model instead of a contestant. – RZ]

Yipes, Stripes

July 3rd, 2010 by Roland

Elle74 from Bellissima sent me this pinstripe suit the other day and asked what I thought of it.

Gorgeous. The components here are what I’ve come to expect from Bellissima and they go together to create a unique look. The jacket is a luscious green Prince Charlie formal coat and she’s placed it over an olive waistcoat and white shirt with olive tie. The pants sport some of the better looking pin stripes that I’ve seen inworld. Those little buggers are difficult to do well because of the way pants and avatar mesh interact. It usually comes out badly for the pants. In this case, Elle74 has made a great compromise between delicateness of the stripe and width of the gap to make a pair of pin stripes that sets up very nicely.

I could see this as the core of a steam punky look, or even as is, for a Victorian or Edwardian period outfit.

If I were to find fault with one thing, it’s that the knot in the tie sits back into the collar just a tad too far, but I’m really quibbling.

Find this outfit on Bellissima’s RFL vendor and you’ll be helping a great cause while getting a terrific look.

Share the Love

May 23rd, 2010 by Roland

Triskall Claremont of North*Wind keeps pumping out new looks. His latest one — Love Squad — dropped the other day and this is the first chance I’ve had to check it out.

love squad

I first saw the original of this at the ModelX show where North*Wind was featured along with some Shiki, Deetalz, SF Designs, Gabrielle, and Ginevra Lancaster. Triskall put the prototype for this outfit together in a snazzy red plaid with a bandana around his head. He looked quite piratical and I really liked what he’d done with textures. During the show he talked about putting together the outfit for sale, and he’s done a great job with the prim work. I’m not a big fan of the skully but he’s used it in very interesting ways — as buttons, as a collar insignia, and even on the tam. The other thing I found fascinating was the use of the “bloused” look on the sleeves and pant legs. Adding in the heavy “combat boots” in matching plaid gives this outfit a terrifically pulled together look that tickles my sense of fun.

North*Wind and Prelude have moved and Triskall has his own shop now.

Thanks, Triskall. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

Rising Sun

May 22nd, 2010 by Roland




board_shorts_rising_sun

Originally uploaded by roland_zepp

Saige Elton laid a pair of her new board shorts on me the other day and I really liked them. I have several other pairs of board shorts but I don’t wear them that much because I don’t get to the beach that often.

I may have to change my habits because these shorts are really quite nice. There are no prims that need adjusting, just a nicely textured and wrinkled pair of shorts.

I had one small problem with the bulkiness of them … they took advantage of the “loose fitting” option in Appearance and the way the system flared my thigh gave me a rather odd, drumstick look about the leg. These shorrts are mod/copy so I was able to scale back the bulk and get a good match for my legs and the shorts.

I may have to spend more time on the beach. Cowabunga!

Ease Meets West

May 17th, 2010 by Roland




Oriental_Splatter

Originally uploaded by roland_zepp

Summertime and the living is easy. It’s time for casual clothes and easy wear outfits. Shiki is right on top of this with a new (and extensive) spring/summer line up of unique colors and patterns.

I’ll post more of these as I get them unpacked but here’s a taste of what’s in store at Shiki this season.

This Oriental patterned cowboy shirt layers a yoke of blue and white over a lushly textured red body. Prim sleeves and collar add nice touches of dimension while preserving the shape and pattern.

The grungy jeans in paint spattered stone wash are a great foil to the reds in the shirt. The excellent wrinkle and shading add depth to the pants without overwhelming the pattern.

This is a terrific, easy wear look for guys. The prim collar lays down nicely with a minimum of fuss and the cuffs are optional for those who just don’t like to play with prims when they dress. The combination of eastern flower patterns with the blue denim cap at the collar and pocket flap makes this outfit uniquely Shiki.

Thanks, Shinichi! Great stuff.

Butterflies on Guys

May 13th, 2010 by Roland

Triskall Claremont of North*Wind continues to exert pressure on the stereotypes of male fashion. This outfit has been out for awhile, but seeing Triskall’s work at the ModelX show yesterday reminded me that I hadn’t written this one up yet.

Papillon

This outfit is a fine example of the superb construction I’ve come to expect from North*Wind. Seams, textures, and prims all match properly and the shading gives extra dimension to the rich blue fabric. Papillon comes in two flavors — the whimsical with butterfly applique on the chest, and a less flamboyant version for those who may be somewhat less adventurous. Personally, I think I’m more likely to wear the plainer one, myself, just because I like the cleaner lines and less rococo nature of the outfit without the jacket tails. As a model, I’m always aware of trying to keep my hands out of my clothing — even when I’m off the runway — and my AO insists on putting my hands close to my hips when I stand. The sharply flaired prim tails and my hands just don’t seem to be able to get along. The tails are optional, and the butterfly version of the tunic sports white lace trim along the hem which gives it a nicely finished look without the conflict with my hands so I may wear it that way. Depends on my mood.

Find this and more of Triskall’s rapidly expanding line of avant grid men’s wear at North*Wind.

Tunic Tops

May 10th, 2010 by Roland

While we’re on the subject of shirts, Triskall Claremont of North*Wind let me know about this new release yesterday.

Juli Tunic_Autumn

Triskall continues in his quest for developing new ideas in men’s fashion. This time it’s a tunic style shirt with a square yoke detail pattern across the chest. This one is the “Autumn” variety but he’s also got a colorful floral, a black butterfly, and a nicely textured white ribbon version. The prim collar comes with and without the tie, and the cuffs come in two varieties. In this photo I’m wearing the straight cuff, but there’s also one with a bloused lower sleeve that’s gathered at the cuff for a fuller look. The underlying textures on this piece are excellently shaded and highlighted and with the variety of layers and options available, this is a terrific buy.

Rockin’ RobinSa

May 9th, 2010 by Roland

Saige Elton designs some very nice women’s clothing. She’s just started working on a men’s line and she sent me a pack of her new shirts to try out.

rocker_red_2

This is “Rocker” in red and it’s a classic “open front” jacket-layer shirt. I particularly like the shading and wrinkling she’s added to this shirt. The prim cuffs have a subtle texture as well that makes them stand up a little better than flat cuffs normally do and the mod/copy permissions let me experiment with getting them just the way I liked. The collar scuplty, likewise, took to mod nicely so I could make it fit around my fat neck and still meet the back of the shirt.

Altogether, this is a very nice jacket layer shirt.

Thanks for the look-see, Saige.

Start Wearing Purple

May 2nd, 2010 by Roland

For those who may have missed it, it’s Paint the Grid Purple week in support of the Relay For Life. In order to raise awareness for the efforts to fight cancer on and off the grid, there’s purple stuff everywhere, and I’ve got a very special bit of purple to share.

barbarella_poison

Triskall Claremont released this whimsical outfit called Barbarella Poison a few weeks back and I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to write about it. Everything from the glasses to the boots are included and every time I put it on, I smile. Yes, this is definitely avant grid fashion, but Triskall has done a superb job in texture and shade here from the feel of the fabric to the shape of the boots. The feathery sequin patterns on the front, back, and sleeves are so very much 70’s pop styling it’s amazing. There are straps and buckles on the high rise collar and on the boots. The outfit actually comes with two pair of boots — a short pair that can be worn with the prim pant cuffs — and this larger pair with the stuck out tongue and open straps. You can practically hear the buckles jingle when you walk. There’s also the various layer options for tucked in, untucked, with and without shirt, sunglasses on the head as well as on the nose. This is just a fun, and marvelously executed piece.

If you’re looking for a bit of something a little different to wear to your next Paint It Purple event, take a trip to North*Wind at the Prelude store.

And start singing along with Gogol Bordello in style … “Start wearing purple, wearing purple…”

Update

I’m embarrassed to say, I missed a bit.
barbarella_poison2

One of the things I like about this outfit — and which I really liked when I first put it on a couple weeks back — was the belt and tails. Unfortunately, while half asleep and trying to put the outfit back on again this morning I overlooked it. There *are* a lot of options with this outfit, but you’d think I’d be able to dress myself in the morning.

Sorry, Triskall.