If it’s vintage then it’s definitely cool!

If it's Vintage, it's definitely coolIs it me or has August been crazy?  There’s been an absolute deluge of must-have items flooding the grid in a tsunami-like manner since the beginning of the month and it’s been a nightmare, albeit a wonderful one, with so many incredible items on sale that I’ve no doubt purchased and promptly forgotten, or even worse I’ve bought them twice!

Anyway, another awesome event has launched this weekend and this time it’s the turn of the VINTAGE & COOL FAIR to make a massive hole in your Linden balance. I’ve been looking forward to this event with a serious amount of anticipation and on the whole it does exactly what it says on the tin by showcasing numerous styles and furnishings from times past.There’s some absolutely cracking stuff on sale but there are also some very jarring submissions too that are way too modern to include (unless you count things from the middle of last week, which I don’t).  I’m not naming names but you will see items at this event which will make you laugh out loud at the absurdity of the inclusion. We’re seeing that a lot at recent events too, and that’s something that I’m writing about in a bigger post that I hope to feature on these pages when I am brave enough to publish it!

What I am sure of though is that organising events cannot be an easy task, and if a creator turns up last minute with contributions that don’t meet the brief, what do you do? Refund them and have an eyesore of an empty store or let them participate and hope nobody notices?  The latter option is where the problem arises.  In common parlance vintage tends to be used when referring to the ‘Golden Years’ of the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s.  It’s only recently that the 1980’s and even the 1990’s have started to be included into that category. With so much source material to choose from it almost feels like there’s been laziness on the part of some creators who have added some very bizarre items into the event bucket.

Fortunately there are plenty of nice things to buy at VINTAGE & COOL that more than meet the bill and rest assured that you will be impressed by the extraordinary effort from all the parties concerned. It’s an easy to navigate event with some seriously satisfying shopping to be enjoyed, just try not to laugh too hard as you walk by the stores which clearly thought they were coming to something else entirely!I really enjoyed having a wander around and spied some classic retro styling from the 1950’s with plenty of voluminous skirts and neckerchiefs and lots of polka dots too.  There are also some great mini-skirts and dresses from the 1960’s and some cracking flares if 1970’s is more your thing, and has been an incredibly popular influence on fashion this year.  I wasn’t really shopping for anything clothes-wise in particular so left myself pretty open to all the choices that are available, but I did have one thing I had to have above anything else..vintage_002

 

There’s been a huge amount of buzz around this beehive hairstyle because it went  ‘SLviral’ on Flickr and Plurk a few days before event release which  of course drove the shopaholics into a frenzy. It’s not surprising  because it’s  beautifully made and really evokes the inspiration behind the name (which, if you don’t know, is of course Audrey Hepburn).  It’s a nice, weighty style which suggests that it would be heavy on the neck, and has acres of volume on the crown.  The back is neatly finished into what was called a ‘DA’ in the late 50’s/early 60’s.  That stands for ‘Ducks Arse’, and it was a particular favourite of teddy boys who created the style with brylcreme and a fine comb.  (Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys has been doing similar recently too).   I find Ombres the most versatile of shades for my needs I opted for the pack filled with a selection of them and I’m incredibly pleased with my purchase.  I will have to venture back to the event once it’s calmed down a bit though; there’s a free hairband that can be worn with this style in the booth and I don’t want to miss out on that. (Which would of course make this style perfect wedding hair..let’s not go there, OK?)I’m still wearing the astonishing GLAM AFFAIR ‘Katra’ skin that I picked up during last week’s FIFTY LINDEN FRIDAY.  Like I wrote last week, it really does serve as an exceptional base for make-up layers and now that we have the facility to apply SIXTY wonderful layers of nonsense on our bodies you’d better believe I’m all about the eyeliner and the lipstick and all that jazz.  Fortunately there are some brilliant cosmetic brands at this event, and I’m incredibly impressed by a new-to-me brand, LA BOHEME. The make-ups were heavily discounted. Would they be any good? Well, the evidence speaks for itself; as soon as I put them on I knew I was, to coin a Charlie Sheen phrase, ‘Winning’. They’re excellent.  Totally un-touched picture above peeps, and my make up looks ruddy fantastic doesn’t it?  This shot is of me in my bedroom testing out my hairstyle and make-up layers and as you can see this LA BOHEME  Glamour Eyes ‘Hecate’ eyeshadow is simply nothing less than sublime.  Isn’t it a treat? I bought a few packs and I will enjoy using them in forthcoming posts I think (I’m ALL about the eyeliner, I really am) but I tell you what I really like about this eyeliner in particular; it’s quite sharp. Oftentimes the lines look quite smudged and shading can be a tad off, but this is practically perfect and that really pushes all my kitty-buttons.  Turns out LA BOHEME is a brand that is more than happy to supply amazing make-ups at a fraction of the cost that is usually charged in-world.   In fact, the brand has been around since *gulp* 2004!  I actually took a quick trip over to the main store too for a quick nosey; and I’m inclined to think that the store owner is a bit witchy due to the naming conventions applied to her wares..(touches nose in a knowing fashion).  Needless to say once the event has calmed down a bit I’m heading back to her booth and buying everything in the store, it would be rude not too!

Of course I haven’t removed my MANDALA ‘Steking’ Version 5 ears at all yet, and I’m loving the options that they come with too.  You can’t go wrong with a jam-packed HUD crammed with lovely tattoos and pretty jewel colours can you? I’m even wearing the Pixie style rather than my normal human lobes, but how could I not try them when they’re shaped so beautifully? (They almost hint at my feline persuasions..) They really are an incredible product and I’m determined to get the very best out of them.Something else that I haven’t removed recently are my PXL SWEET LIPS.  In fact, I find myself wondering if it’s worth moving on to the newest version? These are the originals and they serve me incredibly well,  and I much prefer them to any of the other virtual gobs out there on the market, but still I do wonder if it’s worth upgrading? ANYWAY, enough of that because I invested in some Sweet Lips-specific lip colours at VINTAGE & COOL too from a brand called ARISE.

Like my LA BOHEME purchases I was so impressed that I treated myself to a number of packs.  Here I’m wearuing a lovely red from the ‘Jenn’ red pack and it is divine. There are 6 different shades of red in the collection and I have no doubt I’ll be wearing all of them pretty frequently.  ARISE is a brand I am often tempted by and I always find their products to be very professional indeed; I think I’m going to splurge out on them a lot more and of course I’ll share my results here with you.  I have no doubt I’ll look virtually fabulous of course!

To finish then, I’m wearing a favourite shirt from my inventory, along with some old LEAGUE bracelets and a recently acquired necklace from the KIBITZ Gacha at Kustom 9. This isn’t really a ‘Look Of The Day’ post, more of a kitty mess-about but here’s an extensive shopping list just in case you fancy any items that I shared today!

Kitty Wears:

Basic look:

BODY: Maitreya ‘Lara’ V3.4

SKIN: Glam Affair ‘Katra’ (Polar) August NB

EYEBROWS: Just Magnetized – Diva Brows – Brunette02

EYES: Nar Mattaru ‘Just The Basics’ Green

LASHES: Hush ‘Flirt’

EYELINER: La Boheme Glamour Eyes ‘Hecate’ S4 -10  – VINTAGE & COOL FAIR

LIPS: PXL Sweet Lips

LIPSTICK: Arise ‘Jenn’ Reds 6 pack – VINTAGE & COOL FAIR

EARS: Mandala ‘Steking’ Series 5 (Pixie)

Clothes:

SHIRT/DRESS: Erm..this is embarrassing! I’ve forgotten what it was called! I’ll name it here when I find it again…

Accessories:

NECKLACE:  Kibitz ‘Cat Charm’ (Gacha) No 3  KUSTOM9

SEPTUM RING:  Cae ‘Septum Piercing’ COSMOPOLITAN SALES ROOM

All About Alex – Introducing Genesis Labs Latest Male Mesh Head!

Absolute Alex

Hello Kitty-readers! I’ve not written a long, rambling blog-post in ages but get ready, because there’s one coming up right now.  I wanted to share some thoughts on the latest must-have item that has got the grid trembling with excitement, the GENESIS LABS ALEX MESH HEAD.

Mesh heads aren’t anything new and it’s to be expected that since mesh bodies have cemented themselves firmly in our virtual environment that mesh heads should do the same, but there are some fundamental differences. The main one is that most mesh heads are very limited with regards to customization options and it’s for these reasons that they’re not something I’m very keen on. However, I do expect that we will see mesh-heads take off in a massive way when the designers start to build them with gusto and the skin makers start to fully embrace them.

But just because Kitty doesn’t wear a mesh head it doesn’t mean that Jez can’t wear one.  Even though Jez isn’t my avatar (nor is he my alt, I don’t actually have one believe it or not!) I do make the decisions about how he looks, mainly because if he were to dress himself he would look like Uncle Knobby at your ugly cousin’s wedding! (You know what I mean: gravy down his shirt, socks that don’t match and lots of velour.  I shudder at the very thought! ) For that reason alone I refuse to be seen in Second Life with a train-wreck on my arm. I don’t have many standards but that one this Kitty is sticking to!

Because this mesh-head looked interesting I decided to treat him to it. This is as much an experiment in learning about mesh heads for me as it is about a change of appearance for him, so off I trotted to the COSMOPOLITAN SALES ROOM and picked up a demo with beloved in tow. We zoomed back home and began the process. Now, first of all,  I want to say that demoing this product isn’t easy because of the way the demo is packaged out of the box; when you wear it there’s a huge opaque band that sits on the head and it is very difficult to get an accurate ‘feel’ for the head because of it.  I can’t say I was especially impressed by it, but I understand why it is there.  There’s a genuine requirement for demo objects to have layers of security built into them.  I know there are some rotten types out there who think nothing of ripping off content creators and performing some sort of magical jiggery pokery that turns the demo into the actual product, thus stealing precious, hard-earned cash from the creator.

That sucks, I wouldn’t do it and I wouldn’t associate myself with anyone who did it either, but I do take issue with things that I cannot demo properly. To recap, at today’s exchange rate L$2500 is about £7.05 and to be honest that’s money that I really cannot afford to throw away in Second Life, so I need the demo to be an accurate representation of the product that I’m considering purchasing.

Needless to say, the experience that the demo was providing was putting me off.  What also put me off was the enclosed notecard which seemed tailored towards the range of existing GENESIS LABS female heads, rather than this male one. (It was also obviously translated but not so badly that I couldn’t get the gist of it.) Already this initial demo was leaving me feeling there was considerable room for improvement with the whole demo package and I wondered if that would be reflected in the actual ‘Alex’ Mesh Head itself, which Jez was eager to purchase regardless…

So we took the plunge. It’s straightforward enough if you’ve worn mesh products before (which I do, frequently) to understand what needs to be done, starting with an alpha-layer that covers your head (and eyes) because you’ll be replacing everything up top.

The head fitted well against  THE SHOPS DELUXE MALE MESH BODY that Jez wears (looks amazing but don’t get me started on their whole shopping ‘experience’ or I’ll never finish!) but immediately I started to realise the shortcomings of such an item.

For a start, you are considerably limited to the changes you can make to your appearance; you can change the length of the head, and the size of it, and the depth to some degree, but that’s it.  Everything else is static, so you can’t change the shape of your nose or mouth which means that you’re going to see lots of alternate versions of you walking around the grid. There are ways you can change your look though,  or example, Jez is a member of the IKON update group which meant he’d picked up the recent June group gift of a pair of rather fabulous eyes. (They’re from the stunning ‘Odyssey’ range in ‘Clarity’) Because these are mesh eyes he can wear them with the head, so that’s something that we can do to make our look slightly different to all others. (Note: The ‘Alex’ HUD does include a rather comprehensive selection of eyes to choose from though, in case you don’t already have mesh eyes in your inventory.)

The rest of your appearance changes are dependent upon the HUD then, which is very straightforward to use. The novelty of Alex is that there are a multitude of facial tattoo options (beautifully documented HERE by Mokatana) that you can select from and these look quite good suggesting that he had a great time during amateur hour at the local tattoo parlour! You can also go for a Hangover-esque tribal style around the eye area should you so wish.  There are scars and moles that you can select from too and all of these can be used to add character to your face and they do so really well (at least until you encounter someone in-world who is sporting exactly the same options as you).

Alex’s brow game is strong and they’re styled well.  You can opt for solid brows or the urban types with the Vanilla Ice shaved bits (which never looked good in 1990 let alone 2015) but I digress; the point is there has been some thought that has gone into the physical production of Alex and on the whole it works really well resulting in a very attractive visage indeed.

But here’s where it starts to fall apart for me. I don’t like the fact that Jez can’t change his expression.  I get fed-up with our avatar inability to smile in-world. Of course, I know that you can make facial expressions in-world but they’re hardly attractive and more novelty than anything else. I always think that I end up looking gormless when I smile, so to my mind a strength of any mesh head should be facial expressions but nope, ‘Alex’ just comes with the one look, which is glum. To be fair being a moody chuff suits him but I would have absolutely killed for a selection of expressions to play about with.

The other thing I don’t like is he has no eyelashes. I know it may seem a trivial point but I think it’s important; people have eyelashes so to my mind ‘Alex’ needs some too! I hate to see avatars without eyelashes; lashes frame the eyes and make such a difference to your appearance which can look incredibly flat without them. Besides, ‘Alex’ is pretty flat from the side anyway, unless you’ve managed to change the depth of his face with your slider settings but even then it does feel like he’s been hit in the chops with an iron skillet!  Because he’s a mesh and 3D I want to see depth and dimension so anything that can provide that is worth adding to the package.  Those minor criticisms aside, he still looks better in profile than many regular avatars you see on the grid, so he has that going for him I guess.

Facial hair is another area that offers HUD options for you to try, and I appreciate the fact that the basic shades of black, brown, blonde and red are accommodated here. The facial hair appearance is actually really well done; it looks the part and I’ve no complaints regarding it at all, in fact the hairbases that are included are really lovely and Jez can wear them pretty confidently on their own, as the main picture shows, and with regards to the facial hair and embellishments you can tell that these parts of the appearance were well considered before application and the quality of creation does shine through when these elements of design are taken into account.

The skin tone Jez is wearing Alex in is 3, and that matched relatively well with tone 16 from the Style Mode HUD for his THE SHOPS body.  The addition of a tattoo also helps hide any discrepancies in tone, and we found Jez an absolute beauty at the latest round of ANYBODY from WHITE WIDOW called ‘Tombstone’ (more on that label later!)

Oh, another quick point, ALEX comes with really dinky little ears as part of the package which Jez opted to change for his AITUI favourites (Ear system Gen. 4 Pierced)  which  were pretty easy to skin match courtesy of the epic AITUI HUD. These ears are pretty awesome actually with tons of options, not least the little tattoos that you can wear on them and if you go for the facial tattoo options in Alex they match quite well indeed!

Despite some of my more negative points there’s no denying Alex’s credentials; this is indeed a quality mesh head, but for me it doesn’t offer enough in the package to warrant the L$2500 price-tag.  Personally speaking for that price I want to see more functions and feature options and clear, concise instructional notecards.  My hope is that further releases are going to build upon the solid foundations that Alex offers. Don’t forget that there aren’t any appliers out there yet for him, so you have to mix it up a bit if you want to wear him with your existing skin or mesh body.  I was dreading this task but we actually found this to be quite successful, which I think the photograph proves.

To sum up then I think both Jez and I agreed that Alex has a LOT to offer and it’s always exciting when something as special as this mesh head is launched in-world, but I’d caution against getting swept up in the tide of enthusiasm just yet. If you can afford to splash out then go for it and enjoy, but if you’re hesitant I would say hang on to your Lindens and wait for the GENESIS LABS team to build upon Alex’s very solid foundations. It’s a great product, but it’s not a fantastic product yet although it definitely has tonnes of potential.

Jez wears: 

Mesh head: Genesis Labs Alex @ The Cosmopolitan Sales Room

Mesh Body: ‘Deluxe’ Male Mesh Body by The Shops

Eyes:  Odyssey Eyes in ‘Clarity’ (June Group Gift) by IKON

Tattoo: ‘Tombstone’ by WHITE WIDOW @ ANYBODY

Clothing: Denim Shorts by  PUMPKIN @ The Mens Dept 

Pose: Poses from the ‘Willie’ range by POSEOLOGY