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

Seven Days Of Denim Challenge: Day 6

Snapshot_001

 So I’ve had a pretty rotten week but thank you for the kind messages that have been sent my way via this blog and Plurk, it means such a lot. 

Back to business, and I thought I’d encourage Jez to get involved in the Denim challenge.

He was especially keen because he wanted to show off this shirt/jacket that he picked up at FATEWEAR, at a reduced price. Get ready folks; FATEWEAR has a 50% off sale until September 10th. I know right? 

FATEWEAR  is one of the best stores for classic mens fashion in-world; I’m not talking just denim items but trousers, suits and all things male. They have fantastic hoodies and sportswear and it’s all mesh featuring excellent colour, shape and clean design. It’s one of those stores that I always recommend to newbies who’re after a polished look in-world, and with this half-price sale everyone can indulge!

Don’t forget FATEWEAR also happens to sell amazing role-play costumes too, and yes the sale does extend to include those items. An opportunity not to be missed!

Anyway, here’s how I got Jez’s look…

Jez wears:

Mesh Avatar ‘Anthony’ by SIGNATURE

Hairstyle #36 in ‘Woodbark’ by DURA

Male short necklace ‘Kotowari’ by MANDALA

Leather Bracelet by RONSEM

Ascension -Pewter Eyes by IKON

Jacket ‘Denny’ Ocean (M) by FATEWEAR

‘Loaded’ Slim Jeans (with Gun) by APHORISM

JUST JEZ-THE MENS DEPT WINS AGAIN!

old fashioned Jez

It’s hard to believe that THE MENS DEPT  is celebrating its second birthday in-world, and of course it’s doing so in style. This monthly event has firmly established itself into the SL calendar and is always choc-full of inspirational menswear and furnishings and really is a favourite of mine. This is because it’s a one-stop shop for making your fella look fabulous. It’s made of win, it really is! 

Let’s be honest, there are so many regular events held in-world now that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but TMD is one that I rarely miss for a number of reasons. For a start I can be sure of finding super-stylish clothes for Jez to wear (because when it comes to his making choices he’s nothing short of useless) and for another thing it is a fantastic place to spot some of the most stylish, fashion-forward avatars on the grid. If you’re ever stuck for male fashion ideas, TP over to THE MENS DEPT and loiter with intent. It won’t take long before you spy some seriously tottylicious avatars, and if you’re cheeky (like me!) you can ask them where they found the items that they’re wearing. (Pro-tip: If you’re single this is a good way to start a conversation too! Shhh!!)

I’m especially impressed by the quality of items for this birthday celebration. Particular favourites for me are the THEOSOPHY ‘Monmouth’ spectacles and the CASA DEL SHAI dirty plaid and chambray shirts. The EUDORA footwear is gob-smackingly good, and the PUMPKIN Parka is perfectly styled and fits like a dream. There is so much to fall in love with here, there really is, and you would be a bit of a fart to miss this collection.  In fact, I’ve actually been waiting for this month’s TMD with baited breath,  because an old friend has come back to second Life after a considerable absence, and he’s been badgering me about the best places to find cool threads. My short answer to him was, of course, GO TO THE MENS DEPT! 

Anyway, back to Jez. So what did we end up with after our shopping spree? Well it was time for a change of hairstyle for my beloved, and INK hair is always a good place to start. They’re selling two styles at TMD this month, but it was the romantic ‘Foglia’ style that won me over when he tried the demo. Sometimes when you try hair on it just works, you know? Well this beautiful style is a perfect example of that occurrence. He looks dazzling in it doesn’t he? Teamed with this fabulous APHORISM shirt/waistcoat set he looked like an old-fashioned romantic,  ready to sweep me off my feet and read poetry to me. If only eh?

tmd 2.1As usual APHORISM uber-designer Rucy Byron has created an excellent product for the event, and this combination mesh waistcoat and undershirt is a must buy for role-players as well as the stylish hipster crowd.  The waistcoat is available in Herringbone, Houndstooth and Pinstripe patterns and is very dapper indeed. (Jez paired it with his favourite jeans, also from APHORISM. I don’t think he’s taken them off for the past few months to be honest, stinky Jez!) I also insisted that Jez treat himself to the fantastic ETHAM ‘Alexandro’ mesh combo blazer/shirt and the incredibly cool ‘Kotowari’ necklace from MANDALA. When worn with the blazer and shirt it makes a great alternative to a tie, and looks incredibly on-trend.

TMD 2

Had I the cash I would have purchased everything from the event, but alas I don’t. However what I did invest in has made me incredibly proud,  because not only does Jez look scrumptious, he has some classy threads in his inventory that I know he’ll get loads of wear from, and such things make this Kitty very happy indeed! Oh, and a quick shout out to POSEOLOGY. They have a fab wee set of poses available at TMD this month, and they worked really well when posing Jez for this piece. Now please excuse me, I have to go ravish my boyfriend.

While I do that, why not go visit THE MENS DEPT? Here’s your taxi! 

Just Jez: The Mens Dept. Makes it easy to look good this Xmas!

jez

The Mens Dept has to be one of the resounding success stories of Second Life retail 2013. Every time I visit it’s busy, especially in the first few days after a new collection is revealed. I don’t really know why this is but I think it’s because having menswear, accessories, poses and other male-orientated goodies located in one spot is just more accessible than searching the grid. Certainly I struggle when looking for quality items for Jez to wear (because he’s bloody useless at shopping for himself) and visiting The Mens Dept allows me to kit him out in quality from pretty much his handsome head all the way down to his stinky toes. This round is as exceptional as any other, but highlights for me this time include this mesh sweater from XIAJ. It’s available in a number of prints and plain varieties, but for me it had to be this great wintry wool print.  Jez didn’t have a really festive jumper, and now he does he looks very Christmassy indeed. It’s an incredibly reasonable L$185 per jumper too, which means you can add a few of these mesh lovelies to your  fella’s winter wardrobe without breaking the bank.  As you can see from the photos the sweater photographs extremely well; the texture is nice and crisp, and the red and navy combo on this particular selection is bang on trend.

Of course, you can’t just have a good jumper, you need some quality jeans to team with it, and that’s where APHORISM come into play. They’re selling some fantastic denim jeans at The Mens Dept. that really must not be missed.  Now, I am very fussy about certain items in SL, you’ve probably noticed, and jeans are very near the top of that list. Why? Because they are so easy to get wrong. You have to suggest depth and wear on a good pair of jeans.  All too often textures aren’t applied correctly which is a shame, because when textured correctly a pair of denim jeans can really look stupendous in-world. You need to suggest creasing in the right places, as well as wear and tear, because denim jeans always look better when they’re aged a bit. Not only that, but they need to ‘hang’ on the avatar correctly, depending on the fit. Baggy jeans can look like a pair of MC Hammer pants if the shape is wrong, and straight-leg pants can just look incredibly flat. It’s a balancing act that few designers manage to pull of successfully, but fortunately APHORISM have successfully risen to the challenge.   I’m exceptionally impressed by these jeans.  They fit just right, and really look the part, especially the vintage options.  The creasing is spot on, not just at the top of the thigh but also around the calf area too.  They’re styled as regular jeans and I would say that’s correct, they’re neither too thin or overly baggy, and in my opinion that makes them an absolute must have for a male avatar. Not only that but they’re just L$200 a pair, so they’re a bit of a bargain. I think Jez looks brilliant in them, but then again I’m biased:)

Snapshot_005Last but not least, check out Jez’s pose. He’s using the pack from POSEOLOGY, also available at The Mens Dept., and it’s a very nice selection of male poses indeed. There’s no over-the-top posing here, just nice stands that allow for great photographs and work really well in-situ.  You can buy them individually for L$25 each, but Jez insisted on splurging ion the full pack for L$100 because he hasn’t got many quality poses in his repertoire, and I agreed these were pretty good for the price! So there you have it, a few picks from this round of The Mens Dept. Take your fella, drag him down there if you must, and get him kitted out for Christmas in style!

Here’s your Taxi to The Mens Dept.