Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Stitch in Time

All right, let's get down to business. I promised to review a couple of skins before the holidays, but as things go, I got a wee bit sidetracked by an overdose of tryptophan and sugar. But I've detoxed now and I'm ready to go.

First, let's take a look at the new skins by Launa Fauna, CHAI by LF Fashions. She has an adequate number of skin tones available, ranging from the darkest Cinnamon, moving lighter to Honey, Ginger, Cream and to the lightest, Sugar.

Each comes with a number of different makeup styles along a spectrum from light to heavy depending upon your preferred style. The choices seem abundant.

She has color-changeable eyebrows, but, in my opinion, they are still a bit heavy, hard to color and could use a lighter touch. This would yield more realistic eyebrows.

Her makeup detail is quite lovely, with full lips and variations of eye makeup and lip colors that work well together. I have no dispute with her makeup ability or the tone of her skins. In fact, the tones are decent, have a good range, nice shadings and quality definitions.

My bone-to-pick is about the seams. Yes, I am picky. And, yes, I do know from talking to a friend of mine -- also a skinner -- that seams are the bane of every skinner's existence. But these seams are really just too obvious. According to my friend, there are a number of ways to avoid this, (see pictures) but it takes time and effort.

That being said, it's my opinion that if you are charging L$1200 a pop -- no multi packs available -- you might want to make a more concerted effort towards these seemingly minor details and smooth out or blend the seams.

When I first picked up my CHAI demo, I was very happy with the makeup and was excited about adding to my growing skin collection. That is, until I noticed the dreaded seams. Not that I show that much skin, mind you, but these seams are on the neck and shoulders, where, if I can see them, everyone else can too. I prefer not to look like a rag doll. I contacted Launa Fauna, and sent pictures, but never received any feedback. Let's hope she takes it under advisement and works those out for the next batch of skins.

The next skin is by Trixie Wexler of The Plague. Her store has a variety of items for sale, from clothing and shoes, to shapes and skins. She has two major skin lines and also has a couple of special edition skins.

The first skin I looked at is Trixxxotic Passion and comes in pale, light and tan skin tones. Each skin is L$500, and the four pack is L$1500.

The other skin line is called Epidemic, with adjustable skin tones, lip color, eyeliner and nail polish. Each skin is L$1000 and the four packs are just L$3000.

Both Trixxxotic and Epidemic have smooth creamy skin textures and decent makeup choices, but of the two, Trixxxotic is my favorite. The eyebrows and makeup on Epidemic just don't feel as blended or real as her Trixxxotic line. The Trixxxotic skins have fine definitions and offer a good assortment of color and makeup ranging from mild to wild.

The skin texturing is well done, however, once again, we have the issue with seams -- this time at the shoulders (see pictures) in both skin lines.

As with Launa, I sent Trixie a note with pictures describing the issue. However, Trixie was quick to respond and was very thankful for bringing this issue to her attention. She indicated that she had not noticed those skin seams and planned to address them.

Personally, I'm looking forward to that, and I plan on picking up a Trixxxotic or two when she does. At only L$500 a skin, how can I resist?

In closing, both skinners I've reviewed here are quite talented and clearly have a good grasp on makeup detail and skin shading. However, both tended to skip over the small details of seams and blending in those areas.

I find it curious that would be the case, but as I was told recently by another skin aficionado, it's the makeup that sells the skin. Well, that may be the case for some out there, but not me. I like to know when I spend over L$1000 on something, it's going to be of the highest quality, and details will not be overlooked.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Lately, a wave of change seems to be rolling through the blogging community.

I'm quite happy with this "revolution" because it appears that more and more bloggers are choosing to bring to light important issues concerning some designs/designers and the blogger's opinion about these issues.

One designer, LBD, has been a hot topic lately. Numerous discussions regarding her pricing structures, business practices and even -- and this is what I like to hear -- the assertion that she may be Photoshopping her product pictures to make them look more favorable than reality.

It isn't that I like to see a designer cut to shreds in the blogging community -- no, that's not it. But frankly I've grown very tired of the "canned" responses normally posted on blogs: "It's wonderful!"; "It's perfect!"; "It's the new hot thing!" Blah, blah, blah.

As a Second Life consumer myself, I am drawn more to the reviews or blogs that post information that I can actually use. For example, knowing the price of an item has always been something I scan. I won't pay for a name alone, nor will I pay for the hottest new fashion trend.

What I will pay for is what appeals to me as a good price for a good product -- value. Fashion trends aside and just my not-so-humble-opinion, but there are some items LBD has designed that I do believe are worth the money. Others, I simply think are price inflated, and I can't or won't even try to justify. Are her designs worthy? That's a personal decision only you can make.

But this isn't specifically about LBD. There are other designers, skinners, and hair makers out there that continue to make products and market them so that they appear more favorable and cover up design flaws.

The reviewers discussing these items continue to paint their reviews a disingenuous rose color with only positive remarks, and fail to add the essential "However there are some things you need to be aware of" remarks.

"Give us both sides" is what I say. Post the good, the bad, and the ugly. Don't placate the designers by highlighting only what appears to be positive. That serves no purpose, and ultimately someone is going to purchase these items based on a blogger's review and be unhappy because they didn't get the full story.

One more relevant example. Recently, a new skinner has been being blogged and reviewed ad nauseum with only glowing, shiny reviews. I happen to know those reviews are not 100% accurate, providing full disclosures to readers. I've picked up demos of two skins lately one from the heavily-reviewed new skinner and one from another that's been around for awhile. Suffice it to say I found issues that consumers need to be aware of before shelling out $1800 for skin. (I plan to blog on both soon, but I've been a bit busy with my new shape business so this might take a couple of days.)

I contacted both skinners and provided them with pictures detailing what I found, and what I thought the issues were. One was kind enough to respond, and was quite appreciative, in fact, because she said she was not aware of the problem.

The other skinner I have not yet heard from.

Let me just add that I believe that is how a design review should go: "It doesn't necessarily reflect the opinion of the management or staff." There's my disclaimer, as if I needed one.

My advice to all you blog readers out there is: post a comment. And, not just here, but on other review blogs as well. Let them know what you want to hear and see and what content you need in order to make an informed decision. There's nothing wrong with full disclosure. It makes you and me happier consumers AND the designers more aware and conscientious going forward.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Shameless Business Plug

Warning, yes, I’m shameless. This post is a shameless plug for my new shapes business about to open. Does Second Life need another shaper? Hell, who knows, but I love creating shapes and I’m going to give it a go. If you’re interested, join the Slider Surgeons group and keep up with when we have our official grand opening. It’s going to be soon. And we’re going to have both male and female shapes ranging from emo to hugo… so, keep your eyes open for when the clinic opens. We’ll have our scalpels ready!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pink Platform Shoes

Some days things just seem to drop in your lap. Like today, there I am minding my own business, my partner and I quietly enjoying the surf sound from the front room of his beach house, when low and behold what do I see? That’s right... you guessed it... PINK PLATFORM SHOES hovering right outside the window. Now, normally I would just shake my head, admire my own good taste in shoes and mumble about all the good shoe designers now in Second Life while quietly going on about my business. But not today. This girl obviously needs help. I mean, she’s clearly wearing expensive skin, she can afford better! Perhaps she just doesn’t know. No... no that can’t be right. After further inspection, it’s evident she thinks this ensemble... and I use that term loosely, is stylish. These aren't just pink platform shoes but glaringly, BLINGY pink platform shoes. Now come on, everyone who’s anyone now knows ... bling is dead... it’s evil and it needs a stake through the heart. But not this girl. The offense gets worse. She goes on to complement this outfit with some pink "cling wrap" which enhances the knowledge that, yes, she does know how to use the breast size slider. And obviously she thought these puppies were best showed using her very expensive skin. But wait! There’s more! Check out the watch this girl is wearing... now... granted she is blonde, but a timepiece only needs to be so large. I could tell the time of day from the comfort of my chair inside my partner's house. Not only by the size of the dial ,but the luminescence of the bling incorporated with this piece of, dare I call it this, jewelry. Sigh... short skirt, pink cling wrap, blingy pink platform shoes and a watch that only the Jolly Green Giant should be seen in. This is what "fashion" is all about.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Today I am reviewing the new hair by Truth. Three new styles for women and one for men. Now to hear my partner tell it, I have enough hair in my inventory to wig every person on the grid alive or dead, their pets, furries, strange aliens, cousin IT’s, dragons, Gor’s, Vampires, elf’s, fairies, neko's, and general oddities. Frankly I think he's exaggerating, but yes I do have an abundant amount of hair. Alright, abundant might be an understatement but lets get back to the subject at hand.

Being a member of the Truth group Truth Hawks kindly dropped on me and the rest of the group, freebies of two of his four new designs. First is Kensei for men, and Kensei 2 for women. It’s a short slightly messy, choppy design that’s great to wear with those high neck sweaters or scarf’s we all need this time of the year. His textures and color choices are very nice and plentiful imho, although previously I had overheard Antonia from Artilleri complaining that he had yet to make her an orange color. ;) I’m certain he’s getting right on that. Dropping what I was doing and rushing over to check out the other two designs, I found what probably is my favorite, a little updo called Lucy. Lucy comes with some messy spikes up top and lovely little flips in back, with nice short side swept bangs, it make a great combination to go with my new Truth Gypsy coat I just picked up as you can see in the pictures up top. Next is April, long in the back, upswept on the sides with some nice side sweeping bangs. It’s casual, comfortable and looks good with a number of outfit types. The men’s version of Kensei is just as cute as the women’s with a choppy cut, side swept flexi movement and frankly looks just as good on women as it does on men. At only $100L each, these cuts are a bargain folks and $1000 will get you the whole enchilada. Truth Hawks is doing some amazing work in my humble opinion and I can’t wait to see what he comes out with next. Although I do admit, I am still waiting on new skin… let’s go Truth, get with it. ;) Oh and honey, if you’re reading this… its number 293. Kisses!