Exclusive to NWN, Iris Ophelia's ongoing showcase of all things stylish in SL
Should seasons even matter in Second Life? Smella Sensenig asked that amid my request for Summer outfit suggestions. After all, weather is controlled on a whim by landowners, not nature. For fashion, however, seasons are release schedules for new product lines, and each brings some new trends along with it-- and these trends often inspire our SL designers. More importantly, the seasons influence our decisions of what we would like to wear, in both realities. If it’s warm and sunny for us in real life, we’re more likely to dress like it’s warm and sunny for our avatars.
Of course, metaverse Summer fashion still has its own unique style. Just take a look at my selections below, which include a steampunk bikini, post-apocalypti
You may also notice that unlike last year's summer fashion extravaganza, these shots are all done inside a studio. Saeya Nyanda recently released a summer-themed background pack called Faded Summer for her fabulous studio, the Photosphere. With the timing so perfect, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to share.
Nephilaine Protagonist is a designer for all seasons, and her store PixelDolls was one of the first stores that got me really interested in and inspired by fashion in SL. I return to her time and time again because of this, so her Gloss Onepieces (also available as a bikini and pictured in Magenta) were a must for my list. Now I will admit that sometimes my relationship with the PixelDolls line is a bit love hate. While I’m normally quite forgiving of seam issues, Nephilaine’s can be a little bit disappointing for someone who’s been a PixelDolls devotée for 2 years. However, the texture in this suit is unique, the shading is flattering, and the colors are dynamic. With each outfit, I’m going to mention another hot-for-summer designer, and in this case it has to be Toast Bard of Fashionably Dead. Toast did some of the earliest hair with alpha textures, creating a handful of gorgeous styles that fashionistas were wild for... and then promptly stopped. After an agonizingly long hair hiatus, Toast has served up some new styles and some new, deliciously unconventional texture choices, packaged together in the Splenda colourpack. My favourite is a twisted brunette texture called Red Panda in Heels, shown in the picture in one of Toast’s new hair releases, Egyptian.
SL is a market completely saturated with skimpy clothing and bikinis are probably one of the easiest items to find. If you want something a bit more modest, you may have a harder time. That’s why I love the Anizia swimsuit (show in Gold) by Annette Voigt of Decoy. Annette’s a rising star in the fashion scene, she’s got a great eye for design and she’s not afraid to take risks. The Anizia suit is a tankini... and a bikini. The midsection can be removed to leave you with a cute crossover top that still manages to be unique and eye-catching. I’ve paired this outfit with another comeback kid, Gala Phoenix. At one time, Gala’s skins were, like Toast’s hair, the stuff of fashionista dreams. And then, Gala kind of vanished from our radar. At this year’s skin fair she came back better than ever with a completely new line-- and the cutest little nose on any skin in SL.
Summer’s not just a season for tanned beach bunnies. Arbel Vogel of Winter Moon has a knack for bringing out the inner geek in anyone, and the Padea Bikini was crying out to be covered for just that reason. It was also crying out for some accessories by aoimizuno Meili of LPP. Pictured are her Doll Scouter and Doll Headress. I found her shop while searching for some new kanzashi, and stumbled upon a goldmine of steampunk and cyberpunk paraphernalia. aoimizuno is an amazingly talented primworker and I’m so incredibly excited to see what she creates in the future.
This year has seen a real surge in retro-styled clothing, especially anything with a 1950s feel to it. Miko Omegamu’s store Icing is one of the top stores to visit for anyone into that aesthetic. More than that, Miko has a gift for imbuing glamour into everything she creates. Miko’s Angel Food Cake dress converts into this rather sweet bathing suit, complete with charming bows and ruffles. It’s simple but detailed, modest but eyecatching-- a retro fangirl’s dream come true. I paired this suit with some hair by Aden Breyer. Hair from Aden’s nothing particularly new, but how about skin? Aden’s series 2 skins are clean and natural looking, though they seem to have the nose-in-the-air high style look in mind. While that’s not exactly my cup of tea, it doesn’t make these skins any less gorgeous.
Nyla Cheeky is a first life designer who brings her creations into SL, and sometimes reworks them into SL-only creations for her store, House of Nyla. This Leopard Bikini lacks the trim and shading of most of her creations which leads me to believe it’s an SL-only item. While the lack of shading would normally irk me, the edges are very smooth, and Nyla neatly avoids many of the areas that distort or warp a design ont he avatar mesh. Add three cute little bows and you’ve got an edgy little ensemble. Edge is precisely why I chose this bikini, with accessorizing in mind. Kumi Yoshikawa of SixtyNine is the brilliant designer behind the Succubus Hat and Pumps, both in Leopard, shown in this outfit. Kumi is another content creator who takes a lot of risks in what she releases, and I’ve yet to see a miss from her.
It’s not all swimsuits today though. Trinitee Trilam of Refuge released an outstanding line of bikinis this summer (which will without a doubt be to this summer what Launa Fauna’s swimwear was to last summer), but I’ve opted to pair her slightly older Cut Bodysuit in Dark Teal, with the Subzero Cargo Shorts by Donovan Brennan of GearShift. Trinitee’s bodysuit won me over with the striking cutouts (and the fact that it can double as a very sexy swimsuit), while Donovan’s shorts won me over (like most of Donovan’s releases) with the exceptional texture quality. They’re a great example of why photorealism is not the be all and end all of virtual fashion.
I was on the fence about Myllie Writer’s Sasy Swimsuits from Persona. Granted they’re cute and have a very soft-looking fabric texture that makes them stand out, but what makes them truly special? The butt. Myllie’s suits come with 3 coverage levels for your virtual derrière (shown in the picture is the medium cover, just to give you an idea). That is a feature I would definitely like to see more of. Another thing I would like to see more of is hair by Sky Everett of Sky Everett Designs. Sky is a furniture designer for the most part, but the few hairstyles she’s created are absolutely stunning. Glossy and lustrous with truly masterful use of different textures, if Sky became a full time hair designer in SL I would think that I had died and gone to heaven.
In looking for items to include in this article, I kept coming across this ultra glossy bikini and skirt combo, First Bikini, by XO Aichi of In The Light. I like the bikini much more without the fantastically plastic miniskirt, but paired with Floaties and some kitschy beach accessories from Hicadoola, the over-the-top cuteness was just too much to resist.
This grass skirt is also a treasure from Hicadoola, which is a beach-focussed collaboration between Paisley Poindexter and Mikayla Kohl. This is the kind of store I love coming across in SL, when you can’t ignore how much fun the designers are having with it, and that each product is something done for pleasure over profit. Rather than wearing this with the coconut bra packaged with the Hicadoola Hula Dancer outfit, I’ve worn it with the very carefully arranged Hibiscus Hairclip and Lei from sumile Karas’ SK Bikini Shop. The question that has to be asked is why I chose not to model a bikini from a Bikini Shop. Well, the fact is that sculpted prim flowers are a dime a dozen in SL, and very rarely do they make me stop in my tracks and go “I MUST have those!” like sumile’s hibiscuses did. This Lei and Hairclip are definitely new favourites in my inventory.
The last item in my list is... perhaps a bit jarring. It’s not exactly a fun-in-the-sun look. How do you express your summery feelings while spending time in one of the many popular grunge-themed areas of SL? Complete with a bikini undershirt, the Salopette Sans Interdit outfit by Ameno Heron of Elle et Lui is the answer. Ameno is still in the early stages of designing in SL. There’s minimal shading and details in the majority of the outfit, but the overall look and design make Ameno’s work stand out. This store shows a lot of potential, so I expect to see some great things turning up at Elle et Lui.