Tuesday, October 20, 2009

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Ophelia's Gaze: It's Boot Season in Second Life!


Exclusive to NWN, Iris Ophelia's ongoing showcase of all things stylish in SL

There's been a glut of great boot releases recently, and it shouldn't be a huge surprise. Fall is a big season for boots-- a little too cold for sandals, not cold enough for a pair of fuzzy mukluks, it's the perfect time of the year for stylish, ankle and calf-hugging footwear. Even in Second Life, where we're immune from every shifting season, it's a big time for tall footwear. Keep reading for four pairs of beautiful boots that I just couldn't ignore!


machang Pichot's Leather Riders Boots might be a bit of an acquired taste. I admit that I had a very hard time putting an outfit together to suit them (though that may just be because I insisted on getting the red pair), but the detail work in both the textures and the sculpties is undeniably astounding. machang sculpted dozens of straps and laces that are bunched and tied in an extremely realistic and unique way. The amount of time it must have taken to build these boots almost boggles the mind, and the end result truly shows it. You can get these boots at Aoharu [SLURL], in their ANEXX luxury line... for men and for women!


Bax Coen's Prestige Boots debuted during the summer and quickly won a passionate fashionista following. While the boots are built and textured nicely, the real selling point is the customization options. These boots have the mother of all customization scripts, which let you choose the colour of the boot, the boot sole, the heel, the heel cap, accents, zippers, and heel trim, just to name a few. You can also adjust the fit of the boot with impressive precision (which I love, since my shape is slightly knock-kneed, meaning that I always need to rotate and shift my boots around to fit). If you're looking for a versatile boot that you can do just about anything with, Bax's boots are probably worth investing in. Grab a pair or five at Bax Boots [SLURL].


If I was a store, I think I would be *G Field*. A little bit under the radar, eclectic, colourful, and straddling the line between adorable and elegant... with a nice Japanese fashion vibe included, of course. Cerberus Noel of *G Field* [SLURL] makes some pretty fabulous shoes for some pretty reasonable prices, and if you've been shoe shopping lately you've probably noticed that many pairs are getting to be as expensive as your average skin, Because of that, I'm a bit of a sucker for quality economical shoes, so when I noticed that Cerberus was offering two recent pairs of buckled ankle boots, including the pair above, called Emma, in pumpkin orange for a scandalous L$30 each, I was completely sold, and Cerberus had secured her spot on my list.


I really only have one thing to gush about with this last pair. These are the Longboots Round from J's [SLURL] by JB Gazov, and they probably have the best texturing I have ever seen on a shoe in Second Life ever. Period. No hyperbole, no fangirling. There are two points on these boots that make me say that, one that you can see, and one that unfortunately was a tad too awkward to photograph. As you can see in the back of the ankle, there's a little bulgy wrinkling of the leather-- maybe I'm just a little bit too crazy over details like this, but the shine and shadow of this little area has me smitten. The detail that you unfortunately can't see are the two strips of brilliant glossy shine on the back of each calf, which are really flattering and give the illusion of really well shaped calves where SL's shape mesh may otherwise be a bit lacking. If you really appreciate the beautiful minutia in a design like I do, I can't recommend these boots enough. They're just beyond gorgeous!

Those are my favourites, but there's a big hole in my list-- steampunk, gothic, punk, and grunge boots! I've got a bunch, but they're all starting to get a bit old and dated. It's time for something  a bit fresher, so you tell me, who's released the most awesome gritty, street-ready boots recently, and what are your favourite boots for a brisk fall in SL?

Mixed_reality_irisIris Ophelia has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.


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Bettina Tizzy

Nowadays, the woman who types for Bettina is mostly barefoot, but when she does getting around to donning a pair of shoes, it is nearly always boots. After reading this, Bettina needs to go shopping. Great writeup.

Gwyneth Llewelyn


I have to confess, I can't even find such gorgeous boots iRL... :) Thanks for looking for them in SL for us and sharing what you found, Iris!

Oh, btw, and those images are simply stunningly well done! When I first read this article and just saw the smaller version of the pictures, I thought: "what, is this an image from Second Life??". Then I thought, well, this is NWN, they really have to be pictures from SL and not any competing product...

And people are still complaining about the "bad, outdated renderer"... *sighs again*. Your images show that there is nothing "bad" or "outdated" about the SL rendering engine, you just have to know how to take good pictures!

Alicia Chenaux

It's great to see that someone wrote up G Field! My first experience with their shoes was not great [ok, I flat out hated the sandals I was forced to buy] but since that time I've grown to just LOVE the creations there. I'm going to need those boots now!!

Harper Ganesvoort

Boots are definitely my favorite footwear, and I believe they can be worn any time of the year (although fall is a logical time for them). But I wish that we could wear the uppers of our boots when we're wearing long pants! It gets frustrating to have pant cuffs poking through the leather (grin).

Iris Ophelia

Really good point, Harper! That's why I'm always ultra grateful when a designer includes the pants on an underwear layer! Off the top of my head I know that LeeZu, Zaara, PixelDolls, Opium, DE Designs, Aoharu, MG, and LeLutka usually seem to have underpants-pants included, and I'm sure there are tons of others though you usually really need to look closely to find them, and sometimes they're not super consistent either. In the first picture I'm wearing a pair of skinny jeans from SLInk on a pants layer, but the boots have wide enough ankles that the cuff isn't visible. Although, something else to remember! A lot of boots now, like the J's and the Bax Boots, have invisiprims as an option around the calves to hide any brea-through mesh issues-- including pant cuffs!

And thanks Bettina and Alicia! ^^ And Gwyneth! I've been trying to get away from Photoshopping my article pictures much, so I'm glad that the images aren't suffering from that scale-back!

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