Saturday, 31 May 2014

024: tou-Gen-kyo Fashion Show

I got up early this morning for a men's fashion show that started at 6 AM SLT / 10 AM Tokyo time. And I live in the SLT zone, so ... pretty early. But I wanted to see what a Japanese fashion show looks like in Second Life.
Right off the bat, before I describe my experience, I have to say I'm not really a high-fashion kind of guy. In RL I like good clothes, certainly, but I only buy a few good things these days because my wardrobe is already way out of hand. In both RL and SL, I tend to wear the same things over and over again because it's just easier in SL to put on an outfit where you know that everything is fitted properly and you don't have to worry about your feet sticking out of your shoes. Yes, that's my fashion principle: not to impress people with my unique personality, but merely to avoid looking like a doofus as much as possible. Added to which, I am kind of a beefy hairy little guy -- the exact opposite of what I gather everyone's idea of a Second Life fashion model would be, which appears to be someone who is about 16 years old, 2.5 metres tall, weighs about 55 kilos, and has no body hair, bones, or muscles LOL.
So the clothes that these guys are showing on the runway are absolutely not made for my body type or even my design aesthetic. I knew that going in. I wasn't expecting to want to buy a lot of clothes; I wanted to have the experience and write about it.
tou-Gen-kyo is a rather pretty version of a tropical beach with a mall tucked into it. The fashion show was set up so that the models walked a square runway set in the water on pilings, and the audience sat in beach chairs on the shore on three sides of the square. Production by Les Garcons, and featuring fashions from four companies: Gabriel, Shiki, Hotdive, and Vitamen.
Gabriel has been around for a while: they were showing a couple of different styles of clothes today. I've decided to only show one picture from each company and Gabriel will probably suffer from that policy the most, since they had three separate modes that are quite different: street punk style, relaxed traveling clothes (resort wear?), and some slim black suits. Apparently street punk style these days has a lot of fussy closures and detailing, but it did look comfortable, as did the traveling clothes; a pair of soft track pants with a stripe looked very inviting. There were a couple of pairs of artfully stained and slashed jeans. I've chosen to show a slim black suit because there's a little detail of how the shirt peeks out at the bottom of the jacket that I especially liked. I'm not sure if the necktie had quite rezzed before I snapped my picture ... it might look different in the store, to be sure.
Shiki had two different modes, beach wear modelled by guys carrying surfboards and the like, and suits with beach sandals. They claimed to have a Hawaiian influence, which I can certainly attest to; they showed business suits in Easter-egg colours covered with flowers. Non-Canadians will not understand this next bit, but they made me think very strongly of Don Cherry. (Don Cherry is a belligerent nitwit in his late 70s who does hockey commentary on Canadian television. He is famous in Canada for his exquisitely awful taste in clothes, running to antique high stiff collars and screamingly loud jackets made of some ghastly upholstery-like fabrics.) Unfortunately I couldn't get a decent picture of the outfit I preferred, since due to lag the models would only completely rez up in front of my position for a second or two before they moved around the square. But from the fabric of the jacket, you'll get the idea; the pants are much more vivid than you see here. Everyone in the SL men's fashion blogosphere is showing those filigree sandals this week, with SLink feet. Again due to lag, the models' hands and feet were coming in last, making it look like some of them had dipped their extremities in grey paint before walking.
Hotdive is a skin company, and all I can say is that, as above, this stuff is not made for me or any of my friends. Nothing wrong with that; I don't want to look like I'm a 16-year-old ectomorphic waif, but it's very popular and lots of people find this attractive. I gather it's kind of a Japanese thing. There was a certain anime quality that I'm not qualified to understand. Anyway, this guy appears to be a teenage spy who got his head stuck in a fish trap, or something, but this could all be a reference to some anime thing I've never heard of. The skin definition is pretty nice, especially the long quadriceps muscles and knees -- knees are hard to get right in SL skins. Mostly, though, these skins are on shapes that make the models look like scrawny white American suburban twinks with great hair.
The final segment was for Vitamen underwear; apparently they are famous for their bulges, or "buldges" as the announcer had it, but the bulges seem to be built into the garment. I'm used these days to separate bulges that you place as a prim on the front of your pants. My RL experience of men's underwear is that it's pretty much an excuse for the audience to ogle the great bodies on the models. Frankly, these guys I mostly wanted to rush them out to a cafe and buy them a couple of sandwiches before they dropped dead. I personally have muscles in places where these guys don't even have places, so it was hard to imagine what some of this stuff looks like on a guy with a hockey butt like mine. I can't see myself in black lace boxers either, and the outfit I'll call "kitten with a whip" just made me laugh. But the pair I'm showing here is something a reasonable guy would wear, and the model looks healthier than the others were presented.
By the way, I understand that models in SL look like they're told to look, so the selection of body types was up to the production team of Les Garcons, which to the best of my knowledge is Lex Demonista and Apollo Call -- they were two of the models. Like I said, not my type and not my style, but it was consistent and done to a particular aesthetic, and the show worked well, so well done guys. The audience near me was making itself a nuisance with calling out exhortations to the models and not very clever things to each other; I'm willing to bet that they hadn't bothered to cut back upon the burden of their outfits and thus were contributing to the overall lag, because somebody sure was. Kind of a shame; I tend not to wear antlers as street-wear but I actually wanted to see what they looked like fully razzed. 
I confess I don't quite understand why people wear SLink hands and feet; are they prettier than regular hands and feet? I'll say again, when the sim is lagged, it's probably a mistake, because they rez at a different rate and I have a couple of shots with grey hands and feet. I don't think much of the trend this summer for weird sandals. The filigree ones I mentioned above look quite feminine; others are hard-core industrial fitness things, that look like shower sandals crossed with personal computing devices. I'm not going to be rushing out to buy any new clothes or shoes (although I did consider briefly the idea of putting together an outfit with what looked like black electrical tape wrapped around my hands and wrists, like a few of the models were styled; I doubt this was a reference to boxing tape, though). 
What I did get, though, is that SL fashion shows are rather like the ones I've been to in RL. A lot of people trying to draw attention to themselves at the show itself in the open channel, and a few hard-working manufacturers and designers working hard to manufacture and sell interesting clothes to a fickle marketplace. And models wearing antlers, electrical tape and black lace boxer shorts. An interesting experience and it might be fun to see what it's like from the other side.

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