Halloween Designer Spotlight: Kari of Liquid Sunshine

Kari burst onto the 1:4 scale clothing scene with her Basix line of trendy casual wear. Hand made and distressed, they are all Kari. Not satisfied with taking clothes to the streets, she pushed her fabric to the limits in creating ZOMBIEwear, clothing constructed with the sole purpose of being ripped to pieces! An obvious choice for a designer spotlight this month, when I contacted Kari for pictures for the feature she responded by whipping up her latest ZOMBIEwear Halloween offerings for brand new eye candy! Kari shares with us some sneak peaks of the outfits soon for auction and a glimpse into what inspires her to create. 

S: (Question of the Month) What is it about Halloween that gets your creativity going?
K: I love how dark and slightly creepy it is.  I love to explore my darker side, and love to mix fabrics and textures.  Halloween fashions let you be free in design and totally let go and have fun!

S: What inspired you to make ZOMBIEwear?

K: Actually ZOMBIEwear was inspired by a wicked awesome repaint by Kedra Manning, Hollow Eve.  She was a beautiful but dark repaint with gorgeous green skin.  She was so well done and took me to another place in my mind just looking at her.  I had a back-story for her form immediately and thought of what she might have been wearing at her death, and then how it would look up from the dead.  That started the whole dark world of ZOMBIEwear.  I've been so inspired to keep creating and having so much fun dreaming up destroyed fashion.

Thanks, Kari, for sharing with us! You can find Kari's Basix, ZOMBIEwear and repaints at LiquidSunshineOnline. Check out Kari's auctions here: Liquidsunshinedolls


The Economics of Collecting Pt. 2: 3 Bad Collecting Habits to Break

So we have our doll budget figured out and we're on our way to cleaner living. Now it's time to examine some collecting habits that can leave you buried in both dolls and debt. Please keep in mind that these are only suggestions to help you manage your collection and thusly, your life. There is no pressure to change and definitely no judgement if you decide not to. If you don't practice any of these habits then great! You can sit back and laugh at me or take this as a cautionary tale. If, however, you feel like your collecting is out of control and you are looking for some direction, then this might be for you. 

1. "I call to order this meeting of Hoarders Anonymous. Hi, I'm Sam, and I'm a hoarder.":
I didn't mean to start hoarding. I'm in a tricky position: I have a line of work that actually demands a lot of acquiring. As a repainter, I need many different head molds with many different hair colors and many different fashions to style them in. It started innocently enough...see a cheap head/bw body/doll or interesting outfit/accessory and get it. At some point it turned into a joke lovingly called "The Leaning Tower of Dollza". My repainter friends shop in my "stock room". A few months ago I decided to do inventory and found I have 5 Ficons. 5. I only remembered buying 2. I had a problem. 


My problem was work related but many collectors share the same issue. You buy and you buy and one day you wake up to find yourself surrounded by dolls but unable to enjoy them because of the sheer amount. There's a word I want you to say with me, "Noooooooo". Feel it. Listen to how it sounds. Get comfortable with it. We're going to be saying it a lot more often. It will hurt at first but I promise it gets easier. If you start saying "No" to easy items like those you're only attracted to because of a low price or things that are out of your budget, then before you know it you'll not only have the money to show for it but also the space and a better sense of willpower. I started saying no to cheap dolls, no matter what the deal was, and working trades for face molds I didn't have and feel so much better for it.

2. Scattered lines of collecting:
Again, it starts innocently enough: You collect Tonner 16" dolls but see a Fashion Royalty doll you just have to have (she's so pretty! It's just one, no big deal!) Then Tonner debuts a licensed line you are obsessed with in the 17" size (Finally, Ishtar dolls of my very own!). Madame Alexander brings out a darling new doll (looks just like my nephew!), followed by a new Barbie line from Mattel (looks just like me!), Superdoll's redesigned Sybarites (OMG!) and all of a sudden you are collecting 10 different lines and can't pay your gas bill (help.).  

You need to look objectively at what you collect and how far you are willing to take it. Use this time to decide if you want to streamline your collection. Maybe you want to focus on 1:6 scale or BJDs or repaints or cloth dolls. Streamlining doesn't mean you are locked into one genre. It is possible to have a well rounded collection with a wide assortment of dolls. Just don't buy 30 of each. If you find that your tastes are leaning to a particular area, think about selling some of the dolls you're not as interested in anymore to fund new purchases.

3. The sentimental collector:
I have all my old stuffed animals. I have hauled them from place to place since I was in grade school. I don't display them. They take up a stupid amount of space in the garage. But I can't get rid of them. You may have dolls from your childhood or ones that were gifted to you by people you love or dolls that were bought to mark a milestone like graduation or a birth. Maybe you set out to reclaim dolls from your past that were lost. Whatever the case, you're not only surrounded physically but also emotionally and whether you think it or not, it is likely wearing on you. 

Now I am certainly not advising you get rid of anything that means the world to you or that you have invested emotions of loved ones past or heirlooms. I'm merely asking that you take an objective look at what you have and be honest about their place in your life. Does that 3 ft bunny won at a county fair 10 years ago by an ex-boyfriend whose name you can't remember still need a spot in your house or is there a child you know that would love it?  Maybe you keep your collection of dolls given to you by your grandchildren but ask that they start giving you picture mementos instead. 

Being aware of your collection, your collecting habits and how you feel about each piece is a huge step in making changes and regaining control. Now that we've taken emotional stock in what we've got, we can make the roads to where we want to be. Next week we'll discuss how to weed our collective garden so the roses can grow. Til next week!


Halloween Designer Spotlight: Superfrock

To any Sybarite collector, this time of year is thrilling for a reason other than things that go bump in the night. October means the unveiling of Superfrock's annual Limited Edition Halloween outfit and with Charles & Desmond the sky's the limit! One year it's a slinky gown, another they give us Goat. There's no telling what they'll come up with next and that's the fun!

It was one such Halloween gown that captured my heart like no dress before or since. In 2008, the boys let the design do the talking with their stark black silk taffeta gown, Catacombe. The funnel necked torso was tailored to perfection while the massive flared skirt created folds of drama. Paired with a tiny shock of orange lining and a clean pair of black stilettos, Catacombe juxtaposed quiet minimalism and a bold over the top silhouette. It had to be mine. 

Sybarite Voltaire, Patta Wig, SD Catacombe

It was about a year and a half before Catacombe came my way but it was well worth the wait. With a limited edition of only 30, I was lucky to get it at all. This is part of the excitement we've come to gear up for in October. The thrill of an amazing gown, the suspense of whether or not we are able to get one. C&D are getting ready for the Chalk White event in London right now but took time out of their busy schedules to answer a couple of questions for me:

S: Will there be a (Halloween) release on the site this year? If so what's the edition size? 
C&D: As yet unknown! LOL! We are hosting a Chalk White Sale soon and it does depend on time and allocation of it. We hate to break tradition but sometimes this can be a good thing!

S:  (This is a question all designers this month will get asked:) Why Halloween? You do Valentine's Day and Halloween releases. What made you gravitate towards those two as opposed to say Christmas or New Years?
C&D: It's the non religiousness of Halloween and Valentine's Day to us. Do I need to elaborate?! LOL!

Thank you, guys, for taking the time to share this info with us. I know I speak for all of us when I say I hope there is a Halloween release this year but if anyone's earned a break, it's you! 


Trend Feature: The Statement Necklace

The "statement necklace" has been a piece for the ages, ie: Cleopatra with her Egyptian collars; Catherine the Great's royal gems; oversized pieces from the 70's. The most recent revival is the 80's version with twisted pearls and chains, medallions and charms. there will be a couple more seasons of the 80's revival before we turn to 90's minimalism so now is a great time to hop on the bandwagon. 

Model: Dae Jang Geum in Empire necklace and brocade dress, Tonner belt and Monique wig

Empire Pieces

Being small myself, I've always been aware of clothing and accessory proportions. Possibly an even harder task than making quiet, "to scale" jewelry for dolls is making large pieces while keeping the scale intact. Chain can be slightly larger but not too large. Charms can be a little larger as well but can easily look like they belong on an MSD sized doll instead of your 16" girl if you're not careful. Because of this I am drawn to medium sized pieces which have a lot of detail and often a bright splash of color. This gives you the impact without getting too costume-y. 

Ebay has always been a great resource for everything, particularly OOAK artisan pieces. Here are a couple from my personal collection. One is a beaded collar by Leigh, the other a hammered brass piece by an unknown artist. 

One of my "go to" statement designers has always been Odetta. She makes gorgeous colorful rhinestone necklace sets which can dress up basic black or compliment your favorite red carpet look. She's very thoughtful about which beads to use and how to get the most out of a rhinestone finding. Odetta seems to specialize in turning shapes and colors that you wouldn't think to use into treasure.
Odetta's sales

Necklaces by Odetta, Syd by Kristen

I recently acquired my own statement necklace! My grandmother always sends me jewelry that I can take apart for my birthday. Along with some very useful peices was this colorful beaded collar that I coudn't dream of dismantling. Little did she know (or did she??) that I had been searching for the right sized necklace for myself. It sits perfectly on my collarbone, reflects both my hair and eye color and is oh so trendy right now. This weekend I paired it with a black tunic, black leggings, a black draped jacket and ankle boots. Gorg! Thank you, Nanny :)