Men’s Fashion – Mako Magellen

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I first noticed Mr. Mako Magellen’s announcements concerning his Victorian menswear some time ago on the Mainland forums. Recently he came out with two new releases which seek to address a lack of suitable jackets and tailcoats in Caledon and beyond.

I took the liberty to call on his small establishment to take a look at his recent designs and evaluate them for the Colonial male population at large.

In the illustration shown above, I am modeling his Fin de Siecle Tailcoat in Burgundy and his Classic Tailcoat in black (the only available color in this style) worn with a shirt and waistcoat created by Simone.

The Fin de Siecle Tailcoat is interesting as it includes prim buttons (in gold, silver and white) for the closed jacket front, the back and the cuffs. The jacket is offered alone, with shirt and waistcoat available separately. I personally applaud this sort of “al a carte” shopping, assuming the prices of each individual item remain reasonable. I was also favorably impressed by the array of colors this tailcoat is available in, more then a dozen, which is wonderful news to those gentlemen who get tired of wearing the same three or four typical color options. The black collar and lapel were also a nice touch, giving the jacket a more formal feel. I feel my favorite part of the jacket was the precise and natural cut of the tails, which are quite difficult to get just right using the mesh provided to us by the Linden.

My reservations concerning this jacket are that there seemed to be very little texturing or shadowing involved in it’s construction. It was well cut, and the tails especially hung nicely, but beyond that I have the impression that it was simply colored burgundy without any underlying texture. It did not feel so much like cloth as body paint. This appearance was even more pronounced in his waistcoats. The lack of shadowing to give depth or dimensionality did not allay this sensation of being daubed with burgundy stain rather than roped in burgandy fabric. I would suggest to Mr. Magellen that he study the jackets of designers such as DoC Eldritch or Blaze Columbia to get a better sense of how draftsmanship and texture selection can give tremendous life to a simple pixallated men’s formal jacket.

In addition, while I felt that the prim buttons were a nice idea in theory, I always find such things to be more trouble then they are worth. For example, it took me nearly a half hour to edit them so that they were not part of what I believe would be my virtual duodenum. Even then, as I moved I tended to suck them into my abdomen, so that they resembled nothing more than a tattooed hula dancer on an old salt’s belly, undulating in and out in a hypnotic but vaguely nauseating display. Sadly, the jacket seems incomplete with out buttons and even more like body paint, so I would recommend that in future any such closures be part of the texture of the jacket itself.

As for the Classic Tailcoat I actually have little to say that I did not already mention. The lack of texture, shadow and highlight in a black garment creates even more difficulties, and made this jacket, while nicely cut, into something that felt to me highly generic and not especially remarkable. Most disturbing was that, rather then ending in a crisp cutaway, the front of the jacket seemed to stop precisely at the belt line without showing the appropriate inch or two of shirt and waistcoat (as present in his Fin de Siecle jackets) or worse, to be rudely tucked into the top of my trousers. Upon wearing the garment, I thought back to Mr. Magellen’s forum post announcing it’s release, in which he implicitly maligned other designers, stating that all previously released tailcoats in the Metaverse gave the impression of being slept in. I do not feel that one needs denigrate one’s competitors to show one’s own virtues, all the more so when I feel the garment itself does not live up to it’s creator’s overweeningly high estimation of it.

The fact that the Classic Tailcoat is sold item by item rather then as a set, with the purchaser able to chose between waistcoat colors and shirt designs I feel is an excellent innovation, however I felt he was then pricing the components too highly. To purchase the shirt, waistcoat, tie, jacket, scarf and gloves he currently has available would cost over 600L, and he is promising such other elements as shoes, trousers, a stick and a cloak to come, which will surely bring the total price for the outfit to over 1000L. To speak plainly, that is a far more then this outfit would be worth and I would hope that either the creator would amend his prices, or that the market would inform him of his folly.

I think Mr. Magellen shows talent and promise in his work, but requires more seasoning and practice as a designer in Second Life. I would humbly advise him to observe more closely the work of his predecessors and to play to his strengths (that of garment design and the creation of an innovative sales model) while improving his weaknesses (shadow and texture artistry). I wish him luck in all his future endeavors, and look forward to watching his steady improvement.

These garments may be purchased in Mr. Magellen’s shop in Fraser (158, 233, 68).

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3 Comments

  1. Thank you for bringing these items to light in your pages. I do appreciate it. I am grateful for feedback in all forms, as I am constantly refining designs. I feel some further clarification might be called for on a couple of points.

    Both my Fin de Siecle and Classic tailcoats are rather subtly textured. This may be hard to see at times, so the point is taken. I try to use the ambient shading of SL where possible, reducing my fixed shadowing correspondingly. I feel fixed shadows can be instrumental, in the wrong lighting, in spoiling the clean look of a garment. This, as you suggest, is a matter of applying further experiment to personal preferences, I suppose.

    The Fin de Siecle prim buttons – aha! Here is an interesting question. Whether it is preferable to have one’s buttons smeared around as one twists and turns, or whether it is acceptable to have a button disappear into a fold occasionally. I’ve offered both solutions – rendered buttons that stay visible, and prim buttons that maintain their arrangements. I hope customers recognise the pros and cons of each, and have the patience to experiment if they do select the prim option. And yes, I have seen that incorrect placement can give new meaning to the term ‘belly button’.

    Ideally, the bottom hem of both waistcoat and tailcoat should be below the belt line in historically authentic Victorian-Edwardian evening wear – by a few inches. This poses a question in SL: should the coats be rendered over the trousers, or should the trousers be drawn under the coats? If there is to be an overlap it must be one or the other. I have chosen to draw the coats over the trousers. So, those who feel the hem finishes too high I simply ask to wait; trousers are on their way to give you an alternative lower hem. This is a tricky undertaking, but I am happy to demonstrate prototype designs to anyone who calls at the shop. The straight horizontal hem, rather than a more rakishly angled one, is again dictated by 19th Century conventions. The points I make in this paragraph can be verified at http://www.lahacal.org/gentleman/evening.html

    Regards, Mako Magellan.

  2. Dear Mr. Magellen,

    Thank you for taking the time to so completely respond to my concerns regarding your designs and to clarify certain aspects.

    As to the question of shadowing, I feel it is a tremendous mistake to assume that Ambient lighting in SL, a very changeable and oftentimes non-existant thing, will give shape and definition to a garment in place of shadowing. While the danger always exists of “over-shadowing” a garment, I have found again and again that those items that look most natural and attractive in the Metaverse are those that use shadowing to give a more three-dimensional look. This is of course a matter of personal preference, however. Regarding your note that the garments are rather subtly textured, they are indeed Sir as on the maximum resolution my computer allows I have yet to see any texture whatsoever. You must have a very impressive computer in order to work so. For those of us who are less blessed with graphics card power, it may be wise to make the texture a bit less subtle and a bit more accessible.

    The question of buttons is, as you say, a matter of choosing the lessor of two evils. I simply tens to be more forgiving to distorted shapes then I am to disappearing or anatomically wandering ones. Again, your mileage may vary.

    Finally, your point is well taken that the balance between historical accuracy and SL realities is a fine and delicate one. I feel that more liberties should be taken with precise accuracy in order to allow for more pleasing appearance and easier use in the Metaverse. This means at times creating new norms or discarding those which simply do not translate well to this medium. That is why the most successful of such garments, in my opinion, can be be called Neo-Victorian, or wholly original designs BASED on Victorian or Edwardian styles. The argument between having a line of jacket disappearing into trousers or laying over them seems odd to me Sir, as you indicated in your comment you had chosen to lay the hem of the Classic Tailcoat jacket OVER the waist line, but on studying the garment again I find that it stops precisely at the top of my trousers, and appears to simply halt, as if cut off with shears rather then being a completed hem. Perhaps this is simply yet another failure of my technical equipment.

    I value your responses to my review and look forward to more of your designs in the future. I cannot help but feel that due to your obvious talent, you would be well served to venture somewhat away from a slavish attention to precise accuracy and instead let your personal vision lead you where it may.

  3. I do love the classics.


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