New Releases from LVS

A designer that I had somehow lost track of for a time is Ravenlynn Templar, the mastermind behind Liquid Velvet Studios, or as it is better known, LVS. LVS has made a name for itself in producing high quality upscale gowns, suits and lingerie for women and the occasional tuxedo or couture casual for men.

The work of Miss Templar came to my attention again recently when I got word that she had begun producing more menswear of late, specifically in the formal/gothic range, that could be suitable for Caledon and the environs. Remembering the quality I had seen in her previous work for men, as well as her women’s wear, I felt the rumor was worth checking out. I found that she has been hard at work expanding not only her design line, but her market as well.

LVS & Co now dominates a lovely retail sim called Cassiopeia Isle, with many and varied shops, including several spin-offs from LVS such as My Dead Kitty for casual goth/punk wear and Enchanted for movie based fantasy gowns.

LVS & Co itself is primarily the work of Miss Templar and she has a very firm grasp of her brand, and the look and style she is going for. All of her designs, even when they cross the line from formal to casual, clearly are from the same design house, and are elements of the same collection. Considering the hodgepodge/anything goes attitude of many newer designers, the care and attention to the big picture this shows is certainly a breath of fresh air.

As mentioned, Miss Templar’s raison d’etre would have to be formalwear, and while most of her gowns displayed a bit too much décolletage for a Victorian sim, the menswear would fit right into Caledon by and large. This is of course one of the hidden advantages for men living in the Realms of the Roses. While there are far fewer “Victorian” garments produced for men, modern tuxedo, formal or gothic style suits adapt to Victorian requirements far more readily then women’s modern gowns do. After all, there have been almost no major changes to the male suit in nearly 200 years.

Looking specifically at the formal menswear in LVS, three suits caught my attention: My Dark Valentine, Our Evening and the suit I had come to look at, Gothic Gentleman. While the three designs are very very similar (with similar strengths and flaws), each has a certain distinction. All are essentially true black suits with different colored vest options, which suits me fine (pun intended). However, it may be worth Miss Templar’s time to look at producing the same designs in a narrow range of colors. Such colors as navy, white and charcoal are certainly traditional for formal wear, and would not seem out of place in her line. Beyond that, while more avant garde colors such as burgundy or emerald would have more limited appeal, they would certainly find favor in certain niche markets and go a long way to further rounding out her line.

My other slight complaint about all three suits is due to the fact that they were created in true black, they require a bit of white-lining around the edges to show the detail work, and are near impossible to shadow properly. These problem is why most gothic designers tend to work in a very dark charcoal as their darkest shade. It certainly is not a dealbreaker, but the fine white line along the edge of the tails is a pet peeve of mine, and tends to draw my attention away from the good qualities of a suit.

All three, being black long tuxedos, enter an ever growing subgenre of menswear in Sl which I tend to call Vampire Prom wear. Long black jackets, matching slacks, formal white shirts, colored print vests. Most every designer currently has at least one such design in their line, with many having several. Personally, it is a look I favor, but I can see how some men would find it a trifle limiting. After all, how many long black suit jackets can one man own (Samuel Jackson not included)? For the record however, I have seen some pretty awful Vampire Prom wear, and those on offer from LVS are unusually well made and sharply designed…in fact they are some of the best I have seen.

The garment I came specifically to review, Gothic Gentleman (see the photos above), is a slight variation on the standard, using a black-on-black brocade pattern to make it more firmly entrenched in the Goth camp. I felt the pattern was subtle and extremely effective, and the overall design has some really lovely touches. I love the velvet border on the edge of the tails and the interesting and distinctive lapel design in particular.

A nice facet of this outfit are the multiple shirt options. The shirt may be worn with a pleated shirt front, a soft stock or a prim ruffle. Such variety is always welcome, especially in a relatively expensive garment. However, with this design, the variety was lacking when it came to the vest. For some reason, in the Gothic Gentleman suit Miss Templar opted to make the vest/shirt and jacket all on a single layer. There is no option to wear the vest and/or shirt without a jacket, which is troubling since from what i could see of it, the vest is unusually well done. This lack of a shirtsleeves option severely limits the value of the suit, both as a mix and match element in your wardrobe and as a garment for role play. After all, most ladies prefer that while being ravaged by the evil nobleman of their choice, there are some sartorial stages between fully dressed and totally naked. She does provide the jacket without a shirt or vest, but as it is on the shirt layer it is still of limited usefulness as very few shirts or shirt/vest combos are created on the undershirt layer.  The deficiency is all the more puzzling since in her Our Evening suits, the shirt, vest and jacket are each on their own layer, which i feels maximizes their usefulness in an man’s wardrobe.

Despite this lack, I was pleased with the wide range of vest color choices, both with the full suit and in an additional line of shirt/vest/jacket combos called The Devil. The vest (as far as I can tell) is nicely textured, with a double row of buttons and gathers along the abdomen.

As for the other two suit options I had mentioned, Our Evening is a more standard long black tuxedo, also with a wide range of vest colors available. The formal white shirt is totally without collar however, which is a look I enjoy but many Caledonian gentlemen may feel a trifle underdressed due to the lack. A nice touch is that each vest color is designed to be worn in conjunction with a matching gown, for those couples who like to present a unified front at formal affairs.

My Dark Valentine is a more formal option, including a patterned short double breasted jacket with matching slacks, a stock collared dress shirt, optional prim tails, cloak and top hat. This suit is also designed to be twinned with a matching gown.

Looking around LVS & Co, I saw many designs for both genders that would go well in Caledon, and perhaps even more so in Winterfell. I am impressed with the advances that Miss Templar has made since the last time I explored her work. She has certainly developed her already prodigious skills and has put out some exceptional designs. I will have to make certain I do not let anything like a year pass before the next time I check out her new releases

Find LVS & Co at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Cassiopeia%20Isle/199/55/22.

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