How many of you have dreamed of commissioning a couturière to design a dress, suit or costume just for you, an exclusive that only you have? I've wanted things like that for my second life; and, with a little tasteful persistence, I was able to achieve one.
I've admired for many years the work of William Ware Theiss, the costume designer for Star Trek's original series, and the creator of the original run of Starfleet uniforms for the more modern versions of the franchise. It's not a Starfleet uniform I've always wanted, though. You can go to the Starfleet Museum in world and buy a Voyager-vintage uniform for £300 or so, and other clothing creators have done their own versions across the Grid. No, I wanted some things that expressed more creativity, more beauty, more...more flesh (grin). You may recall that Bill Theiss operated on a now famous maxim for his designs; when he created a gown for a woman on the show, he wanted the audience to ask themselves, "Will she, or won't she, fall out of that costume?" Even in the uniforms, that resulted in those famous miniskirted uniform dresses that made Nichelle Nichols, Majel Barrett and Grace Lee Whitney freeze their legs for three seasons. (Of course, it helped that miniskirts were in style back in the Sixties.)
The alien cultures were even more interesting. You didn't see it so much in the first season, aside from Barbara Anderson as Lenore Karidian in "The Conscience of the King." Remember that fur dress she wore onto the bridge? But in the second season, we have T'Pring of Vulcan, the Alices of Mudd's Planet, and Carolyn Palamas' peplos-inspired gown in "Who Mourns for Adonais." (For some pictures, see this blog article.) And in the third season, there was Natira of Yonada ("For the World is Hollow, and I Have Touched the Sky") But my all-time favorite costume from that season was worn by Diana Ewing as Droxine, in "The Cloud Minders." Theiss placed Droxine in a dress that was little more than a full skirt with a slingshot-bikini top. What made it so fascinating to a young kid was the long train, like a cape, that was attached to the neck of the top in back, and the way it moved about her, almost floating like a cloud, as she moved. You have to see the episode to appreciate this; it's not the best story they ever did by a long shot, and some might raise a Vulcan eyebrow at Mr. Spock's seeming interest in a girl who starts out shallower than a thimble of water, but oh that dress!
Now I'm no good at drawing with Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, though that could probably be solved with a lot of practice; but, when I realized the possibilities of getting one of my favorite costumes of all time, I leaped at the chance. Approaching the big-name designers of the Grid was out of the question, of course. They had their own businesses and their own lines, and were busy enough not to be interested in doing commission work. So I wrote a classified ad and posted it to Search, and waited.... And waited.... And waited, until I was flabbergasted one night to get a response from a neko avatar named Hanalyn Ferrer. She had read the ad, and wanted to tackle the job. We negotiated briefly, and I sent her a series of screencaps from my DVD of the episode.
Frankly, I think Hanalyn undervalued her work. She got back to me a few days ago saying she was done, and I invited her to the loft to deliver it. When she modeled it for me, and then when she passed it over to my Inventory, I almost squealed with delight. Hana got the fabric practically perfect, and the fit and "feel" of the gown as I walked about the apartment were excellent. The one thing that I eventually had a problem with was the glitch pants -- they needed to be longer, and it took me a few days to decide that for sure (grin). Here we are together after she delivered the gown; she shot a few images for herself as well. I'm placing some more photos on Flickr, so check the stream in my sidebar, or go straight to my Flickr pages to examine them. (More on that below.) Oh, something else, more important than the gown. Out of that commission also came a friendship with a person who sounds very warm and is a pleasure to talk to.
So, can you get this for yourself...pretty please? No, not quite. I gave Hanalyn permission to sell this, as long as she makes just enough changes to render this unique. She doesn't have this in her store yet, but it pays to have a look periodically. Just don't turn it into a feeding frenzy, like has been going on in the Quad lately. She has a small storefront, God's Eden, in the Wando region, where she sells a few designs, AVs and neko animations. Drop in and check out her work, especially those neko animations. (Search all the way in the back for the stairs to the second floor.) There's a coat downstairs on the first floor; and if you know who Selene is (hint: Kate Beckinsale), then you may want to drop a few hundred lindens on Hana, followed by rushing out and finding some more black leather to complete the outfit! You can even try the coat on before buying, through a clever arrangement of a posing stand and display that is the first time I've seen such a setup. The detailing on the back of that coat is wonderful!
Now, for the story. When I shot my suite for Flickr, I cast about in my head for a good, exotic location befitting an alien's gown -- and it came to me. A quick rummage through the landmarks, and I teleported to the Star Trek Museum in TovaDok II and Minshara. Once there, I found the holodeck and set up the Vulcan simulator, where I snapped the photos. But then, seeing that there were some more Residents running around the place, I decided to have some fun! And so I went up to them and said hello, waiting to see what the reaction would be. I now feel officially old, guys; not a single avatar there recognized Droxine!! Of course, as I say, that wasn't the best episode they ever did, but yeesh!!! When I commiserated with Hana in IM, she laughed at me and said she feels the same way about people who don't recognize all the lesser-known characters in Star Wars.
(Cross-posted from Around the Grid with Harper)