Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Burning the Fyre Darkly

Raven Sets the standard for formal GothWear

I love my job, I love my boss, blah blah blah. Oh wait, I really do come to think of it. What kind of second life is it where you can meet some of the most talented designers in Second Life, get handed leads by the dozen and explore cool and beautiful places, and spend virtual money on virtually wonderful clothes all at the same time? A GREAT one, that’s what kind.

This is the first of a two part series on GothWear designers who’ve done a marvelous job of designing goth/punkish clothing. Loyal readers already know my predilection for this genre, and my willingness to reward good designs with easy access to my PayPal account. For the first installment we visit RFyre, creator and vendor of beautiful gothic formal wear.

Just to remind you of my criteria for great commercial sims, there are three targets that I hope for a commercial vendor to hit. Great designs, in an unusual setting, at a great price. RFyre hits on all three, though if you want the newest top of the line styles coming off of Raven Pennyfeather’s computer you’d better be ready to pay her a fair price for her work.

And it will be worth it. I cringed upon receiving this assignment, knowing my own lack of willpower in her shop. Like most all great designers I’ve met Raven was very gracious in answering my questions during an obviously busy time for her, and after spending some time with me she asked her Assistant Harper Beresford to follow up with details. Harper was just as friendly and helpful as Raven.

The sim is lovely. Isle RFyre is a compact but extremely well laid out island. Three simple but spectacular features welcome anyone willing to venture outside the shop. A wonderful Spartan statue by Starax Statosky, a lovely seaside resting place, and a residence decorated by Raven and some of her friends. I hope I’m not causing her a problem by mentioning the house, but I presume the lack of ‘no trespassing’ signs and security orbs speaks of her willingness to share.

The shop itself is large, dominating the craggy hilltop within an ominous looking fortress. Raven manages to prevent that ‘cavernous warehouse’ feel by breaking up the space masterfully, with the bottom floor dedicated to her designs, a basement with mix and match and outdated pieces along with some other vendors, and the upper floors studded with galleries for other vendors in theme. I was extremely pleased to find some Zoe Llewellyn pieces in the basement. You may recall my review of Temenos and Zoe’s fine work in an earlier post.

Always on the lookout for a good bargain I was also delighted to find a collection of $50L hairs in the underwater basement. Although the color choices for RFyre hair were pretty basic, it was easy for me to find a few in black that suited me well. One of the few advantages that those of us of Asian origin have in Second Life is a pretty good guarantee that you’ll find your hair color in any vendor in the grid. Swimming while shopping was fun; it gave me a chance to use some animations in my AO that rarely get exercised.

The shop is rarely empty, though lag doesn't seem to be a huge problem. I met a well dressed neko named Kithin who was visiting on the referral of a friend. He'd never been to the shop before, but was soon stationed in front of a vending station contemplating the purchase of a nicely detailed outfit. Kithin told me that he might soon be moving a few of these designs into his wardrobe. My guess is that he will.

It’s Raven’s full costume formal designs that sparkle in the fyrelight best. You’re greeted with some of the nicest, most detailed medieval/Victorian/goth formal wear for men and women that you’re going to find anywhere in Second Life. To date I’ve purchased five complete outfits from RFyre, and despite the inevitable piece or two in the collection that just doesn’t fit my style or body shape, the majority of the outfit always hits the mark and gets worn repeatedly.

On this trip Raven showed me a newer outfit called Fete which had recently hit the shelves. The red shade set was sinfully juicy, and I could practically feel the smooth velvet and satin swishing against my thighs, nearly sending me in a headlong rush to my closet to brush real life formal gowns against my cheek.

In short, the textures are rich and detailed, the prims fit well even though I’m not standard SLBarbie shaped, and the overall feel was elegant and delicious. This observation was backed up by the full-caps WOW that I got from my loved one when the outfit was viewed on me. The only critique that I would offer is unfair, since so many of my outfits are used for more than one kind of dancing. I find it useful for the, ahem, *underthings* to be sheer and/or skimpy cut, for those times when that special person will see me wearing them. The panties and undershirt could have been a bit naughtier. But as I say, not a fair critique, since the aim of RFyre is formal wear in a gothic theme.

Raven Pennyfeather has done a wonderful job and is to be congratulated. She is assured of my future purchases if the trend in sim and clothing design continues, and I’d suggest that you stop on by for a peek at RFyre of your own sometime. For those of you who like to watch new outfits come online via blogs, you can watch the new House of Fyre blog to get new release info on her designs. Her wares can also be purchased on SLExchange.

Next we review a nice companion designer to your RFyre wardrobe, LaPointe/Bast Cat Designs.

Add to Technorati Favorites