“In heaven, an angel is nobody in particular.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
I don’t get a mountain of blog samples these days, which makes sense because my blogging pace is much less frequent. I also tend to shy away from blogging mesh template stores unless they’re offering something beyond the usual retexturing and recoloring routine. But, when Ever Courtois contacted me, there was something in her Ever An Angel designs that drew me.
Ever Courtois, a muralist and artist in her meatspace endeavors, doesn’t just recolor and rehash the same mesh templates we see in many other stores. She puts a lot of work into presenting a casual, bohemian style that is rarely done well in Second Life. This Asian-inspired silk drape top and wrap skirt set, called Bethany is an early example of her mesh offerings, but it illustrates the care and talent invested in her texturing. There are few products on the grid that can pull off the look of hand-painted silk, but this set does so beautifully. It employs a sophisticated blend of colors in each variation; I chose to photograph the “Grapevine” which features a lush aubergine base accented by subtle highlights of copper and teal. I also like the little sculpted tie as an added detail. While I am a mesh fan, I’m finding a lot of creativity and variety in pieces that use combinations of system textured, sculpts, and mesh, and I appreciate designers who use the full toolbox to offer something beyond retextured templates.
To accessorize the Bethany set, I choose Truth‘s Ensia hairstyle — a good style choice for a lot of body that keeps hair off your shoulders (avoiding transparency issues). I also went with EarthStones‘ Nataliya jewelry set in the Romance pink/purple combo. It’s a lovely, feminine set that boasts EarthStones customary level of awesomeness. Unfortunately, I think this store is right on the cusp of pricing itself out of my casual jewelry buying range. I have always loved Abraxxa’s work, and I appreciate the level of her talent, but I just don’t find enough value for what I get when I shop her store anymore. It’s a shame, too, because with her immense inventory, she’s one of the few jewelry designers in a position to give real value to customers. I appreciate the hard work that goes into this level of product, but I think rather than inflating prices, it’s better policy to package in a way that gives buyers more for their money. So, I will continue to hope that she gets more creative with her pricing while I ohh and ahh over the few pieces I pick up.
Speaking of pricing issues, the Petal Sandals from Celoe are drool-worthy delightful, but like most shoe designers today they are going to rough up your L$ balance. The HUD is easy to read and pretty straight forward (I was able to match my League Fair skin with the 90611 skin base plus an RGB setting of 251/224/218) but I would have preferred a few more practical nail selections (many of the twenty included colors seemed odd choices that were outside the norm of SL fashion tones) and easier ways to input settings beyond up/down arrows. Still, they get points for allowing us to toggle between RGB and HSL.
For cosmetics, I continued to increase my KOSH inventory. The Starlight eyeshadow set is discolicious and grooves along with their Wet Lips sets.
Next, I fell hard for the Coffee = Art dress in “Teaberry.” I have mad love for brick reds and pinkish browns, but you don’t see them very often, especially not in feminine clothing styles. Again, here, Ever demonstrates a lot of creativity with multiple mesh templates. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this style of dress attempted in SL before, but it convincingly emulates a pleated silk crepe dress layered beneath a hand-painted sheer chiffon drape. The photograph can’t convey the delicate sheer of the top layers, so you’ll have to go grab a demo to see what I’m talkin’ about. I lurves it.
It also goes flawlessly with the Celoe Xylia Pumps in “Buccaneer,” so if you’re willing to drop another mint on Celoe shoes, you’re all set. The Xalia Pumps are non-feet mesh which means you’ll get ankle wonkiness (boo) but it also means they play well with stockings (yay). I desperately tried to find stockings or tights in pink/brown or tintable ones I liked, but it was a no-go. Feel free to comment me if you have stockings that would fit the need.
I couldn’t resist putting these together with Truth’s mesh Kara hairstyle. What can I say, it feeds my inner Charlie’s Angel. But be warned, this style will cause a bit of transparency conflict on the bust area of mesh outfits. I went back and forth on cosmetics, and decided to keep it natural (erm…ignore that shot on the left with the make-up left over from the Bethany shots, kay?).
My final selection from the Ever An Angel mesh line is this sweet long-sleeved babydoll trapeze dress called Baby Buttons. I love the lace trim, the textured buttons down the front and the draping sleeves. The jacquard silk texturing has a subtle floral pattern and a convincing sheen. It’s a real charmer.
I put it together with the Rhoda-esque Lola hairstyle from Wasabi Pills which I a-frakkin-dore. The head scarf has a slight textile texture that can pass for simple cotton or rough silk, and the bands in the braids can also be changed from the included HUD. You can also tint the head scarf and/or bands by setting them to white on the HUD and then rezzing the wig in-world. You must have the “Select Face” radio button enabled in your edit tools for mesh items, so keep that in mind.
For jewelry I went with the Bijou Jewelry Set in Rook from Sax Shepherd Designs. Since I’m friends and partners with Sax, I really can’t give neutral feedback, but I love this set, although I prefer to to miss-match the button stud earrings instead of wearing the matching pairs. Finally, for shoes I’m continuing my love affair for SLink‘s Vintage Two-Strap Pumps. I have a longer entry planned for this new phase of SL shoe making, but it’s too long to get into here. Your pocketbook will sob, but your toes will squee.
Creativity is sometimes a messy process and there are a few rough areas in the Ever An Angel offerings that consumers should be aware of;
since mesh items feature demos, you can see how much these matter to you prior to purchase (see designer comment below). The biggest concern I had was with the Baby Buttons mesh which poked out in odd angles when bending or stretching in some directions. I’m not sure if this was a concern with the mesh template itself or the adjustments she made to it, but it’s awkward in certain poses. Also, on some of the older selections there is a lack of edge texturing, although the newer pieces I’ve seen all feature hems, stitching, and/or lace trim. And it’s worth noting that not all her styles have a lot of size offerings. Some of the older pieces only feature two mesh sizes (“regular” and “curvy”). But, as complaints go, they’re not big ones, and they’re all things that can be evaluated prior to purchase, and they’re to be expected as part of growing pains toward a new line. From what I can tell of Ever’s store she focused a lot on the old poofy gown genre with some casuals tossed into the mix. This brave new world of mesh seems to be tugging her in what I consider to be a unique direction and I’m happy to see it.
If you’re into these sorts of gypsy / Boho feminine styles, you know how hard it is to find them on our hucci mama meets ball gown drenched grid, so I’m excited to see where this designer goes from here.
Where Does She Get Those Wonderful Toys:
Bethany Top & Skirt Set (shown in Grapevine)
Baby Buttons (shown in Water)
Coffee = Art Dress (shown in Teaberry)
Ever An Angel
Designer: Ever Courtois
Lola Hairstyle (Cinnamon / Reds Pack)
Designer: MissAllSunday Lemon
Ensia Hairstyle (Jupiter / Gingers Pack)
Kara Hairstyle (Jupiter / Gingers Pack)
Designer: Truth Hawks
Petal Sandals (shown in Mauve)
Xylia Pumps (shown in Buccaneer)
Celoe at Mayfair
Designer: Jaden Celoe (jadenart)
Vintage Two-Strap Pumps (shown in Blue / used with SLink high heel mesh feet)
Designer: Siddean Munro
Bijou Jewelry Set (Rook)
Frills by Sax Shepherd Designs
Designer: Sax Shepherd
Nataliya Jewelry Set (Romantic)
Designer: Abraxxa Anatine
Starlight Eyeshadow (Pixy)
Wet Lips (Soft Pink)
Designer: Lynaja Bade
(Part of the Lip Primer No. 1 Set
Designer: Mocksoup Graves