Fashion for Life in Classic B&W

Eshi Otawara's Phoenix rises poignantly over the Mapplethorpe sim, sponsored by Falln Angels. Photo by PJ Trenton.

I was so excited when I learned from Harper Beresford that the sims for this year’s Fashion for Life would not only be done all in black & white, but would also be named after some of the best photographers of the 20th century.

"Untitled Film Still (Self-portrait in homage to Cindy Sherman)" by Rowan Derryth, FFL 2011

At first, I thought this meant the sims themselves would be like walking through a Richard Avedon photo, and I was beside myself. But while many of the builders took inspiration from the sim name, the sites are all their own unique touch. Which makes sense… the sim might be called Ansel Adams, but having a ton of shops in the Grand Canyon would seem a bit odd. And Helmut Newton & Robert Mapplethorpe? Well, I do believe the event is PG!

Regardless of their departures from the sim ‘name’, the builds are all thoughtfully done. The Ansel Adams sim, for example, sponsored by Designing Nicky Ree and built by Frederick Lancaster, is a fantastic and authentic Art Deco street, a nod to Adams’ era. I felt like I was back on South Beach! I also enjoyed the fact that the House of RFyre’s Steiglitz sim by Grace Loudon was cleverly sepia toned.

Steiglitz by Grace Loudon, sponsored by House of Rfyre. Photo by PJ Trenton.

Other builders, such as Raven Haalen and Kell Babenco, took a more minimalist approach. Their design for the Helmut Newton sim, sponsored by KMadd Enterprises/MADesigns, was also Deco-inspired, but streamlined (which will help with lag). However the build is not without it’s poignancy:

“There are three main elements to the sim,” said Haalen, “the shopping areas, the octagon risers, and the volcano in the back. The shopping, aside from it’s obvious functional requirement – represents the support of the community (aka gimme money). The volcano is the geographic analog to cancer – sudden, disfiguring, lift threatening, scary stuff – and the octagon risers, between, represent the support groups, research labs and treatment facilities that the stores and RFL in general support to buffer and protect and enclose and in time, conquer cancer, aka the volcano.”

Newton sim, by Raven Haalen and Kell Babenco, sponsored by KMadd Enterprises/MADesigns. Photo by PJ Trenton.

Haalen and Babenco’s thoughtful approach, as well as the monochromatic canvas of FFL, remind us of the more sombre, serious side of this event. Cancer’s toll has been felt particularly acutely in the SL art world this past week, with the death of Sabrinaa Nightfire – a women who’s life and work was all vibrant colour, the antithesis of the FFL palette. Not to belittle FFL’s choice, it was rather wonderfully and thoughtfully chosen:

We felt that this would reinforce how cancer is no longer a black and white diagnosis because of the work of the American Cancer Society. They provide funds, programs and support that takes cancer “beyond black and white.”

The builds are fantastic, and it is worth going to see them alone. But to make the deal even sweeter, this event is of course all about fashion, as well as raising money for Relay for Life! Thus each and every shop has a special vendor where 100% of the proceeds benefit RFL in SL. And the creations are gorgeous!

Adams sim, by Frederick Lancaster, sponsored by Designing Nicky Ree. Photo by PJ Trenton.

With nine sims to wander, you are sure to find both your favourite designers, and some new ones too! As I wandered Friday night during the press preview, I of course gravitated towards my own favourites such as LeeZu, Azul, and Grim Bros.; but I found some great new designers too whose shops I’ll be certain to check out soon. The center sim is Avedon, and the hub of the event. You can wander a path from here that is a shopper’s dream. The sims are:

  • Ansel Adams, sponsored by Designing Nicky Ree and built by Frederick Lancaster
  • (Julius) Shulman, sponsored by WoE and built by Nigel Riel
  • (Alfred) Stieglitz, sponsored by House of RFyre and built by Grace Loudon
  • (Helmut) Newton, sponsored by KMadd Enterprises/MADesigns and built by Raven Haalan
  • (Richard) Avedon, sponsored by Bliss Couture and built by Cierra Anatine
  • (Margaret) Bourke White, sponsored by [Elikatira] and built by Syngen Sohmers
  • (Diane) Arbus, sponsored by Evie’s Closet and built by Dream Resistance
  • Irving Penn, sponsored by LaPointe and Bastchild and built by Syngen Sohmers
  • (Robert) Mapplethorpe, sponsored by Falln Angels and built by Eshi Otawara

On Rowan: LeeZu "Lizz Flexi Dress" (FFL Special Edition) by LeeZu Baxter; Shoes: *GF* Platform "Rosette" by Cerberus Boel; Gloves: RP Couture Darra by Raven Pennyfeather. On PJ: Indi Designs "Marshall (Black)" (FFL Special Edition) by Jamie Holmer; Glasses: Primoptics.

It isn’t all about the ladies either – there were more than a few shops with great outfits for men. This sharp-looking black & white shirt and sweater combo by Indi Designs (right) actually wrested PJ Trenton from his camera lens for a minute.

And most of the FFL charity items I saw were transfer, so you can send them on as a gift to a friend or sweetie.

Other bloggers have already done an excellent job of talking about this event, so I won’t reinvent the wheel. Find out all the event details at the main FFL site. And for a peek at some of the delicious special editions for sale, I recommend Twisted Lemon’s blogpost. If that isn’t enough to tempt you (or you need to seduce your not-into-shopping partner to come along), check out the amazing builds as photographed by PJ Trenton. And for those photography geeks like me out there who want to know more about why these photographers were chosen (including an interesting tidbit about one FFL sponsor’s personal link to two of them!), read this post (with gorgeous pics!) at the FFL site.

Fashion for life is open RIGHT NOW! It runs through the 22nd, don’t miss this (stylish) chance to fight cancer!


  1. Thanks for the *excellent* coverage. As a note, the builders were not required to fit theme to photographer. They were more interested in honoring the sim sponsors with styles that suited their brands. However, we did try to align the builders and sponsors and the sim names. KMadd is very high fashion so Helmut Newton seemed to make sense; Eshi and FallnAngels are definitely about sexual difference and well.. flowers; Arbus is about the strange and different and fantasy is kind of different; and Elikatira’s designer is a strong woman, so Bourke White made sense; and Grace’s old fashioned sim build for Stieglitz made total sense to me (I think about his photos of the immigrants, not his big NY photos). It’s only in my personal mind these connections took place but they seemed to work.

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