Monday, 19 January 2015

Espirit de la Belle by Baby the Stars Shine Bright

Today I shall be taking a look at Espirit de la Belle Epoque a Paris. This series includes 4 dresses (2 printed), a skirt, 5 hair accessories, a blouse, socks, a lace collar and wrist cuffs.

This is the Sarah JSK. The bodice looks fairly well fitted and the shape is quite interesting. I think the straps are a very good width and look quite supportive, whilst also suiting the dress style. The outsides of the straps have been lined with tulle and the tulle has been used really well. The tulle is well shaped, with plenty of gathering and matches up brilliantly with the use of tulle elsewhere on the dress. I think the waist bow could have been smaller, but doesn't look too large. I do feel the bow shape could have been prettier though, and I don't think the lace looks great around the bow edges. The bodice features a ribbon corset, although it is too bunched together. The ribbon needs to be spaced out further, as it looks a bit messy as it is. The ribbon used is a lovely design, but it is very shiny. Above the ribbon corset there is a line of ribbon running across the bodice. I like how it is lined with gold braid and the bow in the middle is a pretty shape. However, I am concerned how that ribbon line is going to sit on most wearers. It cuts right across the wearer's bust and it isn't the easiest of details to wear. I also think that there is far too much detail going on with the bodice. I personally would lose the waist bow and the line of ribbon running across, just leaving the neckline details and the ribbon corset. The neckline is lined with layers of wide lace and tulle topped subtly with gold. The lace design chosen is very pretty and I think the different layers sit really well on top of each other. My only criticism would be the mix of ivory and white colours used. I am not entirely convinced that the white lace colour really works with the warmer, softer ivory colours. It is a bit of a contrast. The back has a panel of shirring which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The skirt shape looks quite pretty in the stock photos. The photos show that the skirt has plenty of volume and flares outwards well. The main part of the skirt is kept quite simple and the all-over print is displayed beautifully.

Here we can see a close up of the bottom of the Sarah JSK. I generally quite like the design of the bottom of this dress. The tulle layers give the bottom a very soft finish and the gold braid along the bottom of the main dress fabric is beautiful. What I am not so sure of is these little raised bits on either side of the dress. My issue is with the use of white lace. Again, I am not sure I like the harshness of the white teamed with the ivory, but the lace also seems to be weirdly positioned. It just looks like a slightly odd shape. This picture also shows that the print doesn't line up too neatly along the seam. The ribbon bow is quite pretty though, and it does help to obscure the white lace a little bit.

Here we have the Manon JSK. The bodice looks very well fitted and I really love the overall bodice shape. I really like the shape of the neckline and the gold braid helps to emphasise that shape in a very neat way. The straps are a decent width and really suit the style of dress as well. The straps and neckline are topped with wide lace. The lace is really well gathered and sits perfectly on the shape. The lace used has a beautiful design as well. However, once again I am conflicted by the use of white lace. I do feel the use of the different lace and tulle colours works a bit better on this JSK than it does on the Sarah JSK though. The bodice features 2 ribbon corsets on either side. The bows at the waist area could have made the waist area look very bulky, but the ribbon used is very soft and delicate so I don't think this is really an issue. The ribbon for the corsets is very beautiful and I think the ribbon has been spaced out well. My only concern is the use of flimsy looking lace to hold the ribbon is place. The lace is very thin and it looks like it could break quite easily. The middle of the bodice has a line of pearl buttons. The buttons have a pretty design, although I think Baby could have gotten away with one or two fewer buttons. The neckline is finished off with a ribbon bow. The bow is a good size and the shape is pretty. It sits fairly well on the dress too. The back has a panel of shirring which is topped with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has a lot of potential shape-wise. It flares out generously and has more than enough volume. The skirt design is kept simple and the print is displayed brilliantly. The bottom hem is finished with alternating layers of tulle and lace. The layers sit well on top of each other. I only wish these details had been under-stitched instead of over-stitched. These details are finished off in a lovely way with gold braid and nicely positioned ribbon bows. 

This is the OP. The bodice material looks a little bit loose and baggy. The sleeves are an interesting design. I feel the print material part of the sleeves needs to be a bit shorter, as it seems like it would end in a strange place on the arms of most wearers. I also feel that the sleeve design would look a bit more balanced if this part of the sleeves was shorter, as I think the chiffon part of the sleeves don't have enough room to properly flare out to their full potential. The join between the 2 different sleeve parts also looks very frumpy and too fussy, and I dislike the use of bows here because it looks too OTT. The chiffon parts of the sleeves is beautiful though, and I think it is a shame they haven't been used in the best way. The waist area has a bow. The size of the bow is okay, but I really dislike the shape and how it sits on the dress. I personally feel there is enough detail on the dress and a waist bow isn't needed anyway. Thankfully, it seems to be detachable. The bodice features a ribbon corset. The ribbon is reasonably well spaced out, although I feel the corset could have been a little wider. The rose lace on either side keeps the edges looking neat but looks a little bit flimsy to be holding the ribbon in place and could get damaged if the wearer isn't careful. The tails of the ribbon drop down the skirt, which in my opinion is a little bit messy looking. Even in the model pictures Baby have chosen to hide the ribbon tails. There is a wide bib on this dress which reaches the shoulder area. I personally would have preferred it if this was a bit narrower, as it looks quite dominant. The bib itself is quite pretty though. I like the use of lace, as it gives the bib an interesting appearance and texture. The bib has a line of lace underneath it as well which I am not so keen on, but it does match up with the style of the bottom of the dress. The bib features some pearl buttons and I think they are too bunched together. Maybe only one or two buttons would have looked better. The collar design looks quite simple and doesn't look too stuffy or uncomfortable. The back of the dress offers no shirring at all and is quite plain in design. I do dislike the way the print lines up along the zip line. The stock photos show the skirt has plenty of volume and will hold a decent amount of petticoat. The overall skirt shape is quite pretty. The skirt design features a gathered front with many layers of chiffon underneath. It is a pretty idea, although I feel the gathering could have been executed neater and the bows used by the gathered areas look saggy and poorly positioned. There are also further bows along the bottom hem, around to the sides which are made from the printed fabric, which are far too big and I don't think are really needed. Just above where the printed fabric ends, there is a line of lace topped with gold braid, which I thinks looks a bit messy and fussy. With an all-over print it doesn't matter so much if the skirt has such obscuring details, because you can see the print elsewhere, but in my opinion the print has not been displayed as well as it could have been on this particular dress. As for the lace and chiffon bottom of the skirt, I do think the layers have been layered on top of each other brilliantly. The difference between the patterned lace and the smooth chiffon gives a nice variety of different textures and the final result is quite pretty. 

And finally, here we have the print close up. This series is available in ivory, lavender, green and brown. In my opinion both the lavender and green colours are beautiful. I also like the choices for the ribbon colours that Baby have used with all 4 colours. The red ribbon with the green colour way is especially striking. As for the print itself, it is quite romantic looking. I like how despite being quite a floral print, the flowers are not overly dominating. I especially love the envelopes and perfume bottles in the print, as they have been drawn so well. There are lots of lovely little details hiding away in this print. As for the pictures in the frames, they feature pretty standard images such as vanity tables and buildings. They all look quite appealing. There is nothing that particularly stands out and everything in the print works together really well.

So overall this series has a really lovely print, although I feel a little uncertain about some of the dress details. There are other details on the dress designs which I do really like though, and I think the choice of ribbon colour is especially interesting. Would I buy this series? Probably not, but it is one that I shall be admiring from a distance. If I did buy this series I would go for the Manon JSK in green. I can't see this series being a big seller, but it is nice enough and I am sure we are bound to see people coming up with some lovely outfits with it.

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