First up today I shall be taking a look at Re.ci.pe by Baby the Stars Shine Bright. This series includes 4 dresses (one non-print), a skirt, a lace apron dress, 8 hair accessories, a necklace, a bracelet, 2 blouses, a handkerchief and a pair of tights.
First up is the Shirly JSK. I feel the bodice shape could do with being a bit more interesting but it seems fairly well fitted. The neckline seems to be halfway between being a straight line and heart shaped and I think it needs a more defined shape to it. The straps are a bit thin but look like quite a suitable width for the style of dress. The straps are lined on the outside with a thin line of gold braid and then a line of some very pretty lace. The lace sits really nicely and makes the straps a lot more interesting. The gold braid keeps things neat too. I am not so fond of the way the gold braid and lace has been used at the waist area though. It sits quite awkwardly on the dress and I think it makes the waist area look wider than it actually is. There is also a waist bow, which I think is far too big. The shape of the bow also isn't that appealing and the bow appears to be really droopy. It sits really badly on the dress and just seems to sag. The bodice is kept quite plain, although there is enough detail elsewhere to keep the dress looking interesting. The neckline has a very pretty solid coloured bow. The ribbon used is a little bit shiny but has an interesting textured design to it. The bow is a good size and shape and sits nicely on the dress. In the centre of this bow there is a gold coin charm which looks quite pretty (although I am trying to work out how the gold coin fits in with the dress theme. I feel like I may have missed something here). I really like this neckline bow and I think the dress would have worked just fine without the waist bow and lace on the waist area. My only criticism is that I wish they have made more of a feature out of this neckline bow by using the same ribbon elsewhere on the dress. Perhaps 2 very small bows placed somewhere along the bottom hem could have looked cute. The neckline is finished off with a line of gold braid and lace, which is a nice bit of continuity. I would have liked it if the lace thinned out and finished before the armpits though, as the lace sticks out a bit weirdly here and is probably only going to get crushed by the wearer's arms anyway. The back is fully shirred, which means it is quite exposed and doesn't look too appealing. The stock photos seem to show that the skirt has a reasonable amount of volume which would be suitable for a more classic shape. It flares out a decent amount for the style of dress. I feel the details at the waist area make the overall silhouette of the dress look a bit awkward though. The skirt design is kept quite simple and so the print is displayed very well. The bottom hem is then finished off with a line of gold braid and a line of wide lace. The lace is pretty but I think it is a bit too wide.
Here we have the Diana JSK. The bodice of this dress feels a little awkward. You have the bottom of the bodice which is well fitted and the gathered part of the chest, which is quite pretty. The problem is that the ribbon between these 2 parts of the bodice cuts across the chest area. It looks like it will sit awkwardly on some wearers. I think the ribbon could do with being a bit lower down, which would also make the overall bodice shape more attractive. Either that, or they shouldn't have the ribbon line there at all. The straps are a suitable width and look quite supportive. I like how the straps are lined neatly with thin lace on the outside to liven them up a little. But I do feel that the bows on the straps are too much and are not needed at all. If Baby insist on putting these bows on the straps then I think they need to make them a lot smaller as they look very bulky. The waist area is topped with 2 solid coloured ribbon bows on either side of the waist. They are a cute shape and sit on the dress nicely. I think the ribbon tails could do with being a bit shorter though, as it starts to cover up the print and also looks a bit messy. The bodice features 2 bows. One of these bows is placed on top of the line of ribbon and the other is at the neckline. Both bows are a cute shape and size but I don't feel that they both work together. I think either bow could look good by itself but together it looks a bit much. The neckline bow again features that gold coin charm and gives the bow a more decorative appearance. The neckline is topped with a line of pretty lace which I think sits a lot nicer than it does on the neckline of the other JSK. The back of the dress has a panel of shirring which is concealed neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has a good amount of volume and flares out quite well. Overall, I think the skirt shape is quite pretty. However, because of the way it has been gathered, it means the print sits in quite a wonky way and it looks a bit messy. The bottom hem features a raised edge at either side which has been topped neatly with ribbon bows. The bottom hem is then finished off with a line of gold braid which keeps things looking tidy, and then a wide line of lace with the addition of a sparkly tulle layer underneath.
This is the OP. The bodice doesn't have a real defined shape to it and it just looks like such a mess. The sleeves are shapeless and I am unsure about the length too. I also think the cuff part of the sleeves is too wide and doesn't suit the length of the sleeves. The cuff part of the sleeves is decorated with pearly buttons and ribbon bows and then finished off with lace. The end result is quite fussy looking. There are also these random ribbon bows on the shoulders, which look very out of place. The actual waist line on this dress is around the chest area, and this has been lined with a line of lace, which looks quite pretty. The thing I don't understand is the ribbon belt, which in the stock photos has been placed a bit more where the wearer's actual waist would be. It creates a lumpy silhouette and looks dreadful. I don't think this ribbon belt looks good at all and thankfully, it is detachable. The dress looks a whole lot better without it. The lines of lace around the neckline are pretty, but have been strangely positioned and it adds to the messy appearance. The neckline and lacy waistline have been topped with ribbon bows. The bows are a cute shape and size. I absolutely love the ribbon they have used. It does feel as though the dress is very overloaded with bows though. Perhaps these 2 bows on the bodice would look better if it wasn't for the shoulder and sleeve bows. The back doesn't offer any shirring so the size flexibility is very limited. The ribbon belt may help to pull it in a little bit, but as I mentioned, I hate the way the ribbon belt looks with the dress. The stock photos show that the skirt has a good amount of length to it. When the ribbon belt is detached the overall skirt shape looks quite nice. There isn't a massive amount of volume here but you don't want too much with this style of dress anyway. The skirt design is kept simple and so the print is displayed fairly well. The bottom hem is then finished very neatly with gold braid and pretty lace.
And finally, here we can see the print close up. This series is available in ivory, pink, sax blue and green. All four colours work really well with the print. I think the pink is my favourite though, especially with the contrasting red ribbon they have used for the bows on this colour way. As for the print itself, I am not really feeling the square box design, as it looks a bit too simplistic. The design inside the boxes is pretty and drawn well. I don't think it looks very exciting though. The floral border around the boxes livens up the straight edges a little bit. I really hate the tiled look at the bottom of the print though, which has also been used on the bodice of 2 of the dresses. For some reason, I just don't feel the tiles look that appealing. Also, after looking at how the print looks on the actual dresses, I am not sure the print is that balanced. The tiled part of the print looks too wide and I think it need to take up much less space. I see the tiled part as more of a border than the main feature of the print and it is too attention grabbing.
So overall I can't say I am really that impressed with the dress designs and I think the print is a bit underwhelming. I can find faults with every dress design and none of them really stand out as being that appealing to me. So this is not a series I would buy. If I had to, I would choose the Diana JSK in pink, but that is mostly because I think I am small enough that the bodice ribbon wouldn't be an issue for me. I also think Baby need to accept that these longer skirt designs, like that on the OP, don't necessarily work with every series.
Next up today I shall be looking at L'ecrin de Votre Gauche by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, 2 hair accessories and socks.
This is JSK I. The bodice seems fairly well fitted. I think the bodice shape is a bit basic though. Perhaps the neckline is a bit too straight. The straps seem to be a good width and very supportive, although it is a bit hard to tell with all that lace obscuring them! The lace used is of a good quality but is quite a basic looking design. It has been layered beautifully though and sits really nicely. It gives the straps a really frilly appearance. The bodice features a thin chiffon ruffle line, which breaks up the bodice and creates the appearance of a yoke. The chiffon ruffle also continues along the neckline, which helps to soften it a little bit. The inside of the yoke features lines of lace and sparkly buttons. The lace sits really well on the dress and the buttons are quite well spaced out. The yoke and neckline are then topped with a large bow. The bow looks a little bit droopy so could do with being a bit smaller or attached to the dress a bit better. The bow also seems to blend in with the design quite a bit and overall, the bodice feels very simple in design. It feels like it is lacking something. The back has a panel of shirring which has been concealed very neatly by a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has lots of volume and it flares outwards beautifully. The overall skirt shape is very pretty. The front of the skirt is kept very simple and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with the same lace used on the straps.
What is interesting about this dress is what is going on with the bustle on the back of the skirt. The bustle is a good size and shape. The chiffon layers are layered neatly on top of each other and well spaced out. What I really like though, is how if you look closely, each tier is a slightly different colour. The colours blend very well together and the end result is quite interesting. The colours used are a good match for the print as well. I really like the end result and it makes the dress much more interesting. It is a shame it is hiding away at the back though!
Here we have JSK II. The bodice is well fitted, although the shape is a bit weird. I think the waist line which arches upwards gives the illusion of a larger stomach. The dress has 2 sets of very thin straps. They look quite flimsy and not very supportive. I would have preferred one set of slightly thicker straps. The straps are also quite basic looking. The waist line is lined very subtly with very thin lace. It isn't very noticeable but it does give the waist a bit of a neater appearance. The bodice is very plain in design, but it is so short it is a bit difficult to fit a lot of detail on it anyway. The neckline is topped with a line of lace. The lace used is of a good quality but is a bit basic looking. I don't think it is maybe the best of choices and I think it sticks out a bit. The bases of the straps are topped with 2 ribbon bows. The ribbon used is quite shiny, but apart from that the bows are pretty decent. The size and shape is good and they sit really nicely on the dress. The back is fully shirred, which means the shirring isn't concealed by anything. The shirring isn't that noticeable with the dark colours this series comes in anyway. The stock photos show that the skirt has lots of volume and it flares out brilliantly. I am still not convinced by the waist line, but overall the skirt shape looks quite attractive. The skirt is again kept simple in design and the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with 3 chiffon ruffles. The ruffles are a good width and layered well. Like the other dress, these chiffon ruffles are different colours. The colours compliment each other very well and I really like this detail.
And finally, here is the print close up. This series is available in sepia (which looks more like grey to me), navy, green and black. I really dislike the sepia colour way, but the other 3 colour choices look very pretty. The navy looks beautiful. As for the print, I think it looks very pretty. The window design reminds me a little bit of AatP's Midsummer Night's Dream print. The window frames are drawn beautifully. I like the use of black shadowy figures and objects which contrast nicely against the softer colours. I especially love the pretty singing bird in the print. The grassy bottom with the flowers looks pretty too. My only real criticism is the background of the non-border part of the print is a bit cluttered.
So overall, I think this series has a lot of potential. The dress designs are a little bit simple, but there are also some really interesting features too. I really love the use of multi-coloured chiffon on both dresses. The print is lovely too. Would I buy this series? Possibly, yes. I am a little bit torn by which dress design I would go buy. I like the bustle on JSK I but I think the colourful chiffon is more noticeable on JSK II. Also, whilst I love the navy colour way, I really like the colours of the chiffon on the green version. If I were to go ahead and buy this series, I would need to think of some sort of compromise between my favourite details!