Monday, 11 July 2016

Mon Chouchou Hermitage by Baby the Stars Shine Bright

Today I shall be taking a look at Mon Chouchou Hermitage by Baby the Stars Shine Bright. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, a blouse, tights and 2 hair accessories. There is also an accompanying non-print series called Le Petit Chat, which features pieces including cat themed jewellery, so be sure to check that out as well. 

First up is the Reine JSK. The bodice material seems a bit loose in some of the stock photos, but I am hopeful it fits better in person. I feel the bodice shape is a bit simple, but not too dull. The straps look a suitably supportive width and I like that they are lined with lace on the outsides to stop them looking too plain. I do think the lace chosen has an interesting design. It stands out, but I actually like that about it. There are 2 stripy bows at the waist area, which are a cute shape, but perhaps are a bit on the big side. However, my dislike of the use of stripy material and also the colour of these bows for some of the colour ways is going to become apparent very quickly. So rather than keep repeating myself, I will just make a note here to say that I think the choice of using stripes looks out of place, and the colour choices for the stripy bows is sometimes very jarring and gaudy looking. Please go ahead and assume I feel this way about the use of the stripy bits throughout this entire series. So I think it is safe to assume that I am really pleased that these stripy bows are detachable! The bodice is mostly kept simple, with just some thin lines of gold lace used to break up the empty areas. Considering the non-border part of the print is quite busy, I think this is a blessing. There is a bow on the neckline, which has the most beautiful shape to it. The folding of the bow tails is pretty and it has been so well executed. It sits well on the dress as well. Yes, the bow is a bit big in size, but I think I can forgive that as it looks so nice. The bow also makes good use of the same lace used on the straps, so that is a good bit of continuity as well. The only downside is it doesn't appear to be detachable, so that isn't helpful if you are not a fan of this bow. The neckline is finished off with some gold braid and some simple ruffles on either side of the bow. It looks quite neat and softens the neckline well, although I think I would have preferred if the ruffles gradually tapered off at the sides. The back has a panel of shirring, which is concealed neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and flares outwards generously. I think there is a lot of potential to create a lovely shape. There is a bustle on the front of the skirt, which I feel could have been a bit wider at the bottom. I do think the bustle layers have been well spaced out though, and they are layered well too. The edges of the bustle are also lined neatly with gold braid, which really smartens up the edges of the bustle. Perhaps there could have been some bows at the bottom of the bustle (but not the stripy bows!) as an extra finishing touch. Despite the bustle, the print is still displayed quite nicely at the sides and I like that the main points of interest in the print have been positioned carefully around the bustle. However, this is maybe not the sort of print that you would pair with a bustle, or at least not a bustle on the front of the skirt. I don't mind it, but I could understand if people didn't like it. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of pretty lace layered on top of a ruffle. I like the soft, floaty appearance of this bottom hem.

Next we have the Amelie JSK. The bodice seems fairly well fitted, although the overall bodice shape is a bit boring for my personal tastes. I am really not liking the very straight neckline, and even a line of lace along the neckline does little to soften it. Maybe it is because the line of gold braid emphasises how straight the neckline is. The straps are a little bit on the thin side, but the cute ruffles along the outsides of the straps help to bulk them out a little bit. I like that the straps have these ruffles, although I feel there is a bit of a clash with these ruffles and the neckline lace. There is a belt at the waist area, which helps to define the waist quite nicely, although I obviously would prefer a non-stripy belt. I think this pink colour way above demonstrates what I mentioned about the stripy material colour choices being quite clashing in places. The bodice then features a line of gold braid and a line of lace cutting across the chest area. Even though I think the lace used here has a gorgeous pattern, I don't think having this cutting across the chest in this way is the most flatting of details. It also has the potential to sit awkwardly on some wearers. The bodice is then finished off with 2 bows, with one on the neckline and one on the chest. I wouldn't have bothered with the chest bow, as I don't feel it is needed. The neckline bow is big enough. Or maybe Baby could have done 2 smaller bows at the bases of the straps instead. I do think it is a shame that these 2 bows don't appear to be detachable. The back offers a panel of shirring, which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt appears to have a great amount of volume to it and flares out decently. I reckon there should be plenty of room for petticoat to create a lovely shape. The skirt is generally kept simple in design, so the print is displayed okay. My main complaint is the bits at the bottom with the bows and lace. Some of the more interesting bits of the print happen to be where these bows are situated, and they get a bit cut off to make way for yet more bows. It does make me feel a bit sad, because this detail features some of the most stunning lace, and yet it cuts in to the print. I feel this detail could have been done in a less disruptive way. The bottom hem is then finished off with a wide tulle ruffle, which I feel looks a bit limp, although that is probably just the petticoat that Baby chose for the photos that is causing that.

This is the OP. The bodice material looks a bit loose and baggy, and I personally don't think the bodice is the prettiest of shapes either. The sleeves could of had a lot of potential, and I quite like the chiffon part if you ignore the stripy bows, which make them look a bit too overdone. But the printed material part of the sleeves look too long and saggy. They look really shapeless. I also think the way the 2 different fabrics connect to each other looks very awkward and too fussy. There is a waist bow, which I don't feel has the most attractive of shapes. It is also quite big and I think it sits weirdly on the dress. I am so glad to see the waist bow is detachable, which I would definitely detach if I had this dress. Underneath the waist bow, we can see that the waistline is actually V shaped, although it doesn't look all that appealing in the stock photos. I would still prefer the waist bow to be detached though. One of the things I do love about this dress though, is the use of this fantastic pleated trim up the bodice and then around the sides of the neckline. This pleated trim has such an interesting look to it and I think this is something I would like to see used again. I really like how the pleated trim sits on top of the wide neckline lace as well. The lace has a pretty design once again, and it has been placed so carefully along the neckline and around the trim. I can take or leave the 2 bows sitting on top of the line of pleats though. They are a bit too big in size for my liking. This dress also comes with a sash, which I am not that fond of. I just don't like the way the sash looks with the dress, although it is hard to put my finger on why exactly. The first time I saw this dress I noticed the sash and immediately disliked it for some reason. The dress is already quite OTT anyway, and I think the sash is just overpowering. The back offers no shirring, so there is limited size flexibility. I think the zip line has been quite well concealed though. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and it flares outwards beautifully. I want to like the bustle on the front of the skirt, but it is so narrow and cuts up the print, so I don't really see the point of it. By the looks of it, the bustle tiers are spread out well and layered nicely. With such a small area though, the bustle never really reaches its full potential. Despite the interruption of the bustle, the print is still displayed pretty decently on either side. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with 2 very soft looking ruffles, which are nicely layered.

Finally, here is one part of the print...

... and another part...

... and an overall view of the border part of the print. This series comes in ivory, pink, bright green and black. If you ignore the stripy ribbons, all 4 colours seem to work quite decently with the print. However, the decision to pair both the ivory and pink colour ways with bright red stripy parts has really put me off these 2 colours. The ivory and pink shades are very soft and delicate looking, which clashes with the bold red stripes. The stripy parts at least compliment a bit better on the bright green and black versions. As for the print itself, I think the overall idea is good, but I don't think it quite works. I think it is fair to say that some of the cats look cuter than others. There is a grey coloured cat in the print which I think looks really creepy. I also don't like the way that some of the black cats look more faded in comparison to the rich black colour on some of the other cats. However, I think my biggest issue with the print is the fact that the non-border part of the print is also very busy and it looks too overwhelming paired with the cat bit at the bottom. I do think the portraits on the non-border part are beautifully drawn, but a simpler background is needed here. Also, if you look at the print close up, you will see it seems to have been printed on a polka dot fabric, which I don't think really works.

I feel this series could have been very promising, but it is let down by an overly ambitious print and some questionable dress details. If I am being brutally honest, I feel like Baby are trying too hard to shoe-horn a load of popular themes and ideas together and it doesn't pay off. Cat themed prints generally seem to go down quite well, but even some of my cat print loving friends have commented that they don't like this series, which says a lot. So I think it is safe to say I would not go for this series. My top choice would be the Reine JSK in bright green, and that is only because all of the stripy bits are detachable and overall it feels like the safest of the dress designs. However, I think some of the cat jewellery from the sister Le Petit Chat collection could be quite promising, so that is worth checking out if you are a general cat fan. Dare I say, that the tights from this series look quite pretty too, although I wouldn't be pairing them with the rest of this series!

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