But first today I am looking at Nostalgic Matryoshka Doll by Metamorphose. This series includes 3 dresses, 2 skirts, socks, 4 hair accessories and a bag.
First up is the OP. The bodice seems well fitted and the shape is quite smart. The sleeves seem to be a generous length, with a good amount of puff to them. In fact, I am wondering if the sleeves are a bit too long, as they reach the border print part of the skirt. Or maybe it is that the skirt is short in length? The sleeve cuffs are really cute. I like that they are kept quite simple and just finished off with some lace. The gathering on them looks quite stretchy too. There is a ribbon waist bow, which is quite simple in design, but I think it works quite nicely. This bow has been topped with some lovely floral themed lace, although you can't really see it on this off-white version! There is a really cute Matryoshka doll shaped charm dangling from the bow too. There is a line of buttons going down the front middle of the dress. The buttons are quite basic in design and well spread out. What I don't quite understand is why the buttons were continued part way down the skirt. It would have looked a lot better if they had finished when they met the waistline. Although to be honest, I could take or leave the buttons. I don't think they add much to the dress design anyway. The bodice also features a solid coloured bib, which is neatly pleated for added texture. Unfortunately, the line of buttons interrupts the ruffle lining the edge of the bib. I also think that the collar looks a little bit messy. This bib is also topped with a bow, similar to the waist bow. This bow could do with being a little bit smaller, but it otherwise looks okay. I think it is a bit much having the doll charm on this bow as well as the waist bow though. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. This shirring does not go up the whole length of the back, so there is no shirring on the shoulder area. That is something to watch out for if you have wide shoulders. The stock photos show that the skirt flares outwards a lot and there is room for a fair amount of petticoat. Judging by the worn photos on the model, I do think the skirt is a bit short in length. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a simple ruffle and a couple of well placed bows.
Here we have the Switching JSK. The bodice looks well fitted, but the shape of the bodice is a bit too basic. I really feel as though the bodice is lacking something. I especially don't like the square neckline and even though it is decorated neatly with the use of solid coloured material and lace, I don't like the harsh lines and corners. The straps are an okay width, but I feel they needed to be lined with more lace. The neckline could have done with some more lace too, and possibly a small bow or two. The waistline features a 'belt' which really helps to define the waistline. It also provides a nice break to the gingham. This belt is topped with a line of lace, which is then carried on with the design for the bow on top of the 'belt'. The bow itself is quite large, but I think it suits the style of the dress. It has a cute shape, and it holds its shape quite well too. It sits really nicely on the dress, with only a slight bit of drooping. This waist bow is detachable, but I strongly feel that the bow really pulls the design together and the dress looks too plain with it detached. There is a line of 3 buttons on the bodice, which are well spaced out. These buttons are lined with the solid coloured fabric and a tiny line of the lace used throughout this dress design. I don't think I would have bothered with the lace on the buttons, as solid coloured buttons would have stood out more. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full with plenty of volume. There is the potential to create a really sweet shape. The skirt is once again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed brilliantly. The bottom hem is again finished with a neat ruffle of the gingham fabric and some small bows.
This is the Apron JSK. The bodice looks well fitted, although I feel this bodice shape could have also been a bit better. The straps look to be a reasonable width and are generously lined with lace, At least the lace stops them looking too plain, although I don't feel the lace does much to soften the harsh neckline shape. A more rounded neckline could have looked quite cute. The apron looks cute. I like how it has 2 useful pockets and also how it is short enough that it doesn't cover the border print at all. The ruffle around the edge of the apron and the edges of the pockets has been well gathered as well. Underneath the apron, the waistline has a few lines of horizontal lace. The lace doesn't look bad, but I would have preferred it if it had a solid coloured belt like the other JSK has. I felt the belted design looked a lot smarter. However, I am impressed that Meta did at least make a waist bow to pin to the dress, either with or without the apron. This shows that Meta at least put some thought in to how the dress could be worn when the apron is detached and didn't just leave it bare. The bodice features many thin lines of lace and a ribbon corset in the middle. The many lines of lace give the bodice a frilly, ruffly appearance. As for the ribbon, it maybe could have been spaced out a bit wide, but it looks okay. There is a bow on the neckline, which is done in the same style as most of the bows in this series. I like the solid colour and use of lace. This bow is detachable, but I would leave it attached. The back is fully shirred, which means loads of size flexibility but also that there is nothing to conceal the shirring. However, with the gingham fabric, dare I say that the shirring doesn't look too bad? I don't feel the shirring stands out as much as it might have done if the fabric hadn't been gingham, but more solid coloured instead. The stock photos show that the skirt has a good amount of volume and it flares outwards well. I think the shape created for the stock photos looks really cute and the skirt has a lot of potential. Even with the apron, you can see the print is displayed excellently. The bottom then has a line of lace and several small bows running just underneath the print. These details have been done neatly, and I think it is a lovely finishing touch. The bottom is then finished off with a ruffle again.
Finally, this is what the print looks like. This series comes in off-white, red and green (looks more blue to me...). I don't feel the off-white really does the gingham justice, but the other 2 colours look amazing. I am usually not that keen on gingham, but with this series I think it is perfect. It really works with the border print. As for the border part, it looks super cute. Each doll features an adorable design, and I like the use of different animals. The dolls are well spaced out and a good size. The semi-circle line breaking up the border and the gingham has been done well too. I really love the lines of floral ribbon with the gingham as well. It gives the print a bit more of a folksy feel. The little dolls floating around the background are spread out enough that the background never looks too cluttered too. I really don't think Meta could have done anything to make this print any better. It has been really well executed.
So overall, I am very impressed with the print and I really hope this series sells well. Admittedly, there are things I would tweak with each dress design, but some of these changes are only minor things. Would I buy this series? No, but only for the sole reason that it is not really my style, otherwise I would be snapping it up right away. Despite finding this dress too simplistic, I would choose the Switching JSK in red. I would definitely be adding a couple of my own adornments though! I think this series has so much potential.
I am also looking at Chess Collection today. This series includes 3 dresses, 2 hair accessories, a blouse and tights. I am hoping they release some nice chess themed jewellery as well at some point.
First up is the Bishop JSK. The bodice seems well fitted and the overall bodice shape is quite cute. I really like the neckline shape and how the lace lining it creates a very soft rounded shape. The straps are an okay width, but I feel they could have been just slightly wider. They are suitably frilly looking though, with the ruffles topping them. This is quite a good match for the gathered lace on the bodice, as they have a similar texture and appearance. There is a belt, which helps define the waistline nicely. It looks as though the ribbon used for the belt is very cheap though, and overall the belt looks a bit basic. I am not sure if I would leave the belt on or not. It depends how it looks in person, although I don't like that the ribbon is quite shiny. The bodice features many lines of good quality lace, which has been well gathered and fairly well positioned. There is also a line of buttons running up the middle, which are well spaced out, but also have a basic design and I don't feel they add much to the dress. The bases of the straps also have some ribbon bows, which I think would look better if they were a bit smaller. I don't like the way they droop slightly in the stock photos. The back is fully shirred, so there is plenty of size flexibility, but it also means the shirring is exposed. I suppose leaving the belt on would at least cover a small bit of the shirring. The stock photos show that the skirt is full with enough room for petticoat. It looks very rounded, which I think goes well with the bodice shape. The tiered skirt is generally kept quite simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. I like that the tier join has been well executed and doesn't create a bumpy silhouette. The tier join has been topped very neatly with a line of the same lace and some ribbon bows. There is plenty of continuity throughout the dress design. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of lace.
Here we have the Night JSK (I think Meta meant to put Knight). The bodice shape is bold and interesting. I really like the waistline and how the gold braid really helps it to stand out. At first I felt the neckline shape was too harsh, but the ruffle going along the neckline and on top of the straps softens it considerably. My only complaint is that maybe this ruffle is a bit too big, as it does look a bit messy. It just needs to be toned down a little bit. The straps look a decent width and very supportive. The bodice features some lines of gold lace and a set of clasps, which are really nicely set out. It looks as though the clasps are not quite the same shade of gold as the lace, but I don't feel this is too big an issue. Unfortunately, I really hate the matching choker that comes with this dress. I think it is a strange shape and it looks too bulky. It also doesn't look too comfortable to wear, so I would just not bother with it. The back is again fully shirred, so there is lots of stretch but once again there is nothing covering the unattractive shirring. I am not really sure what to make of the skirt. The shape of the skirt looks better in some stock photos compared to others. I think I may have picked one of the worse pictures of this dress to show off the skirt shape. It looks like it flares outwards plenty, although in some photos it looks a bit short in length. I think there is the potential to create a pretty shape, but it would depend on the petticoat used. There isn't too much obscuring the print, so the print can be seen quite clearly. The skirt features a pearl chain, which has several chess themed charms dangling from it. The chain is an interesting idea, and I really like the charms. I am not sure I like how it has been attached to the skirt though, or how it sits on the dress. At least the chain is detachable, so people have a choice whether to use it or not. The bottom is then finished off with some gold lace lined ruffles. The ruffles look really cute and create some nice shape and volume. I just wish they had been under-stitched instead of over-stitched.
This is the Queen OP. The bodice seems quite well fitted, but I feel the bodice shape needed just a few small tweaks. There is something about the shoulder area which looks a bit 'off' and I feel the neckline with the modesty panel attached is too high. The sleeves are a good length, but I think it would have looked really pretty if they had been a bit more bell shaped. The bottoms of the sleeves flare out a little, but Meta could have gotten away with flaring them outwards more. The waistline is topped with a line of lace, which I think looks messy and does not need to be there at all. I suppose the lace could be a discrete way of hiding the ends of the skirt chain though. I just don't like the way the lace sticks out. The bodice features several lines of lace and a row of 3 bows, with the top bow being particularly big. I don't mind the smaller bows, and I feel they could have had a lot of potential. These smaller bows feature some gold lace detailing on them, which is a nice touch. However, I hate the bigger bow. It is far too big and when the modesty panel is attached is looks awkwardly positioned. It is a shame, because Meta have gone to the effort of giving this bow an interesting shape with the folded tails and the charm dangling from it is pretty. When the panel is detached, the neckline is very pretty and nicely lined with lace. I feel the modesty panel makes the bodice look too busy and fussy. There is already a great deal of detail going on, so I would definitely detach this panel if it was me. The back features a panel of shirring, which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset (finally!). I like how the sides of the panel have been neatly lined with lace too, giving the area a tidier appearance. On the back of the skirt there is a bustle, which has decently spaced out tiers, which sit well on top of each other. I like that soft material has been used for the bustle, so it doesn't create too much volume at the back. The use of lace to line the bottom of the tiers makes it look smart as well. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full with more than enough volume. I would have maybe preferred a slightly less triangular shape, but I think it looks fairly decent. This skirt features a tiered design again, which has been well executed. This time though, the bows sitting on top of the tier join are a different design to those on the Bishop JSK, to tie in with the style of bows on the bodice of this dress. I like this good use of continuity. The bottom ruffle is over-stitched though, and I feel that the bows on this bottom ruffle could have been positioned a bit better. The bottom hem is then further finished off with a tulle ruffle, which I don't feel is needed.
Finally, this is what the print looks like. This series comes in chocolate, off-white and blue. I think the off-white looks okay, but somehow I feel it could have looked better? (If that makes sense) I also wish that the chocolate colour had the diamonds in 2 different shades of brown, instead of the brown and black which Meta have gone with. The blue is very vibrant though, and it looks interesting with the gold details on the dresses. As for the print itself, I like the bold diamond pattern. I feel the emblems in the print could have been spread out a bit better. After looking at the dresses, it feels as though there are areas with fewer emblems than other bits. I like the fancy golden frames of the emblems. I usually love chess related series and I think I probably would have liked this one as well if some of the chess pieces hadn't been upside down. Looking at the print, I can see that the chess pieces are going in different directions to each other, with some the right way and some upside down. I just feel this looks a bit silly and as though it has been done by accident, even though it hasn't. As a result, it looks a bit lazy.
It is very unfortunate about the chess pieces in the print, because if they had all been facing the right way up I may very well have considered buying this series. As it is, I will be giving this series a miss. I will be keeping an eye out to see if Meta release any cool chess themed jewellery though. The dress designs are alright, but there are things I would change about each design. I suppose my top choice would be the Night JSK in blue, but none of the designs are really standing out for me. Out of these 2 series I looked at today, I would definitely go with Nostalgic Matryoshka Doll!