Monday, 10 October 2016

Cirque du L'Etoile by Angelic Pretty

Today I am looking at Cirque du L'Etoile by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 3 dresses, a head bow, socks, a parka, a cardigan, a massive horse shaped bag, gloves and a brooch.

First up is the OP. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is very smart. I think the arms seem to be a decent length, although maybe the cuffs are a bit too big. I do like the way the cuffs have been set out though, with the gold braid boldly lining them. The additional swirls of gold braid on the arms are a bit too much for me personally. There are also some really pretty epaulettes on the shoulders, which is a nice finishing touch. There is a waist bow, which looks a suitable size for the dress, and it has a nice firm shape to it. It sits really well on the dress. This bow is detachable but I don't think it makes too much difference having the bow attached or not. Both ways look okay. The bodice has a solid coloured panel with tartan on either side, which is separated with a swirly line of gold braid. Whilst I appreciate the use of solid colour to break up the tartan, I can't say I am a massive fan of the swirls in the gold braid lines. I think it looks a bit too fussy, and I would have preferred straight lines. There are quite a few emblem design buttons on the bodice, but I am not overly convinced by where they have been placed. I don't know if it is just the braid swirls distracting me, but I personally don't think the buttons look well positioned. Also, maybe there are a bit too many buttons. I definitely don't feel the 2 buttons on the collar are needed. I am pleased to see that the collar doesn't look too stiff and uncomfortable to wear. There is some lace finishing off the collar, which might tickle a bit, and I do wonder if this lace is necessary. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is unfortunately very limited. The zip is at least well concealed with the print lining up nicely along the zip line, but with a tartan style print getting the print to line up is not exactly a massive challenge. The stock photos show that the skirt is bursting with volume and will accommodate lots of petticoat underneath. It is full, rounded and beautiful. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of tassel trim. Given the lack of lace on the dress, I think tassel trim is probably a better option than lace here.

Here we have the Standard JSK. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is very interesting. Yes, it is a bit low-cut at the front, but at least it is a good excuse to bring out a heavily detailed blouse. The straps look quite supportive for this sort of design, and there is actually a pair of straps concealed underneath the solid coloured halter straps. I really like the lapel-like straps on this dress. Perhaps AP could have gotten away with making them a bit wider, but I think they look fine as they are. The gold braid lining them really helps to emphasise their quirky shape. I am once again a bit unsure about the positioning of the buttons though, which are star shaped this time. I feel that some of the buttons are a bit too close to the gold braid edge. The waist bow is once again a lovely shape and a suitable size. This time the bow does not seem to be detachable, which is a shame. It is always good to have that as an option. The little panel in between the straps is set out very neatly. I really like the pleats and the lace sits nicely too. The emblem buttons make a return here. I would maybe have gone for 3 buttons instead of 4, and not had that bow at the top, which looks a bit too cutesy for my liking. The back has a panel of shirring, which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and it flares outwards plenty. It has a lovely shape to it in the stock photos and has a lot of potential. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a pleated chiffon ruffle.

Next we have the Napoleon JSK. The bodice seems quite well fitted, but I feel the bodice shape is a bit simplistic. I also feel the straps could have done with being a bit wider, as they look a bit flimsy. Whilst the epaulettes work well with the OP design, I don't feel they look right with JSK straps. Something about them just looks a bit awkward here. The bodice features an interestingly shaped solid coloured panel, which is lined neatly with gold braid. Inside the panel there are more lines of gold braid with buttons on either end. This design is done very boldly and neatly. However, what I feel spoils this design is the way this panel does not stop at the waist and continues on down on to the top of the skirt. I don't think these details are going to sit that well when worn. It would have been so much better if it had just ended at the waist instead. There is a bow on the chest area, which is very similar in design to the waist bows on the other 2 dresses. It generally works quite well as a chest bow but could perhaps be a little bit smaller. It does sit very proudly on the dress though, and it holds its shape brilliantly. What I am not so fond of is the tassels which have been added to the ends of the bow. I think the tassels stick out at a weird angle and just look a bit silly. I feel there are a lot of details on this dress which had potential, but AP then pushed it too far. The back offers a panel of shirring, which is then neatly concealed with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is plump and flares out wonderfully. It will hold more than enough petticoat. Yet again, the skirt is kept simple in design and the print is displayed fantastically. The bottom hem is then finished off with a pleated chiffon ruffle again.

Finally, this is what the print looks like. This series comes in ivory, pink, green and red. The colour options are generally really great, although the pink is probably the weakest of the 4 colours offered. I like that the ivory offers a decent lighter coloured option, but it is the green and red that really stand out in my opinion. As for the print itself, it is bold and heavy with detail. It is a bit overwhelming for my personal tastes with having the tartan and busy border, but I can see why some people like it. The legs on the horses look a bit oddly drawn to me (I actually had to google images of horses and I think the horse anatomy in the print is a bit off) but legs aside, I like how they look. Their manes look pretty and I like the coats they are wearing. The small hints of circus themes in the print are interesting too. I think that maybe the reason why I personally am not madly in love with the print myself. With the military styling, circus theme and tartan it feels like there is a lot of different themes going on here. I do love the tartan background though, and I think the dress designs could have quite feasibly worked with just this tartan background and maybe some small details on the border.

So personally, there are bits of this series that I like, but I think it is safe to say I will be giving this series a miss. With its busy print and heavily detailed dresses, I feel this is a "go big, or go home" kind of series. I think it would take a lot to tone this series down for more casual wear. I am quite impressed with some of the dress designs however, and there are parts of the print that I like. But all together, it is a bit too much for me! My top choice would be the Standard JSK in red. I feel this dress was generally quite well thought out and a much stronger design than the Napoleon JSK. And whilst I may not be interested by the dresses, I have to admit that I thought the cardigan with the horse design on it is pretty cute!

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