Marisela Bouchard has designed a sexy line of dresses for Silk Dreams that clings to a woman’s curves in a realistically, elegant or dramatic style. You can visit her store on Snug Harbor.
(Left Photo- I’m modeling) Her Kristina mesh gown in black is bold for a casual barefoot walk on the beach or a formal dance without layers dragging you down. Best with your hair up or short and black heels or sandals. The floral design is nearly illuminating with its center of light.
Marisela’s Lauren minidress in bronze is playful and shimmers with bright complimentary colors of green, fuchsia, aqua, orange and black. Sexy, long, curled at the ends hairstyle and pink lipstick and you’ll shine throughout the night.
(Below on snug harbor) Another great tropical beach look is her Becca outfit, a bikini top and long Hawaiian- style skirt. You can choose from purple, blue, pink and emerald. I love the blue. Wear your hair up with hoop earrings.
How did you learn about Second Life?
Marisela: A real life friend, who had recently moved to London with her British husband, told me about it. I thought it would be a great way to get to hang out with her. Once here of course, it became an easy way to stay in touch.
What inspired you to create a Second Life clothing line?
Marisela: I don’t know if there was any one thing that inspired me, but I do remember that I wanted to learn how to make clothes almost immediately after starting Second Life. Partly, I think it was the challenge. I knew what I wanted to wear and felt that if I could learn the technical side, I could create it for myself. I love all kinds of art and was drawing in real life, mostly with pastels. I was also playing around with watercolor painting. Art was just a hobby and not anything that I’d actually studied formally. In fact, in real life, I spend more time playing with numbers but they don’t thrill me as much as making lacy, silky mini dresses. The creativity here is so fulfilling that I haven’t picked up a pastel stick since 2007! To me, it’s like creating an image and then turning it into a three dimensional piece of art that people like enough to dress themselves in!
Marisela: I had no idea how to use Photoshop when I started Second Life. I bought the program and just started playing around with it. I got a lot of help and encouragement from an Second Life friend who was a real life professional photographer/artist and an expert in Photoshop. I might have quit in frustration if it weren’t for him. The technical challenges can be quite high, so that kind of support really helps.
I was fascinated by how people presented themselves in Second Life and I started learning by taking photographs in world and observing people that way. I did an exhibit entitled “The Sexiest Men of Second Life” and SLTV even did a segment about it. Then during an Second Life Pride event, I did another exhibit of gay couples. I worked with some very talented people and got involved in building and running an art gallery, and I think that helped me a lot to get a feel for how to take an image and turn it into something crafted from pixels. I was like a sponge, absorbing all these skills from the amazing people around me.
I started out making swimwear and opened a small store a month later. I taught myself as I went along, trying different things and within a couple more months I had expanded to making dresses. Later I did a project with one of the real life artists who had exhibited at our gallery, using her art as fabric for some dresses.
Marisela: I get asked that question a lot and it’s hard to answer. Normally the shape comes first and then the fabric and colors, and they’re two separate processes for me. I start with the blank canvas of the clothing template and start experimenting by constructing what comes into my head and stop when I like it. It’s much more rare that I have a concrete idea of what I’d like to do, and very often the finished piece is totally different from where I initially thought I was going! The process for creating texture and color is very similar to creating the form.
You love color and work well with it. What’s your secret to blending color arrangements?
Marisela: I have some Latin American ancestry and I think color is in my blood! Here’s my secret: I have fun playing around with brushes and color and when I like it, I stop. 🙂 I don’t use color charts or look through fashion magazines. I try something in Photoshop and see if it works. Mostly, you can just feel it when the colors come together. I create different color versions and save them as patterns. I don’t think I have ever made a specific fabric for a specific outfit. When I make an outfit, I start trying out different fabrics that I made previously until I find something that works. Sometimes nothing works and I just put the outfit away until later. Then, some time later I try again with newer fabrics and I’ve somehow made the perfect fabric for it!
I think we all take in images and ideas subconsciously all the time and if we’re lucky, we can dip into that pool and draw out colors, textures and shapes that we like when we need them. After that, it’s just a question of taking the time to put it all together.
How long does it take to come up with the design and complete it?
Marisela: It’s not an easy process nor a fast process for me. I’m a bit of perfectionist so I can literally spend a few hours on a problem that no one else would even see. That’s not to say my outfits are perfect, because I do miss things and make mistakes, but I can spend hours on one tiny thing that is just not working right for me.
Sometimes everything flows so smoothly the design takes five or six hours. Sometimes I will spend weeks and weeks trying to get something to work. I have quite a few outfits that I gave up on because it was just not working. But sometimes I’ll go back some months later and start working on one again, and then it all comes together. A lot of times, it’s just a matter of finding the right texture for that particular design.
Creating outfits truly is a joy. I don’t think of that as work at all, but the work that needs to be done to get the outfits ready for the store is time-consuming, from uploading the textures and creating the outfits in SL, making folders, taking photographs, boxing up each outfit, setting up the vendors on the online system, setting up each outfit in the Marketplace, and writing and sending notices to my group and various fashion groups. Plus the work to set up the vendor displays at the store, and at various Silk Dreams rental shops around the grid. I am also involved with various special events with Fashion for Life group, and Models Giving Back group, both of which benefit cancer research, and Pride groups that benefit AIDS research. And none of that work even touches on marketing and promotion! Design and store management is truly a second full-time job!
Marisela: Right now the best sellers are Olivia, Milla, Esprit 2, Audrey, Azteca, Devotion, and Riley. I think the one dress that I’ve gotten the most compliments on is Milla.The design is unusual, I think, and very sexy.
What do you find yourself creating the most?
Marisela: My favorite thing to make is a dress, whether it’s a mini or a long skirt. I do make other items, but I really love dresses. I want all my outfits to be feminine and soft and pretty. Besides the joy of creativity, I really love when my customers tell me how much their partner enjoys seeing them in my designs. That just makes my day!