Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Venice of Second Life: Day 2

(As usual, click on the image for full size)

A region is known by the company it keeps. The need for retailers of exquisite taste and ability is what makes or breaks any project. On SL, a club is, in essence, a loss leader to draw the right kind of traffic. No matter how you look at it, one of the crown jewels of any shopping district must be its best clothier, and one does not get any better than Vindi Vindaloo on second life. Vindi is the reigning deity of fabric on sl. More over, she is always efficient and pleasant to deal with, and in a world where "the customer is served" often means braised, basted or boiled, she is the soul of etiquette.

I have heard many people complain about Vindi's prices. I would like to put these prices in perspective. It is rather standard to charge 350L for a flexi dress. These never come with shoes at that price. Unscripted prim shoes retail for 150L. Vindi packages a dress better than the 350L dress, with shoes better than almost any 150L shoes you will find, and designed to go with the dress. She charges approximately 600L for this in various mid priced incarnations. In short, she is charging exactly what you would pay at competing retailers for similar goods. The benefit is that they are designed by her house to work as an ensemble. While there is a joy in putting together an outfit, and Vindi's clothes lend themselves to this well, there is no reason to look at the package that she sells as being in any way above the ordinary prices for much more ordinary goods.

Now there are some creations in her output that go for far more than this. But they are extraordinary creations of far above the quality that most designers even aspire to, let alone are capable of. Part of what you are paying for is precisely that no one else will be wearing the same thing. It is worth the 2000L for her best creations, and worth still more than many people will not feel capable of paying that modest cost for a dress. You will waste more in the next few months on bad fast food, almost without question. Why not skip a few pastries at Starbucks, which are bad for you, and invest in some Vindi instead? Pounds that look bad, or pixels that look marvelous, it is up to you.

And marvelous is indeed the word, above is her monarch butterfly dress called "Azazello." It goes anywhere, and does almost anything. From formal ball in its full incarnation, to trampy night on the town with boa and miniskirt, to business casual. It's another important part of real value: the versatility of it. I must admit to making two changes here. One is adding Arsheba's lovely and cleverly made monarch wings, and the other is tilting the boa from square, to give it that extra push of attractiveness.

But one retailer, even one who is as fastidiously polished in all of her aspects as Vindi, look at the quality of construction of the store, does not a shopping district make. Which is why it does not take long to find out that Plush not only has the names you know, but the names you might not know. Consider "slave wear by violet," whose store shows a "Lost Garden's of Apollo" look that creates a stunning richness. (The dress is Vindi's simple in design but complex in execution Isis.)

However, SL does not live by shopping alone, even though I could run away for half a dozen posts on the shopping district. Day three will touch upon that broader need for life itself.

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