THE BLOG
02/12/2007 02:10 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Virtual Gowns, Bag and Swag

Fashion week took New York by storm this week. Designers paraded out
their latest offerings while fashionistas and celebrities from around the globe
fought over the coveted front seats along the catwalks. iVillage, along
with the virtual ASpiRE Modeling Agency offered an alternative to the
crowded tents in Bryant Park with their first virtual fashion show in
Second Life.

In the world of fashion - it's pretty good to be an avatar. No one is
worried about your BMI index, you never have a bad hair day, you can change
- with a few clicks on the keyboard - in a flash. Fashion is big business
in Second Life, where creativity reigns supreme and real people make an
actual living creating virtual haute couture.Snapshot_220.jpg

iVillage presented three of Second Life's most famous fashion houses--caLLie
cLine
, Paper Couture and Simone Stern--to coincide with Fashion Week. I
attended the event with Arianna Hera, the avatar of Arianna Huffington, in
a
Simone! Designs crimson gown and Paper Couture zebra bag. Arianna wore
caLLie cLine.

Before being teleported from my virtual home into a special press zone to
cover the catwalk, I edited my appearance to fit the gown and slipped on a
pair of earrings with built-in bling that shimmered in silver beams under
perpetually perky curls that never go frizzy in the virtual humidity, even
when it appears to be raining.

Amazingly, the audience started showing up hours before the event--and I
mean
hours. Only a certain number of avatars can occupy a single space at a
time,
and it's not uncommon to get shut out. In real life, the murmurings of the
fashionistas remain a low rumble from a distance, but in Second Life,
anyone
can read every word on the screen. A round of trivia while avatars waited
for the show to begin yielded some gems: Is Viagra Kosher in Israel? I'm
still not sure about the answer.

When the models started strutting down the catwalk to DJ Naydee McGettigan,
the crowd didn't stop talking. The rules of etiquette in Second Life are
still up in the air. When one avatar commented that she felt like she was
at
the Oscars, another replied that she'd actually been to the Oscars, and not
even the line for the ladies' room was as slow.Snapshot_222.jpg

Paper Couture, a fashion house made up of five "sisters," Ava Lu, Prue Lu,
Mimi Lu, Mare Lu and Cora Lu, were up first. The crowd went crazy as model
Honey Bender flitted out in an Anemone Gown, which reminded me of my
favorite fairy tale in childhood, in which a girl asks for--and
receives--gowns made of air, water and stars. Decadent, dreamy confections
drifted in front of an audience of avatars, the likes of which simply
cannot
exist in real life. No matter how far fashion pushes the boundaries, it
will
always be a slave to the laws of physics, and no matter how many nips and
tucks the women poured within expensive and beautiful garments are, they
are
still bound by time and shackled to reality. Fashion, it seems, was made
for
Second Life.

caLLie cLine, who has raised money for Steve Irwin's Wildlife Warriors and
breast cancer research, plans to launch a Fashion Compassion line this
spring.
Yes, as in real life, there is the desireable swag in the virtual world.
Swag bags at the iVillage event could be had for a click on a caLLie cLine
box behind the seats. Her "Army Baby" signature
ensemble in platinum drew cheers from the crowd, and her "SL daughter,"
Aradia Dielli, sauntered down the runway in a "sizzling" one piece suit.

Simone! Designs (created by Simone Stern, founder of "Ayeshe's Angels," a
fund for the medical care of her friend) showed off a bevy of sexy, classy
designs--a rare combination in Second Life.

The showstopper of the evening was Simone's wedding dress that had some
exclaiming that they wanted to get married in Second Life--a phenomenon that
stunned me just last week when an avatar sent me her wedding album and told
me that already, she and her virtual groom had parted ways because he
started acting too much like a real life husband.

No wonder iVillage's Girls Night Out has been experiencing such a massive
turnout!