The Opinionated Wench  

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by Shannon Ward
Copyright October 2002

Chiarastella is a KiSS doll, which you can learn more about by visiting The Big KiSS Page I'm sure I committed many of the sins lampooned by Alcy in "How Not To KiSS", but I'll work on fixing them for next time. Some specific things I'd like to work on are: some of the objects have these nebulous white borders around them that probably comes from my not cropping properly or something; not everything that I want to have snap snaps, despite being listed in the FKiSS stuff, and I don't know how to fix that yet; I was going to make a nice background, a nameplate that hides/unhides the wardrobe, and make the sets show different hairstyles when you open them, but I've already spent a week and a half doing nothing but KiSSing and now I'm really behind on schoolwork. Next time.

I don't know very much about Chiarastella -- she's basically a fashion doll -- but I'll tell you a bit about the world she inhabits. It's basically Steampunk meets Space Opera: tall ships in space with solar sails; corseted ladies and men in lace and white stockings discussing the theory of relativity in fashionable salons; young ladies and their matchmaking mamas journeying across solar systems and staying in the best room in a dodgy inn on a mining colony on their way to be presented to the Empress and hopefully catch a Duke on the Marriage Mart. If you were to read Georgette Heyer, Patrick O'Brian, George MacDonald Fraser, Dorothy Dunnett, and Anne Rice while watching a lot of Star Trek and occasionally going to an SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) event, you would know where I was coming from.

Chiarastella herself comes from a planet that is basically a cipher for Florence under the Medici, called (for lack of a better name at the moment) Nova Toscana. Some of her outfits look a bit Turkish, so perhaps her people are currently enjoying favorable trade relations with the planet that stands in for the Ottoman Empire (which has no acceptable name yet). I don't know if she's married or how old she is. I don't even know if she's of noble birth or the daughter of a rich merchant. It's not a very good time for women in Chiarastella's world -- the new Emperor, Valentine II, practices some form of fundamentalism which teaches that all women are inherently sinful, and that educating them or giving them any power to make their own decisions will lead inevitably to the corruption of the world. Don't go getting any ideas that Chiarastella is some kind of feminist or women's rights activist, though -- she's a good girl who accepts her place in the world and does what she's told. Don't worry, I intend my future dolls to be much more empowered.

On to the clothes! All designs are original, though I relied on InStyle magazine and my knowledge of Elizabethan costuming for inspiration.

Set 0: In Chiarastella's world, travelling clerics/teachers wear red and black as a sign of dedication to the contemplative life.
Set 1: She looks a bit like a bumblebee here. That thing in her hand that looks like a feather duster is supposed to be a fan.
Set 2: I think this set shows a little bit more of the "Turkish" influence. This outfit would be more formal than the outfit in set 1.
Set 3: Who can do a KiSS doll without plaid? This outfit, again with the draped chemise dress, is another formal outfit. The newly-married Duchess of Ravensburg, Catalina, will don a mask on her marriage and never be seen in public again without it. The mask is quickly adopted by women across the Empire as a sign of modesty (oppression?).
Set 4: Another new fashion on Nova Toscana is the high-waisted gown. Chiarastella pairs it here with a tried-and-true blackwork skirt.
Set 5: Another Turkish-inspired look.
Set 6: White is a color of mourning in the Empire.
Set 7: This might be Chiarastella's idea of grubby clothes, perhaps suitable for gardening (clipping a few flowers from an ornamental windowbox maintained by her husband's or father's groundskeeper) or going through the linens with the housekeeper to determine which ones need mending.
Set 8: Chiarastella plays at being a peasant girl, perhaps for a fancy-dress ball or a maske (like charades but with singing)
Set 9: One last formal outfit, in sober colors, because Chiarastella wants everyone to know how pious and modest she is.


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