Yes, sometimes it happens and I am speechless – admittedly not very often but when it does happen there’s always a very good reason. But me being left speechless twice? Let me tell you what happened:
I was just browsing Second Life MarketPlace, looking for shops to add to our Directory, when I opened the page for ALB DREAM Fashion. This store has been in existence since February 2007 – that’s twelve years – which is something I don’t see too often, but what really caught my eye were the colors – the colorful clothes, that is. Beautiful, positive colors that seemed to be screaming YES to life. Looking more closely at AnaLee’s creations I knew I just found something very special. A beach tunic I see sometimes, but in such a design? Such textures and materials and colors? Wow. From saree dresses from India, wide lagen pants, patchwork coats . . . the selection just never ceased to amaze me.
Obviously I had to investigate, and my eyes became at least as wide as the lagen pants I’d found a bit earlier. I was looking at a collection by a designer who has won several awards for her gowns and dresses, and I can see why; wow do they look great. Such rich colors, such fine details – easy to see that AnaLee loves and knows what she is doing. Just a few of her achievements:
- FINALIST of “ONE IN A MILLION DESIGNER CHALLENGE” 2011
- designed the MVW 2009 Winner´s Evening Gown (Mimmi Boa) + MVW 2010 Winner´s Costume (Miaa Rebane)
- designed the MVW 2011 national Costume from Miss Italy (Angels Milena) + the MVW 2012 national Costume from Miss Greece (Calypso Oliphaunt)
Well, I knew I had to meet her and ask her some questions. Luckily she is also a very friendly and nice person, and we soon got together for a little chat.
TheTonicBlog: Hello AnaLee, and thank you for taking some time to talk to us and our readers. With your many beautiful clothes, and your extraordinary sim, you’re obviously very busy! First I’d like to ask about your sim. You haven’t opted for an inworld shop in the classic style; instead, you offer your customers a very exotic shopping experience. What exactly does your sim represent, how did you come up with the idea, and what can your visitors see and experience there?
AnaLee: The sim has evolved over the years. At the beginning, only the palace stood on it. Anyway my sim lies on the beautiful island of Lamu with its old Arab city. Lamu is located in the Indian Ocean and I spend my holidays there as often as I can. Of course, for my sim it’s been mixed with my own imagination and mixture of styles. The real Lamu is much nicer. If you cross the water by boat I’ll tell you about it!
There are many ways to find some peace here – we even have a yoga house. Personally I like to stay in the little town, as I do on the real Lamu. My daughters and I designed the cute shops there together.
TheTonicBlog: To match the amazing location you have a lot of beautiful, colourful dresses in your shop. It looks as if you draw your inspirations from all over the world, and you love bold colours!
AnaLee: What inspires me? “The grace of an antelope on the great African plains, paired with the strength and superiority of a lioness.” Well, at first I just wanted to play with building something. But SL was too dark for me, too boring and grey. Underwear, for example; there was nothing appealing. So it became a must to create something fun and, of course, colourful!
Basically I just let my dreams become real. And those dreams are definitely influenced by Africa. I love this continent, especially its colours. I’ve been to India, too. It’s amazing the fabrics you can find there. And of course I look at what’s happening in the fashion scene. I was particularly impressed by designers like Vivienne Westwood or Galliano. In the beginning I let it all flow a lot. I’m open to the world of the arts, too.
TheTonicBlog: I was also impressed at your fantastic formal dresses – evening and wedding gowns. If I’m properly informed, you’ve won prizes and awards for some of your creations.
AnaLee: The models won the awards; only the clothes they wore were mine. MimiBoa’s finalist dress at the first MVW, in SL in 2009. Miaa Rebane’s costume for WMV 2010. Later I got to know Mimmi personally. However, since Mesh appeared, making my evening dresses is not so much fun anymore. I was a fan of the Flexis.
TheTonicBlog: I can imagine that your attention to detail, and your very high standards for the quality of your creations, takes a lot of your time. How long would you say it takes you to get from the first idea in your head to the finished product?
AnaLee: That varies, and it usually works out completely different from how I expected. If it works out well the design will not take longer than two or three days. However, sometimes it can be two weeks or longer. What really takes a long time is to pack it and then make it available to you. Often drafts stay in inventory because I just do not have the time.
TheTonicBlog: Well, we don’t want to take too much of your time! I’d like to ask one last question, though. What can we look forward to in the future? What are you planning to create next?
AnaLee: More for men. More loose clothes. More costumes. I’m going to keep on being an old hippie lady. Most important for me is that it should always be “Enlightening, Exhilarating, Extraordinary.” That’s been my motto from the beginning.
TheTonicBlog: Thank you, AnaLee!
As you might know I am not really famous for the dresses, gowns and high heels I usually wear 🙂 but in this case we at thetonicblog.com decided to team up with our good friend Bobby Imari, a great video artist to help us put AnaLees creations in the right light, have a look:
AnaLees creations basically forced us to make this video, her gowns move in such a beautiful way, no way a photo, no matter how pretty could do it justice.
The final thing for me to do was of course to pay her “store” a visit – and well, I was in for yet another amazing surprise! We all know what to expect from a InWorld shop: few walls, a roof, vendors, well ALB DREAMS was ‘slightly different’:
With inspiration of Lamu in the Indian Ocean, influenced over centuries by Africa, Europe, Arabia and India AnaLee created a wonderful experience, not only for the shopping minded but for everyone who’s interested in and able to appreciate beauty, peace and tranquility. Believe me, if I could technically push you to visit this region, I would.
Go out there and discover, the tiny, cute shops, the palace, the little side streets, experience the colors, the atmosphere, I am sure you will love it just as much as I do.
And before you leave I would like to ask you to have a look at Omars ‘One Day Yes’ – Twashukuru Nursery School, a school where around 30 children have found a home, a family, and an opportunity in life, a future. A place that allows them to play, laugh, cry, run, learn, fall, and pick themselves up again – an interesting social project by Omar Colorado at Lamu Island. AnaLee visited the project & school and if you can & want help, please. You will find different ways to do it.