Friday, August 6, 2010

Louis Denver's Skins, With A Digression on Supernormal Stimuli

Photos: Top Left: Cheyenne with her regular skin and shape. Top Right: Chey with her regular shape; notice eyelash effect. Bottom Left: Chey in Louis Denver's Mocha skin and demo shape. No eyelash effect. Bottom Right: Chey in Louis' Fair skin and demo shape. No eyelash effect.

Written 7 August, 2010

Louis Denver's Skins

With a Digression on Supernormal Stimuli

They say the third time's the charm. And sometimes it is.

I got a notecard today from Louis Denver, asking me to take a look at his line of female skins. I told him sure.

It was nice to be asked to do a review by someone who wasn't asking the same of everybody in sight or being less than forthcoming about their reason for asking. Louis is just proud of his work and wanting to get the word out.

As I was having another sleepless night, I took myself to his store at 6 am and began trying on demos.

I found Louis' shop unpretentious and conducive to shopping; there was a nice, roomy space with well-made signs.

Everything rezzed quickly on my laptop and I was soon having fun zooming on myself and taking photos.

Chey's eyelashes are long, and a lot of skins just don't look right on me. It has nothing to do with the quality of the skin and everything to do with the shape the skinmaker used as a model. Louis' skins fell into that category. In them, my lashes were blurry clumps.

Louis' default shape was just different than mine. When I put on the sample shape Louis provided, the lashes resolved immediately.

Louis came in just as I was putting myself back into my own skin and shape. We talked for awhile, and then he teleported me to his new main store, where he gets plenty of prims and pays no rent-- nice if you can get it!

I got only one photo of Louis himself-- and wouldn't you know it, he was blinking just as the shutter opened!

Louis is an artist in real life, and has recently begun to work in digital media. His line of skins-- available in colors from pale to dark-- is his first, and his work is only going to get better.

Louis' new shop had furniture and a ceiling I felt was just too busy for the space. But it was still a pleasant place to shop.

I really liked Louis' signs. They were simple and rezzed quickly. It helped I was on my laptop making 20 fps.

His ads are well done, too.

I can't comment on the nether regions, since I was in public and couldn't get nekkie (well, I COULD have), but I will point out a few things I noticed about Louis' skins.

The lips are full and glossy, with the gloss extending to the philtrum (those vertical lines that run between your nose and mouth). The lips are so full, in fact, that I deem them porn star lips. I think Louis may have gotten a little happy with the silicone.

In fact they may be Nikki Cox's lips.

It baffles me why such a beautiful woman would spoil her looks by getting pumped up so. Let's just hope her lips and cheek are full of collagen and not silicone. Silicone often has horrible results, so DON'T DO IT!

Start of Digression

Full lips are, of course, considered desirable and sexy by many people. On the theory that more of a good thing is better, some people go in pursuit of lips that go far beyond normal limits. Such hyperexaggerated sexual characteristics are called supernormal stimuli by ethologists. Fat lips, ethologists tell us, mimic the estral swellings of non-human primates, and so suggest youth, fertility, and availability.

False eyelashes are such supernormal stimuli. Hmmm, maybe the reason Louis cranked down the lashes in his skins was to pave the way for those superstimuli of superstimuli, prim lashes. You know prim lashes-- those big blurry spiders that encircle the eyes of Second Life's fashionistas. You never quite see them, but you know they'll be doozies if they ever rez in.

Anyway, superstimuli are effective-- up to a point. Then they begin to turn the individual into a caricature. Well, fetisists might not think so, but most people certainly do. Check out what silicone has done for Jocelyn Wildenstein (photo from

The desirability of exaggerated body features has a long and noble history. The Venus of Willendorf is the best known of hundreds of Paleolithic fertility figures. Note the lack of detail in the Venus' face and the exaggeration of the breasts and buttocks.

In his utterly fascinating and most readable book The Prehistory of Sex, paleontologist Timothy Taylor notes that most Stone Age goddess figures had legs that were sharp at the ends so they could be stuck into the ground, thus freeing the hands of the admirer for-- oh, whatever might the admirer need his or her hands for? Oh! I just realized! Taylor suggests that rather than being fertility figures, goddess figures might have been the earliest pornography.

End of Digression

Louis' signs point out that his skins have extraordinary cleavage, and indeed, they do. He has clearly put a lot of effort into shading of the breast area.

To his credit, his skins come with and without breast highlights, allowing the wearer to dial in her level of cleavage.

I've not yet removed my clothes and looked at the pubic area; I'll leave that for the reader.

Wait! I didn't mean it like THAT!

If anyone should think I'm critical of Louis' skins because they hypersexualize the female avatar, don't: almost every skin maker does, and it's just such characteristics that make skins desirable for most people. They don't want to look the norm in Second Life; they want to be over the top. And I don't blame them.

I found Louis' designs carefully executed and his store and signage a pleasure. His skins weren't to my personal taste, but then few are. I'm not the arbiter of what is and isn't desirable, except for myself. I think Louis' skins will have a broad range of appeal, and expect he will sell a bunch.


Whatcha Eaton said...

I learned something new today. The word of the day is: "philtrum." Thank you, Chey. :)

Cheyenne Palisades said...

Watch for my further blogs for future words of the day :)

Cheyenne Palisades said...

Or, rather, future blogs for further words of the day.