For some reason, Impact *always* decides to release a photoshoot right around Wrestlemania. It's slowly becoming one of my pet peeves with the company. They don't release anything for almost a year and then, boom, right when everything is psycho-crazy around Wrestlemania, they put out a huge 'shoot. Why, guys? Don't you know it's just going to get buried in the Wrestlemania onslaught? You're not going to top that. You're going to end up here, getting reviewed in June. That's so unfair to the ladies on your roster. Maybe a litttle diff timing next year, huh? Think about it. Ok, enough of Brie's b*******g. To fashion!
We kick it off with Brandi and a black and white version of her halter-meets-high-waisteds snake-embellished gear. This is such a solid effort from her! The gear is spot on, her poses are killer. She looks like she was born to do this. Gear 'shoots are notoriously difficult because they tend to be simple - just you and your gear out there on a blank backdrop to do your thing. It's hard to keep them interesting. Brandi works some less common poses and overcomes the drawback of the standard, blah gray background. Done like a boss and I love it!
She's back, b*****s! The BAM is back! ODB has returned, flask, attitude and all. She's looking fab in an on-point red romper, made suitably trailer-park-ish with a camo head band. Her personality comes blazing through these shots and it makes them come alive. I love the spark she brings back to the roster!
Sienna is making a serious effort to sell the whole skirt-as-gear thing and while I'm not on board yet, I give her points for tenacity. This black and burgundy combo is stunning, especially with the way the burgundy peeks through the black lace. I'm 100% in for her halter top (wish it had the same deep red metallic lining as her skort). This gear is definitely going in the right direction!
This ‘shoot from Nikki just prior to Wrestlemania was such an amazing departure form almost anything we’ve seen her do before! I applaud the unique vibe of this set; it’s hungry, gritty, dirty…and yet, unlike other divas’ we’ve seen explore this type of setting, she still manages to interject a shot of high fashion into her styling. It creates this wonderful cataclysm of slick polish and grimy, relentless effort. The lighting in this shoot ranges through various shades of red, blue and lilac and is completely gorgeous! I’m especially a fan of the lilac shade – it gives a super cool electric, neon energy and beauty to the shots.
Her first look might be my favorite – although it’s got some stiff competition! :) She pairs an artfully ripped and knotted lace-up tank in a light heather gray with charcoal knit shorts. The gray shades work brilliantly with the lavender light, and convey the steely, focused vibe of the ‘shoot perfectly. She throws us the first of her couture curveballs at the finish, though, by completing this look with heeled ankle booties. I love the textured leather and the sheen, as well as how she connects them back to the vibe of her outfit with striped socks! She also get Fierce points for the practical but powerful braids that make her look like a warrior princess!
Next up is a striped brassiere set beneath a torn mesh tee. I find the latter piece distracting, which is unfortunate because I love the look of the brassiere! I might have gone with simpler cat-scratch style tears to for a less complex visual, even though it would have hidden the brassiere more. I’m wild over her safety-pinned shorts, though! Done in her trademark red, they convey intensity and a Rocky-like determination to rise and succeed, in spite of worn-to-shreds gear. Her military-style boots accentuate this vibe flawlessly, adding the perfect exclamation point to this outfit.
Her next offering is a bodysuit, again in her signature shade of flame. I’m borderline on the cut of the front, but from there on, I’m all in! The open-cut back is so hot! And her suede, hardware-embellished booties? Yes, please! She adds even more edge and attitude with a wide, black leather choker. I'm intrigued by her use of the body harness - leaving it open adds movement and softens the overall effect in an interesting way. I would have been interested to see how it compared if done in black instead of natural. Her poses in this section are A+, adding a driving artistry and insistent fashion industry vibe to the basement-gym theme.
Her last outfit expands on that theme. The monochrome look combines a bodycon romper with lace-up detailing at the sides and over-the-knee boots. The minimalist pairing gets shot of fierceness from its incorporation of an ultra-wide waist belt, a theme which a number of designers explored this spring. The unusual setting and props (how many times do we get to see divas play around on a pair of rings?!) let her push some boundaries in terms of poses, which works incredibly well.
The 'shoot is cohesive, despite its four separate looks. The theme is clear and communicated fantastically well, melding sport, sultriness and style in a surprising and alluring way. Brava.
WWE has put together a gallery showcasing every lady champion that ever was, including all the various iterations of the belt(s). It's a fun look back to the past, highlighting some of the division's pioneers - The Fabulous Moolah, Alundra Blayze - as well as more recent ladies who paved the way for today's champions. From a fashion perspective, the gallery comes off like a style retrospective of ring gear through the years. The romper/unitards topped by jackets worn by Moolah and Mae Young gave way to the more athletic stylings of Alundra Blayze and her famous mock-neck top and leggings combo. Jacqueline's ring fashion took that sporty vibe as a starting point, but metamorphosized into a much sexier iteration, a concept that Sable pushed to new heights. Check out her latex catsuit with its thigh-high and beyond lace-up detail: it's spot on-trend for today! And just as smoking hot as it was then. Of course, it's hard to imagine an outfit that wouldn't be smoking with Sable in it ;).
Lita eschewed the traditional bombshell aesthetic in her gear, which was composed of straight-up street fashion: cargos, cropped tops, slogan tees. It was hot as h**l, but in a down-to-earth way that made it both appealing and accessible to WWE fashion fans of the era. In addition to her tremendous wrestling ability, Lita made fashion important to wrestling, while appearing to not especially care about it. Trish Stratus' looks had a similar point of inspiration, but incorporated a girl-next-door vibe that separated her from Lita's disaffected street urchin toughness. Molly Holly's looks were even more demure, focusing primarily on the athletic requirements of her pieces, spiced up with a bit of shine and an occasional foray into pretty, feminine colors: sherbet pinks and bright turquoises. There was a sweetness to her style which set her apart from many of the other ladies of the era.
Complexity entered ring gear with the advent of Mickie James' and Melina's reigns. Unique designs, gorgeous colors and bespoke details - the full palette of fashion seemed to collide with the concept of wrestling-wear. Mickie's crop top+pants combo became an instantaneous trademark, along with the luscious colors she gravitated to. Melina's looks were more dramatic - think one-person Cirque du Soleil :). Thigh cutouts, sheer insets,knee-high fur boots, patterns and metallics all caromed together to create her memorable looks. Beth Phoenix's superhero-esque metallic jumpsuits also arrived on the scene. Each of the ladies developed distinctive silhouettes or styles that set them apart. Michelle McCool used her various changes to mark separate eras in her character, not unlike the Undertaker has. The sweet and simple early pieces of her personal-trainer/schoolteacher gimmicks evolved into the cross-embellished halter top+lace-up leggings combination of her Faithful face era. I didn't appreciate at the time just how spectacular this particular gear is with the all-over crystals! I find the camo a bit busy (maybe that's why I missed the crystals ;)), but the jewel-work is spectacular. This snap was not widely released at the time, but it was used in promotions and, back in the day, Michelle cited it as one of her favorites so it's awesome to have a high quality version of it out and about! She exhcanged this style for the dark glamour of her heel turn, which included mostly dark fabrics embellished with crystal and studs. And that was succeeded by the Flawless Era which attained Fame-era Gaga-esque heights of fierceness. Layla came along for that ride and it brought her already-competent looks into truly amazing territory, something she maintained even after Michelle's departure. A few other ladies, including Natalya and Beth, took on the concept of metamorphosis-concurrent-with-persona - which led to the era which matched LayCool in fierceness: the maven-vixen Divas of Destruction, who ruled the ring in leather and spikes, softened with pin-up girl details like lace and bows. Barbie (Kelly) chose to stay with her hallmark push-up bra top and kabooty shorts from its inception until her retirement. And no surprise - it's hard to imagine it being improved on. This yellow-topped one was always one of my faves! (I'm sure you're shocked). Eve also carried the same chevron-waisted silhouette forward throughout her career, along she varied the sweetheart neckline extensively. Her gear was known for the myriad of stunning colors she employed: emerald green, bright melon, pale lilac, all embellished with hints of crystal, studs or sheers. Ditto Maryse, who explored variant after variant her keyhole-top+shorts combo with the most delicious, intriguing, luxurious combinations of color, embellishment, fabric and pattern. Nikki and Brie Bella were always closely in touch with the fashion world and they brought its influence even more closely into gear, breaking free of the idea of waiting for a persona change to update their ring-wear and using it as a way to freshen and reinvigorate their characters. Their looks run an unprecedented gamut from flamenco-inspired ruffled pieces to plunge-front catsuits to Britney Spears-influenced banded top+shorts combos that paired glam with a pop influence to the grunge-plaid era to today's sporty looks - which in a spine-tingling synchronatic way, brings ring gear full circle - back to its athletic beginnings.
WWE seems to have taken a cue from our recent Favorite Black Dress Revisited post: they've released their own throwback gallery of Rosa photos. It's a fun little trip down memory lane, running all the way back to her debut as a stalker-caliber fan of The Glamazon. WWE has used that scenario before, but it was different enough when Rosa employed it to feel fresh and engaging. From there, she went to successfully manage several wrestlers, while making the most of sporadic in-ring opportunities. SHe also had a brief stint with a "workout fanatic" gimmick. Although she entered the WWE scene as a highlighted brunette, she really caught my attention when she first dyed her hair dark. I'll never forget the first photo I saw of her with it; it was stunning! I remember thinking that she ought to keep it that way because it was so gorgeous and for a long time, she did :). Her entry into the feud which revolved around Total Divas brought new chances to wrestle and a new hair color - remember Rosa's days as a golden blonde? One of the things I always loved about Rosa was her tremendous evolution in ring gear. Her early pieces were forgettable exercises in metallic two-pieces with silly skirts. Through the years though, she began to innovate and experiment more. First came a series of looks which paired sheer insets with rose appliquees. In late 2013, she went to a bustier+shorts combo, done with fur accents, latex, leather - a kind of glam-luxe sultry diva iteration that evolved into her best work: romantic, sensual combinations that left me craving more. There were pieces done in white with black lace, all-over hydrangea blue lace with braided gold accents and cobalt metallic lace-up tops with gold lace accents. Next up was a foray into bodysuits, including this metallic gold one with lace embellishments at the hips -reminiscent of a polonaise dress - that she wore at Wrestlemania 30. These earned points for being unique but still had a few kinks to work out. She closed out her in-ring time with a metamorphosis of the bustier into a sheer-accented halter, often dotted with sequins, another stellar variation. Her next fashion era was as a manager again, where we saw explore a variety of magnificent dance-inspired pieces as Fandango's partner. Over time, Rosa really found her style voice. We watched her grow from tentative derivation to bold, exotic beauty with a big dose of temptation heaped on for good measure. That carried over to her street and 'shoot fashion as well. Her early looks had an urban vibe that was competent, but somewhat common. As time went by, she ramped up the glamour and the fierceness, giving us saturated colors, sequined bodycon dresses and leather shorts paired with striped tees, all of them finished with killer heels - the girl became quite a shoe maven, bless her! :) I always get a thrill from watching this growth happen with the divas and looking back on it through these photos is sweetly nostalgic!
The Big Dub has decided to honor the lady champs of Smackdown with their own gallery, just as they did with the lady belt-holders of Raw. Perhaps I'm a bit optimistic in terming it a "gallery" - ti's really only one snap form each diva. As fan of the Blue Brand, I feel rather gypped. Why not two shots, hmm?? Or three, as the Raw gals got? Playing a bit of favoritism here, WWE? It's not appreciated. What this ...mini collection....gives us is an hors d'ouevre, a smackerel of Smackdown, a tiny taste...just enough to whet our appetite and allow us to appreciate the fantastic gear each of these wrestlers has and how stunning they are and how awesome the belt looks as an accessory and then...boom...everything is over. Finis, finito, caput. Gypped, indeed! Certainly Becky nails the sideways pose and looks gorgeous doing it! Bonus points for the plum shorts and the studded crisscross belt - fabulous color and a bit of edge always make for a win in my world! Perhaps she'll try a blue shade that matches the background in the belt next ;). Alexa definitely rocks the heck out of this red gear- the basically neutral black and silver pairing accent it perfectly, adding just enough interest and pop, but not enough to be distracting. Also, please explain how Alexa manages to look so insanely pretty and so dang cute at the same time? #GreatMysteries. PS I'm the teensiest bit jealous. Like, I'm not 100% green yet but getting there :) Just kidding. Naomi makes this simple pose work brilliantly - the way she's tipped her head takes it out of "high school photo" category and into "Top Model" category and her smile is amazingly lovely - authentic and sweet and sunshine-y. This gear is fantastic as well...I will break it down in detail when we get the full look at it (coming soon to a blog near you), but even with this preview, I'm loving the mix of colors and the graphic print - it's strident, but not too crazy. A+ on the lime nail shade and I'm still loving that emerald-silver-sparkle eyeshadow. I can't get over how divine that looks on her! Ogh, the fabulosity!
WWE really outdid itself for Valentine's Day this year! They went in a wonderful direction last year with their hazy, romantic Love Dreams 'shoot, but for 2017, they took that whole idea even further. The set was a magnificent old mansion - The Annesdale in Memphis - an 1850 Italianate-style building with a spiral staircase, gilded mirrors and antique furniture. It had a vintage, vaguely Gatsby-esque feel, with a tiny hint of Wonderland thrown in. The set was literally AMAZING and, as you might expect, it brought forth some fantastic work from the Divas who participated!
Nikki's lace-embellished charmeuse gown had a distinctly lingerie-esque feel to it, a variation on the slip-dress trend which fit the vibe of this 'shoot flawlessly. The piece is sultry, but its incidental to the beauty and artistry - which I like! While I'd want a coat (at least! ;)) over it for real-world usage, in a photoshoot,it conveys Old World romance, with a dash of modern coquettishness. She added hints of her trademark red with a delicate choker and fur-topped red strappy sandals. The mauve-blush-taupe shades of her make-up add a lovely, dreamy softness to the look. And then, there are her poses :). A 'shoot like this is just tailor-made for Nikki and she worked every ounce of it! From creating sensual angles in the mirror to draping herself across the staircase, she smashed Every. Single. Pose, melding opulence and seduction in a stunningly beautiful way. Without a doubt, though, the one that took my heart was of her doing up the buckles of her stilettos. That was EVERYthing...more than everything! It's beyond words.
Alexa ditches her ponytails and leather jackets for a gorgeous lace top and ballerina-like blush tulle skirt. I'm totally down for the switch up: Blissy rocks this style just as well as her more trademark looks. The only thing I'm not 100% on is her wide waist belt. Usually, I love them, but there's been a recent trend toward including pieces which have what amounts to statement details and they can sometimes give an awkward vibe to a look. In this case, I think the belt could have been jettisoned and the top blousonned and it would have worked as well or better. She finishes things off with a touch of sparkle via strappy platform sandals. She echoes that glitter with subtly frosted make-up in barely-there shades and the effect is magnificent. As tough and athletic as she is, there is a delicacy to her features which lends them to these shades and finishes and makes the look magical! She also doesn't push for vixen-like poses, but intelligently, goes for more playful girl-next-door looks, which suit her perfectly. In this setting, with the ethereal light and elegant furniture, she gives the impression of a sprite-goddess come down to earth to tease the mortals for awhile. Lovely work!
So..um...yes...it is totally ridic to be reviewing a holiday 'shoot in February and I have nothing to plead for myself but lack of time and rather challenging collages. I'm trying to make this seem appropriate to post by doing so on a day when it is snowing around me, but that probably isn't going to help my cause in the sunny elsewheres. Sorries? *apologetic hopeful smile (while making self appear small and ingratiating)*
First, a note on the background: the painted scene was simple, but well done and really worked well! I love the effect of that, especially with the glitter faux snow some of the divas were tossing about. I could have done without the cotton batting-type snow on the artificial pines though. That looked awkward and not especially artistic or tasteful, which is a shame because there are so many amazing options for creating a snowy effect these days, including artificial pine that is already snow-covered. Or spray snow and spray glitter. Or frosted pine cones and branches. (I worked in flower shop during college, so I got to play with all that stuff :)) So here's the take-home, Big Dub: do it right, or do without. Either is good, but the half-cheeked thing...meh.
Moving on from there, let's talk about Alexa! Her white mock-neck bodycon dress gets spiced up with insets in two fabrics: sheer and lace. The effect is gorgeous: the clean, strong panelled silhouette is interspersed with touches of gauzy and frilly textures that soften and uplift it. Alexa accented it with a pile of slim silver bangles, which enhance the snowy, festive effect. Her poses are mainly standards, well-executed, but a few - like this one where she steps into the shower of "snow" are not only unusual, but so beautiful as well! They are a joy to view and make me so excited about the possibilities for her future 'shoots!
Carmella's choice was a white strapless dress that jumped on that particular aspect of the side cutout trend that bares a lot of skin at the hip. The trend is a risky one in that it can go from just enough to way too much very easily. Carmella's piece gets closer to the "too much" line than I generally prefer, which is unfortunate because the classic strapless silhouette suits her. She also shows a real flair for accessorizing, going with a standout crystal statement necklace that I adore and magnificent jeweled strappy heels, which I definitely want to see again! (Maybe in my closet ;)). She does a nice job with her poses, playing with her hair and rocking some fun angles. She seems to be smiling in nearly every shot, which gets predictable, even if accidental. Possibly because of that, one of my favorite snaps in her set is the one showing her open-mouthed expression of innocent joy - it comes off as authentic and endearing and its novelty is just one more reason to love it. Despite a few uneven moments, Carmella's snaps show great promise because of slayed shots like this one!
Becky is one of the few ladies to ditch the dress - I applaud her choice of a sequined romper. Its unique and fits her offbeat style...and happens to be spot on trend at the same time ;). The piece's center clasp lets the center slit create a dash of flirty-ness without revealing way too much and the sequin stripes bring a wonderful modern flash to the look. Like Alexa, Becky's accessory of choice was a stack of bangles ranging in tone from sterling to hematite. They coordinate precisely with her outfit, which could be boring in a simpler piece, but works flawlessly with this bold one! She finishes the outfit the same way she started: with a twist - green wedge sneakers instead of the expected heels. Not everyone could pull this off, but Becky makes it work with her sporty confidence. I'm also in heaven with her facials and poses - she's worked on her glare and nails it - no deadpan expression here! It's all confidence and subtle strong energy that doesn't have to be in-your-face. Glorious! Equally perfect is her over-the-shoulder laugh as she pulls the sleigh full of packages - she captures the effervescent magic and an elfin quality in the snap and it's superb! Brava!
Maryse's set is just what you would expect from her -stellar in every way! Her mesh-embellished lace dress perfectly matches the snowy vibe of the 'shoot, while the scalloped edge adds a lovely touch of femininity. Unlike the other ladies, she went with gold accessories and they add an appealing hint of warmth to the 'shoot. But the real fire in the snaps comes from Maryse's sure hand with poses and facials: the soft smile, the smirk (in combination with her trademark hand gesture), the sideways glance - she moves from strength to strength. Her hair and make-up are stunning. The whole set bespeaks a thoroughly competent diva rocking the heck out of a simple 'shoot and taking it to a new level with her poise and beauty. Reason #158435168 why I adore Maryse!
With sister Brie busy creating future generations of fantastic wrestlers, I was wondering what would happen to the Bella Bowl this year. Nikki didn't let us down, though: she enlisted the services of Maryse to stand in for Brie as a proponent of the Atlanta Falcons, while Nikki repped the Patriots. Both ladies went with a straightforward combination of a team-jersey-type top (tank for Maryse, cap sleeve for Nikki) and black shorts. They enhanced the authenticity with team-colored gloves (but happily, they left the padding and helmets at home ;)). There were other similarities in style as well: the choice of long, wavy locks (absolutely lovely on both ladies!) and a strong eye+ pale lip combination, Maryse going with a gorgeous warm peach, while Nikki chose a lavender-taupe hue that suited her quite well. Where they really made a splash, though, was with those leather and suede embellished wedge sneakers! Holy hotness, Batman! I'm not entirely sold on the wedge sneaker trend, except in certain situations and this is one of them! Those sneakers kick this look into fashion overdrive by adding a massive dose of FIERCE. Literally, who cares about having to wear a team jersey when you can have those on your feet?! Nikki and Maryse do a solid job on the poses, although it's clear that Nikki is missing the always-obvious chemistry with her sister. While the stances are more standard and less risky, it's a credit to both ladies' excellence at 'shoots that they can nail these and keep them eye-catching. Among the snaps with the two together, there are some gems that work really well and have the polished vibe of a game-day ad-splash. For not being Brie, Maryse does an excellent job as the other half of this duo. Ooo..what if this carried over to the ring as well? I sure wouldn't mind seeing Nikki have a sexy, blonde partner with attitude and Maryse and fearlessness were made for each other :). Maybe? Pretty please? Take it under advisement possibly? :) If not, well...we'll always have this 'shoot. Enjoy the Super Bowl, everyone!
Velvet is back with some new shots from her pink electrical tape 'shoot - this time with a fun addition! I remember when the Knockouts first gave the tape-as-clothing idea a try - I loved the creativity of it and still do! Velvet has done a couple of variations on the theme since (I think the white-tape Samurai has been my fave ...so far :))and this pink version is soft and dreamy, albeit smoking hot! She skips the patterning of some of her early explorations and goes with simple and practical; I suppose we could this minimalism at its finest ;). She also gets props for not taking her pink gloves too seriously - she goes for flirty, tempting and innocent and succeeds beautifully!
She also has a pre-Valentine's Day offering which bring an intriguing goth element to her repertoire. She pairs a leather corset with red skull-print fabric accents and grommet details with a fringed skirt. Dark fantasy has been ruling the runways so I looove seeing Velvet go here and work with this concept. I could have gotten behind a pair of lace-up pointed booties to enhance that theme, but these tiger-ish print pumps throw a dash of the un-tamed into this zipped-in and buckled-up fashion. We haven't seen Vel do chair poses in awhile, so it's fab to see the return of that prop. It's an amazing way to show off her killer legs! All these pics are available at her Rated V online store..so show off your killer fingers, head over there and get you some :)
And then, there was the gallery that focused on the Divas' anatomy. No, not that way. This was an actual look at the muscle groups required to make a superstar. The focus ranged from Nikki's glutes to Foxy's hamstrings, Carmella and Sasha's abs to Becky's shoulders. (I would also have called out Beck's biceps and triceps! Seriously, have you seen this gal flex?! #Goals). One of the main benefits of these types of collections is that we get great snaps of the ladies' outfits, allowing us to appreciate details, harmonies or contrasts we might not have seen before. Becky's gear is so simple that it doesn't leave much room for that. Her non-standard poses help to allay that, though! Sasha gives us the cool stare I was hoping for previously and I like the way it works. If I were nitpicking (if :)), I might request that it have just a shade more attitude. This is cool and calm. But what about cool and challenging? I hope to see that from her sometime soon :) Alicia's snaps give us a close-up look at her incredible gear. It's a confection of straps, sequins, studs and sheer, all integrated with enough restraint and artistic sensibilities to give us a jaw-dropping ring ensemble. Foxy makes continual slight variations to the execution and every one of them has rocked hard. She's done a number of fine gear ensembles throughout the year, but this silhouette is unquestionably the top of the bunch. This cherry red shade looks spectacular on her and she gets additional props for the subtle make-up that enhances the look without competing with her outfit. Her hamstrings are what WWE is calling attention to here and it's no surprise that her gorgeous, long legs are a major weapon in her offense. Her leaping pose shows them off, as well as providing us with an absolutely killer action shot! If abs are your goal in life, you could do worse than to take Carmella's as inspiration. The Staten Island seductress has a crave-worthy set which her mesh sports bra and low-waisted athletic pants show off perfectly. While I admit her abs def make my #Goals list, so does her cascade of honey curls...ogh SOOO gorge!! We've seen plenty of variations of Nikki's sporty gear and we've seen her nail these poses many a time. It's a credit to her and her abilities that there is still novelty to be discovered, especially in the rarer looking-sideways stance. Her complete vision of a fearless athlete representing #TeamNikki is clear now, all the way through the reliance on just three colors, as a sports team would. As simple as it is, it retains a freshness due to its trendiness and distinctiveness form what any other lady is doing and it keeps a formidable-meets-sexy aesthetic that resonates deeply with both Nikki's personality and all of us fans. The gallery highlights her glutes as an asset (no pun intended) and basically...well, yeah :) Who wouldn't want a caboose like Bella 2.0's? She's a curvy dream goddess come to life. *admiring sigh*
Welcome to the place where wrestling & fashion join hands. #BeInspired #LoveFashion Let the Fierce be with you! ;) Peace & Glitter!
Brie: shoe-lover :) fashion-lover and generally glamorous semi-dork