When Paris Zsun creates a new gown she focuses on telling a story or expressing an emotion. With each line and curve of detailed textures she documents a diary of experiences. Her vision is an appreciation of beauty, which is seen in the richness of a fitted jacket with its free-style cuff, the seductive curve of the neckline, a hip-hugging sash and the way the skirt glides on the floor as you walk. There is movement in the swirl of chiffon as it brushes against the gown and a teasing nature to the short, feathery cocktail dresses.
Perhaps it was by chance that Paris learned about Second Life. In real life, she’s a professional designer. She is often contacted by new businesses seeking advice or design services. When two graduate students suggested she log into Second Life to learn about what they wanted to accomplish by developing a social media grid, she created an account and came in-world.
“I was truly amazed and tried to grasp what I was experiencing. More than five years later, I am still trying to get my head around it, and for the life of me would not know how to estimate such a massive project,” said Paris, who resides in the United States, and loves to travel.
In the beginning, Paris wanted to find a specific look and that seems to be her passion. Perhaps its creating what she envisions, translating it from an image to a virtual garment.
Her first attempt at creating quality clothing was designing a group of twelve gowns. She worked back and forth on each of them, lining them up in pictures until they told a story. A friend, who is no longer on Second Life, taught her the basics of virtual design. She also explained how to make a flexie. Another mentor, laid out the fundamentals of effective marketing. Their lessons became the foundation of her learning experience and have proved to be the greatest gifts.
“It took six months. Later someone asked me if I used templates and I went online to see what a template is,” she explained. “Now, if it is more efficient to use a mesh template I will, but only if I can bring something new or exciting to the design.
With her friend’s encouragement, she opened her first store next to his “Texture Warehouse.” She also had a store that remained empty for five months. Her friends told her it was far too big and she would never be able to fill it with her clothing.
“At one time I owned over fourteen stores, now my goal is to keep reducing the amount of stores to just a few key stores. Each one is unique in its design and collections, which made the work level a bit more than I could handle,” she said.
Look at her Paris Metro store today and she’s definitely proven them wrong. While she could not quote you a number of how many dresses she has created, her inventory is over 150,000. Inspiration comes from the East and the marvelous stories kimonos reveal.
Some of her best selling gowns are from The Essential Series, The Artist Series and The Storybook Series. She tells me they are highly collected and this pleases her for she knows others share in her vision and her love of art.
When Paris creates a new gown, she does not focus on whether it will be categorized as casual or formal. She feels a woman can casually wear a long dress and formally wear a mini. It takes her about a week, sometimes a few days, to create a new outfit or gown.
“Honestly, I’m no faster than the first day, nor do I wish to be,” she said.
She participates in some of the Fashion School’s shows, as she loves to support what they do.
Paris METRO Couture – La Samaritaine, Paris, France (32, 22, 38)