Everybody is familiar by now with the Elizabeth businesswoman avatar, one of Linden Lab’s selection of starter avatars for newbies:
Well, today I decided to give Elizabeth one of my patented fifteen-minute avatar makeovers, and take her to a role-play hotel operating in Second Life for a business meeting! The Essencia Hotel (website; SLURL) is a hotel and convention centre, staffed by both NPCs and role-playing avatars (you can even apply to work here).
To book a room, you just click on one of the kiosks in the hotel foyer, which takes you to a website. Rates range from L$150 a night for a standard twin single, up to L$500 a night for the premium suite!
If you join the Essencia Hotel group for free, you can even pick up a free gift: some luggage!
Here’s what Elizabeth looks like after her head-to-toe makeover. And, like any savvy businesswoman, she knows the value of a dollar. Everything you see here was free! (In some cases I joined a group when they had a free group join period.)
Elizabeth is wearing:
Mesh Head and Body: the free Kalhene Ariadna female mesh body (which, unfortunately, has been pulled from the SL Marketplace because of a DMCA complaint; more details here; I hope that this is resolved soon, but as Elizabeth the businesswoman well knows, legal matters over intellectual property can take time to resolve!).
Skin: Creamy in the milk skin tone from WOW Skins (a free system skin from the gift box of all the previous group gifts, located next to the panel with this month’s group gift; I joined the WOW Skins group when they had a free group join period a while back; this is an older system skin, to which I added the fix to the fingernail bases from League (more information here) to work on this mesh body.
Dress: Office dress in black from Kaithleen’s (I picked this up for free using the gift card that was a Christmas group gift from the store last December).
Shoes: I have been meaning to blog about this fabulous freebie for a while now! These are the sixtynine pumps in black, a free group gift from the KOKOIA shoe store (the KOKOIA group is free to join). These lovely free pumps come in six different neutral colours to go with just about any outfit!
Briefcase: I picked up this freebie from the SpotCat booth at a past Man Cave shopping event. It comes with the Bento hold post shown, and I think it’s the perfect finishing touch for this professional look! (Note: if you go to the SpotCat store in-world and join their store group for L$100, among the group gifts is a set of three of these briefcases for men or women, in white, brown, and black.)
Unfortunately, the Kahlene body has been taken off the marketplace. I heard it was because Maitreya had complained to LL, but that might just be a rumor.
I have checked and it is, indeed, now gone from the SL Marketplace. In the back of my mind, I think I knew that this might happen, which is one of the reasons I loaded up all my female alts in SL just to pick up a copy of this freebie.
I’m not sure if Linden Lab has the ability to actually remove content from people’s inventories if a product is deemed to be somebody else’s stolen intellectual property (I seem to remember that they can, but it is not used very often). Daisy Winthorpe (who knows more about this than I do) has informed me that:
Linden Lab can pull the UUID of the mesh and the UUIDs of the texture. If the person who filled out the DMCA has proof enough, I am sure they will.
So, it would appear to be possible that we could lose all Kalhene Ariadna items in our SL inventories. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but we’ll see. I will be sorry to see this beautifully-crafted female mesh body go; in a very short period of time it made a big impression!
The creator, Claudia Urdaneta, posted the following notice to the Kalhene Second Life group:
Hi all. I want to communicate something important about the ARIADNA bodymesh. I have recently received a DMCA for my work, and according to Linden’s rules, I must remove the content and disable it from sale until this whole issue is resolved. In the meantime I will continue to work on improving, and on new items. I ask you for patience and I want to thank you for the welcome that my work had. I hope this matter will be solved and it will be available again soon.
Hoo boy, the people over at Virtual Secrets (the National Enquirer of Second Life) are gonna have a field day with this one! Everyone is gonna have an opinion, and point fingers (probably at Maitreya). There will probably also be something on the SL gossip website The Whisperer, who tends to keep tabs (and provide receipts!) on the never-ending drama and intrigue in the Second Life fashion community.
UPDATE June 25th, 2020: The free Kalhene Ariadna female mesh body has been removed from the SL Marketplace, after Linden Lab received a DMCA complaint. More information is available here.
The creator of the Ariadna Kalhene mesh head and body (which I first wrote about here) has been very nimbly providing regular updates! The current version is 2.3 (which you can get for free on the SL Marketplace here, where it has racked up nearly 100 glowing reviews in an incredibly short space of time). Please note that, although the product description on the SL Marketplace item still says version 2.2, you do receive the latest version, 2.3, when you purchase it. Here’s a look at the HUDs for the body mesh and the included starter wardrobe for the latest version:
Among the newest features are blinking eyes (a separate attachment), and four styles of eyelashes. Version 2.3 of this body also has a new script system compatible with appliers for nails, eyelashes, pubic hair and stockings.
My former go-to mesh body for wearing fashion designed for Maitreya Lara was one of the free or paid-for versions of the Altamura mesh bodies, where I found that tops tended to fit very well, but bottoms (especially bikini bottoms) sometimes had problems. Often, I would have to alpha out the entire pelvic area on the Altamura bodies to get Maitreya Lara clothing to look right. (I have noticed that designer support for Altamura mesh bodies has been increasing lately, though.)
But over the past two weeks, I have been testing out the Kalhene Ariadna mesh body with various clothes and shoes designed for Maitreya Lara, and I have found that most such apparel fits it like a dream! Now, it’s not 100% perfect. Please keep in mind that for some clothing, the included alpha sections on the HUD might not be fine enough, and also that this body does not support medium-height shoes, just flats and high heels designed for Maitreya feet. But for a freebie body, this is very good news!
In fact, I am going to say that this body is the winner when it comes to Maitreya Lara compatibility, compared to every other free or inexpensive mesh body I have tried! Dagger Faulkwing, who is similarly impressed with the Ariadna body, said on the Freebie Queens SL Discord:
Ariadna is now the only body I wear unless I want to wear Slink shoes, then I wear the free body being given by out by the MM Board at LucyBody, Atenea*.
Below, I have an avatar who is wearing the Kalhene Ariadna mesh body and head, sporting a Maitreya Lara dress and shoes she picked up as freebies from the Second Life 17th Birthday Gifts Boardwalk, which fit perfectly:
The dress shown is the Vibsy minidress by Pulse, and the shoes are the Yuna heels from Sheba. The hair is also a SL17B gift; this long hairstyle is from Love and is called Lovely (it also serves to cover up the breast areola area on this daringly low-cat dress!). The skin is the Elvira skin from 7 Deadly S[k]ins in the fudge skin tone, part of a fatpack of Elvira skins I got for free from one of their camping chairs during their recent 7th anniversary celebrations! I simply love this look, and the best part is, it is completely free, from head to toe!
I think that the Ariadna Bento mesh head is absolutely gorgeous, straight out of the box, without having to adjust any of the head sliders! But one of the best features of this body is that the head is a separate attachment, and you can replace it with any other Bakes on Mesh-compatible head.
The following look comes from combining the Kalhene Ariadna body with the recent free group gift of the Strong Face Bento mesh head from the Genus Project (I decided to play with the many makeup options on the included HUD, and I went full glam!):
The dress is one of my favourite fashion freebies from Coco Designs, the Stretch Tube bodycon dress in berry red. (I blogged about this dress before here.) The red pumps are included in the Kalhene Ariadna package, and come in five different colours.
The hairstyle is a free group gift from Sintiklia, called Raphael; I learned from the Freebie Queens SL Discord that the Sintiklia group was free to join, so I took advantage of it. You’ll have to check yourself to see if the Sintiklia group is still free to join by the time I publish this blogpost, but if it is, join! You’ll pick up many different hairstyles for free. Even if Sintiklia has reimposed their group join fee and you’re flat broke, there’s still a free gift wall in the store with some hairstyles and makeup.
Once again, this entire look from head to toe is free!
Below, I have paired the Kalhene Ariadna body with the recent free group gift of the Freya Bento mesh head from Catwa, wearing the Elvira skin from 7 Deadly S[k]ins in the pineapple skin tone (an Advent calendar gift from last Christmas):
Her dress, pumps—even the bikini/panties under the dress!—were all included in the Kalhene Ariadna package:
And the best part is, once again, I was able to assemble this avatar look for zero Linden dollars! (This hair was a free group gift from Sintiklia, Called Minaj.)
There is a rapidly-growing market for shapes for this body (just do a search for “Kalhene” on the SL Markerplace). I tested out several freebie and dollarbie shapes for Ariadna, and my favourite starter shapes are those from a package of four sold for free by a store called D’Lea Lee by Pleyades Halsey, called Ideal (here’s the link).
Here is what one of the Ideal athletic shapes looks like:
And here to compare is one of the Ideal curvy shapes:
Of course, all these shapes are just starting points, which you can adjust as you desire to get “your” look. I find that this body responds very well to most of the head and body sliders.
In summary, the Kalhene Ariadna Bento, Bakes on Mesh body is an excellent product that just keeps getting better and better! I am seriously impressed with this product.
If you want to stay in the loop about this body, given how often it is being updated by the creator, there is now a free Second Life group you can join for news and updates. Just copy and paste the following link into the chat box of your SL client:
To get the developer’s kit for appliers or to create mesh clothes, shoes and accessories, please send a notecard to the creator, Claudia Urdaneta, with your request. Claudia has also been very responsive to user feedback and bug reports!
Thank you for making this fabulous free mesh body, Claudia!
For example, here is one of my alts, who wears an Akeruka Lulu Bento mesh head (one of their early group gifts), which I have grown attached to and wanted to keep. I originally wore it with a classic, SL system body; Akeruka had provided system skins to match the entire range of the Lulu head’s available skin tones. And for a long time I was happy with that.
But today, I decided to upgrade this avatar to a full mesh body, and while I was thinking about how best to do that for an inexpensively as possible, I remembered the free Viva Bento, Bakes-on-Mesh compatible mesh body and decided to try that again. (I wasn’t too crazy about the head that came included with the Viva mesh body, but that is a separate attachment, and you can use literally any head with it.)
Here is what she looks like now:
The only problem I encountered was that the system skins that came with the Akeruka Lulu head were older, and as a result there were white spots at the nail bases of the mesh fingers. To fix this, I used the free set of Bakes on Mesh feet and finger fixes available at League (exact SLURL):
This avatar is wearing:
Mesh Head: Lulu by Akeruka (L$1 group gift, no longer available; the Akeruka group costs L$150 to join).
Skin: I used one of the system skins that came with the Lulu head in a matching skin tone, adding the League Bakes on Mesh finger fix in the pale colour, which was the closest match.
Hair: Chella by Analog Dog (I picked this hairstyle with scarf as a free gift at previous gacha event)
Necklace: Metamorpheses Temple Necklace (a gift from the 2019 BURN2 celebration of Burning Man in Second Life)
Top: Cream embroidered peasant blouse by Petite Mort (this is one of my favourite freebies, available from the excellent freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil).
Jeans: Skinny jeans from Mara’s Mysteries (a free hunt gift, no longer available).
Flats: Amy flats by Hilly Haalan (free group gift from their freebie store; the group is free to join; I found that the Viva mesh body’s flat feet are compatible with both Maitreya and Belleza flat shoes, but the Belleza ones fit a bit better so I used those)
Bag: Boho Bliss fringe bag (with hold pose) from a previous Witchwood hunt (Witchwood is the sim where the Petite Mort and Oubliette stores are located, and they regularly hold small hunts; I believe I paid only L$10 for this delightful bag!)
TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: Only L$161! (L$150 to join the Akeruka group, L$1 for the Lulu Bento mesh head, and L$10 for the bag)
I am very pleased with the result of this makeover! After my experiences working with both the Viva and the Ariadna mesh bodies, I can say this: with the advent of competition from free or inexpensive Bakes-on-Mesh compatible, Bento bodies, we are getting closer and closer to the time when stores charging (and users paying) thousands of Linden dollars for a mesh head and/or body is going to become harder and harder to justify. Yes, I know it’s a bold statement; hear me out.
The Viva and Ariadna mesh bodies are just the first shots fired in a war for marketshare between the established, big-name brands (Catwa, LeLutka, Maitreya, Belleza, Signature, Slink, etc.) and the smaller, nimbler upstarts. For now, the big-name brands have better designer support and offer more options, but, as we see with the fully-featured HUD that the Viva mesh body offers, that gap is starting to narrow!
I’d strongly encourage you to take a look at the Viva and Ariadna mesh bodies on the SL Marketplace, and give them both a test run. Although they are not perfect, they do give an indication of the direction the market is moving. The days of paying L$10,000 or more for a full-body mesh avatar may be numbered!
UPDATE June 11th, 2020: The Kalhene Ariadna mesh body has just updated to version 2.0, with alpha layer support (SL Marketplace link). It now has a HUD with alpha cuts and skin shininess levels, addressing some of my most serious concerns about the product.
Looking fabulous for zero Lindens! The Viva mesh body offers many more features on their included superHUD (such as a better selection of alpha sections to choose from, five different fingernail lengths, and three foot height options), which the Kalhene Ariadna body does not have. Here I just picked the shortest nails, in a natural nail colour, to go with this makeup-free look.
One particularly nice feature is the option to alpha out the wrists but not the hands, as I did for this long-sleeved minidress (a gift from Little Fox at the recent Cosmopolitan shopping event anniversary round). Surprisingly few HUDs that come with mesh bodies allow this—even the expensive brand names!