Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A differentiation of bows: types of Lolita

We have already assembled the key elements that go into creating a Lolita outfit in a previous article, however what style is your Lolita costume? Let’s look into the different genre of Lolita, this can be formed by movements in the world, television and even sexuality, as well as your own preferred taste. The four main categories are:

• Classic/Sweet Lolita
• Gothic Lolita
• Harajuku Lolita
• Punk/Metal Lolita

It’s amusing to realise that the Japanese are so enthralled with America and American fashion that they try to mimic their fashion sense, however through that interest they have made their own unique style that Americans are trying to mimic. The Japanese signature style of random choices of multiple layers and eccentric accessories have caught the attention of even the V&A soon to show an exhibit of a retired Lolita’s wardrobe (Kitty & the Bulldog).

[Illustrations below have been provided by http://kutty-sark.deviantart.com]

Classic/sweet Lolita

Classic/sweet Lolita follows the Rococo, Regency and Victorian styles. Colours and patterns used in classic Lolita can be seen as somewhere between the Gothic-looking and sweet styles. Plain light colours and distracting patterns are used in this style. Designs containing a-lines, as well as Empire waists are also used to add to the more mature look of this classic style, with a bell shaped Lolita silhouette. Shoes and accessories are less whimsical and more functional. Jewellery with intricate designs are also common. The makeup used in classic Lolita is often a more natural whereas the sweet Lolita makeup is more colourful.

Gothic Lolita

Gothic Lolita is journeying towards the darker side of the rainbow. The girls wear mostly black attire, whether it’s lacy, frilly, bonnets, black tights, stockings, accessories or shoes. This look has been many times mentioned as inspired by pop-rock star in Japan, Mana. Mana even has his own gothic clothing line, which many of the gothic Lolita clothing stores have emulated. His boutique is called Moi-même-Moitié. Ways to make your outfit fit the Gothic Lolita bill are, ripped up and layered fishnet stockings, black lace-up boots, lots of skull embellishments and smoky makeup.


The Harajuku style is originally a district in Japan and the name stuck to its own style as many of the native teenagers of the area tend to gallivant around dressed up in Japanese Street Fashion. Gwen Stefani famously used some “Harajuku Girls” in one of her albums and had them dressed in their Lolita-imitated attire dancing on stage with her and made the term worldwide. Harajuku, is used to refer to Decora fashion style. Decora is when girls have layered pieces and a plethora of crazy accessories worn together. This is easily achieved and the US do it with their own imitations like Paul Frank brand accessories.

Punk & Metal

Two styles merged together and copied from the music American movements. The Japanese youth that wear punk or heavy metal are covered head to toe with leather, corseting, flame and leopard-print patterns, chains, and spiky hair. Of course the Japanese manage to make it all their own! Another important key is that ‘Lolita’ in the fashion sense does not relate to just the female sex.

These categories can be further broken down into more specific trends:

• Hime/Princess Lolita

Hime Japanese for “Princess”, which follows the classic Lolita style using the Rocco period for inspiration but with the addition of tiaras.

• Shiro & Kuro Lolita

Shiro meaning ‘white’ and kuro meaning ‘black’ dictates just that, the outfit is made up entirely of that one colour. Shiro & Kuro’s normally pair up and walk around together to show off the outfit contrasts.

• Ōji/Kodona Lolita (Boystyle)

Often referred to as “boy style” since it revolves around masculine clothing. In Japanese the term is Ōji (meaning prince) and Kodona is the Western term.
This style entails wearing ‘prince pants’ which are short capri-style pants (to the knee) with some sort of embellishment ie. Lace, or borders. Accessories used would suspenders, ties bowties, bowler caps and long socks (to cover the legs). Some of the more extravagant styles can include things like spats, canes, top hats, rings, medallions, capes, with some dark makeup. But they keep the boyish part in tact so that they are not mistaken for Aristocrat. Often the hair is kept short to pull off a convincing Ōji.

• Guro Lolita

Guro close to the English word ‘gore’, which revolves around the image of ‘broken doll’ or “Innocent Gore” by using items such as fake blood, make-up, and bandages to give the appearance of injury. It is suggested that Guro Lolitas wear white to “emphasize the contrast between purity and their wounds”. Junko Mizuno’s characters are a good example, buxom women sporting eye patches and carrying around needles.

• Sailor/Pirate Lolita

Fashion incorporating sailor collars, ties, sailor hats, and stripes. This is separate and different to Japanese “seifuku” or sailor-style school uniform. Also a popular sub-style “Pirate Lolita” with a similar nautical theme – this usually incorporates a more elaborate dress, bandannas, and captain hats, styled with coin bags, swords, gloves, eye patches and lots of gold jewellery.

• Mori/Country Lolita

Mori/Country Lolita is derived from the Sweet Lolita style, and keeps the sweet patterns and motifs that Sweet Lolita’s use. However the Mori/Country Lolita style is distinguished by the accessories of straw baskets, hats, fruit, and gingham patterns. The more modern Mori/Country cosplayers have added a vintage Granny chic to it by adding glasses and animal inspired barrets and round colours.

• Wa Lolita

Wa meaning Japanese and Rori meaning Lolita both the word describe this fashion movement. Wa rori or Wa Lolita merges traditional Japanese clothing with Lolita fashion. Wa Lolita is usually a base of a kimono or hakama but is DIY’ed with Lolita attachments. The Kimono is shortened so a petticoat can be placed under or a corset on top to reveal a puffy skirt. Outerwear can include haori or adult-sized hifu-vests. The shoes and accessories can be a mix of traditional Japanese garb including kanzashi flowers.

• Ero Lolita

This is a very controversial style of Lolita due to the fact that a lot of people who are un-familiar with the overall Lolita style meaning tend to confuse the styles. Lolita fashion is about keeping your modesty, Ero thought referring to ‘Erotic’ does not automatically mean less clothing is involved.

This style contains more fetish accessories such as leather, collars, and corsets that one may not be able to pull-off in any other Lolita style while still maintaining a fair amount of modesty. Skirts for this style may be a little shorter than usual, but nothing overly seductive. Strappy dresses are popular in this range and use of fishnets and stilettos if co ordinate appropriately.
Whatever your style, make sure you are comfortable wearing it and don’t bite off more than you can chew as the style you wear gives a message to the world about who you are. Enjoy and embrace the noble world of the Lolita!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Hyper Japan Diary: Day 2 *uncut*

Now that I had a mental map of the inner goings on of Hyper Japan, I was ready to hit the games today. Nintendo Unleashed kept me highly entertained looking at the demo of yesterdays released game The Last Story with graphics as beautiful as Final Fantasy and pleasant dubbing; this is a j-rpg lots of people will enjoy. Playable games available to button bash on included Naruto, Tekken, Xenoblade Chronicles and Zelda.

Now to the left I wondered into an unchartered area for myself that was into the world of card games, asked by one of the helpful Konami representatives if I had played the notorious

‘Yu gi Oh’ I was thrown into a crash course on how to play the game. After completion of a basic round i received a free booster pack and a voucher to redeem a free starter pack from any Yu gi Oh stockists, not bad for 20 minutes of my time!

Now all this gaming calls for either Gamer grub at Cyber candy or some hardcore Katsu curry, I opted for chowmein, with chicken goyoza washed down with iced tea, best part was the chef was making the food fresh in front of you I even felt the steam on my face, no beansprouts came flying my way J
Today’s crowd was heaving, getting around the stage was near impossible unless on piggyback managed to get a few shots of the dancing school girls act and a few cosplayers leaving the cat walk to wait for the Cosplay winners later on.

Squeezing through the amazing dressed cosplayers I walked past a great vintage stall called Deerohdeer, the brand founder Charlie explained she and her design partner infused British vintage with the kawaii and have produced a lovely range of Lolita bows, deer ear headbands and quintessential clothing range.

Also if you wanted a little break from all the shopping, stop by the Nail Art stall, for a relaxing nail session on optional nail art stickers or just layering of colours and gel to make super nail candy. Haruka Makino studied makeup and nail for 3 years in Japan and brought her style and talent to Hyper Japan for the 1st time this year.

Now that I had a mental map of the inner goinRoxy Sweetheart a mix of Lolita sweet and punk really got my purse in a twist, with their amazing plastic designs, the lips rings and bird cages caught everyone’s interest. From last year’s popularity Miss Roxy says she will be back with new designs next year at Hyper Japan.

Stopped by a friend of Anime picks, Tucky’s Anime stall, gazed upon the many anime titles, a lot of people simply come to get the newest DVD titles unavailable to UK stores. 

Even Japan Underground noted they sold more CD’s at Hyper than at any other of their events. People who read my blog know I am a fan of Japan Underground, if you like Jpop/Kpop meeting new people, karaoke, bowling, fake eyelashes? Go these are a few of the thing I have seen at there live events !

The Terracotta booth also alerted me to their upcoming film season including the charity benefit for the Japan Tsunami showing the pre release of Mitsuko Deliver organised by Third Window films. Not only do you get to see this movie before the rest of the nation the money goes to a good cause. Also if you have a membership at the Prince Charles cinema off Leicester square you can indulge in the Terracotta movies at a discounted rate too. I have been to PCC so far and have not been dissapointed with the cinema or the Chinese movie itself, it can be hit or miss but you won't know unless you broaden your horizon apart from watching Bollywood movies on channel 4 int he middle of the night :p

Little Miss Man gave me ideas for funk-ing up my own Lolita outfits with different kind of bows and cameos, Little Miss Mann specialised in skeleton designs on her bows and broaches and offers a little twist on a Lolita style. A mix between Gothic and Guro (Guro has the addition of horror accessories, ie. syringes, eye patches, bloodies garments). Check out the differentiation of bows for more details on different types of Lolita.

Officially exhausted now but still wanting to explore some more I literally stumbled upon the ICN gallery showcasing an assortment of J-pop- culture posters to buy. Introducing 20 contemporary Ukiyo-e artists from the world of manga, anime and gaming illustration from Japan (also available to view at ICN gallery near Shoreditch station). The best part is that the 20_20 exhibit is free to go to and you also can buy the original prints

A great end to the day; when you leave with a happy tummy, empty purse and a full memory card of photos.

Short version of this article also featured on animepicks.co.uk

Friday, 24 February 2012

Hyper Japan 2012 Diary: Day 1 *uncut*

Public transport was a mess last year, I took extra time and effort to get to Earl's Court today and ended up almost an hour early. As much as I love the bustle it was a relief to see that the queue wasn't too long and moving around inside would be a breeze. In fact the hall was a lot bigger than the Olympia hall last year.

As soon as I ascended the escalators I was greeted by everyone's favorite plumber, Mario! Joyfully before being distracted by the many wonder Nintendo games, including the newly released game 'The Last Story' I was really curious about he cellulite be gone tool...for your face. 

Yes people there is a sort of rake you massage on your cheeky which makes your cellulite disappear and appear to have a slimmer face. At the stall B-Gadget's I came across other miracle items like the srubbing mit to whiten your teeth and even the natural foot pedi (which is equivalent top the fish pedi) and after 3 days your feet are still naturally exfoliating themselves! With the founder being a professional beautician, this stuff isn't to be questioned.

Next I was lured to J books by all the pretty colours! They had all the popular Japanese photo books with luxury gifts(makeup bags, purses) and my personal favorite Gothic Lolita(learn to make your own lolita dresses, if you have the time and a sewing machine) and even a few quirky favorites that I am holding below, a boobie mouse mat helps prevents RSI (repetitive strain injury caused from button bashing or work...bloody work) I am told so maybe it's worth us all investing in.

I found my favorite plushie and figure stockist, Neon Martian catering to all my Tepig (pokemon) needs. But if figures aren't your thing then maybe you should be checking the accessories stalls. Tanalata really stood out to me, as alot of their jewelry were handmade but different to all the others, I love cameo necklaces and they are happy to make them with images of your favorite anime/manga characters. Also I must commend their hat rack sparkling with vintage glamour.

Another unusual designer I came across was Sah Starr, with 2 years of fashion and design under her belt, she designs and creates her own jewelry and clothing brand (named after herself) she is her own one band (wo)man and even accepts commissions, her style reflects the inner gothic/nympth inside us.

I also came across an old Camden favorite Cyberdog, one of the sales assistants showed me with delight the range of Violent lips that are all the rage at the moment since Jessie J's video 'Mandem' and they had the whole glitter, to animal print range, a must for the makeup enthusiast.

Hyper Japan newbies Something Kawaii impressed me with their Japanese trinkets from decorative ang high detailed erasers to super kitch nail art sticks, just slick it with a thin blade and glue to your nails! With highly reasonable prices, even i indulged myself in a blue rabbit nail art stick.

Another unusual designer I came across was Miwary, she has a range of grandma chic vintage items including: (all hand sewn) tea cups, animal barrets, rings and a real fashion must have removable collars. Her style is influenced by the Mori gal movement (sub genre of Lolita) and she even dresses to reflect it and trust me she is ever sewing away behind her stall making more stock as her items sell fast!
Now all this shopping is making me hungry so i stop by Peko Peko for some Wasabi peas and sit down at the Stage are to watch the talk on the new exhibit showing at the V & A. The display will feature sever Lolita genres that reflect different British movements ie Gothic, punk... Ironically, I approached one of the Lolita's in the audience and inquired about her cute rabbit barret and she pointed me to Now Voyage, back to shopping after the informative talk. Now Voyage specialized in felt cake ornaments, brooches and barrets, the rabbits were one of many animal creations now taking over the Hyper Japan heads.

This time I decided to check out the Kimono portraits and decided to get one with my two friends Ronnie & Chrissy coz we're gangsta like that and want even Japan to know. After 15minutes of being dressed and then a random wig being thrown on, i had now been given the privileged of seeing what i look like in 20 years time. i shall stick to lolita skirts and short hair cuts till I am fifty!

After seeing my future self I sought comfort food and Chocolate Banana was the right decision. These were infact bananas on sticks with melted chocolate and strawberry chocolate coated on and hardened. My strawberry banana was satisfying and healthy goodness all at once.

I couldn't help but watch Niconico Japanese Youtube videoing live from their stall, after staring at the super cool neko ears which move according to your brainwaves. One of the hosts grabbed me and positioned in front of the camera and stuck the ears on after being told to image exciting things like sake the ears went mental and it took imagining a forest for my ears to calm down. Unknown to me that people were making LIVE comments and they were flying across the screen, ignorance is bliss and trust me after seeing some of the comments on the ladies and children who went on after me I did NOT want to know what the Japanese public thought of me. I happened to see the comments of the girl after me, they weren't nice on her intelligence or her looks but once the gal; opened her mouth, everyone was offering marrigae proposals and an abundance of 8888888888888888888's (8 means clapping in NicoNico world apparently) littered the screens with a lot of smutty comments including 'I wonder what she sounds like when she falls out of bed?' and 'bend over' eww does not even begin to voice my dismay.

After a little bit of international embarrassment I mosey on down to the Third Window stall to inquire about the highly anticipated signing by Director Miki Satoshi and he would be around signing DVD's (including the new Miki Satoshi Collection boxset) Saturday and Sunday at 1pm at the main stage so all Instant Swamp and Turtle fans you now know where to go.

Also finally Cybercandy answered my prayers and brought in their own Purikura (photo sticker machine) machine in their stall perfect to catch some Hyper Japan madness after having your sugar rush off their tasty candy.

Before leaving, got to watch a really entertaining dance and sing along, 15 year old Venus Angelic, a You Tube dancer and comedian. I decided to join in the fun and began to sing my coat pompom almost knocking a bystander in the face, it was then I decided it was time to leave. Hyper Japan what excitement do you hold for me tomorrow ?

A short version of this article is also featured on animepicks.co.uk

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Lolita Dress Code

There is more to the title of 'Lolita' that a gaudy dress, the Lolita style is an adaptation of Rococo and Victorian period garments with street fashion. This fashion movement originated from Japan in the 1980’s and has evolved in a popular fashion trend worldwide.
There is more to the title of 'Lolita' that a gaudy dress, the Lolita style is an adaptation of Rococo and Victorian period garments with street fashion. This fashion movement originated from Japan in the 1980’s and has evolved in a popular fashion trend worldwide.
The Lolita outfit is composed of a few which is then layered upon with your own creativity. The basic items of clothing needed: headwear, blouse, bell-shaped skirt, undergarment (bustle, bloomers or tutu), legwear, and shoes. Although none of these can be called absolute necessities or are fixed items ie. a headband can be used, a hat or even hair clips. Remember that coordinating a Lolita outfit is like designing a wedding cake, it has many tiers/layers. You can take away or replace a couple of ingredients, but if you forget the egg, the sugar, and the milk, it's not a cake anymore it's a biscuit!. Now let's go in depth of all these individual garments:

Like the French, lolita's adorn their hair. This can typically be with a headbands, an Alice bow, barrettes and elastic bands, more recently the vintage veiled mini madhatter hats are quite popular. However hair corsages are a timeless classic for the Lolita look.
In general you may have noticed, lolitas prefer to exposed as little skin as possible, so capes are additional to cover shoulders in wearing a strappy style dress. The usual lolita blouse buttons in the front and features a collar which sometimes has an in built corset or tie with cameo and lace trim.

Bell-shaped skirt
The ideal lolita silhouette is a bell shape, whether she is wearing a dress or a skirt. This shape is achieved to many layers of petticoats and bloomers beneath. A skirt which cannot fit enough petticoats underneath to achieve this shape is not correct. A Lolita skirt should be no shorter than 2” above the knee to keep modesty.
An often-forgotten but key piece of attire are bloomers and petticoats. A petticoat is simply necessary to achieve the correct bell shape silhouette, whereas bloomers are necessary to retain a young lolita’s modesty. You may be wondering: “but whydo I need to wear such fancy undergarments if nobodies going to see them?”. This is purely becuase you are wearing a skirt in the shape of a bell. Real bell's swings upwards, so when moving around, the interior becomes quite visible. So wearing bloomers prevents one’s thighs–and all else–well hidden from the casual eye.

Though a lolita’s skirt may scandalously reveal her knees, a lolita tends not to expose her legs. Generally the legs would be covered up to the knee, which means wearing knee-length socks, over-knee socks, stockings, and opaque tights. Sheer tights are a big NO NO as they are too “sexy” for lolita, while ankle socks especially lacey ones refer to the opposite subculture such as Sissy, and are simply less flattering or childish.
The traditional footwear of choice for lolitas is the Mary Janebut similar alternatives are available! A proper lolita shoe should feature a closed, rounded toe as well as chunky, thick heeled or platforms (although flats are acceptable). Another favorite style is Vivienne Westwood's rocking horse shoes.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Secret Screening: In the Pool

I joined the Third Window Films mailing list a few years ago but never managed to make any of their free film screenings. This year's resolution for me: ATTEND AS MANY FREE EVENTS AS POSSIBLE!

So I pitched the idea to my world cinema partner in crime Ronnie and her sis Chrissy and plans were made, almost cancelled and then re hashed and we went.

It was held at the trendy Roxy bar near London Bridge station, never been before, was plesently suprised by the modest outside, walked past it but inside was a posh as Fangtasia (True Blood reference) minus the vampires and hookers ! We got there a good 30mins before the showing and I warn you in advance if you do go in the future: GET THERE EARLY! We just about got the last remaining 3 seats next to each other. Whereas, others had to sit away from their friends if not turned away! Yes it was a full house and I even passed up beverages protecting my high chair !

Since Third Window were celebrating the new Satoshi Miki box set they showed his 2005 comedy In the Pool. Didn't know what to expect apart from perhaps water :p but it really was a mix of drama, comedy and venturing deep into the mind. 

The memories we hold on to, traumatizing us till the end of our days, we foll several people who see a odd doctor for various problems. A woman who has a severe form of OCD and always thinks she's left the window open or the air con on and thus cannot go on holiday. A guy with a permanent boner holding him back at work and even with the ladies. What's the pool got to do with any of this? not a lot but there is an amusing scene with a fridge at the end. I won't spoil it but please watch this movie if you let certain events hold you back in life.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Streetfighter x Tekken Round 5: Strike a Pose contest

On a last minute whim and quite frankly laughing my head off at the parody photos I decided to enter this competition.

This entailed dressing up as your favourite Streetfighter or Tekken character, and doing their winning pose and submitting the photograph to be judged for a week by the public then judged for a week by the Super Cool Creative team (who sponsored the contest).

Since I don't own a red chinese dress but in fact a black one, I decided to do an alternate colour of Anna Williams, borrowing my friend's boyfriends back (cheers Paddy) and my work place's kennel room, I decided to take this contest a little more seriously than at originally...who knows I may actually win right ? :p

Voting doesn't start till the 13th February so vote for meeeeeeeeee plllleasssse ~

Judges take in consideration the costume, interesting background, level of competitivness in the photo.

Update: I came first int the Tekken Team,thank you so much for whoever voted and asked their family, friends, and pets to vote for me and especially for believing in my last minute stuper! It all paid off and I am very proud of it. It's one thing to win a lottery or lucky dip at random but when you've worked hard it's that much more rewarding :)

Now When do I get my PS3.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

I won the gammmmmmmmeeeeee XD

So last minute I entered the 'strike a pose' contest, basically you pick your favourite character from either Street fighter or Tekken (in honour of the new Streetfighter x Tekken game) and you do one of their winning poses. Since I chose the feisty Anna Williams, I thought I had to do her infamous breaking the enemies back pose, she doesn't just beat you in battle she humiliates you too.

Since I didn't have a red Chinese dress I decided to do an alternate colour Anna and since we get judged on costume, competitiveness and background I borrowed my friend's boyfriend's back and even used the kennel room at work (after hours!) to make it really standout.

To be brutally honest I didn't think I'd win but I wanted to try and with alot of family problems looming I wanted to distract myself, in normal circumstances I wouldn't have bothered ppl to do it, I've lost so much recently, it just showed who are my friends and how patient they are to vote for me everyday for a week - my homies you done me proud. My friend who got her American bf and all his mates to vote for me, all the Danish gamers I know, the English crew and even my Japanese posse - lub you ! Also a shout out to my dad for never believing in me I'm sure that made me work even harder to do well.

ironically I was waiting till midnight for the results and in all the excitement about 10 past midnight a friend from Denmark was like, by the way you one, check it out and posted the link.Lol and this guy didn't even vote for me, I'd slag him off but he alerted me to my glorious win so I'll let him off...this time ;)

Check my winning submission for the ‘Streetfighter x Tekken’ x marks the spot winning pose, expect lots of Cosplay from this chick! Yes after a solid week of campaigning, I got lots of votes and came second in votes but won 1st place in the Tekken Team strike a pose contest.

Coming soon: the swag I won