Tuesday, 22 May 2012

V&A exhibits Lolita fashion: Kitty and the Bulldog

Exhibit: Lolita fashion, (Japan section) Room 45
Location: V&A, nearest tube South Kensington

Dates: 23 April 2012 – January 2013
Opening: 10:00 – 17:45 and until 22:00 every Friday
Cost: Free :)

After hearing a detailed talk from curator of the exhibit at HyperJapan February 2012 I was curious to see what the differences of Japanese Lolita fashion to the new wave of Western Lolitas. The event would be showcasing different genres following the different movements in Britain. With some additions of exotic and alternative has resulted in the re-appropriation and sometimes extreme recasting of traditional modes of Japanese dress.

The V&A homes split up in specialized exhibits and countries or origin, this exhibit is part of V&A British Design Season displays exhibiting eight outfits recently bought in Tokyo for the V&A’s permanent collections and is housed in the Japan section.

Starting from right to left in ode to Japanese tradition first is the Japanese Lolita by Mamechiyo Modern, Mamechiyo spent many years dealing in vintage kimonos before establishing her own label 2003. Her aim was to make the kimono affordable and integrate everyday elements to it like accessories, in this particular piece the headdress catches attention and so do the lacey colour and mixed obi combination with bow belt on top.

Takuya Angel’s piece struck a deep impression upon me with the incorporation of samurai attire with erotic additions to display as protection aka the PVC mask perhaps being used as amour in this outfit’s context rather than anything seedy? Takuya Sawada is a self taught designer, DJ and musician so you see a piece of him in the outfit with the straw rave Mohawk adding some character to the simple outfit. 

I then started seeing more of the beginning of Punk Lolita with Sixh. + MINT Neko piece, showcasing red tartan, with the whacky cat mascot from Mint Neko. This outfit is a collaboration between the two clothes brand owing their success to visual kei followers enjoying their creations.
Putumayo has kept to the Asian layered tier skirt reminiscent to classic Lolita. Their range is focused on mid teenagers to young women with their ‘whimsical’ take on hardcore punk. As far as they are concerned you can still wear chains and look feminine. 

Alice Auaa showcases the second male outfit out of the exhibit but not focusing on the masculinity as Takuya Sawada. We are given more of a androgynous Neo from Matrix kind of feel. Created by another self taught, designer from Osaka called Yasutaka Funakoshi. He spent two years importing British New wave, fetish and punk and displaces light undertones rather than to overbear us. With the subtle bandage sleeves almost creating a ghostly effect, it was this horror Goth & bondage style than kept it out of mainstream Punk.

Now casting eyes upon well known Gothic Lolita label Moi-même-Moitié, originally established by Mana of Malice Mizer in 1999 with the strapline of ‘Elegant Lolita Aristocrat Vampire Romance’ this is one for the Twightlight fans. They have two fashion lines for female Lolita and male Aristocrats. Their signature is having stripes of ultramarine blue in their ensembles.

Now with an injection of colour we have the, Baby The Stars Shine Bright, Alice and the Pirates combo. On the left Baby the Stars Shine Bright established since 1988. Tokyo by Akinori & Fumiyo Isobe, their clothes catalogue being the bible for sweet Lolita, there label hit the skies when their clothes were used as costumes on the novel adaptation Shimotsumo Monogatari you may now this film by its alternative name Kamikaze girls. Alice and the Pirates is a sub branch of BTSSB launched in 2004 keeping the overall sweet theme, patterns and designs but for the more edgy Goth & Punk Lolita. (Borrowing ideas from Vivienne Westwood’s 1981 Pirate collection.) You can find their stalls at Hyperjapan always selling out all their clothes and special goody bags on the first day!

Last but not least we have Innocent World, an Osaka-based design house founded by Yumi Fujiwara. It follows the classic Lolita movement with a hint of sweet with all its fabric patterns. The company follows the tagline of ‘a simple world without dirt or blemish’ that reflects ‘the pure and innocent hearts of young women’. This particular outfit shows aspects of ‘Mori’ (country chic).

I hope this collection grows and has additions of ‘Wai Lolita’ and more new amalgamations of the ever growing Lolita movement.

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