photo courtesy of Anne Pleasant
This past weekend was a crazy adventure – my first time in Chicago, volunteering at the Angelic Pretty pop-up shop, walking the runway for Angelic Pretty, and attending my first Angelic Pretty tea party! It was a total immersion into Angelic Pretty culture and I, as their crazy stalker, loved every minute of it.
Even better was spending the entire weekend with my dearest friends, Ellejay and Dalin, and making new ones who I love just as much – Alice, Brie, Sarah, Lynda, Gloria, and many more! I’m really happy to meet some very cool lolitas in this world!
[Note: this post is very long so I’m using the jump-cut! Click the ‘see more’ to read the whole thing!]
Friday: Meet the Angelic Pretty Staff!
I spent most of Friday volunteering at the booth. I am both proud and a little embarrassed to say how much I know about this season’s Angelic Pretty stock! I’m also learning Japanese with ‘learn-on-your-commute’ CDs, so having the mixture of Japanese and English around was really fascinating for me. I played the ‘shopping’ study track on repeat in anticipation!
A shot of the jewelry table – taken from my Instagram!
My “work” was mostly keeping the displays neat and tidy, greeting customers, and helping them try things on or carry things to register. I’d never done retail-style work before, and although I now have new appreciation for what staff go through when you inadvertently, say, dig through an entire shelf of panties at Forever21 looking for that one pink pair, I had a really fun time. Being friendly and talking about how much I love Angelic Pretty’s new prints hardly felt like work to me! I do recommend a good pair of insoles though – standing all day is hard! The only trouble about being at the booth is that the longer you’re there, the more stuff you want to buy!
I finally got to meet Sarah Ruth of Pink Macaroon for the first time in person (I actually interviewed her way back!). By the second day we got asked if we were sisters or long-time friends. She’s such a dear! The real kicker is the unicorn seamstress has a new creation – unicorn “duffle” bags. Maki and Asuka particularly couldn’t get over these giant purses with golden horns. I just asked her to make me one and pretty pink and lavender unicorn is in the works!
Everyone likes unicorns~!
Here you can see the scale of the giganticorn! There are actually wooden dowels in his legs so he can stand up like a real unicorn. Unlike most pony bags, this one has tons of space! (And in a pinch makes a nice pillow.) When I receive mine, I’m considering doing making a video at long last to really give you a feel for it!
Saturday: Cover Girl, put some face in your walk! – the Angelic Pretty Fashion show!
The next day we got up at 4:30 AM to make sure we’d get to the hotel in time for hair and makeup by 7:00! (There was no lounging around in bed till noon like people usually imagine lolitas doing; we kept setting horribly early alarms this past weekend.) Maki and Asuka’s vision for the show included none of the crazy hair and over-the-top show pieces I’ve seen in the past; if anything, many of these designs erred on the more gentle side of sweet. All of the girls were recommended to bring blonde or brown wigs.
They styled my trusty chestnut curly wig into a style Asuka called ‘cinnamon buns’ – it took ages to get it to stay! For the makeup, I wore black cake liner, three pairs of eyelashes (!!!), and two shades of blended red lipstick. The look was inspired by 1950s and 60s French actresses, they told me, and a little bit of Audrey Hepburn. (Also check out the cool hair of my makeup artist! She was such a sweetheart!)
I’m not a huge fan of red or black, but this dress was surprisingly cute for me! My heart sank when I saw they hadn’t picked a pastel, frilly concoction, and this dress definitely isn’t something I’d have chosen for myself, but I think that’s why I liked it! I’m sort of on the look out to buy it – not because it goes with anything I own, ha, but because it was the first dress I modeled for Angelic Pretty and it would be sentimental! It would also be perfect to wear to Disneyland someday – a great Minnie Mouse dress!
Sarah and I were actually supposed to be a matched pair – they gave her a camera as a prop and told her she was the photographer, while I had a gold frame that made me the ‘picture’. We both wore marine-inspired jewelry that gave the look a slight sailor-lolita feel. The tricolore also gave it that French-y feel, fitting as this is called Girly French Dot (not Marine Dot like I said on my Instagram…oops!).
Here you can see a close-up of Sarah’s pretty faux bubble bob and the crazy blonde bouffant they did for Brie! (She’s in the Angelic Pretty print Toy Drops.)
The show was very different than the kind I usually do – I Do Declare feels more high fashion with the heavy Clydesdale walk and haunting music. This show was all about being lively and fun and having huge personality – they kept reminding us to smile big and fill up the stage with energy! Even at the finale we all stood on stage and danced happily to the Disney’s Fantillusion Parade! Doesn’t RinRin look beautiful in Angelic Pretty’s new Symphonia onepiece?
On a not-cute note, that evening the fire alarm went off at the convention center. Sarah and I were waiting outside the indie fashion show as there were no seats, feeling footsore after an especially long day at the booth (hint: if we say we’re closing and the dealer’s room has been closed for twenty minutes, please come back tomorrow instead of ‘just looking’ now for the next twenty minutes!) when the alarm went off. The place was packed with over 32,000 people – it was only luck that we had been close to the main exit. Instead of thinking “drill” my mind immediately switched into survival mode, thinking of 9/11 and the attempted attacks on New York City such as the Times Square plot. We grabbed our stuff (mainly, unicorn duffles and my giant alpaca), held hands and ran for it. It was pretty scary – I had the hardest time finding Dalin, my best friend.
I was pretty proud of the lolitas, though – we took care of our own. We found a meeting spot and activated the ‘lolita phone tree’ to make sure everyone got out safely. Within the hour the lobby of a near hotel had become a temporary refugee camp for lolitas while we ran off names. I know there is drama in our community, but when push comes to shove, we took care of our girls like family. It was a really touching moment.
At least it ended with us piling into Ellejay’s car for a big after-work dinner!
Sunday: Tea Party with New Friends
On Sunday we finally got sleep in later than 7:00 AM and instead had a leisurely wake-up of 8:00! The tea party was a nice respite from being on my feet all day at the booth and to actually enjoy the experience as a ‘customer’. I was happy that I actually got to sit down and talk to some of the Chicago lolitas – it was great to meet new girls outside my usual circle of friends. A lot of girls came up to me and said they read Parfait Doll – thank you! It made me feel like we knew each other already.
[photos courtesy of Anne Pleasant]
Here I am chatting with Alice… isn’t she adorable?! I have never met a girl who knows more about vintage My Little Pony collecting and history. I only wish we’d gotten to hang out more!
Cupcakes were made to look like the ones on Angelic Pretty’s new spring print, Sugar Fairy Cake! The flowers were too pretty to eat… I just lined mine up on my plate.
(And I am in love with my new wig! It’s from Purple Plum, a beautifully subtle blend of rose pink and lavender. If only my own hair could look like this!)
Okay, so confession: my favorite part of the tea party was the swag. Yeah, I said it, there was plenty of ‘stuff-we-all-get’. The raffle was very generous – with 25 prizes of varying worth, you had a 50% chance of winning a new pretty to take home. The smallest items were rings, but the most generous prizes were three onepiece dresses complete with socks and hairbow! One very lucky girl got Twinkle Carnival, a print that sold out in Japan!
I was dying for a Lyrical Bunny head rail-pass case, and I was so lucky to win just the thing I wanted! (♡!!) I would never buy something so frivolous for myself no matter how cute, so I feel lucky that the universe chose for me. Dalin won a cake purse from the Country Sweets series – you can lift the fabric ‘icing’ to unzip it! Both items matched our outfits for that day perfectly. Crazy!
PS – The cake bag also has a secret face. The strawberries are eyes, and the icing is the mustache! Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Trust me.
On the final day everyone at the booth was feeling pretty nostalgic with the rush of time coming – all our new friends would be gone by the morning. This means we had a rash of taking photos together. I hope I get to see them all in San Francisco some time this summer!
Pictured, left to right: Natsuki, Mayo, Yuri, Ellejay, myself, Dalin, Brie, Kathy and Gloria. The only who didn’t make the picture was Tiffa! Ever dedicated she was helping a customer and had to escape the shot at the last second. I hope I get to see you all again soon! Maybe we can finally fit in that karaoke trip!
Maki and I! I’ve always had a soft spot for Maki in particular and this definitely confirms it – she’s a sweetheart. I’ve heard she wears five pairs of eyelashes by the way! Talk about dedication!
I even had a taste of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza. Now, maybe this is because I am a New York girl but I have a bone to pick with Chicago pizza. First, you eat it with a fork and knife. No folding like a good ol’ New York slice. Second, the sauce is on the top. It’s like bizzarro world. But I guess I can’t talk, ’cause I did eat two pieces.
I am back home now, missing all my new lovelies and plotting how to visit them all in San Francisco over the summer. If any of you wind up in New York City, drop me a line and we’ll go for tea!