Picture it: New York City, 2016, a Chelsea pier studio rooftop patio. There’s an open bar serving unremarkable rose, and cigarettes are starting to light the twilight like urban fireflies. The woman sitting next to me is nursing her umpteenth plastic cup of wine, and she waves her cigarette like she’s saging the air in my direction. “So,” she says, in a voice I’ve heard a million times, “I like, love your getup! What is this, like, about?” I’m wearing a lavender and gold, multi-frilled dress, with a glittered veil hanging from a large bejeweled headbow. For once, this lady was the only one to not get the picture. Far from costume, my dress was something much more.
Lolita fashion has always been on the edges of the “real fashion world”, a fact never truer than during New York Fashion Week. While every designer has their day across the city, in fashion shows large and small, lolita fashion was historically left out of the spectacle. Even when we, the Lolitas of New York City, managed to bring a contingent to the front rows, we had yet to see any of our favorite styles and series grace the physical runways. That all changed Sunday when we finally saw lolita fashion in its rightful place on the catwalk. Under the umbrella headline of China Fashion Collective, four Chinese designers, Krad Lanrete, Soufflesong, BMOST, and Lolitimes, displayed various lolita, vintage, and Asian-inspired fashion lines.
I was lucky enough to be asked to attend as a VIP lolita fashion blogger by Chinese-American press Han Media, and loved seeing the experimental and couture designs brought to life in trailing, lacy splendor on the runway. Here’s what I wore to NYFW:
I wanted to hit that high couture note in my coordinate, and for me this means ballgowns done in lolita proportions. This dress and bow are both by Baby the Stars Shine Bright, a Japanese designer I would love to see given their proper due on the billings of NYFW.
What I personally enjoyed most was that lolita fashion was finally recognized for what it always has been: a true art form of thread and fabric, beyond the realm of costume and firmly in the land of fashion, to be revered alongside the rest of the fashion world despite its niche market. The innovation of the designers married the past and future of both Western and Eastern styles. There were traditional Chinese closures and high collars mixed with the lines and details of Victorian and Edwardian eras; brush-stroke bamboo and butterflies found their place with perfectly coiled ribbons and cage-structured skirts.
The designers of the China Fashion Collective take their applause to not only the watchers of NYFW, but the livestreams of the world.
Check out the full photo gallery of runway shots below the jump!
You can read the NY China Style press release here for further details of VIPs and other media kit info.