fashion

The 2017 Kawaii Fashion Lookbook

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Welcome to a brand new year, dolls! Like every year, it’s the turning of a page, and the opportunity to reinvent yourself afresh. Okay, ‘new year, new me’ is the always awful New Year’s cliche, but when it comes to fashion, there’s no better time to start updating your style than today. To celebrate, here’s my favorite fashion trends, colors, and ideas to try out in 2017!

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The Trend: Pastel Korean Normcore

This is a trend I’ve spotted in a lot of kdramas and kpop videos – the style of simple garment construction with cute motifs like fruit, hearts, or sweets, with pastel colors or pastel color blocking. The pastel Korean normcore (a pormanteau of the words normal and hardcore) aesthetic likes ball caps, pleated tennis skirts, sweatshirts, beanies and oversized sweaters. My main source for this look is Yesstyle, but you can try other smaller online retailers like Inu Inu for more pop art pieces. It’s a great look for casual style or every day wear. My wardrobe functions in two ways: cute, comfy basics that can be worn easily without much thought for daily style, and showy unique princessy pieces like my lolita wardrobe. Pastel normcore is a great way to bulk out your wardrobe so you can always feel cute, even on your off days.

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The Trend: Breakfast Foods

While we still love the classic food themes of strawberries, sweets, cake and ice cream, the latest styles are all about breakfast. Toast, pancakes, eggs, milk and bacon can all be spotted on kawaii clothing and accessories lately. Gudetama, a lazy Sanrio egg, probably kicked off the fascination with all things oeuf, but breakfast cute has expanded far beyond his shell of influence. I’m still waiting for more lolita breakfast prints that just Angelic Pretty’s Honey Cake series!

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The Trend: Larme-kei

Larme-kei is a sweet and classy offshoot from other bigger styles such as cult party and the ever-eternal gyaru. It’s a fluffy, feminine style in muted pastels or muted jewel tones (such as wine, black, or cream), with delicate dolly makeup. A lot of the style relies on texture to make a statement, such as fluffy knits, feathers, marabou, velvet or satin. It began with the magazine Larme, launched in 2012, but the style seems to be picking up steam in the last year or two. Another great daily or date style for “lolitas off duty”, with a lot of room to DIY and experiment within the aesthetic. Here’s a few key links if you’d like to read more about Larme style:

10 Wardrobe Essentials for Larme-Kei

Intro to Larme Fashion

FYeahLarmeKei

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The Trend: Hair Ribbons Revamped

While the hairbow has been a popular motif in lolita fashion (duh), jfashion in general, and even good ol’ American hipster retro fashion, the more airy hair ribbon is making a resurgence. Using real ribbon of different fabrics, you can add unique bows or ribbon weavings into braids, pigtails, ponytails and more. Ribbon is popping up on the edges of sweater sleeves, chokers, or earrings and other accessories as well. The puffy, round shape of the hairbow has friendly competition from the trailing, freestyle ribbon form this year! This fits with a lot of the return to destructured, more simple and pure styles coming into play.

 

These are just some of the trends I’m excited to try out this year! It’s fascinating to watch fashion continue to evolve every year based on what’s in style and the current mood and needs of the youth and driving fashion generation and industry. Are there any trends you see riding into the new year, or any trends you’d like to try out for yourself? What does your 2017 fashion lookbook look like?

Practical Magic

There is magic here, in the woods. The settlers thought it was the Devil, but there is nothing darker than humans can imagine. Though that may be very dark indeed. For those who know, who dare, who will, and who would be silent, you can hear the many voices of the trees.

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This photoshoot features a few things near to my heart – one, the autumn leaves and New England landscape I grew up in, marked still by the rumors of witchcraft and spirits since its early colonial days – and two, my own folk magic heritage. This broom was actually my very first broom as a little beginner witch, over ten years ago now. I remember placing it on the front porch Halloween night and asking it to make friends with the local sprites and goblins, or symbolically sweeping casting glitter from my circles. It has been my stalwart companion beside the firestones ever since.

Thank you to Xin Pan, my wonderful photographer who happened to be traveling through my hometown on his way back to Brooklyn. His ability to play with the light and colors of a perfect fall morning is certainly a magic of its own.

Have a magical Halloween this year!

 

Designer Spotlight: Crystal Isis

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I am so excited to introduce you all to a new indie designer I met at the convention this weekend! I spent all weekend chasing after my dream of owning these pink, fluffy angel wings! After frothing at the mouth from backstage, I dropped off my business card with one of the Crystal Isis associates and continued glimpsing them from afar during the weekend. Finally on Sunday the designer (Crystal Isis herself! and yes, like me, that is her real name!) caught up with me, plucked these heart-shaped wings off her head, and handed them to me. I died.

When I managed to resurrect myself from the fashion-dead, I hurried home to write a review and spotlight of her label to introduce my readership to! So in sum: readers, meet all your pastel, neo-goddess aesthetic needs.

I was so excited to try this fascinator out with a lolita style this week, so I paired it with my Innocent World powder pink Creampuff dress and my rose Triple Fortune tights. Here’s the finished look:

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This hairpiece can remind me of a very vintage feel when viewed from the front, or a more whimsical style when tipped forward to show off the heart-shaped pinions and flight feathers. It actually reminds me most of the lovely centaurs from Fantasia, when doves curl up on among their plush tresses.  Another reason this appealed to me was my general winter aesthetic this year, which so far can be summed up with just the word ‘fluffy’ (I’m not apologizing for this phone case, like, ever. Here’s some more fluffy tech on velvetcaviar.com, if you gotta have your fluff.)

Here’s a closeup of the design, both from the front and from an angle. I tried my best to bring as much pinkness to this outfit as possible, mostly by piling on pink accessories to match.

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choker, peilieeshop; necklace, Automatic Honey; ring, Disney x Angelic Pretty

Here’s a group shot of the Crystal Isis models post fashion show, to illustrate their wide range of style.
groupshotAnd yes here’s a mini cameo of the designer and me at the moment she presented me with these angel wings! I’m way too excited in this photo, haha. Make sure you check out the Crystal Isis Facebook page and Etsy shop to see what new fantasy designs she’s coming up with next!

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(And yes, she’s also making the beautiful crescent moon chokers she’s wearing in this photo! I definitely need one of those next.)

China Fashion Collective: Lolita Hits NYFW

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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!
Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Devil Inspired’s Strawberry Kitchen

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Usually I’m not big on the usual summer fruit prints that come out nearly every May and June. We’ve all seen the strawberries, cream and cherries before, punctuated with the occasional daisy or lemon slice. They all seem the same to me, and even the names blend together: Strawberry Whip, Milky Berry, and all the others. But this year I can’t get enough. Maybe it’s the country-ish way they highlight the warmth and whimsy of the season, or maybe I’m feeling more partial to cream now that I’m no longer in an all-out war with dairy.

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Lolita Miranda Priestly: a truly fearsome face.

When I saw Infanta’s Strawberry Kitchen jumperskirt from their online carrier Devil Inspired, I decided to give fruits a go this season. I was pleasantly surprised – the original print has a very Baby the Stars Shine Bright feel, as does the wide heart-embellished lace along the neckline and hem. The print itself features the obvious strawberries, jars of jam and twining ribbons. I decided to take this dress out for a spin at a local ice cream shop.

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I paired this dress with a lightweight pink chiffon blouse (because trust me, the heat dome of New England is no joke) along with a pink ribbon choker from Peiliee and a quilted Betsey Johnson purse. Oh, and cherry chip bordeaux makes for the best photoshoot prop!

The Backpacker and the Ballgown

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Chelsea Peng for Marie Claire wearing Christian Siriano at a convenience store

This morning I read two articles that popped across my newsfeed – perfectly contrasted, but talking about the same thing. In one article, a woman takes the social experiment-meets-journalistic challenge (How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days vibe on strong) to wear a drapey, full-trained red carpet gown for one week of her real life. Dressed in a high end labeled gown, a heavy and textured Pantone emerald that prompts many people to call her ‘mermaid’, the author goes through her daily motions of convenience stores, project meetings and subway rides. She writes that the dress sets her apart, makes her otherworldly to the people around her. Like the girls in perfume ads, they assume she is off to better things and bigger parties. She’s ghosting through the real world is a strange combination of dream like appreciation and gawking. Sometimes she’s complimented; sometimes she’s crazy, snapchatted by twittering tweens.

On the flip side, the other author abandons the trapping of New York hipsturbia street fashion to go backpacking through the wilds of South America. She gives up designer sandals and rose gold knuckle rings and Urban Outfitter concoctions of macrame lace. Sitting at the airport next to a woman with a silk scarf and Hermes bag, she feels practically naked in her unadornment. The drabness feels tangible, as if she has left behind parts of her own body. But quickly she learns she doesn’t need these things that had felt like phantom limbs. She would rather ditch the pretty for the practical, fashion that enables her to walk further and climb higher. Her clothes are less about what they look like and more about what they can do for her. The made-up selfies in false lash and blow dried hair feel like another person to her.

To some extent, fashion, and tied irrevocably with it, gender, is performance. While we like to think we were the clothes, it often feels like the clothes are wearing us. To me, I see this stark contrast in my own life on a constant fashion seesaw. There is Makeup-Free Me, who will probably get ignored at the drugstore; there is Glossy First Date Me, who strangers will compliment on the street; there is Lolita Me, a fairy princess come to visit the Earthlings, both equally marveled and scoffed over. They are all Me, but in different pieces and parts, and how I want to interact with the world based on my appearance and the results I want.

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Winter selfie #1 in cute Liz Lisa and summer selfie #2 in “conventional” style – Yes of course I have selfies for both dates, for posterity. Wearing Liz Lisa in Selfie #1 and Kohl’s Lauren Conrad Cinderella collection in Selfie #2

Recently, I had a funny experience. I went on a first date several months ago. It was winter, and my modus operandi was a combination of a million thinly disguised Japanese heat performance layers and teeny fluttery chiffon Liz Lisa dresses. Usually I combined these with some kind of fluffy scarf or thick white fur; the look was very fresh-faced and blushing, Snow White in Tokyo. I thought I looked pretty cute. Apparently my date didn’t agree. Upon meeting, he immediately noted how ‘uh, different…’ I looked from everyone else, and it was clear my standing out made him uncomfortable, as he kept bringing it up in a hedging sort of way. Even louder was his body language; he walked ahead of me, barely talking, not waiting for me to catch up as he speed-walked through the museum he’d picked. Halfway through the date, he decided he had to split – naturally, he got called into work at the financial office on a Sunday afternoon. I bought my own fast-food dinner and went home with nothing but blisters to show for my troubles.

Fast-forward several months and several dozen degrees on the thermometer. My summer style is a little more conventional – while I’m still rooting for chiffons and florals, the look is much more resort and beachy when I can finally let my skin out into the open air. After a date, I post a selfie, feeling pretty proud of my makeup and hair work. Who should pop out of the woodwork after complete radio silence for months but Mr. Sunday Afternoon at the Office, gushing to tell me how I had suddenly ‘got hot’ and if he could take me out. Eyebrows raised past the troposphere, I replied rather dryly that I was pretty sure I had always been ‘hot’. Apparently a little thicker eyeliner and a touch more skin is all it took to turn me from the kind of girl you dump halfway through a date without dinner to the sexy fantasy of your dreams you want to buy a million cocktails for. When I called him on it, the back pedaling was blatant. It’s reasons like this they’ve invented the unfriend button.

So, what do all these things have in common? Fashion is always considered the highest art because you live your life in it. Fashion changes who you are. Whether you are cringing at your seventh grade year book picture (brocade… Cat… Vests… Anyone? Or was that just my unfortunate childhood?) or running your fingers over the ten foot train of your wedding gown, our life is lived in moments defined by fashion. That dress you wore constantly the summer before college. The old sweater your boyfriend gave you. The shoes that pinched in church as a child. Clothes define a time, a place, a moment. They can become part of you, the way a wedding ring of forty years does. You can even let them eat you alive.

Sometimes it seems like lolita is one of those that will envelope you. The voice of lolita is a loud personality, it is Charlotte Lebeouf raring to get back into the fray. Wearing lolita is a little like wearing the red carpet gown on the subway. It invokes a princess part of yourself and to the people around you, that’s what you become. Stripping out of the petticoats and washing off the heavy glue and glitter at the end of the day begins to feel like absolution. I start to feel like I’m leading a double life when I wake up the next day, barefaced and hair ratty from being pressed under my wig. Like the backpacker, I wonder what it would feel like to amputate it all away. Even my body modifications speak to who I costume myself to be – the bottle blonde with roots, the nails glued with a thick crust of rhinestones. (Yes, I’ve tried it – just not for consecutive months of my life). I have days where I wear yoga pants and t-shirts. I do own frumpy shorts and an often misplaced pair of hiking-ish boots. The clothes are not who I am. But in wearing them, I choose who I want to look like I am to the world.

Lately the news is also abuzz with gender and race debate. In a short video, Ruby Rose strips off every shred of femininity to transform into what is effectively a dashing young man. We’ve seen men become women, women become men, and some people who decide they don’t have to ‘pick a side’ if they don’t want to. Little by little the old rules are fading away as we ask ourselves what and why and who we want to be. Diversity in fashion is also diversity in representation. What the heck does gender mean anyway, or how much of race to someone biracial is presentation rather than guts and genes?

As usual, I really don’t have the answers. Every single street snap is someone searching to figure out this mysterious question with us, how it makes us who we are. As for me, I’ll be riding the subway in my Japanese rose patterned miniature ballgown. I promise, even though we look like we’re from different planets, I’m appreciating that boho fringe top you’re rocking too. Try not to creeper snap me too hard, okay?

Late Winter Lazy Chic

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Fashion is stagnating hard for me at this time of year. The joys of winter style we cherished in November and December, like deeply textured sweaters and white fur have grown a little stale. The cold has hardened and my favorite coats have had to be traded in for shit-hit-the-fan minus five wind chill down jackets. The department stores are pushing spring break bikinis and Easter dresses that I can only buy and stare at in my closet while another six inches of snow piles up outside. The urge to dress cute is there, but muffled under too-worn thermals and the same three sweaters I’ve been inhabiting for weeks.

The best way I’ve found to get out of this fashion doldrums between February and April is to have a mini refresher course. I’ve found these items – still soft, loose and slouchy, but fresh and ready for spring transitional months – to be paired with your every day leggings and thick tights to make three cute and lazy princess outfits, perfect for at home or errands out. I’ve also included a few of my pinspirations – I’ve been in a pin-frenzy stuck inside!

lazyspring1via Liz Lisa and Mermaidens

Here I liked the boxy coats in various soft, nubbly textures. They reminds me of Novala Takemoto’s poem ‘As For Young Ladies Early Spring Coats’, and maintains the casual style of winter’s overstayed welcome.

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Here, dusty pinks and mink colored accessories play with fluffy sweaters and scarves. Wearing scarves as accessories when you’re indoors feels like hiding out in bed. Treat it like a large woven necklace to compliment your coordinate. (Just make sure to skip the denim shorts – it’s definitely not weather for that yet!)

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Cherry sweater ☆ Nutella Milk sweater ☆ Strawberry tee

Here’s three soft-and-slouchy styles with cute appeal. Layer these with some camis or UNIQLO Heattech, a kind of undershirt guaranteed to keep you warm. I survived many New York City below-freezing days by adding these soft tees underneath my lolita blouses and dresses and casual princess clothing instead of bulking up.

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 My Melody Women’s Knit Hat ☆ On Wednesdays We Wear Pink Knit Hat ☆ TOKYO American Apparel Hat

These cute beanies top off a staticky hairdo and complete your lazy-cute ensemble whether you’re on the streets or hanging around inside. I find hats also make great toppers for wigs – big or unnatural hair seems more believable when paired with an accessory. (Wigs will keep you a little warmer, too, as well as hide winter roots or dry fly aways.)

Winter may seem like it will drag on forever – the new year feels like always winter and never Christmas – but these soft and cozy clothes and a few pairs of trusty leggings can carry you cute into the spring. Wrap up in these scarves and beanies and sweaters while you can – you’ll be out of this cocoon soon enough ♥

 

 

 

Angel Wings

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As Halloween approaches, masquerade balls and other costumed events become more popular. Themed meetups and themed coordinates invite lolitas to become more fanciful with their wardrobes, transforming their dresses from standard wear to something more fantastical. In the past I’ve used my lolita closet to put together black cats and unicorns, mermaids and princesses. I’ve even made a list – over 100 ideas of lolita Halloween coordinates!

This year, I decided to spotlight some fashion inspiration – here’s four cute looks put together with the addition of only one prop – a pair of white feather angel wings that you could buy at any party store.  If you have something more custom in mind, you could try this DIY tutorial. Pair them with something you already own – a onepiece, or maybe a vintage peignoir? – a pearly makeup look, and some celestial accessories to create a sweet angel style.

 

Prayer to the Six Fashionistas


I found this video on my Facebook feed and instantly felt like sharing it with my readers. For every fashion forward girl who has received the withering glance and the “concerned” question, “Are you really going to do this when you’re 30?”, here is the resounding cry.

Let this be us. When we are old and lolita and fairy-kei and gyaru and mori-girl are words written in books by rabbits, when we are a very small paragraph in a fashion history book or confusing street snaps that people take into pawn shops, let this be us. When we are wrinkled and mussed and our skin is pleated velvety and our eyes faded in color or creased from countless makeup applications and years worth of circle lenses, let this be us. Let us be old ladies in nothing but pink, old ladies with fabulous wigs that drown our faces in crinkled curls, in plastic star jewelry that clatters and our descendants think is not good enough as inheritance. Let us be ladies who refuse to give up quietly, who rfuse to accept the racks of Alfred Dunner of the polar fleece embroidered jackets our neices and granddaughters give us at Christmas with knowing receipts. Let us be old ladies who treasure our dolls dressed in perfect style, old ladies who still hunt for brocade at the thrift shops, old ladies who still know a good pair of Doc Martens when we see them. Let this be us.

Pinkly Ever After Lucky Pack and the Happy & Cute Virus!

Pinkly Ever After Love!

Last week I received my Pinkly Ever After lucky pack – you may have caught the sneak peak on my Instagram, @victoriasuzanne! Pinkly Ever After is one of my favorite up-and-coming indie fashion labels. Although they began in Canada, they have now relocated to their home country of South Korea, back in the land of cute! I’ve loved their designs since they first began and fangirl over their brief musical career as Pinku Project on a regular basis still, ahem.

I went to the post office on a rainy day and feverishly ripped open all the pink bubble wrap in my car like a crazy glitter-induced drug addict (<~<) (the things we do for fashion, huh?) Inside was a mountain of sparkly goodies! Below, you can see the complete set! I ordered two and they came all in the same package, so it was like a cute explosion!

My favorite piece is the unicorn badge, I’ll probably pin it to my jacket for the upcoming meetup this weekend!

I also received, as I mentioned in my last post, a long letter from Pinkly Ever After’s designer Robin and her right-hand magical girl Baby. It really touched my heart and made me want to start blogging again! She also gave me details on our next big Pinkly Project coming out! I can share this information now that it’s been posted on the official site.

This is the first sickness I’ve been happy to have, haha. Pinkly Ever After chose me to represent America and infect them with cute clothes, fashion, and girls’ bravery! I’m looking for a girl in the tristate area to give a Cinderella-like magical girl or lolita makeover to! If you or someone you know wants to get into cute fashion but doesn’t know where to start, and lives in the tristate or New York City area, please message the Parfait Doll Facebook page! Maybe you could be that special girl! We’ll be filming a transformation sequence with the help of Dalin of Magic A La Mode! I’ll release more information as I receive it from PEA, so please follow my Twitter @victoriasuzanne for updates as well! (o^-^o)

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