image by gossamercreations
Even before the recession hit the United States full-force, I was worried about one. I’ve read in my textbooks about the history flow that matches a recession: luxury goods go by the wayside. Art is lost in favor of food. Beauty is sacrificed to make way for its older stepsister, practicality. And what was Lolita if not the most in danger of a sudden drop-off in money? I apocalyptically daydreamed about days when no one would remember Lolita except its old princesses, who were now reduced among the cinders. On a slow day I would also tack a little backdrop of nuclear winter to the scene. What can I say, I’m a twisted sort of dreamer.
But now a recession has actually hit and the Lolitas seem to be weathering well so far. We can only hope that like the palm tree, the Lolita bends, rather than the stolid oak, which breaks.
There will probably be several articles around the recession + Lolita, as I see a lot of small effects branching throughout the culture and economic microcosm.
So, onwards to article #1!
I was reading my local paper today (The Waterbury Republican, if anyone in the area is curious!) when I stumbled across an article about recession meets fashion. The article slung around new buzz-words like ‘recessionista’, ‘wealth shame’ and ‘covert shopping’ – while they claimed that yes, the rich are still buying their toys, only sneakier. The ladies get their products in plain bags, instead of brand-blazoned ones that shout Louis Vuitton or Chanel. Or even more undercover-wise, they get their purchases shipped home, sometimes gift-wrapped, so that nobody knows they bought themselves a new ostrich-skin purse.
The rest of the article speaks of how the poor elite of our society have started flying commercial (*cough*firstclass), or renting jets instead of owning them. Other signs of the rich trying to rein in the spending include shopping without dressing to the nines, secretly taking Bahamas vacations instead of telling everyone they know, and getting rooms instead of suites at said Bahamas resorts.
How difficult for them.
Okay, so the chip on my shoulder is showing just a teensy bit, but let’s move on and get to the point.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly haven’t seen the Lolitas doing any of these things. The It Dress and the It Print (Sugary Carnival!) are still popular as ever and the usual caucus race for these items – stay in the game long enough and everybody wins! – continues. The seasons move in and out, and despite the way the media continues to trumpet their chant of Rome is Falling, girls are still willing to drop around $800 on this winter’s chandelier print.
But that’s not too unusual, right? Even the mainstream rich are still buying. The question is, what about the hype? Is the fox hunt still as beloved as it was, or do we see more of girls trying to be modest about their funds?
Again, I believe the answer is a resounding ‘nope’. The Lolita culture and denizens are being affected by the economy for sure, but the elite ring – those who hunt brand for sport, complete with hound-shaped purses – remain unaffected. Or if they are, they are steadfastly not letting it anywhere near their shining wardrobes.
As I wrote in my earlier post about status symbols in the Lolita community, Lolitas have a deep urge to show the others their items and prizes. To keep with our ladies’-hunting theme – the first half of the game is the hunt, but the second half is displaying its head on your wall and chuckling about it over cocktails at your next little dinner party. Let’s say you bought [insert horribly expensive dress here], but never tell anyone you own it. You can love it, wear it, and keep it like a secret love to your heart. But if you never give it its debut, then its light will be like a lamp under a basket, to get rather old-school. I think that urge will fuel the elite in their quest to keep the upper ring of Lolita society alive. To participate in ‘stealth wealth’ would be defeating the purpose – and could even spell death for the Lolita way of life. The tradition begun by Marie Antoinette must be continued, if only has a collection of art. When the people cry for bread, they will eat cake. The mainstreamers may gobble their cake covertly, furtively; the Lolitas will slowly savor it.
I agree with them, myself. If one is to eat cake, eat it – without shame. Lick the frosting from your lips; steal the rose off of the top tier. Are the Lolitas shameless? Do they fly in the face of convention?
Why of course.
The upper Lolita ring perseveres to preserve the aristocratic culture, but in the middle and lower rings of Lolita, a strange and beautiful evolution is beginning to take place.
Be ready for Let Them Eat Cake: Part 2 – The Evolution!