Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sewing break! building a 'life syle' wardrobe

Took a some time off from the busy life and did some.  I spent most of the day in faded baggy sweats thinking to myself, why can't I feel cute even on groggy days.  If only I had Lolita in other parts of my life.  I as I thought this I began to take notice of just how much of being classical lolita had seeped its way into other facets of my being, aside from wardrobe.  My growing interest in classical beauty had transformed my bathroom cupboard, and my fondess for afternoon tea and fingerfoods had transformed my pantry.  I guess it was only a matter of time but I began considering the possibility of being a life-style lolita.  Well,  its hard to do if you have a wardrobe my size so I suddenly had the urge to stary making clothes!  Starting with this...

I was so excited to have my Dolly style shoes that I had to have something to go with.  I had a dusty pink cutsew  so I dug up some old fabric that matched and went to town.
The pic doesn't do it much justice I think.  Oh and the lining was old bedsheets with a decent thread count so it feels very soft and warm, even without anything underneath!

Speaking of underneath, I made this...

With matching BLOOMERS!
(there's no un-naughty way for showing off bloomers XD)

I made the dress because I needed something comfy and simple for around the house, whatever, and had enough fabric and trim for matching bloomers. I'm so stolked, these are my first made pair of bloomers and I can't wait to do another, and maybe something for pajamas.

I started these projects, not just to rebuild my wardrobe, but because I'm moving into more of a 'Lifestyle Lolita' mode. Whatever that means.  There's a lot of debate on that and will be posting my thoughts as the weeks go buy, but for now I want to have pieces that work for every life and situations.  The top dress (which I"m calling my rococo dress as the print is of scenes of rococo women and men...doing whatever it is they do) is obviously not wearable to everyday events, but it is super comfy and can be worn out.  The bottom dress (which I call Rose in Cream) is meant to be more casual and practical.  I have some knit fabrics that will be appearing as outfits as well so check back for more 'life style pieces"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dolly-kei make over: shoes

This is a brief post, basically I"m just excited to be finished with this project.  I've altered some old shoes!  I bought them used and fell in love with the color and texture of the suede, but they clearly had signs of wear and I wanted to find a way to make them more 'Dolly style' to spruce up my basic pieces.
I've mentioned it in a previous post,  but Dolly style is another sub-trend in the Harajuku fashion world.  In the words of a well known memeber in the Lolita community, "It's like Mori and Lolita had a beautiful baby!".  For me, it's like Loli went shabby chic, which I love, because while Lolita fashion emphasizes perfect coordinates and elegance, I love to see a little roughness around the edges.  Having an off the wall piece in you outfit definately gives it character and makes it personal, and I see alot of girls and boys doing this with some wonderful handmade accesories or unique vintage pieces and when done right, its awesome, and Dolly is doing it right.

Well here are the shoes before:  ( don't know what that net stuff was supposed to be...)

And after!  ( look closely, pearl drops on the front bow!)

I don't know how much this will appeal to Loli-tist (lolita elitist...clever haha), but I've been wanting to do this for along time, and with some help from reading issues of Altered Couture magazine, I figured out how to do it.
Long story short-glue gun.  Not the most 'classical' method but it got the job done well and efficiantly.  This particular design is special to me because the lace used was all completely vintage. The wide pieces are at least 50 years old I was told, and basically there wasn't enought of it to use in many other ways and I wanted it to be apart of something I would wear often.  Well these are my new favorite shoes and can't wait to co-ordinate.  Hope your inspired to take a chance with an old pair, you've got nothing to lose!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mori-Loli: part 2 - shoes, hats, and more inspiration

Starting of the day

The biggest winner in my mori search was getting myself over to S.C.R.A.P., wich is basically a crazy person's basement.  SCRAP functions as a non-profit organization that helps lost bits of fabric, cardboard, paper, manneguins, biscuit tins, lamps, records, and the like find loving and caring homes with people who may know how to put them to good use.  
The biggest find of course was a giant bin of sweets charms!  I don't own any sweet jewelery myself as it seems to go better with sweet lolita, but these pieces seem to have an intrinsically classic feel.  The lack or silicone dollops of cream and glitter might help, along with the fact that they represent some lesser used treats such as crepes and danishes (not a cupcake or sprinkle in sight)  I always felt that alot of ama-loli style could cross over.
I also found some wonderful empty glass bottles in various forms, and some wonderful fabrics (one of which was used to create my 'classically alice' dress.

Well I'm quite excited to incorporate mori-style and to get some focus, I'm going start with this hat, purchased second hand.
 I also found THIS!

If there is anyway to incorporate an owl made of hay into a Lolita outfit, I will find it.
With these pieces as starter points, I'm just about ready to work on the main event, and put together and lucky for me there are many styles and brands coming out that incorporate these elements.  One of them is called Mielette Tautou.  I found this brand reading and watching videos and blogs about New York's Tokyo Fashion Festa and its looks like its going to be AWESOME.   Right now the "shopping" page is still coming soon, and I can't say if its going to be international but for now their gallery looks amazing. (photos from their website)
(drop waist yay!)
Even Innocent World is producing looks that and fit in with this newer aesthetic.
The biggest inspiration I got was the look of layers.  Now as intensely layered as Lolita already is, a lot of these layers aren't visible, so you don't get the same effect.  There is also a lot of texture involved in these outfits which I love, as I always feel I have to touch clothing.

So that's it for Mori-inspirations, the next mori-post will be of fabric and designs.  I'm also concurrently working on incorporating some "Dolly" style so their will be posts about that as well. 


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bonnet vs.Bonnet

Bonnets, while wonderfully versatile, don't seem to be the most popular headpiece, despite being available through almost every brand, and designed for almost every.  Why?  Well aside from personal tastes, they can have a dreadful "double-chin" side effect, or they may not flatter every face shape.  It usually takes a defined jawline and a delicate chin to pull it off.  Well I'm lacking in both of those qualities but I think bonnets are gorgeous and can be wonderfully classic seeing as how a middle - upper class lady of the Victorian era wouldn't have left the house with out one.
What started this obsession was trying on a friends BtSSB bonnet.  It was the standard brand half-bonnet;  floppy,  frilly with an under-the-chin bow and naught but a mere two inch comb to keep it in place.  Needless to say, it did not work, but it got me thinking of how something more structured might help. Well my prayer was answered at the Dicken's Faire ( a Victorian Christmas Faire held in San Francisco) when I found and purchased a true, victorian style bonnet.  These bonnets are wool, and stiff like hats.  They came in many colors and can be decorated with silk, flowers, lace, ribbons, feathers, tiny violins, pretty much anything.  The best part about this type of bonnet, is that the under-the-chin ribbon ties from the back of the neck, meaning no double chin, and its so much more comfortable.  Not to mention it never flops down and it stays in place.
Here it is! (mine is not yet decorated)

Now this was a great find, and a 50 USD it still beats brand, but it doesn't give you alot of  hairstyle options.  If your still desiring a fun, frilly version that's not quite so...obvious (as did I)   I've come up with THIS!

A half bonnet made with a headband that can also be tied behind the head.  I made it and here's how!

You'll need:

  • fabric (not much, 1/4 yd max)
  • two or more kinds of lace, 2-4yd (gathered lace will save time and effort)
  • a plain head band, 1" width or more
  • ribbon, 2yd
  • two fake roses (optional)
  • needle and thread (or sewing machine) and glue (glue gun or fabric glue works)

  1. fold fabric in order to cut two identical half circles with rounded corners. (the wides't part should be 5-7" wide, the narrowest, 4") Sew along the edges with the RIGHT sides together leaving a gap in the middle.  Turn right side out and sew the gap together. 
  2. Sew  widest lace all around the half-circles, and sew two more rows on one edge (the front) of the bottom.
  3. Sew more lace (gather if not done already) in rows on the bottom of the rectangle, with the widest ruffles facing foward.
  4. Sew (or glue) the lacey half-circle to the underside of the headband, lace facing down.
  5. Glue the ribbon across the top of the head band, allowing enough length to tie on both sides (this also hides the stitches)
  6. Now sew or glue on additional ribbons, bows, trims or flowers you may want to add.

Hopefully this helps bonnet fans!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Classically Alice

In preparation of the upcoming 'Alice' meetups and such, as well as to test out my new dress form,  I made a sort of classical interpretation of an Alice one-piece.

Because of the almighting influence of disney, I couldn't avoid using a light blue, but I went with a more 'antique' shade of cornflower blue as opposed to the more common sax blue.  While looking for blue solids, I actually found myself coming back to print. It was the exact shade of blue I wanted, but it had little pink roses (or carnations?) with dotted white ribbons.  The print was small enough that the blue would still stand out and it was more visually interesting than the plain colors.  So I went with it.

As for cut and style, the skirt portion is a bit longer, just below the knee, and the bodice is rather fitted, emphasizing the waist, hopefully deemphasizing the chest. 

Since the classic illustrations of Alice had the so victorian pin tucks, I gave pintucks on the skirt a try.  I was going to do three but settled for two. It was my first time doing pintucks and I wanted to quite while I was ahead.  I used a basic sloper pattern for the bodice at first, but made many changes during the process.

Any, here my re-imagined Alice (minus the apron)

I added additional bows later.

And naturally, the Alice head bow.

My only concern really is the sleeves.  They look fine on the manequin but worn, they look a little big. 

As for the famous Apron?  Well I'm deciding on a style that would fit this dress.  

Here are a couple classic styles sold on Roses & Teacups, a charming Victorian gift store, that appeals to me.   Particularly the teacup embrodiery, very alice appriate.

As for shoes, limitless options.  The new film has Alice wearing a more traditional Victorian boot which is a fun idea, and there are several white Lolita boots as well.  There's also the traditional flats.  So many options.

Well those are my plans for a classical Alice, and the full outfit will be posted once complete. I'm excited to see all the other amazing Alice co-ordinates at the movie premiers (hopefully lots of classical styles!) and maybe Alice will finally be out of my system.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thank you everyone!

My deepest gratitude to the lovely maidens who've found their way here from the EGL forums and giving my link a chance.  I appreciate the criticism (it's been very constructive) and would gladly accept any other thoughts or ideas about this blog, whether about the content or the format itself.

And apologies to any sweet lolis, your style is gorgeous, but I admire the Classic the most.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Meta goes classic with revival bouquet and old emblem

I mentioned the drop-waist style dress that Metamorphose produced early, but it seems their classical phase isn't over yet.  They've released several other styles in their revival bouquet print including the gorgeous Flare Sleeve Tier Dress pictured below with detatchable sleeves.  They've also returned to the classical bonet in a big way, forgoing the currently popular half bonnets (which are worn like an annoyingly floppy head band) and going for a more classical shape that covers the hair, with the brim facing forward rather than straight up.  Its not quite as glorious as some of the other bonnets I"ve seen but it would definitely fit a more modest bonnet wearer.

What most inspiring about Metamorphose Temp de Fille's return to Classical style is the attention to some historical elements such as the inner sleeve.  detachable cuffs are a modern Lolita staple, but were widely used in the Victorian period when the large bell sleeves were popular but a reserved lady didn't want to show off too much of a bear arm.  The also made the wearer appear to have more layers and lace on than they actually did, making their outfit look that much more expensive.

Meta has also just released its "Old Emblem" print.  While the dresses in this line are more the typical sweet style shapes, the print does lend a classical flavor to it that feels a lot like some innocent world prints.

I'm hoping that this is constituting a move back to some of the older styles of Lolita, that I feel were closer to their original influences, which made me fall in love with the style in the first place.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Alice is on her way...

So with the release of the new Alice in Wonderland film by Disney, there is new merchandise everywhere.  While I'll keep my reservations about the movie until I see it, I"m already looking forward to seeing the tidal wave of Disney couture.

Tom Binns is the designer behind the official Alice line of couture accessories.  Here's a little bit about him from his company's website:

Tom Binns has been designing, manufacturing and distributing jewellery for over twenty-five years. Beginning his revolutionary career in 1981, Tom Binns was and remains inspired by the early twentieth century Dada movement, the main theme of which includes deliberate irrationality, anarchy, and the rejection of standard beauty and social organization.

Deliberate irrationality?  Yeah sounds like wonderland to me.  His pieces focus on visual elements from the story and it mixes alot of different textures as well creating alot of charm bracelets and charm necklaces with some simpler pendant pieces.  Elle magazine did a spread of these jewelery pieces as well as couture gowns designed with inspiration from the new version of the film.  Kidada Jones is another designer working on Alice wares, her pieces being more inspired by the original animated film, and feels a bit more fun and whimsical.

Hottopic has been carrying some Alice merch for months now.  Unfortunately, very little of this more available and more affordable line is compatible with classical lolita.  It would be much more suited to punk/sweet/gothic styles.

As far as liscenced merchandise, a classic Lolita can pass.  There are much more elegant and vintage inspired pieces being hand made on Etsy, but its always nice to have an 'official' piece so in small amounts, some of these pieces can be incorporated.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Crown & Crumpet in Wonderland!

So this is a post specifically for the Northern California Lolitas, and it refers to the wonderful teahouse "Crown & Crumpet" which has been a wonderful host to many a Lolita including official BtSSB tea parties.

So, my Mom and I went to Crown & Crumpet and the lovely staff there (who recognized me from my Lolita visits) Eagerly told me that Disney was officially collaborating with them on an Alice in Wonderland theme tea party!

So far they are planing on having three seatings and they're setting up all the tables in a 'U' shape so that every can see and talk with one another as a large group (they said since its a mad tea party every should be quite a ruckus!).  I suggested that the Hostess makes sure to shout "Clean Cup" every so often so that we can all "change places" and try different teas! hehe.  There will also be tickets for the film at the Century 21 theater in the Downtown Westfield mall available as gifts, and they will be receiving loads of Alice merchandise.  One of staff expressed interest in involving the Lolita community for this event specifically so hopefully things will get underway.  I have know doubt of this happening as many of the leaders of the Lolita community arrange many meetups and keep in close contact with them.  It sounds Like like a blast.  Interested parties should keep checking their website and the Ca_egl live journal post for more updates.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lolita Cinema!

So what movies would a lolita love?  There are quite a few that are popular, and some that aren't, and a few that would especially appeal to lovers of the classical style.  I've done some research, watched some movies, and after recovering from a lace-induced seizure, I can say that these are my top picks for Classic Loli-friendly films.

Now there are alot of other movies out there, and I have in no way seen them all, but I picked these movies for their relevence to Lolita style and its inspirations, and that the film deals specifically with some major facet of the lolita subculture and doesn't just happen to have a girl with a frilly dress it it.  So let me start with No. 1

The Secret Garden (1993)

Why a Classical Lolita would love it:
This movie takes place in the perfect historical period, and the main character, Mary Lennox, is the perfect age for Lolita loveliness.  Her outfits get cuter and cuter as the film progresses, many of which look taken straight from a Victorian Maiden catalog.  Not only the wardrobe but the setting in general is full of delights.  There's a lovely manor in english countryside, a proud robin and other animal companions, and a beautiful and secret garden with unlocked by an enchanting key.  Its absolutely in every way, classical Lolita.
My View:
As a movie its very well told.  I admit I'm rather biased as this movie always will hold a special place in my heart.  I had quite a few oral surgeries as a kid and after drooling on my self the entire drive home my mom would set me up on the fold out couch with some raspberry sorbet and the The Secret Garden.  What made this film stand out against similar family films is that it was probably the quality of the child actors (better than most), the cinematography, and the director's willingness to treat the subject matter as seriously as the author did.  The story is true to the book for the most part, with the only major departure being the death of Mary's parents (an outbreak of cholera was the original cause, the film went with an earthquake).  The manor itself was actually filmed in six different locations, but it all comes together smoothly and creates a perfect picture of a lonely English countryside.  Overall the film is an enchanting balance of sweet and melancholy, and a message of hope and healing.

Little Nemo in Slumberland (1984)

Why a Lolita should see it?
Simply put, this delightful cartoon features Princess Camille, who is everything a Lolita should be in my book.  For starters, she's a Princess, she plays the harp in a room full of  fountains adorned in roses, she sends cookies with all her invitations, she won't hesitate go to nightmare land to save her father (so long as her dresses aren't ruined) and she's not afraid to punch a clown in face if he doesn't stop smoking those smelly cigars.  The movie takes place in the late Victorian/early Edwardian period for the most part, so it has a lot fashionable references there, and Slumber land basically looks like and Angel Pretty print come to life.
My View:
This is another childhood favorite that I puchased recently with some reservation, but it totally lived up to memory.  It's technically and anime, but since the film was based on the famous comic by Winsor McCay, it maintains a mostly western aesthetic.  The animation is wonderful and the story itself is a lot of fun.  I recommend to anyone, "PAJAMA PAJAMA!" 

Alice and Wonderland (1951)

 Why a Lolita should See it:
Yes this is the animated classic we all know and love.  Surprizingly, the film did not do very well when it was originally released, and its almost a cult classic compared to most disney films (though not as 'cult' as the black cauldron), but its eventually found its place in popular culture and now its almost impossible to think of the strange tale with picturing blonde hair and a sax blue dress.  As you already know I'm sure, this film has had a HUGE impact in Lolita fashion.  Its been an inspiration for the style since its beginings and is still one of the most popular motifs for lolitas today from Alice themed prints, to and 'Alice' style headdress, to replicas of the dress she wore in the film.  The wimsical story and art design, and the very eccentric tea party make it the perfet Lolita movie.  There's another retelling of the story produced by Tim Burton.  It's not an exact remake (an internet rumor said it takes place when alice grows up or something) and I'm sure Lolitas will flock to it this May.

 My View:
Well I'm an animator, so my opinion may be biased but I love this movie.  Its still a never ending inspiration to me, not just as a fashion motif, but as a film.  The animation is flawless, naturally, since it was made during a time when Disney animation was at its peak in quality and creativity, and I personally feel like this visual developement of this film is only rivaled by Sleepy Beauty as far as Disney's other classics go.  Alice is a young victorian girl, so this film is one of those that I would recomend to the classical Lolita, and there have been so many version of this story told in cinema for that it would be fun to compare the look of all of them, but there is one version I would recomend to the darker lolita.  For a more Gothic fan, I would highly recomend "Alice" by Jan Svankmajer.  The famous surrealist filmmaker tells the story in visually perturbing way that I think Lewis Carol would be proud of in its absurdity and interesting use of the medium.  It is also animated, but not as a cartoon.  Instead stop-motion is used with a combination of live action, and it uses very interesting materials such as a stuffed (that's right, taxidermy) white rabbit.

Kamikaze Girls/Shimotsuma Monogatari (2004)

Why a  Classical Lolita should see it:
This is a story about a blossoming friendship between the rococo and BTSSB obsessed Loli Momo, and the wild biker Ichiko.  It's basically the movie every lolita see's because of its direct connection to Lolita.  The brand Baby the Stars Shine Bright plays a major part in the film, both in production and plot so its definately something I would recommend if you want to see your favorite outfits on the big (or small) screen.  While this film features mainly sweet styles it does have some merit for the classical Lolita in the first act.  The film approaches the idea of being a 'Lifestyle Lolita' and ties it to the Rococo era, and how that era of style, as well as the culture of the time, influences the modern Lolita fashion.  No the film isn't that deep, but it does make those connections.

 My View:
As movie, well, if you've seen Asian pop films before you won't be surprised.  It has a very youth oriented tone and point of view.  There's a lot of direct narration, breaking the fourth wall, and a very stylistic approach in general, with a few off the wall gags that are down right slapstick.  It was a little to silly for me at first but I quickly warmed up to it.  Basically my view comes to this, if you want to see a cute, fun, infomercial for Baby;  pick this movie up right now.

A Little Princess (1995)

Why a Lolita should see it:
I've seen this one mentioned in several lolita blogs and forums. Its a popular film for girls of this generation and  its not hard to see why.  The story is full of little girl mojo, and every Lolita would love its unyeilding mantra, that "every girl is a princess, no matter what!"  Besides the sugary sweetness of the story, the film is also stuffed with over-sized head bows, lace and frills, boarding school girls, dolls, and a special locket.

My View
A Classical lolita would enjoy the historical setting and fashions.  It takes place during World War 1, which for the most part was part of the Edwardian Era, which actually is when the cupcake shape we like to see with Lolita is fading, even in children's clothes.  Never the less the drop waist dresses are very loli-able.  As a film I found the lead actress playing the 'little princess' to be extremely annoying.  She was adorable, and had the same expression as an American Girl Doll, but her breathy voice was kind of creepy.  The relationship with the black servant girl, while sweet and inspiring, was a bit forced. The ending was way to much of a coincidence for me, and there were some extremely dated special effects sequences.  Of course, this is a movie for young girls so I'm being to critical.

I will also post my top Lolita anime, manga and video games as well in upcoming post. Now go watch some movies!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Antique Doll, a sweet companion

    It's been a little while since my last post (school is crazy) but I'm never to busy for some virtual window shopping.  This week Innocent World made its "Bisque Doll Jumperskirt" in brown, black and a gorgeous sax blue.  The illustration on the skirt displays teddy bears and unique varietys of classical bisque dolls.  

    Bisque dolls have been around for centuries and remain a prize to doll collectors today.  Alot of Lolitas can appreciate the charm of having a precious doll, and many popular brands even release clothing for popular types of ball jointed dolls, which are popular in the Lolita community.  There are also several issues of the Gothic & Lolita Bible that publish Lolita patterns in doll size.  In fact, the some of the very first ball jointed dolls were French and German bisque dolls created in the 1800s.  These dolls did not come cheap, even  during this time period and were adorned with beautiful clothes represent the modern fashions and lifestyles of the time (not unlike Barbie).

For more information on bisque and porcelain dolls, I love the The Doll Dreamers Guild.