Fri, Apr 15th, 2016 @ 3:46:56 PM -
Lolita fashion is a subculture of Japanese origin with strong Victorian and Edwardian influences. The style started quite modestly with emphasis on quality in manufacturing as well as in materials. The original look existed in a “cupcake” shaped skirt or dress, a shape that is given by a petticoat. Later the style was extended with corsets, floor-length skirts, blouses and knee high socks or stockings. Headdresses are worn also. Lolita fashion evolved into sub-styles as Gothic Lolita, Sweet Lolita, Classic Lolita and Old School Lolita. Its subculture is adapted by women in many parts of the world. The origin is complex. The movement started in the 1970s with the famous labels as Pink House, Milk and Angelic Pretty that all sold the “Lolita” clothes by today’s standards. A little bit later came Baby, The Stars Shine Bright and Metamorphose temps de fille. But the Lolita fashion became only generally accepted in the 1990s with the performing of the group “Princess Princess” who wore intricate costumes adopted by the fans. The Lolita subculture reached Tokyo and grew as a generally known movement. Today the clothing can be found everywhere in all department stores of Japan.
© smithore / 123RF Stockfoto
By agreement, the term “Lolita”, when you talk about fashion or the subculture, is not related to Vladimir Nabokov’s book Lolita. The creators only choosed a cute name for a cute fashion. However, Lolita fashion was a reaction against the growing exposure of body and skin in modern society. Lolita is “cute” or “elegant” rather than “sexy” indeed.
Shortened as “GothLoli” Gothic Lolita is a combination of Gothic and Lolita fashion. The fashion originated in the late 1990s in Harajuku and is especially characterized by darker make-up and clothing. Although red lipstick and black eyeliner for neatly defined eyes are used, the look stays quite natural as with all Lolita sub-styles. A distinct gothic make-up with a white-powdered face is even considered as tasteless within Lolita fashion circles.
Typical brands of Gothic Lolita Fashion are Atelier-Pierrot, Atelier Boz, Alice and the pirates and Moi-même-Moitié.
Sub-styles of Gothic Lolita is Elegant Gothic Lolita and its masculine equivalent elegant Gothic aristocrat (see photo). They were championed by the visual kei rock musician Mana with his fashion label Moi-même-Moitié and influenced by steampunk fashion.
Most recognizable of all Lolita fashions, Sweet Lolita is heavily influenced by Victorian and Edwardian clothing. It adopts the basic Lolita format and uses lighter colors and childlike motifs.
Make-up used in sweet Lolita is as in other Lolita styles but accentuates the young, girly aspects. This is not always found in darker, more mature styles like Gothic and Classic. Blush is often used in pink and peach shades. Eye makeup is bold and eyeshadow is in pastels.
Outfits are in pastels colors with fruit, flowers, animals or dessert print and ribbons to emphasize the cuteness of the design. Popular themes in the sweet Lolita refer to Alice in Wonderland and classic fairy tales. Jewelry often reflects this fantasy theme. Headdresses are a popular hair accessory to the sweet Lolita look. Bags and purses usually have a princess-like design and often take the shape of fruits, crowns, hearts, stars and stuffed animals.
Brands are Angelic Pretty, Baby, The Stars Shine Bright and Metamorphose temps de fille. Emily Temple cute, Jane Marple and Milk are brands for more casual clothing and are available at department stores in Japan.
Classic Lolita is a more mature style of Lolita that focuses on Regency and Victorian styles. Colors and patterns are somewhere between the Gothic looking and sweet styles, not as dark as gothic Lolita but not as cutesy as sweet Lolita. The look is generally more sophisticated and more mature because of its small, intricate patterns and more muted colors.
The designs contain a-lines and Empire waists. Most classic Lolita outfits, however, still stick to the basic Lolita silhouette. Shoes and accessories are more functional. Jewelry with intricate designs is also common. The makeup used in classic Lolita is often a more muted version of the sweet Lolita makeup. Classical Lolita brands include Juliette et Justine, Innocent World, Victorian Maiden, Triple Fortune, and Mary Magdalene.
Old school Lolita is the old version of any current sub-style of lolita fashion. It has the focus on lace, fabric and ruffle details rather than print details. Bows, chunky shoes, and lace-topped knee length socks are the most common. This style is easy to mess up with poor quality lace, inappropriate hair etc. For this reason, it is commonly discouraged amongst newcomers who may not have been involved in the fashion at the time of its popularity. Although frequently worn, Old School is visually very different to Modern Lolita, so it is often referred to as a separate sub-style.
Many other styles and themes have come out of the basic lolita frame because of its “do-it-yourself” nature. Less known than the style above they illustrate the creative nature of Lolita.
Because of the “do-it-yourself” nature of Lolita fashion, many other themes have come out of the basic Lolita frame. These styles are often not as well known as the ones mentioned above, but they do showcase the creative nature of the Lolita fashion. Here are the most important:
– Kuro/Shiro, meaning black and white or restricted by colors.
– Hime or “Princess” Lolita is characterized by a princess-style look based upon the European aristocratic style.
Ōji or Ōji-sama, meaning “prince”, is a Japanese fashion that is considered the male version of lolita fashion. Ōji Includes blouses and shirts, knickerbockers and other styles of short trousers, knee high socks, top hats, and newsboy caps. The colors usually used are black, white, blue and burgundy, though there are feminine versions of the fashion with a broader palette. Good examples would be some of the outfits sold through Baby, the Stars Shine Bright’s line Alice and the Pirates. Outside Japan, there is incorrectly referred to as “Kodona”.
– Casual Lolita is less of a style in and of itself but is used to describe a “toned down” approach to the lolita fashion.
– B-lolita: This style stands out solely on the fact that men also wear female clothing Lolita, any style described above. It could be considered as a form of transvestism. The main exponents of this form are Novala Takemoto and Mana, also other artists like Hizaki and Kaya.
Outside Japan, there is controversy because of the social perceptions about the dress. One would assume that those who wear them are homosexual. however, this form of Lolita is independent of any sexual orientation!
Here a list of brands to consider when you shop for Lolita fashion.
Angelic Pretty [View examples on eBay], Atelier Pierrot, Baby, The Stars Shine Bright/Alice and the Pirates, Innocent World, Juliette et Justine, Mary Magdalene, Metamorphose Temps de Fille, Moi-même-Moitié, Victorian Maiden/Beth
Vierge Vampur, Chocochip Cookie, Enchantlic Enchantilly, Heart E, Antique BeasT, Triple Fortune (abbr: 3F), Atelier Boz / Lapin Agill (abbr: Boz), Excentrique, Fanplusfriend / Neo-Ludwig (abbr: F+F), Physical Drop, Millefleurs, Sheglit, Maxicimam, Miho Matsuda, Infanta, Pumpkin Cat, Classical Puppets,
Dear Celine, Haenuli, Krad Lanrete
Outside Japan Lolita fashion as other Japanese cultural phenomena like cosplay, can be seen at anime conventions throughout America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The style is not mass-marketed outside Japan, though small stores have emerged in Paris, San Francisco and New York.
The major brands ship goods to the international market. A growing group of dedicated western Lolita fans wears Lolita clothing on a quite regular basis. Numerous Lolita groups have tea parties, talk and make fun. Lolita magazines are available on the internet and at Japanese bookstores between anime and manga.