Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Trends of the Past: Camouflage Lolita?

Cruella De Vil wigs, mismatched socks, pastry hats, applying your false eyelashes about halfway down your face... Lolita definitely has it's fair share of odd trends that come and go with the times, but I think that one of the weirdest and most inexplicable ones to hit the fashion was the trend of Camouflage Lolita, from back in the old school days. Yes, that's right, quite possibly the least elegant thing in the world managed to become a Lolita trend, albeit not a very widespread one.


I'm honestly not sure how this happened, it probably happened with a somewhat strange Angelic Pretty collaboration in 2005 with the Jrock band Psycho le Cemu, in which they designed this set, complete with old school giant ruffly headdress, for the musician Aya.

 The elegance! The mystery! The crossdressing!

This was not a one-off, a just-for-Aya-to-dance-around-in costume, but something actually released by Angelic Pretty. Believe it or not, Aya was something of a Lolita idol, a pink-haired second-rate Mana, who often appeared in the Gothic & Lolita Bibles, usually wearing, or doing, something questionable. I am particularly fond of a picture of him posing with a vacuum cleaner, pretending to be some sort of Punk Lolita housewife, and one sort of awkward Wizard of Oz photo shoot that involved drawings of bishounen Scarecrow. I honestly have no idea what ever happened to Aya, I seem to recall some sort of brief career as a Halloween themed costumed rock star, but for whatever reason, he seems to have slipped from the pages of the Bibles, and from the Lolita timeline.

 Angelic Pretty's stock photos for this set.

When most people even recall that camo-print Lolita was even a thing, they usually think back to Metamorphose's Punkma Camouflage set released a year later, in 2006. After all, Meta tends to be the odd ball in the Lolita world, no one would have really expected Angelic Pretty to make something like this, it seems to have Meta's shenanigans all over it. Maybe Meta didn't invent camo-loli, but they certainly jumped all over that bandwagon with Punkma and released a surprisingly large amount of pieces, in a wide range of styles, in their particular brand of camo-print, which featured cute silhouettes of their bunny and bear mascots.

   
Believe it or not, there are actually a few more pieces in this series!

While this is Meta's most famous camo-print line, it certainly wasn't their first! Before this bunny and bear covered camo-print came a more generic print set. As far as I know, it came in grey and pink, had 2 different styles of skirt, and a heart-shaped apron. At least, these are the only pieces of it I have ever seen online.

A couple pieces from the original Meta camo-print set, complete with matching heart-shaped apron. Because just a camo Lolita skirt is never enough.

Did it come before the Psycho le Cemu Angelic Pretty set? Did Metamorphose, in fact, invent such a thing as Camouflage Lolita? Honestly, I have no idea, as there is very little information about Meta's first camo series online. All I know is that, just like all the other camo-print Lolita pieces that have released, it is pretty awesome, for it's equal parts of badass and tackiness. I actually used to own one of the pink skirts from this set! I loved it for it's tackiness, but never quite knew how to wear it so, regrettably, I sold it. I would probably pick it up in a heart-beat if I saw it for sale again, that is, if it was for the $35 that I paid for it and had been making the rounds through the second hand Lolita community for.

Sometime last week I was tweeting around Twitter and was conversing* with a fellow old school Lolita/fashion-in-questionable-taste fan about the old camo-loli and wondered if this weird trend could ever get revived for current generations of Lolita fans. Conclusion: probably not, but wouldn't it be wacky if it did? So, I coaxed some life out of my dying Wacom tablet and doodled up what I thought a print would look like this trend happened today in Lolita.

 Awful? More like AWESOME-FULL.

First thing to change, from the old style, would definitely be the colors, they're just too bold and monochromatic for the modern Lolita. Drawing inspiration from Angelic Pretty, I made a pallet of all the pastel colors I could think of (Which is apparently just four colors...) and made a big pastel mess of a camouflage print. If you squint your eyes and think about bunny rabbits, it sort of looks like what a lot of relatively recent Angelic Pretty prints look like to me. But, still, it was too plain. All-over prints are so Baby the Stars Shine Bright, and that's just not what we were going for. Knowing that Lolitas can't ever get enough of irony (Guro Lolita, anyone?) we decided to bust out the big guns. The big cookie guns, covered in frosting, and made into a frosting sandwich, that is. And some grenades and tanks and hearts for good measure too.

My tablet managed to give out on me while I was trying to draw up some outfits with this print, which is a shame, because they were actually really fun looking, if a bit completely an utterly silly. They involved hats shaped like tank cookies and machine gun cookie purses. And the dress came in 2 styles, typical Angelic Pretty OP, and a more Fairy Kei styled empire waist mini-dress with matching bloomers. I think I hear Maki and Asuka knocking on my door now, just begging me to fly to Japan and design dresses for them now!

That's about the short-lived and weird trend of Camouflage Lolita in a nutshell. What do you think about it? Did you not even know about this skeleton buried deep within the Lolita closet? Or maybe you were actually a fan of it at one time? When I first started buying Lolita pieces, this style was in full-swing, well, as full of a swing as it ever was, and I was a bit baffled by it, this manly and inelegant print, so out of place in a time when nearly all Lolita prints were classical and elegant florals, but I enjoyed it for it's silly irony, and I still do. When I hear people complain about some new trend being un-Lolitalike, or someone not considering something part of the Lolita fashion just because it doesn't follow their idea of elegance, I tend to think back to these camo-printed pieces and wonder how they would react if they knew that brands used to put out pieces like this.


*the following story is a bit over dramatized, the conversation basically went Her: "Remember Meta's camo print?" Me:"OMG LOVED IT! It should come back in OTT!" Her: "OMG WITH COOKIE GUNS" Me: "I'M GONNA DRAW IT!" But that's not very fun to read, or write about.

29 comments:

  1. Omg yes! I remember!!! I even made a bunch of rectangle headdresses to match my camo stuff...since at the time i couldnt buy lolita...hmmm...i think im going to visit my local fabric store and see if hey have any cool camo fabrics and i can mqke my own! Though honestly i would kill fir the ap set or the pink meta op...

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  2. I had no idea this style existed until I read your post! Although I probably wouldn't wear camo-Loli, it did make me think of a conversation my father and I had a while back about "Loli-esque" weaponry -- heart-shaped grenades, parasol guns/swords....

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  3. Personally i love camo and lolita. I love to mix stronger imagery with sweet elements.. a bit like in gore lolita clothing with pretty ruffles and blood.

    I remember at the time lot of people hated that trend as " not proper lolita ". To me it is always good to re-new a style otherwise it dies. I hate when new generations wear the same things exactly than the previous one. Fashion to me should be evolution and not stay stuked in time. I would wear one of those dresses very proudly !  

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  4. That border print you created is awesome! What other inelegant things could be made into a lolita print & coord?

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  5. This is too funny. I had actually just seen the meta camp print a couple of days ago while browsing Hellolace. I was like, "No... no... they wouldn't... no... oh I'd so wear that jacket one!" ^_^" 

    I adore you cookie border. When I saw that I nearly died. But I'm not sure about the camo background using all the colors. It's hard to see the cookies and is a little blinding. (though probably your purpose) Maybe have different camo color ways? Then I'd be all over that.

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  6. DAT PRINT. me gusta....but dat junk on spoonflower.
    you could add derpy-chan into it and show it to /cgl/ they'd eat it up! 

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  7. I'm a fan of sweet lolita, but it's not really something I would wear myself. BUT if that cookie camo print were a real fabric or dress? I would buy that in a heartbeat. It's so ridiculous but so adorable, I love it to bits. Also, the cookie gun purse would be so amazing, I'm tempted to make one myself. xD

    I know for sure that my friend would have bought the dresses from AP or Meta. xD (She's a bit of a military fanatic)

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  8. This would probably go over really well in the town I live in...

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  9. Haha, I still have my Punkuma camo skirt.  It gets compliments all the time, actually, but I don't wear it as a lolita garment. 

    The whole camo thing was definitely one of those trends that had plenty of lovers and haters even at the time, and I'm pretty sure we had multiple extensive threads discussing whether camo belongs in lolita.  The Punkuma one got a lot of WTF reactions, not only because of the print itself, but because a lot of the items weren't really lolita (the mini skirts and long jacket come to mind).  Actual green camo just makes me think of hunting season, so I'm really not a fan.

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  10. haha oh man, I had no idea, it's so funny!!! omg flashback to being a young teen in the late 90's and it being fashionable to wear pink camo items (mainstreamish fashion) . Oh dear!

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  11. Yeah, I heard briefly about the camo thing but I never actually saw anyone wearing it, lol.

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  12. Haha, I actually own the jacket version from Meta's camo line. I tried on the salopette in the store because I thought it was kind of awesome, but alas I found it was "too much" with the print and all... But then I found the jacket in pink on Closet Child one day, and my mental teen just couldn't stop herself from buying it. As I've never really worn lolita, this was a perfect way to actually own some burando and still make it my own style. Needless to say I've loved that jacket to bits, and even if I don't really wear Japan fashion clothes anymore, I still use that jacket. It always gets a lot of praise and questions, so it really was a good buy. Also, I got it for like 2,000 yen! Because even when they released that series, noone really wanted to wear it, lol.

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  13. It's just kinda unattractive.

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  14. aw Kaya's GLB photoshoots make me laugh everytime. I think camo-loli might be back though! there were at least 2 camo-loli-ish outfits in the September 2011 Kera!

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  15. Ryuutsuki AspergerJuly 1, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    It's very useful if your country is at war 

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  16. I actually want a dress in the print you drew up! so cute!!!

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  17. Is it bad of me to say, but I loved the Camo Lolita look? I even like and would wear the sweet print you designed, it's that awesome! 

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  18. Nephaelia VonDaemonenJuly 1, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    Oh my gods... I love the print you drew SO MUCH. I really want a dress made out of it now D: ahaha. I don't really like the bolder coloured camo prints that the brands actually released. They just don't work for lolita, in my opinion. Your print is adorable, I love things like that, cute with a twist XD

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  19. I remember reading about the Meta version in a G&LB interview with Kuniko Kato, and seeing a girl in a FRUiTS magazine snap wearing a solid pink X army green camo homemade Lolita skirt... but I had never seen the AP army green X black dress, I think it's the best of all of these! Unlike the Meta versions (and the homemade FRUiTS one), I might actually wear that- pink or light blue camo reminds me too much of being a kid.

    That said, your OTT camo print is really cute/funny! Perfect to wear when hunting bargains on the comm_sales, or when battling it out for rare items!

    That said, I think I have a strange craving for grenade cookies...

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  20. I got the pink meta punkma OP when it was in reservation.... and I own it until today and wear it quite often. It's a really eyecatching, sweet and cool dress.

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  21. Oh boy... as a career Soldier/Lolita, I gotta say - I want a skirt made out of the camo cookie print! It is so full of ironic awesome... I'd wear it to the next family event. (^_^)

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  22. I've seen the pink meta op before and wanted it really badly. 
    It's just so silly and wacky i can't help but love it.

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  23. I'm not sure EXACTLY what happened to Aya, but Psycho le Cemu broke up due to one of the members being caught using drugs or something (kinda like what happened to Novala) Then after that a couple of the members continued a little... but then it seems like they just kinda pittered out. Psycho le Cemu was a really fun band, you should look up some of their music sometime. They had some really funny far out videos, too.

    I like the camo fabric paired with biker-sleeveless dress cut. A girl posted that on DL the other day and it was fabulous. But I pretty much like anything biker-cut.

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  24. Good grief, I remember this!  Glad I'm not the only one, I guess.  I'm not really a fan; I do grasp the wacky appeal, but only in a cerebral fashion.  I love Lolita because it's the opposite of the punk, masculine style that was so common in my teenage years.  I'll never forget the day I was browsing Meta and stumbled across the camo prints.  It was truly a WTF moment.

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  25. I did come across this 'back in the day', I don't think I'd wear it expect maybe for costume party lols, but I like it for it's wtfness, however your version of camo loli, omg want! XD

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  26. ...not to kick a long dead horse, but I would love an honestly camoflage skirt(I'm talking dark, forest/hunter/olive green, preferably involving miltary-esque double-breasted buttons. I would wear it as much as I possibly could...). I'm actually currently in progress on a blackxcamo bolero. I had an old tiered skirt that just needed to become sleeves...

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  27. as soon as i saw the cookie camo print i fell in love <3 , i've been looking for a fabric for myself to make a skirt but could not find one i really liked so could i use this print to make my skirt ( spoon flower have customisable fabric)

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  28. I'm pretty new to Lolita fashion, so I didn't know about these! I do remember that around that time (early to mid 00s) a lot of mainstream designers made girls/misses' clothes and accessories in camouflage, though. Especially in turquoise and pink (as a side note, I remember my mom looking at a pink camouflage cami, and wondering what environment pink camo was supposed to help you blend in with... lol... my mom... god bless her).

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