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.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sweet, Gothic & Classic Lolita Etsy Treasuries

It seems it's every Lolita's dream to one day be able to sew their own clothes, but sadly, it's a talent that not all of us have. I am sure that if I were pressed, and had a pattern, I could sew up some fancy clothes for myself, as I do know my way around a sewing machine, but I'm simply to impatient to ever sit down and actually finish anything I can make under a sewing machine. So, instead, I like to spend time oogling the things various other Lolita seamstresses make and wistfully think to myself "One day..." On of my favorite places to do this is through Etsy, probably because I'm just a little bit addicted to making Treasuries! In my last Etsy lurking adventure, I made three treasuries, one for Sweet, one for Gothic, and one for Classic Lolita. These are all relatively simple treasuries, just some nicely made cute clothes by various Lolita seamstresses, with a few crafty accessories thrown in for good measure.







Looking at some of these gorgeous clothes really makes me want to at least try to ever finish anything on the sewing machine. It just seems like there's so much unlimited potential when you can make your own Lolita pieces!

Why have I been lurking on Etsy a little more than usual lately? Because I've spent the last week and a half getting my Etsy back in gear! It is nowhere near complete, there are still a number of things that I still need to get in my shop, but for now, it's at least a little bit full. For the next week or so, I'd like to offer free shipping as a little "Thanks for being so patient with me while I get everything back up", just use the coupon code WELCOMEBACKSUMMER and you can get free shipping on anything in my shop. I hope you don't mind this little aside to mention my shop update!


I'm sure you've noticed how quiet it's been on the blogging front for me! I just finished up my "vacation". Quotes because, while it was my vacation from my full time job, I still worked every other day at my part time job! There were several days in a row when I didn't even bother to turn my computer on, which is very rare for me, as I'm pretty obviously internet addicted. I hope you all can just bear with me for a bit while I get back into the swing of things, yet again!

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Lolita Playlist

Art by Kira Imai

I haven't forgotten about the 30 day Lolita meme! I just took a break from it for a while, but I'd like to resume with day 8 (even though it's very much past 8 days!) with "10 songs that inspire you for Lolita" I've actually been meaning to make a real-life mix CD of Lolita songs for a long time now, but have never really gotten around to even making a play list on my computer until now. These aren't necessarily songs that seem to directly reference anything Lolita-like but are more like what I like to listen to when I am in the mood to lounge around in a frilly dress.


Rasputina- 1816, The Year Without A Summer. I am sure I have mentioned on this blog before that I'm a pretty big Rasputina fan, and I tend to like to associate them in my head with Lolita. This is a song off of one of their more recent albums about, you guessed it, 1816, also known as the year without a summer. Not necessarily Lolita, but the historical imagery, of a pretty gloomy nature at that, is fitting for my own ideal Lolita aesthetic.


Nine Inch Nails- The Perfect Drug. Okay, so maybe this song is on this playlist because the scenery is like my dream house and gardens and I have never been able to separate the song from the music video after seeing so long ago, I also like to pretend that this song is about vampires, which it probably isn't. Scary hedge mazes, vampires, mandolins, these things are Lolita to me.


Cinema Strange- Catacomb Kittens. Another band that I have mentioned on this blog before! Again, picked for it's gloomy lyrics that are reminiscent of times gone by. A song about orphans who run away to live in catacombs, definitely more on the Gothic side of the Lolita spectrum, but still very Lolita to me.


Tori Amos- Raspberry Swirl. Tori Amos is another musician that I have always just sort of put on when I am in a particularly Lolita mood, but no real one song in particular. I just so happen to like this one at the moment.


Sopor Aeternus- Hades Pluton. This is actually the first Sopor Aeternus song, which I actually heard when I was first starting to get into Lolita and trying to create (not always successful) coordinates with the goth clothes in my closet, so this particular song always sort of reminds me of that time in my Lolita timeline. Also, it's a great song, even if it took a little bit to grow on me, as I had honestly never heard anything like Sopor Aeternus before this song. I had absolutely no idea what to make of it!


Malice Mizer- Beast of Blood. Another song that I discovered when I was first getting into Lolita, so it instantly reminds me of the fashion. And how could it not? A Jrock song about vampires with Mana pretending to play a violin while twirling around in an Aristocrat dress, what's more Lolita than that?


Darren Hayes- Waking the Monster. A little different from some of the other songs on here, but really on here mostly because my friend Janet and I are both huge Savage Garden/Darren Hayes fans, and the soundtracks on the way to many a far away Lolita meetup has been Savage Garden. Plus, this song is about a mad professor building a time machine, that's sort of cool and fitting I think XD


Schwarz Stein- Release Me. I was never really big on Jrock, with the exception of the first summer I discovered it, which was the summer of 2003, and also the summer after I decided I wanted to be a Lolita for reals this time. So, the few Jrock songs I still listen to really make me feel all fuzzy and nostalgic inside towards Lolita.


Aqua- My Mamma Said. Aqua is such an ultra girly band, mostly known for Barbie Girl (quite possibly the girliest of all songs?), but they make a few really great songs along with all the goofy ones. This is one of their best I think. Not particularly Lolita, besides the fact that they are generally a girly band.
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