Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tea-party with Misako Aoki *starry eyes*

I've been on a hiatus of sorts, my apologies! Part of the reason is because work has been very busy and just trying to stay afloat of things was sapping a lot of my energy and I simply wasn't in the mood. Excuses, excuses...

But I am back to report on a tea-party with Misako Aoki that I was lucky enough to attend on last Tuesday!

Jrunway, in conjunction with the opening of their flagship store at Plaza Singapura, invited Misako Aoki as the runway model for the Putumayo range that they are carrying. At the same time, they organised a meet Misako Aoki tea-party session as part of the opening events, so I hurriedly signed up when it was first announced that the session would be limited to the first 30 persons and got a place!

There was some logistics problems for me though as the tea-party was on a Tuesday evening, starting at 6.30pm, and I would be at work until 6pm. Technically, I would be able to rush down to the cafe when the clock immediately strikes 6pm and to whoosh out after telling my boss, bye! But the dress-code for the tea-party was a strict be in Gothic Lolita fashion garb so I would have to be in loli at work in order to save time and be punctual for the tea-party, and being in loli at work is something I prefer not to do.

I decided to take time off instead from work and that is another story by itself, lol. I ended up leaving the office at 4.00pm instead, which would still have given me enough time to change. But on the morning of the day, I had wardrobe malfunction with my shoes, my only pair of white shoes, to go with my intended outfit, and I had to rush down to the mall to get a new pair instead.

Suffice, I found new shoes (painful but worth it), changed and was at the tea-party promptly!

Outfit worn for the tea-party! Photo by Jasmine

As I was coming from work and had to bring things to change, plus it was a workday night, I had originally intended my outfit to be casual and was going to wear a plainer Innocent World jsk. But upon advisement, I decided to be more dressy and chose to wear Metamorphose's Wonder Silhouette OP instead. And.... I still ended up being rather dress-down casual, compared to some of the other attendees, heh. I do like my outfit in the end, but I wish I had chosen a more obvious hair accessory at least. I'm wearing a dark blue bow on me head but you can't see it in the photo!

At the tea-party, we started off with a Q&A session with Misako Aoki. She is so very pretty in person! And taller than I had expected! From her photos in the EGL bibles and Kera, I had imagined her to be smaller in stature for some reason. Some of the questions asked to Misako was how she would coordinate her lolita outfits and she gave a few pointers like she would ensure her skirt would go with her hair bow. I immediately looked down at my skirt and remembered my hairband and yes, they don't match, hahaha! Another question was how many lolita outfits does she have and she said, after thinking a while, about 100? Misako also mentioned she likes ensemble sets and her most nostalgic brand would be Baby, the Stars Shine Bright.

After the Q&A, Misako happened to sit at my table with some of my friends (Steph of Moar Lace Please, Jasmine of Frivolous Indulgences, Teresa of No Sauce Please and Ivory)! I think it was mainly because our table still had much slices of cake left and a chair to sit down! We chatted with her briefly about what places to go for good food in Singapore, lol. We recommended her to try a local dish, chicken rice, while here and we found out later through her twitter that she did! 

No photos was allowed at the tea-party session but after, we convened to Jrunway, the shop itself, for a group photo. I'm not sure if the organisers relented the rule of no photos but they then said we can have photo requests with Misako.

Our group photo with Misako Aoki! Photo credit to Cher-ly

There was a flurry of photo requests with her and she was very obliging to everyone. Ivory then egged me to take a photo with just her and myself....I confess I was feeling a bit nervous since pretty Japanese models with long, smooth hair tend to make me so, heh. But it happened!

The ubiquitous victory sign and derpy (mine) face

As the invited model for Jrunway's Putumayo range, Misako was naturally wearing only Putumayo pieces. For the tea-party, she was in Putumayo's Alice set. One thing about Putumayo dresses is I always think they're rather short, but Misako carried the entire outfit off very nicely and the dress didn't seemed too short on her. Ah, the power of the kawaii ambassador is strong!

Group photo of all attendees taken by Jrunway with suitable product placements. Misako has a better photo on her own blog actually

For more photos on the tea-party and the actual fashion show to see Misako on the runway, you can visit Jrunway's Facebook for photos.

Had a great time! :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stout figures present an interesting problem

Despite the view that Victorian and Edwardian fashions were only full of rake-thin women with 12" waists, it's not true! I came across The Home Pattern Company 1914 Fashions Catalog in a bargain bin at a bookshop and immediately pounced on it. It's chockful of fashion illustrations showcasing what was in during 1914.

In the catalog book, there are specific mentions to big-size girls and how to choose a style that is flattering to a 'stout figure'. I quite like the Edwardian use of the word 'stout' in relation to plus-size girls. Makes me feel somewhat like a full-figured beer.

                            Click on the direct links below to read the full scan

'There seems to be no other phase of women's costuming which is so little understood as that of the stout woman's problem.' Hear, hear!

These Edwardian patterns even mention catering up a 44 inch bust and a 32 inch waist which happily debunks the myth that there were no or very little big size women 100years ago! Although the tips on how to flatter a larger figure is for dressing Edwardian, I think they can still be relevant for our now times and applied for some aspects of lolita fashion as well. Edwardian fashion for the stout woman emphasizes on a good fit and a well-fitted lolita dress can do wonders. Instead of squeezing ourselves into lolita dresses that were made for smaller girls, why not consider the alternative of tailoring?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Japan Fashion Now

The title of this book, Japan Fashion Now, had grabbed me as I was browsing at the new arrivals section of the library a while back.

According to the blurb:

Japan Fashion Now will be the first book to explore how Japanese fashion has evolved in recent years. During this time, Japanese pop culture has swept the world, as young people everywhere read manga, watch anime, and play video games. Japan has had a profound impact on global culture, often via new media.

And I don't really think Japan Fashion Now is the first book to look into Japanese fashion sensibilities! But it was an interesting read nevertheless and had a section on gothic lolita fashion, of course.

I had scanned the  relevant pages on lolita fashion from the book and posted on egl before but never got around to posting on Tea-Tray, so here they be now! Click on the scans for the full-sized images to read =)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Some alternatives to replicas for your kind consideration

Recently, there was quite the furor over the banning of replica clothing sales/discussions on egl. You can read about it if you want and if you have time because this is a post with maaaaaany comments:

Two main reasons that I can gather from the comments is that replicas are so popular because the buyers can't fit into regular brands sizing or they cannot afford brand dresses.

In which case, then I ask rhetorically why is it that the most popular replicas are usually of prints like Moi-meme-Moitie's Iron Gate, Holy Queen. Angelic Pretty's Sugary Carnival, Star Night Theatre, Milky-chan etc., ahem. So it's actually the prints that are really being desired here? Ah well....

Being a bigger size loli, I can understand the frustration of not being able to fit into a size 2 Juliette et Justine dress or even an Innocent World's 98cm bust jsk. It can be quite demoralizing. Whether it's just a fashion or not. It's an unpleasant reminder that much of general society, even a fashion subculture, views you as physically unappealing. Although I know I'm luckier as there are still brand dresses that I can fit into as long as the shirring is forgiving.

If one is unhappy about sizing problems and just want a loli dress that fits well, be encouraged! There are a growing number of indies loli brands out there to explore and which can custom-make dresses as well. And some of these brands are even branching out into creating original prints of their own, after starting out by doing replica prints, which is nice.

Taobao can be a great place for custom-make loli that is affordable. It does take some navigating and a reliable buying agent but the returns can be quite worth it. I use a local agent, Peeka, and so far, I have no complaints. They've been good, speedy and their system of ordering from Taobao is wonderfully easy! I'm not sure if they can do international orders but it doesn't hurt to ask =)

Kidsyoyo has an original print, Alice Falling Down, that is gorgeous! Such a pity it's already sold out. I would have liked to order one.

While Krad Lanrete has a lovely OP that's fantastic for a mature lolita too.

And I love the red version of this!

Akane&Alois is another Taobao-based brand to notice. Their stock is relatively limited but what they have is mostly classic and very pretty.

Akane&Alois's Leaves of Grass jsk

I've just ordered their new Anne of Green Gables outfit. It's not really loli unless one stretches it by calling it country mori/loli I suppose....anyway, I'm preparing it for my eventual visit to Prince Edward Island, where the Anne of Green Gables books are mostly set, haha. Will do a review post when I get the dress!

Other stores to consider for all your custom-size loli needs:
Surface Spell
Chess Story
Miss Moe
Rose Melody
Elpress L
Anna House

And do be careful when shopping on Taobao though. Quality can vary and what you see on the site may not arrive exactly as pictured. A little research never hurts! If you see a dress that you like, check out any reviews available on it. Chances are someone probably purchased from the shop before so poke around the memories section at egl. And stay away from shops that re-uses brands' photos! They usually turn out to be crap, and I kid you not. Milanoo, milanoo!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

All aboard the Hogwarts Express!

Not a loli-related post per se but I'll like to post about Harry Potter: The Exhibition which finally reached our sunny shores early June this year. And which I finally managed a visit to last Saturday, as a random Hogwarts student, along with two others (Ravenclaws). Strangely enough, I always thought the Harry Potter books were only alright, nothing really outstanding in terms of writing and plotwise. What I really loved was the cinematic world that the Harry Potter movies created instead.

The Harry Potter exhibition basically features props, artifacts, a few recreated sets and costumes from all eight Harry Potter movies. Some of the recreated sets were the Gryffindor's common room, Hagrid's hut and the Great Hall. No photography allowed inside the exhibition halls though so here are some from the official website.

And there was a section with mock Mandrakes that actually squeals when you pull one up. Needless to say, everyone tried to. Pull one, that is.

Copies of the Marauder's Map were available for sale in the exhibition shop but much too expensive to justify getting one, sighs.

The featured costumes were my favourite part of the exhibition though!

The dress that Hermione wore for the Yule Ball in the fourth Harry Potter film installment, Goblet of Fire, was amazingly pretty, as was Cho Chang's cheongsam/evening gown hybrid.

Photos sourced off the net

And Ron's Yule ball tuxedo was absolutely hilarious!! I already grinned when I saw the whole ensemble on screen before but in actuality, it even had crochet lace on it. CROCHET LACE! The poor boy!
Photo sourced off the net

It was not a very big exhibition and took only an hour or so to go through the whole event. It would be longer if we examined everything they had throughly though. I enjoyed it and it was fun to dress up and visit the exhibition with friends! We had a fair share of stares at the exhibition while wearing the Hogwarts' uniforms. Some of the exhibition staff were actually rather excited to see us and asked for photos together, lol.

A Gryffindor, of course. Much too old to be a Hogwarts student really but still terribly fun to pretend to be!

And if you pay a bit more, you can have an official Harry Potter photo with inserted appropriate background of your choice. Definitely the Hogwarts Express for us.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sale Clearance! Everything Must GO! 50-30% OFF!

So summer sale season is in full swing! And I myself have just come from the Innocent World sale, which I caved in and bought 2 dresses, one being an impulse buy. The flesh is so very weak, unfortunately.

Here's a list of brands currently having online sales that I know of.

Innocent World -
Metamorphose -
Baby the Stars Shine Bright -
Excentrique -
Putumayo -
HeartE -
Moi-meme-Moitie -

*Angelic Pretty's online sale is still forthcoming.

Plus here are a few tips when confronting sale season. Do not follow my not-so-shining example of impulse buying.

  • If you can wait....WAIT. Some of the brands do have further reductions after the first or second week of their sales, especially for Metamorphose.
  • Do remember to check out the shipping charges, it might still push you over budget despite the sale price.
  • Also, don't forget to check measurements! Sometimes we can get blinded by the tag '50% off' (gawd knows I did) and forget to check if the dress on sale can actually fit or not.
  • And even brand dresses on sale can still be expensive. Check if that dress on sale is up on any auction sites or secondhand clothing stores first, if you don't mind secondhand items. The dress could be going for cheaper there.
  • Regardless of items going for half the price, still buy within your means. Tempting though it might be, "but this is on sale! I'll just add in another pair of socks, another dress, a trinket..." can all add up.
  • However, if you are very sure the dress on sale is the dress you want now, then get it! 

Now, go forth and enjoy summer lolita sale season! =)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

'Titanic' may have started it but I still can't stand Jack and Rose

Summer sale season is upon us once more! And this means that a few brands will be having lucky packs and online sales. At present, Metamorphose has summer lucky packs on sale while Innocent World has a 10% discount on all items going on until 1st July.

I've been on an Edwardian fashion jag lately. And not because of the 3D re-release of 'Titanic' early this year!

Rose's Boarding Suit that is supposed to be the height of Edwardian fashion in 1912. I can well believe it.

However. I did love the costumes in the movie when it first came out in 1997, just not the movie itself. But 'Titanic' probably did spark me down on the path to finding out more about this era, its fashion (and the ship as well). Not to mention, with Downton Abbey winning accolades for its costume-designs, Edwardian fashion is somewhat back in the spotlight. And there's something uniquely elegant about Edwardian fashion. While not as loose, airy and Grecian-inspired as Regency gowns, a structured outline for the well-dressed Edwardian lady was still required, it's not as constrictive as Victorian fashion which dictated the worth of a woman by the fussiness of her wardrobe and the tightness of her waist.

1910-12 evening gowns worn by Queen Maud of Norway. The detailing is amazing. The creation of exclusive custom-fitted gowns, or how haute couture was born, came about during the Edwardian era via Charles Frederick Worth.

Lolita fashion doesn't really draw as much inspiration from the Edwardian age, as say, compared to the Rococo and Victorian eras. Maybe as the 20th century progressed, Edwardian fashion for women placed a greater emphasis on the overall silhouette being narrowed and straightened with high waists and a stiff collar, unlike the lace, frills, pomp of a late Victorian bustle gown. Not that an Edwardian gown couldn't be decadent too. I especially love early Edwardian tea and lawn dresses with their pintucks and lace details.

While I did say Edwardian inspired lolita dresses are hard to find, I have come across some few that can evoke a sense of this era.

Innocent World's Lidie OP is rather reminiscent of the Edwardian sailor dress.

Of all the brands, I think Excentrique probably is the closest to having an Edwardian aesthetic to some of their clothing designs. Although I'm not even sure if Excentrique can be classified as a 'pure' lolita brand actually, so many of their pieces have a distinct old-world European charm. Or as one of their earlier collections says it, 'Euro Vintage Euphoria'. And that term kind of encompasses the whole Excentrique appeal.

So, right now? I'm hoping really hard that Excentrique has a summer sale oncoming!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

'Frills and Lace and Everything Nice'

Last Saturday, I went for a workshop panel on gothic lolita fashion. The workshop itself, titled 'Frills and Lace and Everything Nice', was part of a pre-event leading up to an annual local cosplay event that's usually held in July. That annual cosplay event is called Cosfest btw. So I attended for a while and took some photos.

Besides explaining what is gothic lolita fashion, the workshop organizers also tried to give examples of different lolita styles like Gothic, Classic, Sweet etc. The end of the workshop culminated in a makeover for two of the attendees.

The workshop did have a rather rushed and incomplete feeling surrounding it. I had a chat with the organizers and they said the workshop was a last minute thing and tie-up with Cosfest actually, they only had a week to prepare everything. The workshop being held in a corner of a shopping mall was restrictive as well. The organizers also mentioned they had expected the workshop to be held in a private room with invited attendees but it didn't turn out that way, unfortunately. Still, I think the organizers did try their best with the limited time and resources they had.

Let's hope if there's another gothic lolita panel or loli related-event, more time and a conducive environment would be readily available. I'll be interested to attend such another event since they're far and few in-between here in Singapore. The last attempt at a lolita fashion panel was held in 2006 or 2007 I believe, at another anime/cosplay event. I guess it's unavoidable that gothic lolita fashion is associated with cosplay events as much as I still roll my eyes when someone on the street says lolita is cosplay, lol. And I would love to see a brand spokesperson like Atelier Pierrot or Angelic Pretty etc come to our shores for a panel, like they do for anime/cosplay events in the United States or Europe but I don't really see that happening, as Singapore just doesn't have a large enough base to warrant such a visit.