LBC: Animal Themed Lolita Coord

Hello again darlings, and welcome back to the ongoing Lolita Blog circle project, Lolita Blog Carnival! This week, the theme was "Pick an animal and create an outfit around it". 

I chose one of my favourite animals... or, I guess they are technically insects.

Butterflies, yaaay! 

I like butterflies because they're very fragile, delicate and beautiful. Those are all of the things that come to mind when I think of Lolita. 

Yet some butterflies, such as the Blue Morpho, have a darker side to them... for example, when the larva hatches from the egg it becomes survival of the fittest, since the mother abandons her eggs. Sometimes your brothers or sisters will eat you before you even hatch! Also, the Blue Morpho is known for living on the liquids of decomposing animals, as well as the nectar of fruits. In this stronger, almost sinister side of the fragile butterfly, I see the dark beauty of gothic lolita. 

And so, to me, butterflies are a good metaphor for the Lolita. Their complexity and range of species make them my favourite "animal". 

My theme was to go with something yellow, for Spring time, with daises and lilies tied in for Easter. However, all of my clothing is dark, so I ended up using tulle as a scarf over a white blouse, and focused on my makeup instead. My makeup was heavily influenced by the artist Minori. (I've been looking into a lot of angura kei and shironuri styles lately.) 

It came out very ethereal, and I felt like a fairy!

However, the theme for this week was to show off a complete coordinate, so I'd like to share an older outfit which was also centred around butterflies. For this outfit, I wore old school black and white lolita, with black and grey butterflies in my hair.

The following photos are courtesy of my friend Gina. 
They were taken at an old historic post office in Honolulu.

And well, as you can see from the contrast on outfits, butterflies are really complex creatures. They inspire me in Lolita fashion, so it felt natural for me to share these coordinates for this week's theme. Thank you for looking, and I hope that you enjoyed! 

Now, let's check out what other Lolitas used for their outfits this week! Click the links through to some of my fellow Lolita bloggers to see...

Why I really love...

Many times I've wanted to write articles about something I really love, but don't normally get to talk about in my event reports or Lolita articles. Some topics have been favourite anime series, physical activities, cosmetics or quirky hobbies.

Today, I want to talk about why I really love: Figure collecting.

Kaito Nendoroid, Vocaloid. Goodsmile Co.

Figures are sort of like action figures, only with much more detail, and for display purposes only. Some can be very rare and cost hundreds of dollars. Others can be "Garage Kits", or plain PVC pieces you can mix, match, and paint yourself. Others include the cheaper "blind box" and "gachapon" figures, which are left up to chance for which character or figure you get.

Some even hook up as a series, so you need to buy all the parts to complete the display! I have two sets like this. One is an Evangelion volleyball scene I haven't finished, and the other is a set from the new Evangelion movie (3.0: You can [not] Redo). Each segment of this set included a piece of Asuka's helmet. After you collected all three characters the helmet was complete, and the Asuka figure can wear it!

The interesting thing about figures is that they don't seem to follow traditional copyright "sense". They are well-known and beloved characters, but are redesigned, reimagined by artists and recreated time and time again, by several manufacturers, all with their own expertise. For example, Goodsmile company is known for their adorable chibi "Nendoroids", with all their interchangeable parts. "Figma" company also features interchangeable parts, but the figures also have ball joints for pose ability.

I started figure collecting in Japan, when my friend first introduced me to it. My first figures were little Asuka chibis, which I bought from a second-hand shop in Ohsu, and it all kind of grew from there.

It became so exciting raiding a bin of figures, or trying Gachapon over and over, hoping for the character I wanted. If I didn't like the figure, I would sell it back to a second hand shop, and go back to the capsule machines, or the arcades to try and win rarer figures.

I remember in Ohsu, some of the arcades would have special locked cases with really rare figures inside. In some special games, you could win a key inside your prize. The key would unlock one of the special cases, and you could choose a figure from inside! I used to admire the rare or discontinued figures in the case, but never won any.

My collection has really grown over the past year...

Many were gifts from friends, who know which characters I like. I've had pretty good luck so far, with the blind boxes. I wish there were a place to sell or trade back the characters you don't want though, like in Japan.

Probably the nicest one I have is this Kotetsu figure, which my boyfriend got me for my birthday. This may sound a little strange but he has several detachable heads! He's also really tall, and the detail is amazing.

Figures may not be the most useful things in the world, but I really enjoy collecting them and setting up displays. Once my other figures are sent over from the mainland, I think I'll have enough to get a nice case or shelf to display them in. 

They're kind of tacky, and definitely the stamp of an otaku, but I think that's what I love about it! I actually find super nerdy things really endearing. ;3 Living in Japan changed my perspective on whether or not you should hide your nerdiness. It is a delicate balance between enjoyment and appropriateness, but there is nothing wrong with enjoying it on your own time.

A girl's home is her castle... and mine is a castle of heroes! 

xoxo, Dorky Darling Cherie.

Event Recap: Kawaii Kon 2013

I am not even sure where to begin recapping this year's incredible Kawaii Kon. Are you ready for a MEGA-POST?

My plan of action is to retell the main events now, then post later with more photos and "Memorable Moments". The main events include the MINT NeKO fashion Show, a performance by Lolita musician Iruma Rioka, our pop-up Dark Castle, and more!

The guests were amazing this year, with vendors Harajuku Hearts packing frilly heat with Angelic Pretty, Black Peace Now, Putumayo, Chantilly and Atelier Pierrot. J-House Rock also represented the J-fashion community with a pop-up h.Naoto booth featuring MINT NeKO and an assortment of accessories from BLOOD and Frill.

I suppose it all started on Thursday night, with my fitting for the MINT NeKO fashion show. I met up with the other models in the lobby of Ala Moana Hotel, chatting and looking about for a stylish Japanese guy to appear out of thin air. At around 7, a woman emerged from the elevator, peeked around the corner and called, "Are you the models?"

She herded us into the elevators (the thought "herding cats" comes to mind), and took us up, up, up to where Mint's apartment was. I couldn't get over the fact that we were going into a designer's apartment! It was a pretty small room, especially with all of us crammed inside. MINT clothing was sprawled over the bed in a pile of monochromatic cat prints. Mint took us in groups of three, then threw back the sliding closet door to reveal a treasure trove of MINT outfits ready on hangers. He handed us our outfit one at a time, then ushered us into another room to change. When we came back, he took a polaroid photo, then we were free to go.

I was nervous, because I hate how pastels and neons look on me, and that was what he was handing out to most of the girls. But I beamed when he handed me my outfit... a grey asymmetrical cut sew and voluminous black and red harem pants. As I rushed off to change, I nervously offered Mint the gift I had made him...

A beach bucket with a squirt gun, water bombs and some sunscreen, to enjoy the pool and sunshine in Hawaii. I drew the "Neko" myself and Mint's name in katakana on the back. I muttered, 「ハワイにようこそ!」then scampered off. 

I was one of the last models to be shot. After Mint took my Polaroid, I returned the outfit, then drove my friend home and prepared for the day of chaos that would ensue on Friday.

Friday was a day of scoping out the dealer's room, meeting online friends, admiring outfits and cosplays and catching up for my birthday celebration. (My birthday was on Thursday but I was busy with the Mint fitting.)

First I attended Mint's panel on Fabric design. Unfortunately it didn't go very smoothly, because there were problems playing his video and nobody was really asking good questions. Eventually the audience broke the ice and Mint made everyone laugh. He said his favourite gourmet food is McDonalds, and he became a fashion designer to impress girls.

He also talked about his inspiration as a designer, and his work. His main inspiration as a designer is Vivienne Westwood. He said that there was a traveling art exhibition in Japan, featuring work by designers inspired by Vivienne Westwood. One of Mint's creations was featured in this exhibition. I wanted to tell him that a new Vivienne Westwood boutique just opened in Waikiki, but I was interrupted by an audience member who inquired how many cats he owns. (Apparently none- but he likes to watch stray cats wherever he goes.)

At the end of the panel, he showed a film clip from his Tokyo collection. The models included members of Megamasso, Golden Bomber, Akira from Kera, and Takeru. I think not everyone in the panel appreciated this spread of celebrities, but I was squealing to myself the whole time.

I had to ask, because I always do, "What kind of music do you like?"Apparently his favourites are Matenrou Opera, NoGoD and Radwimps!

The panel wrapped up, but they said Mint would be at his booth, so I rushed over. After mulling over the merchandise, I decided to buy the same cut sew I'd wear in the fashion show, because I loved it so much! Since I purchased it, I got a polaroid and autograph from Mint.

After that, it was just killing time until my own big event...

Visual Kei Dark Castle! 

Normally we only run VKDC bimonthly, with a venue and the help of our producer, Nephillim Halls. However, my partner Alice Demize and I were approached by Kawaii Kon and asked to bring VKDC to the convention. 

And the best part was, we didn't get a tiny hall... we got the whole ballroom!

Dual screen projectors and everything! 

I think we had a decent turn out considering we didn't start until 11. We encouraged people to get up and dance but most of them just sat... one reason I wasn't expecting all the chairs, but oh well! 

The problem was, we tried to run it like a mini version of VKDC, where we video DJ and have a dance party type thing. However most of the guests were just confused and had no idea what visual kei was- or they only knew Malice Mizer, and didn't know other styles exist. So I think at the next convention, if we can, I'd like to run a more informative panel discussing what Visual Kei is, a bit of its history, and some of it's sub-genres. Maybe then we'll get a more enthusiastic crowd. 

After VKDC, it was time to carpool over to SoHo Mixed Media Bar for Nephilim Hall's event, the Gibson Ball. The Gibson Ball was a mainly cyber punk themed event dedicated to steam punk, cyber and all alternative realities related to scifi. 

Of the events I've been to at SoHo, I think this was my favourite to date. The guests were great sports about dressing up, and some were handing out glow sticks. The walls were decorated with tube lights, mesh, and projections of cyber movies and anime like Ghost in the Shell. The DJs were amazing and nearly everyone was dancing. 

I didn't get back to my apartment until about 3 am, getting some funny looks from the desk staff with my white contacts in. I collapsed on the bed and slept like a rock until my alarm went off, and I had to drag myself across the street at 7 for hair and makeup for the Mint fashion show. 

I have modeled for a Japanese brand before, when Atelier Pierrot came over for HEXXP last Fall. But in comparison, Kawaii Kon's team just beat the pants off HEXXP. The makeup and hair artists were fast, skilled, organised, and knew what the hell they were doing. Everything ran like clock work and we had plenty of time to change and rehearse. 

I loved my Makeup!

The show was a huge success! It felt so avant-garde and high fashion, the most serious fashion show I've ever been in. I was really proud to wear Mint's clothes. 

All of us at the end of the show. Photo courtesy of my friend Cat.

Mint taking a bow. Photo courtesy of my friend Gina.
And yes, those are balloons in our hair!

After, I went to the Iruma Rioka concert, where I was distracted by guitarist Nemu's incredible fashion. The show was great, Iruma's sweet vocals are amazing, and the performance was dream-like. Iruma even wandered out to the crowd, handing out roses to the front row. She tried to get the crowd to do things concert goers do in Japan, like coordinated dances with glow sticks and hands, but it wasn't working. xD;

 Honestly the rest of the day was uneventful. I went back to the apartment to change, then made an appearance at the Yu x Me Maid Cafe panel. I didn't get to perform this time, but I did greet guests and play table games with them. 

After, I went back to the apartment and CRASHED! I was still wiped from the Gibson Ball the night before. I did wake up in time for our midnight Korean Barbecue reservations though. I chilled with my friends, who are all event photographers for the Kon. As a vegetarian, I got to pick on the various side dishes served, and ate some miso stew over rice. It was such a nice meal after a long day. 

Also, my friend got us a round of Soju! It's like Korean sake you could say, but it doesn't have the burn of sake. 

Much needed. 
Sunday, to make a long story short, was no-frills-barred Lolita Day. Since it was St. Patrick's Day, I busted out my favourite green Atelier Pierrot "Eden" Jsk. I wore it with harlequin tights and my Bordello boots. 

With my friend Alice. Photo courtesy of my friend Cat.

First I headed over to the Harajuku Hearts booth, to meet Iruma Rioka. You could meet her for a photo and autograph with any purchase from Harajuku Hearts, so I chose a silver wing ring from Angelic Pretty. I was nervous I wouldn't get to see her because the Vocaloids Live concert was at the same time, but luckily she arrived in the nick of time! 

With the goddess Iruma. She wore Atelier Pierrot too!
I ran into Iruma again while wandering around the con. I spotted her and Nemu sitting outside in the main concourse, so I smiled and waved. Much to my surprise, they beckoned me over! Nemu said they were doing a live U-stream broadcast back to Japan at the moment. Nemu turned the camera on me and said, "This is a Hawaii Lolita!" 

They asked if they could take a picture with me and my friend (who I had just met while wandering). The picture turned up on her official Facebook! 

I was a little star struck, haha! I wonder if they'll come back in the Fall for Onicon, with Atelier Pierrot.

Well darlings, even if I wanted to write more right now I couldn't, because I'm exhausted. xD But please look forward to a part two and funny little memories from the convention. I should also be able to fill you in on more upcoming events here in Hawaii!

Also, I've gotten more questions about traveling in Japan, and I can't wait to answer!

Till then, stay tuned!

xoxo, Cherie

Event Recap: VKei Dark Castle "Court of Hearts"

Hey everyone! Last night was our second Visual Kei Dark Castle, a bi-monthly event celebrating Visual Kei Music and style, as well as J-fashion. Each Dark Castle we have a special theme, performances, contests and usually, custom drinks.

Last night's theme was "Court of Hearts", an homage to the Red Queen of Alice in Wonderland. We wanted to do something with an Alice theme, but with a darker, more gothic twist, so we thought the Court of the Red Queen would be perfect. This time we had a performance by Yu x Me Maid Cafe, who made their own custom "Queen of Hearts" Ero Lolita outfits, complete with cepters and fake falmingos. We also had a Wonderland themed Lolita fashion show.

Photo courtesy of Eric at Nonstop Honolulu
 Nephilim Halls was there, hooking us up with mics, sound and video equipment to make the show possible. As always we played videos on a large scale with a projector, to showcase the music videos, their art and the elaborate costumes. We also had a visit from our friend DJ Nocturna, who has been helping us promote our event, and interviewed me on her KTUH radio show last night.

Our friend Eric from Nonstop Honolulu took some awesome photos here, as well as Peter and Tracy for Nephilim Halls here.

At the end of the night we gave away prize packs for the best Male and Female outfit, and two runners up. Alice and I decorated the prize bags, which included snacks, stationery from Hakubundo and accessories. The runners up won candy and "Jrock" buttons from Basique Threads

My theme for the night was "Pierrot Mad Hatter". I was really inspired by Shiro-nuri style, one of my latest obsessions. This post of Uri on Japanese Streets really inspired me, I loved the style! Though I was skeptical, white makeup can really transform a person. The trick is making sure you're completely covered, with a scarf or gloves for example. This helps keep up the illusion. 

Our next event is Kawaiikon, this Friday the 15th in the Main Events hall, 11 PM to 12 AM. There, we'll briefly introduce Visual Kei, then get to the most important part... rocking out!

After, you can head on over to the Gibson Ball at SoHo for the after party... it's only $5 with your Kawaiikon pass! The Gibson Ball is a Cyberpunk Ball to celebrate all things futuristically fantasy...

"The Gibson Ball is named as a tribute to renowned sci-fi author William F. Gibson (“Neuromancer,” “The Difference Engine,” The Bridge Trilogy) who defined and ignited the cyberpunk and steampunk genres, and held just before the great man’s birthday, on Kawaii Kon weekend.

Gibson influenced and inspired many cyberpunk and postcyberpunk writers such as Cory Doctorow, and throughout his career has “determined the way people thought and talked” to an extent unprecedented in science fiction literature.
"- Nephilim Halls

Aside from that, Alice and I are all ready busy planning for our next VKDC, slated for May. We've all ready chosen our next theme and are super excited to get the ball rolling!

Now, on a personal note I'm exhausted in the best possible way. xD But I am getting super anxious about modelling in the MINT NeKO fashion show this weekend! The fitting is also this Thursday on my birthday. Hopefully I'll have a little bit of birthday luck and will get to meet MINT? That would be so awesome!!

Last but not least, thank you for the questions I got from the last post. I'm going to work on answering and posting them soon. ^^

Till next time darlings! I hope to see you at these upcoming events, whether you're local or just happen to be visiting our cool little community in Hawaii. Aloha!

xoxo, Cherie

LBC: Spring Lolita Fashion Forecast

Lolita, just like any other fashion, has trends and fads that come and go with each season. For example, one season harlequin prints and cardsuits may be popular, and one season, sleek blunt bangs with hard brimmed bonnets may be popular. 

With that in mind, this week's Lolita Blog Carnival Topic was, "What would you like to see in Spring Lolita Fashion?" After a winter of prints and styles I didn't especially care for, here are some trends I'm hoping we'll see in the coming months as the weather warms up.

1."Ballerina" style - Solid, pale colours, long tulle skirts and ballerina shoes seem lovely for Spring. In the past brands like Metamorphose have released "ballerina" style dresses, with simple and clean details like embroidery and ribbon sashes. Emily Temple Cute has also put out Ballerina style shoes, which can easily be confused for the real thing. 

Emily Temple Cute stock photo

2. "Le Petit Trianon" style- Just as Marie Antoinette turned from the court of Versailles to the quiet countryside, I'd love to see Lolita turn to more natural and simple styles. I think of ivory and cream textiles with texture, simple fabrics and natural elements. I like the idea of daisy chains being worn with loose curls, and an airy dress worthy of Marie Antoinette in Le Petit Trianon.

Atelier Pierrot stock photo

A Marie Antoinette inspired piece by Candy Violet.
 3. Butterflies- Though one of my favourite motifs, I rarely see butterflies in Lolita. And when I do, they're sort of plain! I'd love for butterflies to take off in Lolita spring wardrobes, on hair clips, jewelry, lace appliques and focal points of prints. 

Innocent World stock photo
Butterflies as a hair accessory- source

5. "Vintage" style- I think Lolita is adorable when it takes inspiration not just from the distant past, but the more recent "retro" past. Outfits with toned down lace or no lace at all, Bowling-shaped bags, casual cutsews, polkadots, and slightly "kitschy" things like strawberries in prints. This trend is also perfect with polkadots, leopard print details, and wired handkerchief headbands instead of headbows.

Coordinate blog source

Those are just a few trends I'd like to see surface in Lolita eventually. Since summer is usually overwhelmed with nautical sailor styles and bright prints, I think these more toned-down looks are perfect for Spring, the mild temperatures and freshly blooming fauna.

What do other Loli fashion forecasters predict, let's take a look under the Lolita Blog Carnival Big Top once again!