Lolita fashion is that oh-so-sweet little-girl-in-a children’s-picture-book way of elaborate dressing-up that originated in Harajuku in Tokyo and has spread round the world. Japan Matsuri in October had a Lolita fashion display by the Tea Party Club and Hyper Japan, coming up at Earls Court from 23-25 November, promises us a Kawaii style fashion show including Sweet and Classic Lolita fashion, Wa-Lolita, Kawaii Kimono style, Gal, Pop-Kei (including fairy -kei), and Pastel Goth.
Confused? Not to worry. The V&A have a small but very focused Lolita fashion exhibition called Kitty and the Bulldog which will help you get a grip.
The V&A show covers four strands of Lolita fashion – sweet, gothic, punk and Japanese. Of the four it’s the sweet style that’s classic Lolita – think Alice in Wonderland in the Tenniel illustrations.
The top picture shows a detail of the skirt, and here’s a close-up of the shoes:
This one by Osaka-based Innocent World who aim to ‘reflect the pure and innocent hearts of young women’.
Punk Lolita is influenced by Vivienne Westwood and British punk style, This example by Putumayo of Harajuku references Alice in Wonderland with the playing card motif on the skirt and uses British motifs like the crown on the bodice and the necklace.
Gothic Lolita by Moi-même-Moitié whose theme is ‘Elegant Gothic Lolita Aristocrat Vampire Romance’.
Japanese Lolita by Mamechiyo Modern, who seeks to reinvent and modernise the kimono.
And here’s some real street-style Lolitas, as seen at Japan Matsuri.
If you want to learn more about the Lolita style there is a free talk at the V&A by Pauline LeMoigne today (8th November) at 13:15, assembling at the meeting point in the main entrance. The exhibition continues until 24th February 2013.
The main exponents of Lolita style in the UK are the Tea Party Club (find them on Facebook if you’re interested). The Kawaii Street Fashion Show at Hyper Japan is on Sunday 25 November, from 13:00-13:30.