Japanese Fashion Press: Lolita Fashion
At long last, I present to you the next installment of Japanese Fashion Press, ASG Blog’s most read article to date. This time we will be covering one of Japan’s most famous and widely recognized styles that is known the world: Lolita Fashion.
History of Lolita
Unlike most other Japanese Styles, Lolita Fashion has a large selection of sub-styles, including those that are worn by both men and woman. Strongly influenced from the Victorian Era and Rococo Period, Lolita started making its rise in the late 1970’s with the opening of the first “Lolita Style” clothing shops such as Pink House and Angelic Pretty in Japan. Soon after, more stores started taking hold as well, growing the style. However, Lolita did not become popular with the masses until the 1990’s when the style started being picked up by Visual Kei type bands such as the famous Malice Mizer who created detailed outfits that fans then took and added their own style to the design. Once Lolita style reached Tokyo, the fashion hub of Japan, it was granted a foot hold that it would never lose.
Styles of Lolita
Lolita style in general consists of knee-length skirts or dresses, headdress or a small hats, blouse, petticoat, knee high socks or stockings and high heel/platform shoes. Different sub-styles can also contain props such as a parasol, rocking horse or other cute/gothic things depending on the style. Sub-styles can vary from anything to Gothic Loli which uses primarily dark colors to Sweet Loli which consists of whites and pinks and other pastels. Below, you will find an overview of all of the different Lolita styles.
Gothic Loli is a spin-off of western style gothic with a Loli Twist. Gothic Loli consist of in darker colors such as black, dark blue, purple with sometimes white accent colors. With Jewelry it shares the Gothic nature of the western fashion style with crosses, and other religious symbols. Often, a purse or handbag will be worn in unusual shapes such a bats, coffins and the like. Like Lolita style in general, Gothic Loli became popular by being used by Visual Kei bands; one major force behind is popularity being Mana, one of the members of Malice Mizer who started his own Fashion Label which as become very successful. To add more of a variety to Gothic Loli, he coined terms such as Elegant Gothic Lolita (EGL) and Elegant Gothic Aristocrat (EGA) for his new line. Makeup styles for Gothic Loli are not as heavy as western Gothic styles but still are made up of dark colors and bright red lipstick.
Sweet Loli style hold strong influence from the Rococo Period as well as Victorian and Edwardian Era. Unlike Gothic Loli, Sweet Loli is made up of light pastel colors and focuses on the nature to look sweet and child-like. Popular themes in Sweet Loli are ones such as Alice in Wonderland and other classic fairytale themes, fruits, and sweets. Frilly headdress and bows are often worn and handbags are in cutie designs such as fruit, stuffed animal, crowns and hearts. Makeup for Sweet Loli is worn light and meant to look natural as with most other Loli Styles.
Classic Loli is a more mature and sophisticated style Loli that draws its flavors from Baroque, Regency, and Rocaille styles. Classic Loli styles would basically be found in the middle grounds of Sweet Loli and Gothic Loli; it is not nearly as dark as Gothic yet not as bright and frilly as Sweet. Classic Loli design focuses on muted colors and small pattern designs and the fabric, less whimsical props and shoes and presents more functionality while still keeping the Lolita silhouette. Make up is a muted version of Sweet Loli, keeping he more natural look and jewelery with intricate design is common. The male version of Classic Loli would be considered along the lines of Elegant Aristocrat. It is not uncommon to see males wearing colored contacts with their Aristocratic style.
Punk Loli consists of adding a Punk Element to the basic Lolita style. These can include tattered fabrics, chains, ties, screen printed clothing and short hair styles all added to the Lolita base. Footwear will consist of boots, Mary Janes or oxfords shoes with platforms. Plaid colors are something that you will find in a Punk Loli’s closet as well as a few odd looking stuffed animals, commonly with a chain on it. Many of their clothing will have some sort of screen printing on it
Lolita style is what is considered a “Do-It-Yourself” style, which has led to additional styles and themes, including incorporating traditional Japanese clothing into Loli style (Wa Lolita) to adding a bit of a grotesque look of a broken doll (Guro Lolita) with eye patches and fake blood.
Of course, since Lolita can cater to both a male and female group, I cannot finish up this article with out telling you about style that has been developed for males but is often worn by females as well.
This style gains ins name from the title Ouji or Ouji-Sama which means prince and is known as the Prince Style and is considered the male equivalent of Loli Fashion. Fashion for Prince style is taken from boy’s clothing that was worn in the Victory Era which includes masculine blouses and shirts, knickerbockers and other styles of short trousers, knee-high socks, top hats, and newsboy caps. Even though it is called ‘boy style’ it is worn by both male and females. Male versions have colors of black, white, blue and burgundy while female versions will have broader selection of colors. Makeup is kept light and natural and to the minimum. When warn by woman, the hair is kept short so not to be mistaken for Aristocrat Style which would fall under the Classic Lolita. Those with longer hair will end to either pull it up in a bun or hide in under a cap to keep it out of the way. In the west, Oji Style is known as Kodona and when warn by men, they sometimes refer to themselves as wearing Dandy Style.