Friday, October 31, 2008

Gothic Lolita, Gothic style and Punk - Part I

Today is Halloween. A very well known holiday
most widely celebrated by Americans. Once a year,
everyone gets the excuse to live out their fantasies
and dress up as someone or something else.

In some countries like Japan, it is Halloween every
day. If you've never heard of the fashion movement
called Gothic Lolita, the picture above sums it up very
well. Think Gothic and frilly/girly together. Visions of rococo,
Victorian and old French styles can further give you an idea of
what Gothic style is like. It doesn't seem like any of these fashion
types would fit together but trust the Japanese to invent new
movements in fashion. It's actually a fascinating subculture and
it is commonto see people every day in Tokyo walking around
in costumes.

One may wonder why the Japanese are so creative in fashion,
animation and design. My theory is that their culture is so centered
around society rather than self, that there are few outlets for stress
and individual expression. And Voila! You see their expression in
outlandish fashion, outrageously beautiful packaging/design
and animation/stories that few can dream of.

Some of the Gothic fashion is related to punk fashion as you
see to the left hand side. I particularly love the juxtaposition of
the men's wear on this super cute little girl to the right.

The left side is a very classic definition of Gothic Lolita.
Gothic fashion is broad and often subdivided into more niche
trends such as Gory or Grotesque Lolita, White Lolita, Punk
Lolita, Elegant Lolita and more. Conversely you have such
male subdivisions such as Elegant Gothic Aristocrat. Funny
enough, all of the above genres look exactly as they sound.

I, myself actually prefer the men's gothic style rather
than women's gothic lolita style. I wouldn't be caught
wearing a lacy black poofy dress. However, I wouldn't
mind wearing some of these get ups above. They rather
look a bit fantastical or like a video game character in a way.

Here's an example of Gothic Lolita make up. The model
above is probably a man. They do like to cross dress in
Japan although they are not necessarily interested in the
same sex. It's simply the culture there - they view
androgynous looks as beauty. In the USA, a boy who is
beautiful would probably be termed a "pretty boy" and
it would not necessarily be a positive thing as it would
in Japan.

I once got it into my head that I wanted to streak my hair
blue like the model above. Of course I gave up when I
found out you first have to bleach black hair before you can
dye it what color you want. A bit inconvenient... I also don't
know how my hair would take it. I recently chopped my hair
and permed it. My hair is so straight that I had to have my
hair permed twice in a row for the perm to actually take.

Some Gothic Lolita fashions for a wedding ceremony.

When it comes to design in Japan, there are many companies
that specialize in niche styles. You can find almost any kind
of style or label there. The above is an advertisement for a
Gothic Lolita label.

This style is called "Dandy Gothic Style."

You can see on the left boy that he is wearing something like
a cravat. This is obviously inspired by eras past in England. I
quite covet the jacket on the left. I have a strange fascination
for skulls. I have a tendency to dress one of 4 ways...Casual,
Business, Very Girly, or what I call Bad Ass. Weird I know.
I think the jacket above appeals to my "Cool or Bad Ass"
sense of style.

The whole Gothic Lolita movement in Japan was started
and inspired but a genre called Visual Rock Bands in Japan.
Think alternative rock music but dolled up like this band
called "Versaille" above. If you can't tell, most of them are

So you know how I said every day is Halloween in Japan?
Here's an example above of a teenager dressed up on a

One may ask what one does dressed
this way. Having a picnic is a great idea.

Or you can have a lot of attention and get
your picture taken by strangers.

This is Carmen Yuen dressed in Gothic Lolita fashiong at
the famed San Diego Comic-con. If you're interested in
knowing more about Gothic Lolita, you must visit
Carmen Yuen's blog aka La Carmina. Her blog follows
all things Gothic Lolita and has a following of over 1 million
hits a month! It's astounding. She even has 2 book deals now
including one that will focus on themed restaurants in Tokyo.

What will you be doing this Halloween and
what will you or your children dress up as?

All photos from Carmen Yuen's La Carmina.


Jan said...

Fab make up, but I think I'd rather wear a cheongsam thanks :)

Liz said...

I am loving your fashion posts! Japanese Goth style is fascinating to me - I love to see how creative they get. Much more interesting than all of the "sexy nurse", "sexy witch", and "sexy cop" costumes that will flood our city tonight!


Really cool entry!

Ana Balbinot said...

Today I posted my 100 post and I choose some beautiful images that I found in Blogland since I beggin my blog. As yours is one of my favorites, I used one picture from your blog. Please come to see! I will love your visit and comment.
Have a nice week!

M.Kate said...

Karen, happy halloween. I wish Halloween is celebrated widely here as I son loves ghostly figures..spooky actually!

This Carmina was featured recently in our local papers and there's a small following among some here. How interesting! hope you have a good week ahead :D

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