Friday, April 30, 2010

Of herself and lolita

And she returns, because it is Friday night, and she intends to take a break from homework and indulge her present, creative mindset. (And moreover, she is sick with a scratchy throat, and hoping it will go away before the performances in which she must sing, as part of her vocal music minor.)

Now that you, my dear ballroom guests, have perused my formal introduction at your leisure, I thought perhaps you might like to become better acquainted with me as a lolita. A lolita at heart, that is. Like others (whenever I say "others," it often means I'm referencing the wonderful lolita blogs I follow, but am not quite sure of the exact quotee), I steadfastly believe that one does not have to have present access to any lolita clothing in order to consider oneself a lolita. It's being drawn to the beauty or the ideals of the fashion that counts, isn't it?

Well then, let me chatter a bit regarding my favorite styles of Lolita, and what I love about them.

Obviously, I adore Gothic. As a goth, the type of outfits that gradually enticed me more and more always displayed Lolita elements along with the gothic. Sometimes I like to call myself an OTT (over-the-top) goth loli, because I am (or I want to be) just as frilly and be-ribboned as any of my OTT sweet counterparts. Just, you know, more dark and spook-ish.

I can't tell you what type of goth loli clothing I wear, because (sadly) I don't have any yet. But I've spent ages reflecting on the future development of my lolita style, so let me impart a few of my favorite outfit elements to incorporate into my version of gothic lolita. My (ideal/future) goth loli style tends to share the characteristic of all-black outfits with kuro lolita, though I like some elements from the oldschool black and white look. I especially love those white lace wristbands beaded with black ribbon--provided the lace is good quality, of course! I shall be making some very soon (along with Many Many Other Projects), and posting pictures when I do. By the way, the device of capitalizing words for emphasis is one I picked up from The Lady of the Manners at the Gothic Charm School website, a goth etiquette columnist whose wise and delightful advice I heartily recommend to any of my dear guests wishing to seek it out.

Below are some other elements I love in goth loli. If you like, consider this my version of the lolita checklist that went around on the blogs a while back.
~headdresses, especially black, with roses and / or ribbon
~lace or ribbon chokers, perhaps with delicate charms on them
~the "peasant blouse" look--poofy sleeves and scoop necklines
~corset lacing just about anywhere: bodices, boots, sleeves, skirts, you name it. Last summer I knit myself a pair of black arm warmers that laced up with black ribbon, following a pattern from (I believe) a knitting site called Ravelry.
~wristbands and fingerless gloves/gauntlets
~"fancy" skirts--two-tiered, decorated, etc
~knee socks and fancy sock toppers
~boots! Especially lace-up and Victorian-looking.
~"doll shoes"--elegant Mary Janes with just a slight heel, so that they look like shoes a Victorian doll might wear
~fabrics with a sumptuous texture: either soft like velvet, or with a subtle shine (so that it looks rich, not cheap)
~motifs of:
gothic architecture (castles, wrought iron gates etc),
crosses, chandeliers, roses and thorns,
spiderwebs, butterflies and moths, bats, the moon
trees with bare, spidery branches
~roses, especially black. As my pen name suggests, I adore them. Indeed, for me, black roses have become a personal symbol of sorts. Their spooky, romantic quality rather enchants me.

Now, why don't we wind our way to...
Shiro Lolita: Before I discovered gothdom, I loved the all-white look. I had created a race of beings similiar to Elves, except with tall white swan-wings, and they mostly dressed in graceful white gowns (with a touch of silver, and lots of delicate beading and embroidery.)  For me it gave these Anwi (for so I call them) an ethereal...illusiveness, like a ray of starlight (to paraphrase a metaphor used, I believe, by the marvelous costume seamstress for the Lord of the Rings movies).
With my new, gothic frame of mind, I still find myself drawn to the ghostliness of shiro. In our culture, white symbolizes innocence and purity, but in some Asian cultures, I have heard that white denotes mourning. The combination of innocence and sorrow seems very gothic to me...and the combination of the West and East certainly fits with Lolita!
I would especially love to develop a gothic shiro wardrobe, to embody the above-mentioned combination of ideals / meanings. Actually, one of my lolita characters has done just that. I hope to follow in her footsteps.

Aristocrat: The feminine version can be beautiful, but I adore the masculine Aristocrat look--a preference influenced, I must admit, by the elegant, aristocratic style of my Visual Kei idol, Kamijo-sama of the band Versailles. (I highly recommend the songs Ascendead Master and Aristocrat's Symphony.)
I've always been intrigued by the idea of crossdressing. After all, why envy your favorite characters' girlfriends when you could just BECOME your favorite characters themselves? Anyway, said characters inspired me to create my own identity as a princely Aristocrat, and so I will most definitely be building a wardrobe for this style.

Ero lolita: Rather than 'sexy,' to me ero comes across as downright adorable--granted, in an edgier way than most loli styles. I'd have to become a little braver before wearing it out anywhere (although I would like to eventually), but I love the idea of sweetheart necklines, off-the-shoulder tops, and lacy/ruffled bloomers peaking out from under shortened skirts. Perhaps it's my goth roots showing, being as I am part of a different subculture as well, where pvc, fishnet, and corset-tops are considered perfectly suitable attire. (What great fun I have, looking at each fashion through a lens of the other.)

I also find myself intrigued by hime loli (the childhood princess in me surfaces), and guro loli (what's the next best thing to a charmingly spooky doll? A charmingly broken doll, of course!). Despite my lingering childhood love for pastels, I usually stay away from sweet. Still, sometimes I can like it, especially the oldschool pink and white look. Even so, if your heart draws you to OTT and Angelic Pretty, you'd best hurry and chase down that dream, and plant it in your garden so it can blossom into a rosebush. Hurrah for creative, albeit it confusing metaphors! What I meant was : go for it. Heaven knows I pursue OTT in the spooky direction, as stated before.

Oh, I forgot classic! I find I'm coming to appreciate it more and more, with it's understated elegance and penchant for floral designs. I suppose in some ways it's almost like gothic, but in color.

My interest is also piqued by Wa and Qi loli, because of (as to Wa) my love for Lolita's country of origin, and (as to Qi) my deep and avid fandom of, well, the Fire Nation, from Avatar: the Last Airbender. Fire Nation clothing sports high Chinese-styled collars, you see.

Now now, don't you laugh. My Avatar fandom gave rise to my love for anime, which grew into my love for Japan, which has focused on my love for Visual Kei and Gothic Lolita, so as you can see, it all leads back to Prince Zuko, Avatar's antihero. Who made me love the show. (Oh, but then young Prince Ozai took my heart by storm, thus making UrsaxOzai into my One True Pairing...)

Yes, that was rather off topic, wasn't it? Seeing as this is the blog of a lifestyler writing about her-life-and-lolita, however, I'm not too worried.

Let the dancing recommence.

Of the beginning

Good evening, friends. 
To starry-eyed Lolita, melancholy Goth or wandering stranger on your virtual way, I bid you welcome to this lovely haunted castle I call home. You, dear stranger (although, I hope, not a stranger for long), seem to have stumbled upon a rather dark and fantastical tea party. Here, between the first stroke of midnight and the last, this castle and its occupants touch hands with the real world, through the written medium of a blog.
And this, to speak briefly, is the blog of a Gothic Lolita, a Romantigoth, a Japanophile, a writer-composer-artist-(aspiring)seamstress, and most of all, a dreamer. First and foremost, I wish to record my thoughts concerning Lolita fashion in general (on which I am no expert, as you will soon discover), and my experience in it. Nonetheless, these other passions of mine will most likely escape my quill—that is, keyboard--at one point or another.

Make no mistake--I adore many of the blogs already written by sweet and classic Lolitas (and indeed, you will find a good dozen of them on my profile page, under “Blogs I Follow”), and I consider invaluable the information and encouragement which these blogs have often given me. Still, I find myself wishing for a greater number of Lolita bloggers of the gothic persuasion, who understand (as I'm sure you do, my dear guest to this ballroom) that wrought iron gates and brooding towers make the perfect complement to our beruffled finery.
Beg pardon? Ah, my blog's name, is it? I understand your curiosity. Truth to tell, a few weeks ago I was busily looking to concoct a suitable name, one that would eloquently suggest my whole identity as a creatively-minded, gothic-and-lolita dreamer. A tall order, no?

The answer came to me out of the gothic fantasy tales that sometimes glimmer their way through my imagination, simply insisting to be told. Whenever my more unearthly characters—the ethereal dusk-fay, or the aristocratic vampires—find themselves lacking a quest to pursue or a mortal to enchant, they like to dance here in the midnight ballroom, beneath that crystal chandelier above us, while the ghostly moonlight pours in through the tall, arching windows.

You'd like to meet them, you say? Perhaps I merely imagined that you said so. Still, I daresay these darkly magical folk—my beloved darklings, as I call them--will be flitting in and out of my reflections on Lolita and Gothdom, from time to time. They tend to do that in the daily course of my life, and I doubt they'll soon change this habit of theirs. As it happens, whenever I start posting a few of my poems, those of my readers who wish will get to know our fay visitors much better. Many of the works I'd posting here not only relate somehow to sentimental, magical gothic-ness--of which this Gothic Lolita, and therefore possibly others, simply cannot get enough—but moreover, quite a few of these poems are written by my characters themselves. (Have no fear, dear guest—I have complete confidence that you do, in fact, follow my logic.)

One more secret to be told, and then I invite you to dance with us. It's true that I have considered myself a Romantigoth for several years now, and thus have had time to build a somewhat respectable gothic wardrobe, although this project remains very much a work in progress. In searching for my own style, even before Lolita, I always gravitated toward ruffles and ribbons, bows and roses, and “poofy” kneelength skirts—all in romantic, spooky black, of course.

As to Lolita itself, however...I must confess that I only just fell in love with it at the start of this year. As a poor and busy college student, I have not been able to build a wardrobe yet. Very soon, when I return home, I intend to set to work bettering my skills as a seamstress, initially with the invaluable help of my mother, who is herself highly experienced in sewing rather fanciful clothing.

By all means, yes; brand is wonderful. But even aside from cost, I'm afraid brand is not for me. Perhaps because of the DIY aspect of Goth--my first subcultural love, after all--I find myself yearning to try my hand at selfmade projects, perhaps (eventually) like those which other Lolita seamstresses have completed so masterfully. Besides, in the few gothic DIY pieces I have made, I often enjoy wearing my home-made pieces more than I do donning something fancier or prettier and bought from a store.

Therefore, I invite you to come with me in my journey into Lolita, and continued wanderings through Gothdom--not to mention the occasional occasional revealing of my Japanophile side, which is almost as much a part of me as Lolita and Gothdom. I cannot promise how often or how usefully I'll post these next few weeks, amidst the simply horrendous stress of college finals and so forth. Until that's over, I won't be getting to the fancy stuff either, sadly, like posting pictures or documenting my clothing-and-craft experiments. All in good time, then.

At any rate, with the introductory post over, I feel that it would not be improper for me to chatter here and 
there about any further goth-or-lolita-related subject that should catch my fancy. Sometimes, I assure you, the tone of my writing will come slightly more down to earth than in this first post. However, I should warn you: I view this blog as a license to indulge in the kind of ornate and metaphor-strewn poetic language which I wish I could speak in real life--without people looking askance at me, that is.

Come away, O human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.”
--W. B. Yeats

Ah!--the stroke of midnight... Do you hear it chiming?
Let the dancing begin.
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