Friday, May 27, 2011

Of a completed black dress and Another Challenge

Today I'll be documenting "one day of my lolita life in pictures," for Day 11 of the challenge. But that's still in progress (the day's not over yet!) so I'll share a bit about my recent meetup at a Japanese restaurant. It was a small meetup compared to the picnics I've attended so far, but I was very happy because it gave us more opportunity for in depth conversation.

A lolita / photography student had brought her camera, and took each of us outside for a mini photo session. All the photos I have from the meetup are hers (I forgot my camera), so since she didn't seem to mind, I'll link to her flickr photostream in case you'd like to see them. Here are a couple of my favorite shots (actually they're all my favorite) inside and outside If you're reading this, Amy, thanks for taking such pretty pictures of all of us!

I took an outfit shot before I left, but I can't seem to find it anywhere, unfortunately. If it turns up, I'll post it then.

So here's the dress itself, with a few of my own detail shots (excuse the lighting / mess).

 The skirt is chiffon over medium weight satin, which creates a lovely subtle lustre even with the bustles let down.

I love how the bodice turned out, although I'm still working on fit. That lace at the neckline is evidence of my success (finally) in learning crochet. Sort of

For my fellow darklings, VictorianKitty of Sophistique Noir has proposed a fashion challenge for all of us--namely, Red and Black Week, which will be June 5-10. Oddly enough, I'm making a red x black JSK right now, so it must be fate that I join in this event, yes? That aside, I adore this color combination--so what about you? Will you join us in Red and Black week?

I'll leave you with the extremely cool icon that VictorianKitty has given us the code for.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Of Day the Tenth (with that title I'm getting a Narnia vibe?),,,and a video

Hello lovelies~ It's really amazing how visiting campuses and so forth can take so much out of you. Anyway, for Day 10 (I'm skipping days again) of the 30 day challenge, I took the opportunity to do a video, which I've been wanting to do for a little while.

Day 10~
What's in your lolita bag

Thanks for watching! Did I sound different than you thought I would? Other bloggers have asked that, so it made me curious.

I attended a meetup at a Japanese restaurant a couple days ago, so I'll post pictures soon of the dress I made and wore for the occasion.  By the way, the "Narnia vibe" was because "Day the Tenth" made me think of the character "Caspian the Tenth," on whom I have a teensy crush. Well not teensy...but you know.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Of Day the Eighth and Muchly More Musics!

After a brief interlude (and a brief bout of Blogger being down), I'm happy to resume with another very musical post, full of clicky links.

Day 8~
10 songs that inspire you for lolita.

1. Let's start with the obvious one: Lolitawork Libretto by Kanon Wakeshima. When I listen to this song, I get a sense of...completion, or maybe of an exciting, ongoing journey. This song really seems to express what lolita means to me, or what my world as a lolita is. It's not just on an individual level, though. Lolitawork libretto gives me a sense of being part of a massive global community of lolitas, all with our unique version of a fairytale world.

2. The Little Fugue in G Minor for the organ is my favorite classical piece ever. It sounds so haunting and unearthly. It reminds me more of my characters' world than of my own 'lolita bubble,' but the world of my stories is in many ways a part of my own internal dreamscape, as is lolita. (And on the occasions when breaking of the fourth wall is had, my characters and I all live together in a lovely gothic mansion, dancing in the ballroom or taking tea at midnight.)

3. Futatsu no Kodou to Akai Tsumi (or, Two Beats and Red Sins) is the opening song of Vampire Knight, my favorite anime series. Like the above-mentioned fugue, for me this is one of those songs that makes a perfect soundtrack to my idea of a gothic dreamworld (if that made sense). I love the sense of forward movement in this song, juxtaposed with the nostalgic haunting loss that fills the lyrics and melody.

4. Seishoujo Ryouiki, the second opening of the Rozen Maiden anime, is one of the few songs in this list that reminds me specifically of lolita. For those who don't know, Rozen Maiden follows the story of several Victorian style dolls who have been magically brought to life.

I love the way the words and melody express the thoughts of a doll (or maybe a maiden that dresses to look like a doll). To me part of the message is that a yearning for beauty and wonder can coexist with more down-to-earth fears and worries, and even petty jealousies. It's a fascinating juxtaposition. And a beautiful song besides.

5. Let me introduce you to my favorite vocaloid song, Trick and Treat ("Reborn!" version). This song fits perfectly my idea of spooky whimsy. It's mysterious, lighthearted, and a bit melancholy all at once. The two characters in the video remind me very much of my fae characters--it seems like the sort of thing my faeries would do.

6. Lacrimosa by Kalefina, better known as the second ending of the anime Kuroshitsji, is so beautiful and haunting it gives me chills. I love it when songs or stories--or...just anything, really--do that. This song has a very eerie beauty--it's filled with sorrow and some amount of internal conflict, and yet very serene and untroubled. This was my "themesong" for my NaNoWriMo novel, last November.

7. Versailles (whom I had to include sooner or later in this list) helped me "find myself" again, when their music first came into my life. They made me remember my love for the roses and the moon--in short, the internal dreamscape I've been wittering on about. By doing so, they paved the way for my entry into lolita fashion.

So I almost feel as though Aristocrat's Symphony is "our song," referring to my own experience with the band and their music, because it was the first song I listened to over and over when falling in love with Versailles. It tells a story of bringing someone into "the world of roses"--which is what they did for me. So by watching this music video I'm reminded strongly of my own story of coming into Versailles' world.

8. Versailles has another song and video I absolutely fell in love with (more than usual I mean). The passion, drama and yearning of Ascendead Master resonates with me in a way I can't really explain. The storyline, a combination of antique and modern worlds, is one I find quite fascinating. And the music is not only gorgeous, but pretty exciting too!

9. Last time I didn't get to show you the song that might be my favorite of Nana Mizuki's, Dancing in the Velvet Moon. (There's no live action music video to showcase her style, so sadly it didn't fit with the style post.)  The ending song of Rosario + Vampire, this song centers on my favorite character, Inner Moka--the title vampire.

For those confused by my referring to "inner" Moka--Moka has two selves, courtesy of a magical seal (the "rosario") that keeps her true powers (and ferocity) bound. I like her "outer" self pretty well--she's cheerful, sweet and idealistic--but I'm practically in love with the fierce, aloof, and downright cool vampire princess she becomes when the seal is removed. I don't know what this has to do with lolita, except that while in my dark frills I'd like to have the same confidence and mysteriousness as she does. Plus she grew up in a gothic castle. Which is totally cool.

10. Time for more vocaloid. Another of my favorites is Cendrillon, which has a few references to Cinderella. In addition to the fairytale references (which are always nice), I love how this song is filled with idealism yet also with a haunting poignance.

Well now, it seems almost all of my songs are in Japanese. I suppose it's no surprise, knowing me! A lot of symphonic metal can be found on my lolita soundtrack, as well as many pieces from the gothic instrumental band Nox Arcana (which I highly recommend). But that's a post for another night.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Of Day the Seventh and Music

I  have a sneaking fear I'd start to repeat myself if I listed ten things I can't do without in lolita (headdresses, corset get the idea!) so perhaps I'll move on to:

Day 7~
Ten people who inspire your lolita style.

1. Kamijo (-sama) of the band Versailles. He usually dresses with a different color scheme than I do (in blue, gold and white for example) but I admire his love for archaic opulence, and his quest for beauty. Also, although I had already decided that roses were my favorite flower, Kamijo...shall we say greatly encouraged my obsession with roses.  The music video for Aristocrat's Symphony, one of my favorite Versailles songs, will illustrate why.

2. Jillian Venters, also known as The Lady of the Manners at Gothic Charm School. I believe she identifies as more goth than lolita, but her charming Neo-Victorian style has the lolita silhouette, and I admire the spooky whimsy in her wardrobe.

3. Kanon Wakeshima (big surprise, right?) is my idol for shiro. The video for Suna no Oshiro (Castles of Sand) will illustrate why. Beyond that, I admire that she wears such lovely coordinates while making beautiful music (and playing the cello!), especially since becoming a lolita-wearing musician is a dream of mine as well.

4. Speaking of female Jrockers, let me introduce you to the first Japanese musician whose music (and style) I fell in love with, before Kamijo and Kanon. I discovered Nana Mizuki through her work voicing anime characters, particularly as Moka in Rosario + Vampire, and Hoshina Utau in Shugo Chara. She has several beautiful songs in each series.

 Now, as to being influenced by her style: I would link you to the PV for Eternal Blaze, but it doesn't really showcase what I love about her style (it's a gorgeous video though). What I've always admired is that some of Nana Mizuki's videos showcase two of my favorite, very different looks. Her ethereal white costumes, in 深愛 ("Deep Love" I think?) for example, remind me of the way I wanted to dress before goth--sort of in an Elven medieval style done all in white and silver and crystal. But at the same time, Nana Mizuki has a few edgier, slightly more gothy-looking costumes, such as in Wild Eyes.

These aren't her only two looks, but these two in particular reminded me, when I first discovered her, of the strange divide I felt in continuing to love the otherworldly white I'd preferred before, but realizing that I was moving primarily to a new, gothic style. And yes, she deserved three paragraphs.

5. Asagi, from the Visual Kei band D. Simply put, I think his outfits are gorgeous. I'll keep this one short, and let the quite lolita-friendly Yami no Kuni no Alice ("Alice in a Dark Country") speak for itself.

6. Anime and manga have definitely influenced my style, particularly in the form of Suigintou from Rozen Maiden. Being a living doll herself, she perfectly embodies the spooky, stylized doll look that I love in lolita. I espeically love the way her overskirt laces up across the white underskirt.
The whole series is full of beautiful style inspiration, if you want to take a look at the opening song (of the second season, but it's my favorite of the openings).

I've run out of ideas to complete the list at present, so maybe I'll just leave it there. For those who have joined in this challenge, I look forward to seeing your style inspirations.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Of Day the Fifth and a Secret Vice

Hello again lovelies--and dear M, if you're reading this. (M is a non-lolita friend of mine who had expressed interest in my blog.)

Despite my love for DIY and handmade loli, there are quite a few brand items that have caught my let me show you ten items from my "just for fun" wishlist. No pictures, I'm afraid, but the links lead to Lolibrary, the lolita stock pictures Flickr pool, or the Tokyo Rebel blog.

Day 5~
Ten items from your wishlist.

1&2. Atelier Pierrot's Bustle Corset onepiece, in black. If you scroll down to the second dress (the Cup Bustle one-piece), I'd love to have that one too. This is my favorite brand, so really I'd like to have all their dresses.

3. Vampire Requiem. I don't guess we need a clicky link for this one. *wink* The black is gorgeous, but I also like the lighter colorways. I love the way Baby/AatP pictures winding thorny rose-vines.

4. Just for fun (and because I love it so much), here's my favorite Atelier Pierrot dress again in some different colors, and with new trim! 

5. She Is Sleeping (aka the Sleeping Beauty print). I would choose the onepiece in black. I adore this print, not least because Sleeping Beauty is my favorite fairytale. And again, the rose-vines!  I think they surpass Vampire Requiem for sheer stunningness.
(Note: According to Lolibrary, there seems to be another She Is Sleeping print? Odd... Anyway I mean the one that looks more Alice and the Pirates-y.)

6. Baby's Chocolate Fascinate Fairytale (with corset lacing!). This might seem odd, but I love the delicate whimsy of the print. Baby in general gives a very light dreamy feeling to sweet lolita, which makes them my favorite non-gothic brand.

7. Continuing the Baby trend, Cinderella Jewelry. I'm not usually one to wear blue, but the blue colorway seems especially luminous. I guess I really do love fairytale references, especially when they have the ornately dreamy quality this one does.

8. I don't usually swoon over Angelic Pretty (except for my so-called "secret vice" print that I will reveal in a moment), but I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks the black colorway (and probably the red, too) of Marionnette Girl has a marvelously "gothy circus" feel.

9.  I may not be a Moitie girl, but I have to include one of Mana's beautiful prints. So here's lovely Iron Gate for you to oggle over. You know, it looks a lot like the wrought iron gates (except, not twined with roses) that surround the mansions of my faerie characters.

10. And now, my secret vice. I have a huge weakness for AP's Melty Chocolate, particularly in the new mint x chocolate x pink colorway. It looks so much like a dainty tea cookie. <3 I think what drew me is the balance between dramatic and delicate, which this print achieves very well (see, I analyze and learn from my weaknesses, or...something). Not to mention the candy stripes on the skirt.

Well. That was quite a fun post to write. (Not surprising, I suppose!) Thanks for sticking with me through this challenge so far!

(By the way, I believe "secret vice" is a reference to something Tolkien said. Referring to his love for making languages. Of course it's hardly a secret, and I wouldn't say it's a vice, since my saying so would be hypocritical...)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Of Day the Fourth

I feel so fancy, posting so often. (Don't worry, you didn't miss Day 3--I skipped it out of personal preference. Dear me, how whimsical and flighty that DuskRose is...) Anyway:

Day 4~
Ten foods you love. (What? I have to narrow it down to ten?)

1. Anything Japanese or Chinese

2. Chocolate fudge! For several years this has been my "official" favorite food.

3. Blueberries, peaches, strawberries...I suppose  I should just say "fruit."

4. Ice cream. Especially Moose Tracks and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough... *sighs happily*

5. Instant coffee (this totally counts as a food! No, really). I like all the interesting flavors you can get, like double mocha, English toffee or peppermint.

6. Baked goods, including bread. And muffins, cookies, scones...

7. Cheese, both "raw" and cooked into things. Right now I'm thinking of cheese danishes. And getting hungry.

(How creepy is it that when I left just now to look at Google Reader--to brainstorm for three more foods--a recipe for a cream cheese danish appeared on my blogroll?)

8. Little sandwiches that seem like they'd belong at a tea.

9. Tea itself (i've listed coffee, so...)

10. Hmmm I'll go with the beverage theme and say: juice. Especially the canned juice that comes in flavors like "orange mango" and "tropical punch."

Seeing how much I love food, it's surprisingly difficult to think of ten different foods that I particularly love. Anyway, tell me--are there any delicacies you're particularly fond of?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Of Day the Second and the things I sigh over

Hello again, lovelies~
I thought I'd make today a two-post day. Or night. If you're interested, Meagan of Dreaming in Lolita is also doing the 30 day meme--I knew I'd seen someone else start it too, but I couldn't remember who for the life of me.

For Day 2, I wanted to just copy and paste Sammy's entire list, but instead I made my #1 the thing to which I said ZOMG YES when she mentioned it.

...Knowing me, you'll see why.

Day 2~
Ten things that you love in lolita.

1. Roses. Black, red, white; lace roses, ribbon roses, embroidered roses--I make no distinctions. <3 (I suppose Kamijo sama would be very proud of me.)

2. Winding thorny vines, like the ones (I think) in some of AatP's prints.

3. Headdresses (a thousand times yes). I love the really elaborate ones best--they have that stylized doll look.

4. Beaded/beading lace. I'm fuzzy on the exact name, but it's that lace that has a ribbon threaded through the openings. So pretty!

5. Chandeliers. They go well with my Ballroom decor, after all. *nods mysteriously*

6. Arching windows, particularly of the kind that tapers to a point at the top. The houses of my characters (and by houses I mean mansions, manors and gothic castles) are choc full of these windows.

7. Utter opulence, by which I think I mean OTT gothic. I love a look that's delicate and ethereal, but also stylized, ornate and a bit wild. Fay/fey in every sense, I suppose.

8. Lace-up boots, particularly with rounded toes (again for that doll look). I want closets filled with them!

9. Corset-style lacing. My default image for designing blouses/bodices involves corset lacing across a center panel.  I think I've seen this most often in AatP, another reason they rank among my favorite brands. <3

10. Wristcuffs/gauntlets/fingerless gloves. I plan to knit/crochet a lot of these. Soon.

That wraps up Day 2. These answers came to me much quicker than in the last post, oddly enough. What are some of your favorite things in lolita?

Of a meme and a lolita bubble

Sammy of The Random Lolita has embarked on a most exciting-looking 30 day meme in which one shares tidbits about oneself and lolita fashion, and I have decided to join her.  If you'd like to join in too, please do so! Here is Sammy's post with the 30 days' topics.

Day 1~
10 things about your lolita bubble.

1. I fill lolita cliches without even realizing it. At this moment I am sipping tea while working on some handsewing for my onepiece, and browsing lolita blogs. Oh, and this morning I baked a coffee cake. (It was a new-to-me recipe but it turned out pretty nicely!)

2. I love the idea of people choosing a symbol or motif to "represent" them, or to incorporate into their wardrobe/surroundings. I love black roses, so they've become the dominant motif in my wardrobe--though not the only one, certainly.

An interesting aside: in the world of my stories, "dusk rose" is another name for a black rose, so I suppose I named myself (online anyway) after my favorite flower.

3. Speaking of which, I'm slightly strange perhaps in that I've named different sides of my personality as they relate to a specific fandom or subculture/alternative fashion. I think of "Dusk Rose" as my lolita and goth girl self. But I also love boystyle, so my Aristo self is "Rainshadow." (I love the rain. Overcast days are my favorite.)

4. Blogs have always been a huge part of my connection with the lolita world. Victoria Suzanne of Lolita Charm (the first blog I discovered) was a major influence on my decision to become a lolita (Thank you, Victoria! <3). During the months last spring when I didn't have the resources to begin sewing my loli clothing yet (I was at college across the country), lolita blogs gave me a window into the lives of other lolitas, and a connection to the lifestyle I longed for.

I've always hoped this blog would do the same for other aspiring or solitary lolitas. I'd like to be a lighthouse, if you will, so my fellow rufflebutts know they're not alone in their struggles to bring beauty and frills (spooky or otherwise) into their lives.

5. This blog is officially one year old! I thought its birthday was later this month, but apparently I first posted April 30th. Well I suppose this 30 day meme will be a sort of birthday gala, in that case. Thanks for making this an amazing first year, my dear Ballroom dancers! <3

6. Two of my characters wear styles similar to myself (well lots more do too, but that's beside the point). Umeko is a gothic lolita who loves black roses, and Etsu dresses in boystyle Aristo; she was first inspired to do so by the aristocratic attire of a (fictional) Visual Kei artist whom she admires.

7. It's strange, I can picture my dream wardrobe very clearly in my head (well, reasonably clearly), and so sometimes I think of it or refer to it as though it already exists, although I still have to pull my dream dresses out of my imagination with a needle and thread. Do any of my fellow wardrobe builders have this experience sometimes?

8. Despite having a somewhat unusual style (or so I've gathered), I've seen a lot of gorgeous lolita clothing that would fit right into my dream wardrobe, and I wouldn't mind purchasing some items when I have the funds. But for now I most enjoy wearing things that I made myself.

9. Eventually I hope to take on some leadership roles in my local loli community, partly, I think, because I'd like to extend the "lighthouse" concept beyond cyberspace.

10. I dream of taking commissions someday, and of having my own lolita brand. Some of the designs will be inspired by my characters, so I'm looking forward to creating them.

That's all for Day 1 (although I should warn you that Day 2 will be coming along shortly). I hope you enjoyed reading these, and again, feel free to jump in on this meme at any point of you'd like.
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