Lolita fashion: Sexy?

Lolita fashion is a well known style popular among Japanese youth. The look is characterized by long curls, bell shaped knee length dresses, lace, frills, stockings, parasols, and shoes which occasionally look like cakes.

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Lolita fashion is, to the girls and boys who wear it, a way of escaping the mundane world and living in a fairy tale.
Many girls assert that the whitewashed sexuality provided by lolita makes them feel liberated from society’s standards for what is beautiful. Sweet and innocent dress and makeup, candy curls, and whimsical prints are a far cry from the ideal of ‘sexy woman’.

However, the name ‘lolita’ isn’t entirely as coincidental as most adherents would think.

Lolita, by Nabikov, is a story in which a middle-aged man falls for and becomes involved in a relationship with a girl on the edge of puberty. The blend of childish innocence with the hints of an awakening precocious sexuality draw the main character in until he is unable to resist her charms. For many, the lolita fashion, along with the schoolgirl look, holds a similar appeal.

That said, lolita isn’t intended to be sexy, and in fact that lack of sex appeal is what creates that sexuality.

Minori

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Minori is what many would call the face of Shironuri. She is by far the most well known proponent of the Shironuri fashion, and she could easily be considered one of the most extravagant. My first impressions of Minori’s take on Shironuri was that of a sweet nature spirit and cute dolls. Upon doing further research I found that she really does whatever she wants with the fashion and she does not limit herself to the cute.  On her official website :  http://minori.co/index.html     , I saw not only the cute, but also the gothic and disturbing. I also noticed that she does like the aesthetic of the asymmetrical, ann she likes to incorporate it into a lot of her work. She also likes to add embellishments onto the face, and she likes to have intricate designs painted into the white makeup, take a closer looks on some of her pictures on her website to know what I’m talking about. She is truly an artist, and very talented with her medium.

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One thing that really that struck me about Minori is that she is not doing this for everyone else, or for the attention it brings her (although that might be a bonus), but because she feels that it is who she really is. While reading many quotes from her, I noticed that the main thing she talks about in nearly every one is how important it is to just be yourself. Image

“I hope more people can find the courage to be and dress like whoever they are, and don’t hide it away. Everyone should be able to be like that, themselves. And it’s our responsibility to make sure that everyone can do that without being teased or feel bad about it. All of us should stop caring so much about how other people dress and choose to appear, because their life doesn’t affect ours anyway, right? Be happy for them instead, because they are doing what you maybe not have the courage to do; be yourself. ♥”

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 Below is a link to a youtube video that features an Interview with Minori as well as shows a large variety of Minori’s designs.

During this presentation I chose only a few of her looks that I felt were really amazing, but there are many more amazing looks and pictures to be found on her official website (above) and on these links below. 

~ Stacey S.

http://tokyofashion.com/minori-shiro-nuri-makeup-pink-hair-kimono-coat/

http://www.pachipachi.se/2013/01/minori-shiro-nuri.html

http://tokyofashion.com/her-memories-of-a-dream-minori/

http://minori.co/index.html

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Shironuri Fasion

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Shironuri is one of the latest fashions to show itself around the streets of Harajuku.It has been around since about 2005, but it did not really take off until the fall of 2010 and the spring of 2011. 2011 featured the first “White Face Monster Party”; a large Shironuri themed parade/party on the streets of Harajuku. And even in Harajuku, it’s a head-turning style.

This youtube video is of the large White Face Monster Party in Spring of 2011.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THKMxEIkPVU

It’s inspiration comes from the makeup of Kabuki actors; with the white face and colors around the eyes.  But, In all reality, that is where the inspiration ends. The Shironuri fashion trend is a grand free-for-all. Any style, any theme, any combination is considered Shironuri as long as a painted white face is present. Image

Shironuri Fashionistas can be cute, adorable, scary, sweet, disturbing, or anything in between. Influence comes from all over the place, from Japanese Ghosts, Western Demons, Cute Dolls, Nature, or anything that comes to the imagination. It is a fashion that has no limits, and anything goes. Image

Some big players in the Shironuri fashion scene are Minori (In the Pink above): she is a well-known Shironuri fashionista, she makes her own outfits, with her own style which is usually inspired by nature spirits and porcelain dolls. She likes to have lots of embellishments on the face. She is really something else. I will be doing another post on her alone. Japanese-Shironuri-Fashion-Harajuku-003-600x900

Another “is No 96 (a makeup artist from Osaka who creates & wears movie-quality makeup and masks)” They are usually very intricate, and require a lot of special equipment. The Demon style above is a depiction of her.

All in all it’s a very visual, and entertaining style, which I don’t think is going anywhere anytime soon.

~Stacey S.

http://tokyofashion.com/japanese-shironuri-harajuku-pics-video/

http://tokyofashion.com/minori-shiro-nuri-makeup-pink-hair-kimono-coat/

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2012/05/dont-confuse-japanese-kids-in-white-face-with-wanting-to-be-white/

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Pop Up Shops in Harajuku

Pop Up Shops are retail shops that operate on a temporary basis. They seem to “Pop Up” out of nowhere and disappear just as suddenly when the optimal selling season is over. This also creates a “limited time only” appeal to what is being sold. The concept of a Pop Up Shop is not unknown in America, but we rarely see it in action. We mostly encounter Pop Up Stores when it comes to Halloween costume shops. But in Harajuku, the Pop Up Shop concept is thriving. Everyone from the well-established fashion designer to the fresh fashion design student has a piece of this action.Image

Musashino Fashion School is one of the most prestigious Fashion schools in Japan. Every year they rent a space in Harajuku and allow their fashion students to sell their clothing in a real store setting. The name of Musashino’s shop every year is “Incubate” and it usually only stays open for a month or two every summer.Image

“The idea behind the Incubate popup shop is to allow Musashino Fashion College students to get real-life experience in setting up a store, dealing with customers, getting feedback from shoppers, etc. For fashion students, we can hardly imagine a better way to get your feet wet than running a real shop in Harajuku – one of the coolest fashion neighborhoods on the planet.”

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And “Unlike most other retail shops, there are designers (students) with a wide variety different aesthetics. You might see a Fairy Kei skirt next to a Gothic Lolita dress hanging on a rack with a Gyaru-o t-shirt. These are students, after all, and each has his or her own style.Image

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What the Incubate designers have in common is they are all part of the next generation of Japanese fashion. So if you want to know what’s next before everyone else, check out the Incubate popup shop before it closes!”

 

~ Stacey S.

http://tokyofashion.com/musashino-fashion-college-incubate-harajuku-popup-shop-2011/

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Nicola Formichetti

Nicola Formichetti is a Japanse/Italian fashion designer has recently been called “most influential creative forces working in fashion today.”  He is also a current and prominent member of the Haus of Gaga and is one of Lady Gaga’s personal Fashion Directors and stylists for many of her music videos as well as her sold-out The Monster Ball Tour.

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In addition to Lady Gaga, Formichetti has worked closely with popular Harajuku models Hirari Ikeda and Juria Nakagawa.

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In addition to being a stylist to the stars he has been working with his brother Andre to create the brand Nicopanda. Nicopanda had recently graced the streets of Harajuku in the spring of 2011 as a “Popup Shop”, and stayed in Harajuku until the summer of 2012.  (See my next post about Popup Shops for more info)

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The store features unique street fashion clothes and accessories for the youth culture of Harajuku, most of which feature a mohawked panda, which is the Nicopanda logo. But the store most notably featured a dress made up of Hello Kitty and Nicopanda plush dolls.

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“Besides the items for sale, the NICOPANDA popup shop also features a ‘Future Fashion’ art exhibition with original paintings by Nicola Formichetti along with a series of stylized photographs.”

Nicola is currently in the middle of his next big project, and I personally cannot wait so see what he comes up with.

~ Stacey S.

http://tokyofashion.com/nicopanda-harajuku-nicola-formichetti-hirari-juria/

http://tokyofashion.com/nicopanda-popup-shop-tokyo-hirari-ikeda-nicola-formichetti/

http://www.nicolaformichetti.com/ImageImageImage

The “Donut Head”: Not as common as you might think.

I saw an episode of “Taboo” about a year ago and in the episode they showed extreme cultural concepts of beauty. They showcased the “Bagel Head” style of Japan as the next big fashion statement.

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But upon further research I found out that the style is very obscure, and not very many Japanese people know about it.

http://aramatheydidnt.livejournal.com/4312890.html

It takes two hours to fill the forehead with a saline solution and the effect lasts less than a day. Even the Japanese are too practical for so much work for such a temporary effect. So in reality, while the world thinks Japan does this often, it really happens almost never. So I guess this post is for clearing up a misconception about this extreme fashion statement.

~ Stacey S.

Ganguro Styles

The Ganguro style is a visual-intensive style that is meant to question the social standards of beauty. It is categorized by dark tanning with which highlights on the nose and around the eyes.  Wikipedia says: “The term ganguro is a portmanteau of the Japanese word gangan-kuro (ガンガン黒), meaning extremely dark, and guro (グロ), meaning grotesque, and the word ganguro can also be translated as ‘blackface’.” This challenges the thought that pale skin is beautiful.

Ganguro Girl x2

The Yamanba and Manba styles are even more specific substyles coming from the Ganguro style. They include bright colors with lipstick and hair,and clothes, in addition to stickers, glitter, and lots of accessories.

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Yamanba comes from the Japanese word “yama-uba” which is the name of a mountain witch in Japanese folklore.

~ Stacey S.

Fight Fashion Fund

 “Fight Fashion Fund” designer, sponsored by PARCO, has been chosen for 2013.

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Jun Okamoto, the owner and designer for “Wallflower bu jun okamoto” in Kumamoto and another store in Shibuya. This fund is used to support first time fashion designers get their own business going, or in Jun’s case, to keep it going.  About 30,000 yen is given to the winner in an effort to help them launch their dreams. Jun’s designs are said to be “poetic and ennui”, and both the men’s and woman’s line is done in “innocent, soft color with feminine details”. Jun will be participating in the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO for the first time.

“Fashion Week” is held twice a year in cities around the world (Paris, Milan, London, New York, and Tokyo) and is used to unveil the years latest fashion collections. Tokyo’s fashion week will be centered at Shibuya Hikarie and Mercedes-Benze Connection in Roppongi.

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Check out more the Jun’s fashions here:

http://www.style.com/fashionshows/powersearch?designer=design_house7837&page=1

http://tokyo-mbfashionweek.com/en/

http://www.parco.co.jp/fight-fashion/

http://tokyo-mbfashionweek.com/en/brands/views/JUN%20OKAMOTO

Fashion Advisory? Or Amazing Marketing Ploy?

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This “fashion trend” has to be one of the most amazing marketing ploys I’ve ever seen. Recent articles in MSN and Buzzfeed are declaring that “Wearing Women’s Panties On Your Face Is All The Rage in Japan”. 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/wearing-womens-panties-on-your-face-is-all-the-rage-in-japan

http://boston.barstoolsports.com/random-thoughts/wearing-panties-on-your-face-is-all-the-rage-for-japanese-girls-these-days/

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This faux fashion trend is actually a product of marketing for the new movie Hentai Kamen,but people around the world are believing this to be an actual fashion trend of Japan. This newly discovered ‘trend’ is being re-blogged over and over, despite the fact it is a tongue-in-cheek ploy for movie marketing. Beware of the trends you find online, because apparently it’s difficult for people to determine fashion from marketing. As diverse and innovative as Japan may be, this is not something they’ll be embracing any time soon. 

Check out the root of this strange rumor below: