Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lolita Fashions - Pt. 4 (featuring Alice & the Pirates)

From my last fashion post regarding Baby the Stars Shine Bright, I'll talk about their sub-brand, Alice and the Pirates. Featuring many pirate and nautical motifs, Alice and the Pirates is the inspiration behind the pirate lolita style. Their colorways are much more rich and dark compared to the collections of Baby the Stars Shine Bright. Let's explore some of their most intricate and beautiful prints!
As implied from their brand name, most of the prints have a pirate theme to their prints, or the prints might link to Alice in Wonderland. Common motifs you would see also include roses, crowns and more macabre themes. Don't let that think that's all they have though, because some of their print designs are quite lovely and can cross between kuro-lolita, shiro-lolita and gothic lolita. The prints designs often feature some unique design features such as different silhouettes, cuts and bustle skirts. 
AatP Vampire Requiem JSK
Details of Vampire Requiem

One of their most popular prints is Vampire Requiem. It has been so popular that it was released again earlier this year. The story of this print is that the Vampire Lord has once again gone and capture another innocent victim. You can see the Lord flying away with his victim in the detail picture on the right. I really like the designs of the gates along the skirt and the coffins placed within the gates and along the top of the the print design.

There is an Alice and the Pirates shop in the Laforet in Harajuku, Japan. At the time I was in Japan in October, I didn't see anything I liked in particular in the collection, but the store was very cute and charming. One side is devoted to AatP and the other has Baby the Stars Shine Bright. The 'store' is better described as a large showroom/booth since Laforet is a department store. On that floor they also have many other lolita and gothic brands.
AatP Mid Summer's Night Dream JSK

One of their more lovely prints is the Mid Summer's Night Dream. The silhouette is a bit different than traditional lolitas, since the print motif starts along the hip line rather than the waist. However the window designs are stunning. They feature roses, butterflies and the moon. The fabric on the the bodice also has a unique motif on it also. It's so charming in my opinion, and I think the black colorway is the best. The navy shows the details much better but the waist tie is a lighter blue and it's not that flattering in the overall look.

Sleeping Beauty's castle.

Another very popular print, is Queen's Coach. I really love the use of chiffon in this dress, it makes it look even more delicate. Here is a good example of Alice's asymmetrical designs and it doesn't take away from the over feel of the dress. The bodice is well designed and is complemented by the full skirt. The motif is comprised of small portrait windows that have crowns, roses and the Alice and the Pirates logo integrated into it.

AatP Sleeping Beauty JSK
Sleeping Beauty print

Highly sought after is the Sleeping Beauty print! In my opinion I like AatP's version of Sleeping Beauty rather than the BtSSB one. The design itself is similar to other dresses by AatP (such as Scent of Rapunzel), but the illustrated portraits are very beautiful. I really like the thorny roses that run along the hem line. One of the pictures I could not find of the windows is the one where the prince kisses the princess! They didn't release an official photo of it, but there are some owner photos on the web.
AatP Milky Rail Train OP
Part of the autumn collection this year, the Milky Rail Train is really interesting to me. It has some steampunk qualities to it! The dress uses velvet and satin fabrics, which in my opinion is a nightmare to wash and screams "Dry Clean Only"! The bows on the sleeves are a bit much, but I really like the neck line and the buttons details with the chains. It's a bit military, nautical and gothic all at the same time. We see some more asymmetrical lines in this dress as well, accented with the waist belt.

Here are some videos of Alice and the Pirates new collection which is currently coming out on their website. Right now it's reservations only though!

I can't share personal opinions of this brand too much because I don't own anything from it. If it's anything like Baby, I would think it is of great quality and design. Perhaps in the future I shall own something from AatP. Through my research of this brand I find that some of the prints are very familiar to me, and I'll bet it's because I've seen some of them in person in Closet Child or in Laforet! I'll have to pay better attention to this particular brand in the future.

Until next time! ♥

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dir en Grey Live 2011 Tour

 Dir en Grey was back in town this past weekend as part of their North American Tour, AGE AQUOS AGIS. I actually wasn't going to go to it, as I've skipped the past couple years. My friend, Bossu asked me if I wanted to go because he was going with his girlfriend and our mutual friend Chiyou! At first I was going to go..then I spent a bunch of money and decided not to...then ended up saying I would go again. I think I gave them a headache (>__<)".

From Left to Right: Die, Kaoru, Kyo, Toshiya, Shinya
Their newest album is Dum Spiro Spero (While I breathe, I Hope), and I found it a bit difficult to listen to. I didn't listen to it too much because I'm more of a casual fan of their group although I listened to their older music a lot. I really liked their Withering to Death and Uroboros albums, so I hoped their live performance of their new album would change my opinion.

Besides freezing outside the venue with my friends, and doors opening late, the venue was pretty good. Concert took place at the Pheonix Concert Theater on December 16. It was a general admission concert, so basically everyone was rushing to crowd to the front of the stage to see the band members up close and personal. I don't really like it when people get in my personal space, so we opted to hover near the middle of the venue where there were some tables and enough space to do some of our "furi" moves. Bossu was really keen on using our new found knowledge of furi at Diru! I understand little Japanese, so this is more of feeling the music through the vocals and music. I'm always impressed by Kyo's screaming, I don't know how he does it so well! Usually the lyrics are really deep poetic meanings and revolve around dark subjects and you can find translations of them on the internet.

The opening act was The Birthday Massacre, and they were pretty good. They're a local band from Toronto and sang about 7-8 songs before Diru came on stage. The band had great stage presence and their keyboardist really fascinated me, he was really into the music played a keytar! So I was trying to take pictures of him and Chiyou was laughing at me since I kept taking blurry pictures. I should have brought my other camera since it had better zoom!
Dir en Grey's stage set up, Shinya has just walked on stage.
 Diru's setlish was mostly comprised of their songs from Dum Spiro Spero, they did play Kodou (Heartbeat) but I wish they could have played some older songs.
Bossu and I had fun trying to do the 'furi' movements to their songs and I'll bet people thought we were odd, but since we were both doing it together with Yumi and Chiyou as backup it didn't look as ridiculous (^__~)"
Kyo (Vocalist). He has some amazing tattoos.
I ♥ Die (Guitar). He's my favorite band member!
Shinya on his drums.
 It was really hard to get decent pictures of the band members, because most of the light was focused on Kyo. I was trying my best to fiddle with the camera settings to get some good pictures because sometimes when I took pictures of Kyo he was glowing (o__o)!
I didn't even get a decent picture of Toshiya because he was hiding in the back in the dark most of the time. It was better to enjoy the concert and experience than to snap pictures. close!!
When they came back out for the encore, Bossu told me if I went to the front along the side I could get some decent pictures. Since all the girls and guys were crowding the front of the stage, the side was pretty much open. So I stood there and took some pictures. To my amazement, Die came forward about 2 feet away from me and started a solo and all the girls started screaming and touching him. I stood there shell-shocked and by the time I got my camera's settings fixed I could only manage a couple shots.  I apologize that the photo isn't flattering to Die at all, he's so much more handsome than this!! (>__<)"
But it's ok!! It will forever be in my memory!! The other shot I got of him was of his bum and the back of his pants when he stood back up. LOL!
Here are some pictures from the encore performance.
Kaoru (guitar) when he came to the front of the stage.
Die ♥
 Overall, I'm glad I went to the concert. The songs all sounded better live and it was quite fun. It wasn't packed in the venue so you had area to walk around and head bang. The crowd wasn't as hard core since they didn't have a mosh pit this year (which my feet are thankful for). 
It's a bit hard for me to compare their old music to their new stuff. I am a fan of their older music but I'm still impressed this band has been together for so long. Maybe if I listen to more of their new album I might change my mind?

My favorite songs from Dir en Grey are:
-Ain't Afraid to Die
-The Final
-Drain Away
-Glass Skin

There's a bunch of other great songs by them, mostly from their Macabre and Withering to Death albums. Their singles Glass Skin and Dozing Green feature English lyrics! From this tour I bought a band t-shirt with the tour dates on the back and my friend Chiyou got a poster. I'll probably go to one of their concerts again, it's rare when a j-rock band comes to North America (^__^)"

I shall end this post with DeG's Ain't Afraid to Die (Live).
The performance and lyrics are so hauntingly beautiful, and Die has a great solo in it.

Until next time Diru ♥!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lolita Closet - Metamorphose March of Duck

Metamorphose is my favorite lolita brand and one of my favorite and dream prints is from them. I've been a bit obsessed with yellow birds for a long time. I have a bunch of stuffed animals and other things with yellow birds and and so when I discovered this print, I had to have it.

This is Metamorphose's Crown Label March of Duck Skirt.

Metamorphose March of Duck SK
I must apologize for the photos, they make the print a lot more muted than it is. I didn't have a lot of sunlight the day I took the pictures. Bun-bun is also making an appearance again (^__^)*
This is the longer skirt version with soft tulle ruffles along the hem. The tulle ruffles have a cute polka dot print on them. The back portion of the waistband is shirred. My sister commented that it was really small and would fit her thigh. I told her it just looks small, but it fits me quite well. (^__^)*
There is a belt that is removable with a detachable bow which has pearl decorations. The color of the skirt is an off-white. I thought it would be more white, seems like I like getting these cream/off-white lolita clothes.

Duck details!
I love the print. The swim rings are adorable, lots of cute details with the Metamorphose logo. I think it's amusing how the Metamorphose name is cut off saying Metamorph. I love how the ducks are also holding balloons. The balloons have the swan logo on them and I really like those small ducks that appear along the bottom. There have been some funny comments regarding the background of the print, some say it looks like a graphing paper. I find that it doesn't bother me much.

Crown Label tag and you can see the pearls.
I was very lucky to find this with tags still attached! It's so hard to find older prints in this condition. The bow is cute, I might somehow turn it into a headband if I have the time or if it works with what I decide to coordinate with this skirt.

The built in tulle on the lining to make the skirt look fuller.
There's a lot of love and hate with this print, and obviously I'm on the side that loves it. I was so happy when I got this in the mail. Pretty much jumped out of the bed even though I had very little sleep from a night shift and ran to get the box. (^__^)"

I'm still always on the lookout for the JSK version of this print in black, but I'm quite happy with this skirt. Hopefully someday I can acquire this dress though. My lolita closet expands, stay tuned for my next post featuring other items.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lolita Closet - BtSSB Clockwork Tea Party

It's time to document my first Baby the Stars Shine Bright dress! This was part of their Autumn collection, Clockwork Tea Party. I've actually seen the the print before, from their fashion show clips at the beginning of this year. It was a prevalent motif in their animation sequences. 
Classic vanilla tea × Ivory lace
Blue mallow tea × Navy lace

 This is the Clockwork Tea Party, Pearl Jumper Skirt.

First, I'll talk about the dress.Most of all the items from CTP are sold out except for some of the JSKs and a few headbands on the site. I really favor the Ivory color more than the rest (besides the blue colorway). They are my favorite colors in this collection. They also have cute color names for the dresses.

I bought my dress from Closet Child. It is a Japanese second hand dealer for Lolita, Punk and Gothic fashion. They have a few shops in Japan, and I've visited the one in Shinjuku and Harajuku. It's actually quite fun shopping in there because you can find some hidden jems. The online site offers a smaller selection of what they have but the prices are very fair and they have descriptions of the faults or problems with the dresses. 
The only drawback is that the site is a bit difficult to navigate. Ordering was an interesting adventure, but the communication between Closet Child and I went very well and they are very polite in answering all your questions. They will also under declare the item for customs to save you some money, which is great! (^__^)

Second, I bought the headband that matches this dress from Baby directly. They did not have the headband on Closet Child and after some thought I decided to get the head band because it would help complete the look. It's probably the most expensive headband I've ever purchased. (O__O)
Baby is very quick to respond to your orders and shipping. They do not however, under declare items, so I ended up being charged customs on my headband. Adding to the fact it's the most expensive headband ever purchased...

They sent the headband in a big box. They included a Baby shopping bag too.
It was all nicely wrapped. It's all about presentation!
Lovely headband. There's wiring on the edges so you can shape or flatten it.
The headband is quite large when I put it on my head. However if I have my hair done and the dress on, the look is balanced nicely. The lace is beautiful and it matches the dress completely.

BtSSB Clockwork Tea Party in Ivory with headband
Bun-bun is making an appearance again. The dress is gorgeous. I was a bit wary of the sateen ribbon bow but they have added a matching ribbon across the waistband to keep the continuity in the design. The pearls are detachable and so are the waist ties. 

Clockwork Tea Party print
The print is even more lovely in life, you can see all the details in the design. The spoons, cups and saucers. I really like the cake stand and tea pot. There is a stack of books (I think it's not in the picture or it's cut off) that has the Baby logo on it. 

Back of the dress
Here is the back of the dress where you can see the shirring and the laced corseting that hides it. Here you can see the sateen ribbon being used also on the back along the waistline. The fabric is cotton and has a rich texture to it. Overall, I'm very impressed with this dress and series. It's very whimsical and the print has lots of elements that I really like. It's more of a spring/summer dress for me. I can't wait for winter to be over so I can wear it!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lolita Fashions - Pt. 3 (featuring Baby, the Stars Shine Bright)

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright is one of my favorite lolita brands, and the first one I knew about when I first learned about lolita fashion. One of the more expensive brands out there, however their prints are quite sophisticated and the lace and materials used are quite lovely. 

Baby is well known for their sweet (amai) prints and they have some great classic designs too. Their collections often also feature a rabbit, named Usagi-chan. Because I really love fairytale prints, I believe Baby is one of the best companies out there who have put out many different classic fairytale prints. It's an interesting concept because lolita is built upon the idea of princess-like attributes, and what could be better than wearing some exceptional dresses and bringing some lace and frills into your life while encompassing this ideal?

The first experience I had with Baby was when we went to Tokyo a few years ago. In my guide book one of the areas mentioned to go to was the Baby showroom, and when I showed it to my sister she immediately said she wanted to go there. I wasn't so enthusiastic about lolita then, but it didn't hurt to go see what Baby had to offer (^__^")
The showroom in Daikanyama is the flagship store and would ideally carry all of the present collections. Oddly enough, it was tucked into a corner of a building entrance and it wasn't until I mentioned we would have walked past it already and turned back we saw the plaque on the wall. 
Baby the Stars Shine Bright Daikanyama. The sign was so small that we walked by it.

Down the corridor you see the doors to the store.

 You aren't allowed to take pictures inside the store, like most shops in Japan. The store is quite small, I was expecting it to be larger, but space is hard to come by in Japan. The shop assistants are so adorable! They tried to help us as much as they could even though they spoke little to no english. My sister would ask them for certain sizes or colors for shoes and I would have to try to tell them in Japanese. They were so sweet and when they both gave us a 'sold out', it was so funny and cute. They did however, recommend another pair of shoes to my sister which she did buy. They are super cute, but sadly they do not fit anymore (>__<) and my feet are too small to wear them. 

Baby shoes from their 2008 collection.
My sister did buy an umbrella from Baby too, and I have to point out she hasn't used it yet. Don't know what she's waiting for. (^__~)'

One of Baby's newest collections is Rin-Chan's Black Cat. Rin-chan is part of the staff at Daikanyama. The collection features a cute dress, blouse, handbag, and some accessory pieces. I actually really like the dress and the bag. It's really charming and cute. I think style correctly, it can be very versatile. (Although I don't know if the tail is removable. I hope so?)
Rin-Chan's Black Cat OP with the blouse. The back has a tail! Check it out here.
Rin-chan's Black Cat purse. It's so cute!
I don't know if Rin-chan worked at the Baby store when we were there, but I think it would be so cute to meet her! She is adorable! The price for the OP is a bit steep, however, compared to their "For Pure Maiden" set, it's cheap. Which I can't say is a bad or good thing. I think if you really love it, you just have to go for it. Go big or go home! I don't know if I will consider getting this set...but it definitely is on my wish list.

If you have ever wondered what it is like to be in a lolita shop, it's actually not a scary experience. Yes, there's an overwhelming amount of pink in Baby stores, but the staff are very kind and let you browse through things on your own. Granted, the experiences that I was in Baby, I was talking in english with my sister and friends, so they tend to shy away until you approach them for some help.

This is such a cute video! Misaki Aoki is a model for Baby and Rin-chan is there to help her out at the store. I love Rin-chan's voice... \(^__^-)/

What I find interesting from Baby is that they explore the use of velvet and more luxurious fabrics. Usually their more high-end expensive items have so much workmanship featuring the use of chiffon and tulle. Most of the time the design is a bit out there for me to consider but it's still so lovely to look at!

Baby's Odette OP. The original price was 102,900 yen! Lolita Couture!
There are so many dresses from Baby that are so beautiful to talk about. I'll leave this particular post with the Cinderella Jewelry print from last year. If I could ever find it at a reasonable price, I think I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. Something about this print gnaws at me and I really want it if I could have it. The print is gorgeous with the Cinderella motifs in the frames. However, it is a very popular print and it's hard to find because of it's popularity.
Baby's Cinderella Jewelry JSK (2010)
Here are some of the panels on the print. Each frame features a different iconic scene from the story of Cinderella. You can also see the details of the pearls and other jewelry motifs built into the design.
Cinderella flees the castle at the stroke of midnight.
The glass slipper is returned.
 I think Baby offers so much with their designs and prints; so much fantasy and reminders of a time long past. It makes me very whimsical. It's true their products are quite expensive, but I think the workmanship and the thought that goes into the designs and prints reflect an extensive amount of work and in the end it's worth it. With all things, you should love the what you purchase and have an emotional attachment to it, and sadly, there's too much of this emotion when I look at some of Baby's designs! My poor wallet! (>__<)

My next post, I'll talk about my most recent Baby acquisitions. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Luts 2011 Winter Event Order

My sister, Keiko and I did a group order from Luts during their Winter event a few weeks ago when they had the 20% discount promotion on their wigs, clothes and shoes. Since I'm usually the 'leader' of the GO, I did the down payment for it. We managed to get it over the amount to get the free head. I think I'm inheriting the head since my sister and Keiko don't need it (for face up or doll purposes). Considering I do all the face ups for their dolls when they need it...yeah, so I'll just keep this random floating head.... (>_<)"

Mom received the box for me since I got off a night shift and was sleeping when the post man came. I rolled out of bed to check what it was since I have a few packages coming in this week. I saw the big Luts logo on the side of the box :)

Bunny Gloomy hiding my address!

The box is a lot bigger than the previous purchases I've done through Luts. I usually get the smaller HDF box? I believe this one is for KDF (mini) sized dolls... :)

The goodies!
After I took out some of the newspaper stuffing, this is what was inside! It was very neatly packed and lots of bubble wrapping. The big bubble wrapped block in the center is the event head.

My sister's Luts order.
I'm actually missing a pair of shoes in this picture. I added it into Keiko's 'lot' because I didn't remember she ordered two pairs until I consulted my list later on... (^__^);; The coloring of the red wig is really lovely. I quite like it actually! You can't see what the wig in the circular tub looks like, but I think it's a long wig with some light curls at the end? (I'm not sure, since I didn't open it to look at).

Keiko's order
Keiko bought the most out of all three of us! Most of it is supplies for her dolls since she's recently gotten more interested in this hobby. (In a previous post, I ordered a Sirenita Pine for her :) ) She got some MSD sized things for her doll. The box is an eyeball case and there are a couple head caps and a doll stand. The heeled shoes belong to my sister's stuff. 

Lut's Acrylic eyes. Ocean Blue
There were a couple smaller packages in the box wrapped in an additional layer of bubble wrap. Turns out one was Keiko's eyes and the other was a hair accessory I ordered. This is the first time I've put an order through for eyes, so it's interesting to see the packaging. I quite like the color!

Luts Winter Event Head 2011

Luts Winter Event Head (side)
 I don't think I would have purposely tried to get the head from Luts. I'm not a huge fan of the sculpt, but considering we were putting an order through, I figured if we reached the mark to get the event head, why not? I think it's the nose that bothers me? Or the eyes...I can't really put my finger on it. Perhaps with a face up the head will look better to me? :)

My part of the order!

 I bought a couple outfits, since I figured it would be nice to give a couple of my girls some new clothes. I haven't had a chance to make more stuff, and the prices were reasonable because of the sale on Luts. I bought a honey-pink wig for Zephyria. It's for a project that's in the works...I should have taken a picture of it on her! It looks quite lovely ♥ 
The little accessory is a crown. I've been a bit obsessed over it for awhile ever since I saw it on the promo pics for HDF Cream....and since I don't plan on getting Cream I figured getting the hair accessory is the next best thing. \(^_^-)/!

Ventus and Delilah
Here's Delilah in her Muto set from Luts. She's not wearing the stockings or the headpiece from the set right now, but I think it's a very cute set! The set comes with 5 pieces and it's very well made! Even the blouse has some great lace details on the front.

Zephyria and Chester Cat
Here's Zephyria in the Sweet Love set. It comes with the dress and a pair of black stockings. At first I was hesitant to get this dress because although I liked it, I thought it was still a bit overpriced because it didn't come with a lot of pieces. In the end I got it because I kept thinking about it. I thought it wouldn't fit Zephy because in the packaging it looked a bit small, but it fits very nicely on her!
Until next time Luts!