2015 Fashion Adventures

inceAt the end of 2015, I had to confront a hard truth: I’ve lost interest in dressing up.  It’s not a complete abandonment.  I still think J-fashion is really cool, and I do bust out my ensembles for special occasions.  The reality is that I won’t go out of my way to attend meet-ups or to relentlessly pursue sales on brand items.  On the flip side, I won’t stop my yearly recaps or suddenly become very mundane with my fashion.

I also will continue to take a peek at the new style tribes that are covered by Style Arena.  This year had a couple of intriguing ones.  The Shuffler caught my eye because Kareshi learned that dance form but dresses the total opposite of that group.  “Survival game fashion” is something akin to what I’ve done before although I’ve combined it with another style, like visual kei below (this was from when I was in Japan 6 years ago).  I’ve always enjoyed military chic so this is probably the one tribe from this year’s group that fits my aesthetic.

I did buy a new piece this year: a black Baby the Stars Shine Bright blouse.  It was going to be worn to my friends’ wedding in November, but I decided to debut it at a neo-Victorian meet-up at a Sherlock Holmes special exhibit.  Unfortunately I got the meeting times mixed up, and Kareshi did not get a full outfit shot like I had thought.
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I paired the blouse with my pinstripe pants, a cloak in gamekeeper’s tweed (which reminded me of Holmes’ infamous deerstalker), and a magnifying glass necklace. This not-quite-steampunk/not-quite-ouji mash-up is my favorite new outfit of 2015.

My favorite outfit overall is my steampunk ouji number that I covered in 2012.  It’s unassuming enough to be my con ensemble for when I’m working press (I think the newsboy cap helps me feel as thought it fits).  I wore it to Anime Matsuri, where I sat in on the boystyle panel with Akira and Shiva from Atelier Boz.  They stood by the door to shake hands with all of us, and Shiva said I looked really cool.  Although the outfit is one of my all-time faves, I don’t think much of it because it’s not as fancy as other steampunks or oujis.  Shiva’s comments made me feel really good since sometimes I feel like I’m just stumbling along and throwing together clothing.
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Speaking of Anime Matsuri, being at the fashion show did remind me why I was drawn to J-fashion in the first place.  Despite having covered it already, I’m gonna share some more pics because everyone looked fantastic. I also want to go on the record and say that I hope for other cons to take on J-fashion that treats their models and guests more professionally and respectfully.

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Atelier Boz and Angelic Pretty

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Putumayo and Metamophose

Ironically 2015 had me closer to lolita than ever before because I finally had a fluffy petticoat and a proper blouse to go under my Baby JSK. As a result, I wound up putting together a gothic lolita outfit for the library’s annual Edgar Allan Poe Victorian Steampunk Halloween. As a part of the volunteer group, I had brought that there are other fashion subcultures that would fit so I took it upon myself to represent the lolis.

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With the poof, I could barely fit in the coffin.

With that ensemble, I attempted at byojaku make-up, a trend that caught global attention in 2015. A lot of people don’t like the fact that you look sickly, but I’ve kinda been a fan of the dead girl look a la My Chemical Romance’s “Helena” video. I went a little too light on the blush and too heavy on the eyeliner (the latter I always do). Maybe I should have watched one of RinRin Doll’s tutorials:

And here I was afraid that I wouldn’t have anything to write about. My style resolution last year was to just be myself and possibly try more ouji. The former has worked out perfectly. The latter didn’t go as expected, but I have been adopting a more androgynous style. I think this year’s resolution is to just keep doing my thing… and maybe do a better attempt at byojaku make-up.

Listening to: “PoW!” by FEMM

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Anna Tsuchiya interview on NekoPOP

After Anime Matsuri, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anna Tsuchiya about her show and future plans.

When you put on the fan’s “yankii” jacket, how did you feel revisiting a character (Ichiko from Kamikaze Girls) whom you played over 10 years ago?

Anna Tsuchiya: I was genuinely happy! I hope to create more long-loved works that will stay in fans’ hearts after ten years.

What made you choose more upbeat songs for your set?

Anna Tsuchiya: Since this was an event, I wanted to have fun and get excited with everyone. Also I made this set list mainly with my songs that overseas fans know (NANA‘s theme songs and the latest single “LUCIFER”).

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Click here to read the rest of the interview. Photo is from the concert live report.

Listening to: “Change you life” by Anna Tsuchiya

Anime Matsuri 2015 Fashion and Cosplay

Apologies for leaving you hanging for a month.  I had to take a break from blogging to concentrate on real life endeavors and catch up on editing the massive number of photos I took from various events, including Anime Matsuri.   I did do a feature on DISACODE vocalist AKIRA’s appearance in the Anime Matsuri fashion show for JRock247.  However, there were lots more images that I wanted to share.

The show, titled “Monster”, featured designs by Atelier Boz, Angelic Pretty, Putumayo, and Metamophose.  AKIRA played the hero whose complicated relationship with Queen Lilith, portrayed by Midori Fukusawa, is explored in the plot.  In addition to this dramatic storyline, the show also contained contained contortionism, pyrotechnics, and guest appearances by shironuri artist Minori, cosplayer Reika, and several other lolita models.
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AKIRA in Atelier Boz and Midori in Angelic Pretty

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Putumayo, featuring Yui Minataka as the Atomic Queen

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Metamorphose, featuring Chokelate

The fashion guests also hosted panels.  I attended the boystyle one by AKIRA and Shiva, the designer behind Atelier Boz.  They provided advice as well as personal details in the Q&A session.  Many attendees were in elaborate ouji coordinates that would make Oscar Wilde jealous, but Shiva seemed to like my “working” boystyle outfit.  It seemed like OTT (over-the-top) has been trending among both boystyle and lolita.  I also noticed some dolly kei influences in some of the lolita outfits.

On the cosplay side, I learned about make-up from Reika and embellishments from Stella Chuu and Chubear Cosplay.  Since Reika did a live demo on a lucky attendee, it was hard to see the finer details.  She gave a lot of great tips though.
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Chubear and Stella had some interesting tips about how to make your costumes really stand out in photos, which often require sacrifice in the form of compromising on accuracy or realism.  Seeing their cosplays broken down helped make the process less intimidating.  Stella also did a panel on nerdlesque, which provided an informative prelude to the show later that evening.

Because I covered three concerts plus a fashion show and wanted to catch some panels in between, I didn’t really get to take too many cosplay photos. It was a shame since there was an area with different backdrops for photoshoots.  It was a great way to get pictures without worrying about blocking traffic, photobombs, or ugly hotel carpeting.  Popular costumes included variations of the Sailor Scouts, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and a bunch of things I didn’t recognize.
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I have no idea what these guys are cosplaying, but they look so kawaii and fabulous.

Overall Anime Matsuri 2015 was an interesting experience.  Although I liked the spaciousness of the George R. Brown Convention Center, it might have been a little too big.  Getting lost and dealing with sore feet were inevitable, and the Houston construction outside didn’t help.  I don’t do many anime cons and very rarely do I travel outside of Dallas for a convention so I enjoyed seeing what another city had to offer in terms of J-fashion and cosplay.

Click here to see all my photos.

Listening to: Kirie Toroimen No Shirabe” by AKIRA

DISACODE Anime Matsuri 2015 live report at JRock247

Here is the final Anime Matsuri live report.   Performing for the first time in the U.S., DISACODE helped kick off a fantastic night of music.

AKIRA danced all over the stage—the kimono sleeves of her outfit swirling around. That motion perfectly complemented the traditional Japanese sound of “Mononoke NIGHT”. She also delivered drama with both her voice and body in “Sakura x Kuroku x Kuraku” while drummer Marcy banged away at the cymbals.

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Click here to read the rest of the report.

Listening to: ARCO∞IRIS” by DISACODE

Sakura x Kuroku x Kuraku / Disacode

Anna Tsuchiya Anime Matsuri 2015 live report at NekoPOP

Here’s another article from last month’s Anime Matsuri.  The con had Anna Tsuchiya as its headliner, and I got to cover her concert for NekoPOP.

The first couple of hazy guitar riffs drifted into the crowd, which grew excited with recognition. These were the first notes to Anna Tsuchiya’s most well-known hit, “rose” from the NANA anime series. For years, Anna won over American fans on the silver screen as the tough-talking yankii, Ichiko Shirayuri, in Kamikaze Girls, in the pages of fashion magazines, and through her music.

Click here to read the rest of the report.

Listening to: “Shout in the rain” by Anna Tsuchiya

Lucifer / Anna Tsuchiya
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