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.
Sherlock exhibit02
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.
 photo IMAG0119_zpsqcwhyi74.jpg

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.

AM15 J-fashion show02 AM15 J-fashion show21
Atelier Boz and Angelic Pretty

AM15 J-fashion show26  AM15 J-fashion show39
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.

DSC_3236
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

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.
AM15 J-fashion show06
AKIRA in Atelier Boz and Midori in Angelic Pretty

AM15 J-fashion show25
Putumayo, featuring Yui Minataka as the Atomic Queen

AM15 J-fashion show43
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.
DSC_2346
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.
DSC_2350
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

2014 J-fashion adventures

Resolving to allow myself to wear whatever I want, even if it meant abandoning the pursuit of different J-fashion styles, was probably the best decision I could have made.  It freed me from anything that limited my creativity and willingness to experiment.  As a result, I wound up knocking a few looks off my fashion bucket list and had several fun adventures worth sharing.

Despite this new energy, I didn’t see many new trends really catch my eyes.  My friends over at Kali’s Hourglass took to shironuri, which cropped up in 2012 but started to get more attention overseas in the past year.  While I think it’s gorgeous, it’s not something I will ever try (too much make-up and white for my tastes).
2014 CCAD fashion show6

Even the style tribes reported in Style-Arena seemed to rehash things that already existed.  I was amused at the concept of “Neo Bowling Style” since it’s something that has cropped here in the U.S. (with kids going bowling in prom dresses and burlesque dancers bowling for charity).  Also I inadvertently had a bowling lolita outfit when the shoes I rented wound up matching what I had worn to a meet-up prior to bowling.

At the Crow Collection fashion show, where Ramon and Radha did shironuri, I decided to attempt ora ora kei.  I’d been wanting to give it a shot, and there wasn’t a big gyaru contingent so I gave it shot with the clothes I had in my closet.  My make-up could probably use some work, but I enjoyed it.  I’m not sure it’s something I would wear regularly because of the make-up and accessories that are needed to properly represent the style.
2014 CCAD fashion show7

Another bucket list style was ero lolita.  Last year I pretty much gave up on lolita, but I still hang out with members of the local group and a murder mystery type of event at the art museum was too fun to pass up.  It was the middle of summer so I decided that it was the perfect time to try ero lolitaor as I called my look, burlesque ero lolita.  Again, not a style that is exactly me, but it was fun to try it out.
MMM02

Something that was more up my alley was my new steampunk look.  I’d been wanting to do an Asian steampunk look that didn’t involve throwing a corset over a traditional Asian outfit.  I reused pieces from older ensembles and came up with a Rurouni Kenshin-inspired persona of a former assassin who wears to chimes so that she doesn’t frighten people with her stealth.  It’s still a work in progress, but that was definitely one of my favorites.
2014 fashion2 photo SIS Poe Day1_zpsmbkdx00j_1.jpg
From Steampunk Illumination Society

My favorite J-fashion look for 2014 was the ouji ensemble for my birthday photo safari, which was one of the highlights of the year.
DSC_2101
The colors and make-up were inspired by Loki from The Avengers.  He’s one of my favorite characters so of course I enjoyed that bit of inspiration, and I think the androgyny is just something that is more my thing.

Thus my style resolution for 2015 is just to continue to do what works for me but don’t be afraid to explore.  I’d love to step up my ouji game and have fancier clothes, but I like being a bit rough too.  Maybe I can amp up the androgyny. We’ll see what happens.

Listening to: “9lives” by Shoko Nakagawa

My Style Inspirations

Otouto started a blog of his own last month, Style – Confucius, and wrote about his fashion inspirations. That got me thinking about who has influenced my J-fashion styles, and the following is what I came up with.

Most of my style inspirations come and go. I’ll choose from outfits or elements of an outfit from different J-rockers when I’m putting together a visual kei-inspired ensemble. Same goes with the Lolita and the looks I see in the Gothic and Lolita Bible. However, there are three individuals who have played a huge role in defining my personal style.

1. Nana Osaki from NANA
Photobucket (from Shoujo Beat Oct 2005 – nana-nana.net)

I should also say Mika Nakashima as Nana in the live-action films because once I saw her wear those real-life versions of the outfits in the manga, I stopped trying to emulate Nana in a cosplay manner. Instead I found pieces that were close replicas of what she wore and started wearing them in an everyday setting. Check out the red and black sweater I found in the local mall when I lived in Japan.
Photobucket nana-movie

Although I was already into punk, fishnets, and leather, Nana gave me a feminine twist on the style. I started wearing miniskirts, thigh highs, and more jewelry and putting on make-up. I also developed a fondness for plaid and stripes, which I avoided due to their “loudness”. Nana inspired me to dress more boldly and explore high fashion. I never knew who Vivienne Westwood was prior to reading NANA, and now she’s my favorite designer.

Her influence is so deep that I now unconsciously pick out things that may be similar to what she wears. I also take a photo of Nakashima from the movie to the hairdresser when I want short hair and can’t think of a new style.

2. Ciel Phantomhive from Kuroshitsuji
ciel(from kayurachan at Anime Paper)

Ciel is not my first ouji kei inspiration, but he epitomizes the style in my mind. I based my Gari Ouji persona off of him. I was drawn to the refined elegance of his clothing. They’re over-the-top but no so much so that it looks uncomfortable. He also strikes the right balance between youth and maturity; it never looks like he’s a little kid playing dress up. I like looking boyish, but I want it to be natural.

While my clothing is not as extravagant, I have adopted a more youthful ouji look (I suppose I used to lean more on the dandy end of boystyle, which was on the plain side with what I had to work with). I wear shorter shorts and higher socks, and now I am not afraid to incorporate ruffles. Sometimes I even use an eyepatch as an accessory.
CYT1


3. Moon Kana

kana (from Moon Kana’s facebook page)

Moon Kana’s influence on my style isn’t exactly obvious since I tend to shy away from Sweet Lolita and ero-loli. However, she is partly responsible for introducing me to Lolita and boystyle. I remember seeing Gothic and Lolita Bible scans and thinking that there’s more to Lolita than just frills. She added a bit of edginess that appealed to me. I also came across images of her in ouji style, and that later became a reference as I started to experiment with ouji and dandy. I admire her versatility.

Perhaps unconsciously I have been influenced by Moon Kana. I have a hat with panda ears and used to wish that I could get my hair up in buns like that. Also, she was doing military Lolita long before I came up with the idea on my own. Maybe some day, I will put together a Moon Kana-inspired look to honor someone who helped me get into J-fashion.

Who are your J-fashion inspirations?

Listening to: “Utareru Ame” by Nana Kitade (who would have been my 4th inspiration)