View Full Version : Lolita fashion on the runways

8th January 2010, 11:39
I knew that we couldn't keep talking about Lolita fashion on this forum without having it make an impact.

Here's the current cover of the Vogue Web site Style.com, advertising "a fresh crop of Lolitas on the spring runways."


So pretty! The site has a brief write-up (http://www.style.com/stylefile/2010/01/are-you-a-lolita/) about the trend, along with a slideshow (http://www.style.com/stylefile/2010/01/are-you-a-lolita/slideshow).

However, it's painful to see these styles on underweight models, when they would look so much better on the plus-size industry's doll-like girls. Can someone please shoot these designs on Kelsey Olson, Kailee O'Sullivan, etc.?

Anyway, in addition to the cover image, which I do find kind of cute (although the eyeshadow is a bit extreme), I also like this look:


The dress is very delicate, and I love the fact that the setting is rustic. The hair ornamentation is wonderful, as is the basket that she is so modestly holding in her hands.

Also, I can see something of attraction in this look. The bow is outrages, but it works, somehow. If one of the elements that comes into fashion thanks to this trend is the return of the hair bow, this will be a terrific development. Very-well-chosen architectural backdrop.


Now, here's the real kicker. Have a look at this ensemble. The blouse is the nicest element, clothing-wise, but also pay attention to the hat.


Does it look familiar? It should. Does everyone remember this (http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=1683) recent post about the original, full-figured Sun-Maid Raisin girl? It's very similar to her early-1900s bonnet!

I would like to quote what HSG wrote in that thread, when he compared the Sun-Maid's bonnet to the one that Kelsey wore for one of her Hallowe'en costumes:

If you could imagine Kelsey in a peasant blouse instead of the pink costume, something similar to what the Sun-Maid girl wears, I could easily see it being an attractive and wearable fashion choice.Well, in the above picture, the girl's blouse does have a bit of that rustic, peasant charm.

It's not so far a leap from Kelsey's wardrobe, here, to some of the pieces in this Lolita trend:


Sure enough, with some tweaks and adjustments, Kelsey's outfits have been transformed into wearable fashion. The girl in the bow even has high white socks!

Okay, now that this is a "legitimate" trend (since a Vogue cover is surely a mark of legitimacy), I do hope that the plus-size industry picks up on it. We definitely have the models for it. Kelsey, Kailee, etc. were born to model these fashions. How exciting if the plus-size industry were to show the Vogue crowd that these enchanting styles belong on our full-figured, fairy-tale models.

8th January 2010, 14:03
One offshoot of Lolita/rorita fashion, as well as "natural Kei," "aristocrat," and other such styles, is called quaintrelle. The Quaintrelle LiveJournal community sums up la mode quaintrelle thus:
Quaintrelle style follows the "quaint" aesthetic. It is unusual or fanciful, with a sense of old-fashioned charm and prettiness. A quaintrelle takes elements from old fashioned costume from around the 18th century to the early 20th century and mixes into her modern life. Elegant, frivolous, and intricate.
A quaintrelle, like the "retro wives" discussed earlier on the forum, might also extend this aesthetic into her lifestyle, perhaps steeping tea in an antique pot and drinking it from a fussy antique cup while enjoying a homemade scone with Devonshire cream. Quaintrelles carry parasols, wear ladylike skirts and blouses, all with varying degrees of embellishment. They draw inspiration from women's styles of times past, modifying them for today's way of life. The emphasis is on elegance, femininity, and beauty.

Quaintrelles celebrate the distaff arts, with many women taking up sewing, knitting, and "fancy work" like embroidery and Irish crochet. The Gothic Lolita Web site Avant Gauche (http://www.avantgauche.co.uk/sewing/index.html) provides a list of patterns suitable for sewing one's own clothing, a boon for plus-size women interested in these styles since many Japan-based fashion houses base their sizing on the typically petite Japanese woman. Sewing one's own clothing invites embellishment exactly to one's taste, and the pride of having sewn something beautiful to wear.

Candy Violet, an online quaintrelle shop, carries sizes up to 2XL, but most shops will also make items to measure. As the trend takes hold in the West, a wider range of sizes will, it is hoped, become available. In the meantime, there are 'blog communities where plus-size quaintrelles and Lolitas can offer each other guidance in dressing themselves beautifully.

Daily Quaintrelle Style (http://community.livejournal.com/my_quaintrelle)
Candy Violet (http://www.candyviolet.com/)
Fancy Girl (Candy Violet's companion Web 'zine) (http://www.vivcore.com/fancy_girl.html)

9th January 2010, 19:22
It seems Vogue has caused some confusion in their labelling of this fashion trend. The lolita fashion subculture previously mentioned on this forum unfortunately shares a name with Vladmir Nobokov's novel, and often establishments like Vogue mix the two up. The Japanese lolita fashion subculture has nothing to do with the novel Lolita, though. In fact, the two could not be further apart, as I will elaborate on in a moment. Though some elements of the Vogue 'Lolita' fashions are quite cute, it is important to distinguish these 'nymphet'-inspired styles from the elegant Victorian-inspired lolita fashions from Japan, and it would have been preferrable if Vogue did their research before labelling these fashions as lolita. It's not that they are not Lolita, it's just that they are the 'other' kind of Lolita rather than the lolita styles from Japan, and it's often difficult to make the distinction.

Now that this topic has come up, it seems like an excellent opportunity to share some more information about the Japanese lolita fashion which is now gaining popularity in the West.

Lolita is a Japanese street fashion which is primarily influenced by the aesthetics of the Victorian and Rococo eras. Elegance, cuteness and femininity are the guiding principles of the fashion, and ornamentation is plentiful in the form of lace, bows, ribbons and ruffles. The fashion movement has changed and evolved greatly since first starting in the 1980s, and for an obscure Japanese subculture, it has gained quite a bit of momentum in the West.

A 'lolita lifestyle' is followed by many lolitas, which promotes a philosophy of living beautifully rather than just dressing it. This is quite a wonderful sign of aesthetic restoration, in which girls and women undertake many 'traditional' feminine activities such as baking and sewing, and often surround themselves with Rococo or Victorian-inspired architecture, music and art.

The term 'lolita' itself is used to describe quite a defined, specific look which adheres to certain guidelines and principles, such as bell-shaped knee-length skirts, blouses, headwear, quality materials and proper colour coordination. Within these guidelines, however, there are several different substyles and looks, each with their own defining features.

I apologise in advance for the lack of plus-size lolita images. Seeing plus-size models display the fashion would be ideal, as the feminine styling is ideally suited to their beauty, but unfortunately lolita has not yet fully branched out into the plus-size world.

Gothic lolita, also known as Elegant Gothic Lolita (abbreviated as EGL), is perhaps the most well-known style outside of the subculture. It primarily uses dark colours such as black, often accented by white or electric blue, and motifs such as ornate iron gates, old churches, crucifixes, bats or anything suitably Gothic are popular.


The knee-length bell-shaped skirt reminiscent of the wide skirts of the Victorian era seen in this image is the main factor linking all styles of lolita together and defining the fashion. The style takes its modesty from the Victorian era, and the era's influence is seen strongly in the blouse worn in the above photograph. Lolita hair is often curly and almost always long, spilling over the shoulders in an feminine, romantic fashion. The lace gloves and elegant detailed hat are wonderful touches to the outfit. Overall, the effect is dark, elegant, and feminine.

Sweet lolita is currently the most popular style within the lolita community, and is strongly influenced by the decadent Rococo era. It is the most over-the-top and childish of all the styles, and often has excessive bows, lace and ruffles adorning the outfits. Colours are generally pastels, including pink, baby blue and white, and cute motifs such as crowns, keys, cakes, hearts and cherries and popular.


Above is an example of the sweet style. The headbow may seem a tad excessive, but it is a common wardrobe item for many lolitas. An interesting feature of this dress is the cake print; food motifs are extremely popular among Sweet lolitas, funnily enough! Decadent cakes and sweets seem ideal for a pattern adorning a beautiful plus-size model whose figure shows all the signs of indulgence. It was an excellent idea to shoot the above model against such a pretty, ornate room. It further highlights the element of aesthetic restoration in lolita fashion.

Classic lolita is perhaps the most beautiful, elegant and feminine of the lolita substyles. While Gothic and Sweet aim for a more childish look, Classic lolita embodies the elegance of a refined Victorian lady. It is the most historically inspired of the styles, and is absolutely ideal for the plus-size figure. Lower necklines are acceptable in the style, as well as more form-fitting outfits and maturer cuts (that being said, overt sexuality is still a huge no-no, again highlighting the difference between lolita and the 'other' Lolita). Darker colours such as burgundy and forest green are used, as well as pretty floral prints and lighter pinks and blues.


The above image is a wonderful example of Classic lolita. Bows and ruffles adorn the dress, and the pretty blue colour is feminine and elegant. The model's hat is adorned with beautiful roses and butterflies, and her hair romantically spills over her shoulders. Imagine a dress such as this on a curvaceous model like Kelsey Olson! The effect would be overwhelming in its beauty.


Another Classic lolita image shows us one of the lolita's most beloved accessories: the parasol. Parasols were historically used by women to preserve a fair complexion, and they have regained popularity in the 21st century by lolitas worldwide, regardless of what substyle they wear. They represent a bygone era of ladylike elegance, as well as a desire to keep the skin fair and lovely, avoiding the radioactive tan pursued by so many in the modern world. Again, note the long hair, lace gloves, and delicate lace tights. The dress worn by the model is a particularly delightful design with a wonderful pink floral print. If only plus-size models showcased these designs! They are undeniably ideally suited for Classic lolita fashions.

As you can see, there is quite a large difference between the Vogue 'Lolita' fashions and the Japanese lolita style! Truly, the two are not related at all.

Quaintrelle, as excellently explained by Maureen, is a recently-coined term that describes the overall aesthetic of lolita style. The website Avant Gauche linked previously is an excellent resource, and anyone wanting to learn more about the style would gain much insight from the site. Another excellent introduction to the style is lolitafashion.org (http://www.lolitafashion.org/), with plentiful information about this beautiful fashion subculture.

It is extremely regrettable that lolita fashion has not quite branched out into the plus-size area yet. If models such as Kailee O'Sullivan and Katherine Roll displayed these styles, the beauty of the clothes would be increased infinitely by their curvaceous figures. Despite this, it is encouraging that lolita is starting to take hold in the West, and perhaps the aesthetic restoration that it embodies through its voluminous skirts, lace, ruffles and parasols will begin to help turn our culture around.

22nd January 2010, 23:16
I would like to thank Tamika for her fascinating and enlightening essay. I had no knowledge of lolita style before now. Tamika does an excellent job of distinguishing between one "Lolita" aesthetic and the other. How regrettable that they share a name, because both styles are interesting in their own right, but they are profoundly different. The only commonality that I see between them is, actually, the hair bow. It was cute to see a hair bow in the styling for Christina Schmidt's Stefanie Bezaire campaign. I'd be inclined to think that the stylist got the idea from either one Lolita trend or the other.

I find this especially encouraging:

A 'lolita lifestyle' is followed by many lolitas, which promotes a philosophy of living beautifully rather than just dressing it. This is quite a wonderful sign of aesthetic restoration, in which girls and women undertake many 'traditional' feminine activities such as baking and sewing, and often surround themselves with Rococo or Victorian-inspired architecture, music and art.
In our hectic, hard-driven world, such a lifestyle sounds very, very appealing.

28th January 2010, 21:46
At Sweet Rococo, one may design one's own lolita clothing, and have it sewn and delivered. The size range extends to about a 14/16 -- small for plus size, but oh, what fun! The site features galleries of recent bespoke pieces and happy young ladies wearing their creations.