article about Sweet Lolita fashion ...
I, New York
Time Out New York / Issue 685 : Nov 13–19, 2008
You asked for it
The hottest fashion out of Japan turns adults into dollies--re-creating the look in New York just takes a little dress-up.
By Louis Monoyudis
Feish Vas Chu Chu Bubblegum
Photograph: William R. Macleod Jr.
I am a cross-dresser. Please do an article about Sweet Lolita fashion. Like all my sister cross-dressers, I want to buy a Sweet Lolita dress. Please advise; the sister community needs your help.
Respectfully.JoeHoboken, New Jersey
What it isLolita—a Japanese fashion trend—means a whitewashed Wednesday Addams look, with bubble-gum-pink hair ribbons, lace socks, and Victorian throwbacks such as bonnets, petticoats and parasols. No, most stylistas that follow it are not emulating Nabokov’s famous character; modern-day Lolitas seek to return to a bygone era when virginity and chastity were demanded of women.
“The Japanese Lolita subculture is deliberately not sexy, at least in the eyes of its members,” says Ted Polhemus, fashion analyst and author of Streetstyle: From Sidewalk to Catwalk. “My guess is that this obsession…is a flight away from the pressures of teen and adult sexuality.” Lolis engage in activities such as tea parties, ballroom dancing, and playing children’s games like hopscotch, jump rope and hide-and-seek. Some of the favorite musicians in the circle include Malice Mizer, Schwarz Stein, Soft Ballet, Cali Gari and Velvet Eden. Find sisterhood online at the Elegant Gothic & Lolita community (community.livejournal.com/egl).
There are several subclasses, ranging from Sweet Lolita (doll-like and girlish) to EGA (elegant gothic aristocrat), detailed online (freewebs.com/brokendolly). While the Lolita scene has been popular for more than a decade in Japan—particularly among Harajuku hipsters—the trend has yet to erupt in the States, and few boutiques carry clothing that fits the rigid Lolita style. According to Geisha V, one of New York’s best-known Lolitas, resources are scarce. “People in the States have to order their clothes online directly from the Japanese companies or learn to sew and make the garments themselves,” she says.
Designer la Carmina (lacarmina.com), wearing her own design.
Photograph: La Carmina
How to do itJapan produces a lot of Lolita wear, but sizing can prove challenging, especially for cross-dressers. Usually there is only one size offered, around a U.S. size 8. Still, Japanese Lolita websites such as Baby, the Stars Shine Bright (www.babyssb.co.jp) and Juliette et Justine (juliette-et-justine.com) can provide inspiration. But there’s no need to weep into a lace handkerchief over missing out on Japan’s delicate looks; Lolita outfits can be assembled from domestic clothing. You’ll want to stock up on petticoats, frilly blouses and Mary Jane shoes at stores like H&M (558 Broadway between Prince and Spring Sts; 212-343-2722, hm.com) and Claire’s (1385 Broadway between 37th and 38th Sts; 212-302-6616, claires.com)—look for anime-inspired accessories. Gothic Lolita, in particular, is about the sedulous application of layers, so try placing a high-waisted skirt over a petticoat.
Other, less generic options include Gothic Renaissance (104 Fourth Ave between 11th and 12th Sts; gothicrenaissance.com), Tokio 7 (64 E 7th St, 212-353-8443), Trash and Vaudeville (4 St. Marks Pl between Second and Third Aves; 212-982-3590, nycgoth.com) and Patricia Field (302 Bowery between Bleecker and E Houston Sts; 212-966-4066, patriciafield.com). Touches of the Lolita look can be seen in high fashion, particularly in designs from Betsey Johnson, Imitation of Christ and Vivienne Westwood, so high-end department stores and boutiques can also feed the habit, while vintage stores offer velvet capes and filmy button-down Victorian blouses.
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