This is a very good example of true Japanese Sweet Lolita fashion (please ignore Jessica Simpson's brazen disrespect of the entire subculture). I appreciate that you found "one of us" who has decided to eschew giant hair and hundreds of accessories, instead opting for the simple, doll-like look that Lolita originated from.
In response to Anonymous 2:39 PM, the model is most likely in her late teens or early 20's. She has chosen these clothes herself, precisely because she REJECTS the banality of jeans and a tee shirt. Tenniel's illustrations for "Alice in Wonderland" were a prime inspiration for the first Lolita designs.
I never knew why the Lolita style developed so I am grateful for kagitsune's comment. It puts the style into perspective and understanding for me rather than viewing the fashion as a desire to still look like a child.
she is so cute! I would love to see this style finally take off in America so that I can finally wear my own lolita dresses out in public without strange comments from people I don't even know. It would be so wonderful.
sorry maybe i'm the wrong generation but lolita not remotely getting this as a positive statement doll like once again what the hell? this is a person have we become so used to the fashion industry's portrrayal of underaged sex objects that this is the acceptable way to react to this look?
Before you comment, you should at least consider the context of the photo. This is a Japanese girl. I'm not saying the sexualisation of commodities does not exist in Japan, but that the Lolita subculture has very different origins and justifications to what you're suggesting.
"lolita" is not a statement meant towards the girl wearing this but it's the name of the fashion. the point of this fashion is to look "doll like".
according to wearers of the fashion the name of the fashion has little connection to Vladimir novakov's book and the current meaning of the word "lolita".
the fashion revolves around modesty (with knee length skirts being a must it seems) and not being overtly provocative. its heavily influenced by Victorian and Rococo fashion which is why I suppose a certain level of modesty is key.
If you view a woman in her early 20s who is showing no more visible skin than just her hands and her face as an "underaged sex object," I am truly concerned for you. I won't deny that there are people in this world who fetishize dolls, and may find this look sexual because it is very similar in appearance to a Victorian doll's, but these deviant people should not influence how women wish to dress themselves.
Lolita is not a sexual fashion. It is more akin to a rebellion against the sexualized fashions of mini skirts and skin-tight tank tops. It is the opposite of all that modern fashion culture has done to uncover the skin and increase the cleavage of teen girls.
But we don't wear it because of all that. We wear it because we love it, and we love ourselves in it.
@notsurebut: I can't even understand what you're saying. o.O But anyways, this fashion isn't about dressing for other people, it's about girls dressing for themselves how THEY want to dress. They could care less about what other people think. It's all about doing something to make yourself beautiful and more self confident. Also, most of the girls who wear this style seriously are grown adults who can even afford to wear this style. Brands dresses can sell for hundreds of dollars, and accessories aren't exactly cheap either. >_>
what do they call this style in japan? like her naturalness. actually reminds me of laura ashley dresses of early 80's that even trailblazing professional women were wearing, myself included (back in the dark ages, most professional women in traditionally male professions (wall st. execs) in nyc were wearing Brooks Brothers' suits and bow ties from BB's teeny women's dept. on mad ave, along w/ a little adolpho. we didn't have a sort of cult..it's just that the dresses were just so pretty, feminine, soft and irresistable…and a break from trying to figure out how to be taken seriously in a man's world.
Lolita isn't being used as an adjective for the look, it's the name of the Japanese street fashion that this look is part of, specifically Classic Lolita.
Unfortunately, the name of Lolita will always get people to assume that girls wearing Lolita are trying to be sexually appealing as little girls (first thing that comes to mind is the stripper scene from V for Vendetta). Often girls will don the clothes for quite the opposite; many would never wear short shorts and a cleavage-revealing tanktop.
I think this look was fun and innovative when it started years ago, but it is time for something NEW, young people of Japan and America, too. I am tired of seeing recycled looks with nothing different added to them. She is a pretty girl, but just a clone of many with this outfit.
I don't know what 'notsurebut' problem is, but look up the lolita handbook. the fashion lolita and the book are not related. and I don't see anything sexual about this dress, especially since this girl is probably in her 20's.
I'm finding this pictures from Japan so amazing and strange. It really does feel like an alien world. This one has such a weird and sinister quality. The still and the stare give the sense of something wild (and mad?) suppressed. As an aesthetic I find it unpleasant; as an expression of an idea, thought provoking.
Together, these pictures give such a feel for Japanese fashion sensibility and its extraordinary variety and inventiveness. They're an education. I love the guy in the picture below – if I could find a waistcoat with that rumpled charm I'd be a happy girl.
As usual the Americans just don't get it; the tendency to impose their own values on another culture precludes them from being able to. This girl is one of thousands of young people who participate in the street culture of Japan, which is codified with most complex set of stylistic gestures, attitudes and references… Perhaps if they visited Tokyo they might possibly begin to see how much more sophisticated Japanese culture is than their own – they even 'do' American clothing better!
Hey, people–let's get real here, and cut "not sure but" a little slack. Japanese society is extremely sexist. It ranks way below most other advanced industrialized nations on the U.N.'s "Gender Empowerment Index"–and we all know about "kawaii" (cute) culture and the infantilization of girls/women. Sure, lolita can be subversive and edgy–but it's also playing with the whole idea that women in their 20s (and sometimes even older) can look and sound like they're about 13, and get rewarded for it. Given what a lot of Japanese women have to cope with in adulthood, maybe it makes sense not to grow up!
What a discussion going on over here! I like the way Lolita fashion is so modest, but some have tried to alter it by showing a bit more leg and chest than usual. That's where the style becomes sexual.. it's mixing innocent little girl inspired outfits into something more adult. Just like how uniforms are turned into sexy costumes. The classic Lolita in itself is quite elegant and very decent.
It makes me wonder, these Japanese girls that dress like dolls or lolis in all their variants, how do they manage with money? Do they dress more average some days and put the amazing dresses on only from time to time? Are they all just insanely rich… or in huge, painful amounts or debt?
Because you simply can't wear that dress often without getting tired of it very quickly.
In any case, they are usually interesting-looking, and in some cases (like this one) a wonderful surprise!
@kagitsune – I like this idea of the "Sweet Lolita." In my circles of acquaintance over the years, I've seen far too many young women (East and West) doing the dark, flamboyant, very accessorized Gothic Lolita look. I thought that was the only Lolita look, actually. But I like the light storybook freshness of this Sweet Lolita look.
I would love to examine the scene on the skirt more closely!
It's unfortunate that the Lolita style name is going to be linked with the idea of a Nabokov Lolita by many. Should have gone with another famous child name…Shirley (Temple)? Alice (in Wonderland)?
It's all about fantasy, no matter the country, designer, era or genre. What is so compelling when looking at fashion in Japan is that most of the young men and women one sees really are doll-like, no matter what they wear, and they become one with the look they choose to convey. I knew we'd be seeing some thought provoking photos from Japan!
Odd I have the very same BTSSB JSK hanging in my closet, thinking abt selling it as the print is from almost two years ago.
Also Lolita is mostly comprise of the modesty agenda a sort of rebellion from the over sexual world we live in. Also most Lolita's range from 17-24 as dress are around 300 to 400 dollar not including accessories, because most young girls parents are not willing to paying so much when building a wardrobe.
To be precise,Gothic Lolita is one of the subcategories of the Lolita look. Other categories include "Classic Lolita" (more traditional, light-coloured, also more mature-looking) and "Sweet Lolita" (childish pastel-coloured clothes, lots of lace and ribbons).
I'm all for personal style and self-expression, but damn, I find the phenomenon of women deliberately infantalizing themselves really disturbing. Playing a kid-style dress off of some grungy boots and rocker hair I can see; this… no.
It's true that Japan is still a very sexist culture.
However, to put things in their correct context, mainstream men/society in Japan do NOT want women to dress in this style, nor do they find it attractive (certainly there is a minority that does, but some people find squishing bugs with your feet sexy so…).
These girls refuse to "grow up", show some skin, and become sexual objects as is expected of Japanese women. If you have spent some time there (I lived there until 17) you'll see that the "mainstream" is of teeny tiny miniskirts, stilleto heels, tons of makeup, and a bippy attitude. Lolita style may be girly but it's THEIR way, by THEIR rules.
It's hard to see from a western perspective, but they are really subverting what is expected of them. They refuse to grow up and be housewives! They put themselves first.
I learned alot about this Lolita look from all these comments. And it makes me wonder… if this style is a rebellion against mainstream/oversexualized fashion and culture, what will happen if and when this Lolita look becomes mainstream? They say fashion is cyclical, so will micro-mini bandage dresses become the ammunition of choice at that point?
Can a person have an opinion without getting skewered for it? Not liking this style of dress might not be because a person is not open to another culture, or politicizing it to mean something. Perhaps it's simply not appealing to some folks' aesthetic. Personally I enjoy seeing people wear things I might never put on, but, that said, this style of dress just seems derivative, something that imitates the past without adding something new, and not something that has an original allure to me. Sometimes a person doesn't like something simply because they don't like pink and white clothing!
it's interesting that there is all this intense discussion about the kind of sexuality/or lack of portrayed by this style of japanese fashion- while on the left side of the moniter is an ad for American Apparel, of a girl wearing only lacy black underpants.
Sexuality and femininity in fashion is unavoidable no matter where we are. It's good to be aware of it, but I guess every culture has it's own way of expressing itself. No need to judge too quickly, I think.
Another anononymous…..I'm with 3:46am Anonymous. I get the idea, I like the creepiness, I really enjoy the distinctive creativity of much Japanese fashion, but I find the idea of a grown woman doing this without an undercutting element, a reference, a hint of some kind that she's playing with the idea just…odd, especially in a society which is often deeply sexist. I find this as unsettling as pre-teens in the West who are dressed in a deliberately sexy manner, in cut-down versions of older women's clothes. This woman doesn't feel to me like she's owning herself and her body, but rather running away from it.
The whole point of lolita is to be a little bit on the creepy side and I think it is completely aware of the infantilization of women's fashion. In many regards, it's very similar to punk, goth, etc. Goths and punks don't wake up in the morning and go, "what? people feel my style isolates me from the mainstream?," just like drag queens don't wake up and go, "what? people think my profession flirts with the notion of gender?" Lolita's aim, like the aim of all subcultural fashion, has never been to be approachable. There are women who are approachable who dress in the lolita style but they are all aware that they are dressing in a limited subculture that usually turns people from the mainstream off. The point of lolita is fantasy and, thus, it's no surprise that lolita fashion companies flourish during times of economic hardship. The creepiness of lolita is inevitable. Classic lolita companies group with gothic lolita and gothic elegant aristocrat companies in advertisements in magazines like the EGL Bible–which also promotes a common pool of musicians [Kana, Moi dix Mois,, etc.] It's clear there is a common intersection between classic and gothic lolita–and that intersection tends to fall into the creepier side of mainstream sentiments. I suppose it is a little bit surprising people are speaking about this photo as if she doesn't know precisely the impact her style has on its viewer. This girl has opted to be part of a subculture and she knows the implications and connotations of that subculture's visual impact on the viewer. As such, I feel like it's as appropriate to criticize her for sexualizing youth as it is to criticize a drag queen for sexualizing women. The point is to both shock and surprise the viewer that THE VIEWER sexualizes what they do–and not the dresser herself.
wow debate i love it! i've logged on to this site for quite a while, seen, in the majority scott's fantastic images from across the world and become pretty bored with the response of oh how cute, oh great look, oh loving this, wish i looked like this blah blah i throw a wee little comment in (see above) and we have a discussion. hopefully there will be more of this because all these images definately deserve a little more effort from all of us "skewered" or not!
So simple, classic and elegant I adore this style much more than the super cotton candy sweet version of Lolita we see so much.
I wear the fashion and I have no desire to look like a child these clothes are so beautiful and detailed they express a woman's beauty and femininity. I don't think she looks like a child at all but a very elegant young adult, saying that I am more acustomed to the fashion that I no longer view it as out if the ordinary.
This appeals to me on a cerebral level, as one of my guilty pleasures is Japanese horror films, which are often infused with erotic imagery and content. This young woman's expression puts me smack in the middle of one of these disturbing plots – the softness of her costume like a lullaby meant to erase any unease I feel at the back of my neck. Wonderful. Sher13163
Little Loveables – The lolita scene showed up in North America in the late 90s early 00s. Most of them were goth-lolis though.
While I applaud the level of craftsmanship and hardwork that goes into these outfits (many of the owners make them themselves) and just how beautiful they are, the style is off putting because of the child like image mixed with the ideals of staying young and cutesy forever.
Nice to see someone wearing lolita-fashion here. I wear lolita myself, and no, it's not because I want to look like a child, be a feminist's nightmare or to rebel against anything. I like the clothes because I think they are pretty and elegant and they are so much more ME than regular jeans and t-shirt – it's just a personal choice of style.
Of course I can't speak for the girl on the picture, but maybe this can clear some confusion as to why someone would dress that way…
Yeah, I wonder where the sexualizing lies – maybe it's the beholder… The Lolita name contributes a lot how we (in the Western world) perceive it. Interesting discussion – now I get the context of the Baby The Stars Shine Bright store in my neighborhood in Paris (on Ave. Ledru-Rollin in the 11
while reading through most of these comments it became painfully obvious how very little the world knows about japan and its 'crazy' fashions.
Lolita fashion is not "new" and definitely not a trend. its a subculture that's been around since mid to late 80's. most of japans "crazy harajuku trends" are infact more than just crazy clothes but japanese subcultures. much like America has its goths, punks,psycho-billy etc japan has its Lolitas, spank, mori, clubkids etc
these are not trends in fashion that people just wear and get over and find something new and weird to wear. but clothes that are deeply tied to the persons lifestyle, likes and dislikes etc, much like american subcultures it really is more than just clothes but a reflection of whatever they're into.
so no its not a 'trend' that has "passed" it was never a trend. people who look this way are very very few and far between (although lolitas are more popular now than ever, and even then there are not enough of them to call this a "trend" just a weird group of girls as far as most of japans public is concerned) and there is a bit of a social stigma tied to people of this (or any) subculture. they don't quite fit in with the public at large and are considered a bit "weird" by most. much like in america not everyone is say punk or goth…only… a bit worse. to brake of from the norm in in japan is far more taboo than it is in west.
I love Japan and its contrast. Both the past and present meshed up perfectly. The dress is age-appropriate and has a dreamy effect on me. But it also sends chill to my spine. She reminds me of the girl from the movie "The Ring". It's her eyes, found it creepy. Sorry!
I'm always saddened seeing little girls dressed like slobs in the same pair of blue jeans everyone and their grandmothers are wearing these days. They aren't going to wear jeans and a tee-shirt anywhere important in their lives – unless they end up working for a landscaping company.