Coordinate Snap! Friday, Feb 26

Last night one of my good friends was DJing at the dance club I go to. I was feeling quite under the weather, and not really up to going, but I couldn't miss his spot, so of course I had to get all dolled up to go! Nothing like a cute outfit to distract from a sore throat. ;)

I really like this Bodyline skirt. I appreciate it because it is not a knockoff, but was an original design of someone in their design contests. While I can't pretend to be all high and mighty about not buying replicas of brand items (I do own several), I never really feel happy about wearing them, so I prefer original designs like this. I wish they would stop making replicas and concentrate on more original designs! This was one of the cutest things they've ever made, and we can all wear it without any embarrassment! ♥

Outfit rundown:
bow: Heart E
blouse, coat, socks: Metamorphose
skirt, bunny bag: Bodyline
shoes: Antenna
necklaces: Innocent World lion, pearls made by my mother ♥
ring and bracelet made by LJ user chiyu_hime ♥

Let's Talk About Hime-Kei

Below is an English translation of the second of 31 essays/short articles in Takemoto Novala's recently published 乙女のトリビア, or Trivia for Maidens, originally published in Zipper magazine.

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Let’s Talk About Hime-kei.
That Hime-kei that Catches Your Interest

“Hime-kei”. There was a time that was referred to as super feminine as well, but even today, girls who buy clothing from brands like Jesus Diamante, Pinky Girls, DelilaH, and Liz Lisa are all also hime-kei. (Even Delyle, with its cool image, also fits in the hime-kei category, don’t you think?)

To briefly explain what hime-kei is, it’s one substyle of gyaru, just like B-kei, that grew up from somewhere. The goal? To become a princess. To draw a clear line and describe the popular clothing in one simple image, think full frill mode, with the main color being pink. The hair is curled with a curling iron, and piled up into a gorgeous updo. …But wait, with this description, those of you who are unfamiliar with hime-kei may think, “But you’re describing lolita!” Good catch. That’s right, hime-kei is quite similar to lolita. Because of this, it’s not really mistaken to categorize girls who like gyaru style with a lolita taste as being hime-kei. I suppose if this were a test, we’d have to mark that one as correct (after all, there are even people who straddle the line between hime-kei and lolita and go back and forth a lot).

However, the main difference between hime-kei and lolita is that hime-kei girls love shiny things. While lolitas don’t usually have too much interest in shiny things (by the way, while lolitas may curl their hair into long barrel rolls, they don’t usually put it in an updo), hime girls want to have shiny things everywhere they can. Rhinestones and sequins are a must. Their nails, cell phone, even the contents of their bags and make-up pouches are covered in sparkles to the point of ridiculousness. But you know, I feel a certain affinity with the hime girls. After all, it’s so cute!

A tiara from Jesus Diamante

When I buy hime-kei items, I often purchase them at Claire’s. There’s probably a Claire’s in your town as well. They sell many things like fans covered in fur, and tiaras that make you think, when the heck would someone wear something like this? The best thing about Claire’s is how inexpensive it all is. Recently I bought *two* leopard print belts. I mean, they were less than 1000 yen each!

If you aren’t interested in hime-kei, that’s okay, but if you have any part of you that is often drawn in by romantic thoughts, why not include some hime-kei items in your own wardrobe, even if you don’t want to become a full-on gyaru? After all, the main trends in the 2005 Paris Collection were completely hime-kei and lolita!

Christian Dior presented a collection simply covered in sequins, with full flowing skirt hems and plenty of lace and ribbons. Chanel’s theme this time was “French Garden”. That is, he revamped the Rococo aesthetics from Marie Antoinette’s time. This is so essentially hime-kei and lolita, isn’t it? Just think, the street fashion of Japan, hime-kei and lolita, which have been looked down upon and considered in bad taste, over the top, and ugly over the years, have now influenced the world’s top designers! Isn’t that amazing?

To the left: Christian Dior,
S/S 2005, Paris Collection

To the right: Chanel,
S/S 2005, Paris Collection

If you’d like to try mixing in some hime-kei without going overboard with girliness, the first thing I’d recommend is a frilly mini skirt and camisole. These look very cool even with a jersey or with denim, and this level of girliness is often featured in just about any mainstream fashion magazine. Personally, as someone who actually comes the lolita world but still checks hime-kei frequently, while Pinky Girls and Liz Lisa are nice as well, I’d like you to try something a little different and check out Love Boat, a brand that keeps the 109 aesthetic but also has a lolita taste. They even sell stationary and accessories!

If you are someone not interested in hime-kei or lolita, and you say to yourself, “Well, hime-kei is just for gyaru, and frills are just for lolita, so neither of them has any use for me,” your fashion sense will grow stale and predictable. If something strikes your fancy, you should try something from a shop that is different from where you usually shop. You are your own stylist, so no one will get angry with you even if you wear a Comme des Garcons skirt with a Jesus Diamante t-shirt. A coordinate that truly works, even though it’s completely unexpected and unique, is the best kind, don’t you think?

Let’s try something shiny and frilly!

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This article was strange for me to translate. I can’t imagine anyone in 2009, when this book was published, or in 2005-2007, the years in which the articles were originally published (I’m not sure the original publication date of each individual article) not knowing what hime-kei is. It’s been so prevalent since well before 2005 that it comes as a shock to me that this article would be written like this. But perhaps that is only because hime-kei really is so very similar to lolita in many ways, which means that those of us interested in lolita are exposed to a surprising amount of it. On the other hand, B-kei, which is mentioned in this article in a very matter-of-fact fashion, expecting everyone to know it, is completely new to me. I guess I just always considered this style of gyaru to be “standard gyaru style”, and I was never aware there was a separate name for it. I am not surprised that there is, but I am somewhat amused that I had never heard of it. But I’ve never been a very big fan of gyaru.

Hime gyaru, on the other hand, can be quite intriguing. It’s not my thing, but I do sometimes love a mixture of hime with lolita. I think that ever since about 2007, the line between the two has been becoming increasingly blurred. As lolita gets more and more princess-y and over the top, and hair gets bigger and bigger and ever-increasingly elaborate, at the same time lolitas are wearing more and more glitter and bling. Is this the influence of hime-kei, or simply the influence of the popular Angelic Pretty style? Or are those both part of the same phenomenon? Angelic Pretty actually has a very large following amongst hime gyaru. When I used to stop in the Osaka shop at least 3 times a week, chances are that at least one of those times I would see hime gyaru in there buying several pieces of pearl jewelry and extravagant pink princess dresses. Perhaps we could all gain by a little appreciation of this style that is so similar to our own even as it’s so very different.

Anyway, I think I like the current shared trends much better than those I remember from the spring/summer of 2007, when everyone wanted to do the extravagant updos of hime gyaru, ratting and piling their hair atop their head similar to the signature gyaru beehive. (I was not exempt from trying this craze myself!) I think a little rhinestone decadence is a welcome addition compared to that travesty!

Let's Talk About Perfume

Below is an English translation of the first of 31 essays/short articles in Takemoto Novala's recently published 乙女のトリビア, or Trivia for Maidens, originally published in Zipper magazine.

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Let’s talk about Perfume.
That perfume that suits your style.

Even though I never wear anything but Dior Fahrenheit, I own a lot of perfumes. After all, it’s not just the scent itself that is appealing. If the name is wonderful or the bottle is cute, I find myself wanting to buy it.

Of course I own all the famous ones, like Poizon, Chanel No 5, Shalimar, Les Belles de Ricci, and Babydoll. In Novala Castle, you can find not only Guerlain’s Mitsouko, which nowadays is only worn by stylish older women, but also più cologne, which was once the must-have item for elementary and high school girls.

As an author, someone who writes novels, when I’m creating my characters, not only do I decide what shop they buy their clothing from, but also, I choose a perfume for them to wear. For example, Mishin, the punk rocker in Mishin 2/Casako, wears Vivienne Westwood’s Boudoir. After all, it has a saccharine but rocking scent. The aesthetically inclined Aunt Reiko from the horror novel Scale Princess wears Christian Dior’s Poizon. This scent could only suit a woman who chooses an elegant lifestyle of mysticism.

While the note of a perfume (the scent of a perfume is called the “note”) changes slightly from person to person when worn, much like clothing, we don’t want to wear the same thing as everyone else. Because of this, whenever I’m asked to recommend a perfume, I always hesitate. I can only give advice to choose it yourself.

To split perfumes into a few main types, there are refreshing and casual scents, like Gransenbon, and trendy cool scents, such as Dolce & Gabbana. There are elegant perfumes that proclaim that the wearer is quite the lady, like Bulgari Pour Femme, and sexy mysterious types that are noticeable as perfumes such as Poizon and Jean-Paul Gaultier. These are the four main types. By understanding these, you should be able to choose a scent that suits your own personality from the mountain of possibilities.

Even after all this, if I am asked, “Still, tell me one that’s cool right now that you like, even if it’s biased and your own opinion!” well, hmm…I guess in that case, Dior’s Forever and ever. The simple pink bottle is adorable, and it has a rose-based sweetness that is not too heavy, so it can be used for both casual wear and when dressed up. Also, it hasn’t really become exceedingly popular yet, so you won’t overlap with too many other people.

I have worn my own beloved Fahrenheit for many years now, but there are very few men who wear it. However, during the height of the Fuyu no Sonata television drama’s popularity, it became known that Bae Yong Jun liked this scent, and for a while it became very popular with women. It was so troublesome! Bae Yong, how dare you wear the same perfume as Novala!

Anyway, we’ve been talking about perfume, but did you know that there are four ranks for perfume based on concentration of the perfume’s essential oils?

Strictly speaking, “perfume” refers to the highest rank perfume, perfume extract, with which if you apply more than a drop, it will be so strong as to surpass smelling good and be too much. Scents made as perfumes are also very expensive. The next rank is parfum. Most spray perfumes that are commonly used are actually the 3rd rank, eau de toilette. And the last level, with the least scent, is eau de cologne.

Personally, I believe that using perfumes and eau de parfums can wait until adulthood, and yet eau de colognes seem childish, so for teenagers and young women, I recommend eau de toilettes, which are also affordable. However, I’d like you to remember the four ranks of perfumes, perfume extract, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, and eau de cologne, as knowledge that every proper maiden should have.

Toilettes will lose their scent after about four hours, so if you put it on in the morning and go to school, but then have a date with your boyfriend in the evening, you should put it on again. There are many different bottle sizes for toilettes, so why not carry a small bottle in your bag? Should you do this, you will be the master of toilette.

A beloved perfume can life your spirits when worn, even if you aren’t going to meet anyone that day. I like to spray my bed’s pillowcase and comforter with my favorite scent to be wrapped in a content feeling as I drift off to sleep. It feels decadent and luxurious. Please try it~!

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This essay by our beloved Takemoto Novala was originally published in Zipper magazine, and was recently included in an essay collection entitled Trivia for Maidens, from which I hope to bring you several essays in the future. They tend to be light-hearted practical essays, as evidenced by the above, and can make for fun light reading. You may even gain some new knowledge! (And we all want that important knowledge that all maidens should have, don’t we?) I personally am somewhat embarrassed to admit that while I was vaguely aware that there are different concentrations of perfumes that determine the name, I could not have named them in the correct order. (And judging by the number of girls who get a giggle out of the name of Angelic Pretty’s Rose Toilette print, I’m guessing I’m not the only one!)

On a personal note, for me, my favorite scent is Vivienne Westwood’s Boudoir. I was probably at least partially influenced by the above-mentioned Mishin when I first read Novala’s first novel, Mishin, which came out exactly 10 years ago (Happy Anniversary Novala!). I was so taken with that novel in general, and fell in love with the character. But how could anyone not love Boudoir?

I only own three perfumes…excuse me, two eau de parfums and one eau de toilette. I wear Boudoir when I am going out or when I just want a pick-me-up. To me, it has a very sexy romantic feel, so I definitely love wearing it. Vivienne Westwood’s Let it Rock is a very strong fun scent for daytime or if I’m feeling a bit punky. It’s very bold and I don’t feel that it fits me personally as well as Boudoir, but it is very fun and puts me in a daring mood! The third scent I wear sometimes is Anna Sui’s self-named Anna Sui. I like this scent, but not nearly as much as the other two. It’s sweet but with a very vintage feel to me. I like to give myself a light spray with this one on for work – it’s fun and keeps my spirits up through the morning, but is not overpowering, and I feel somehow that it is very appropriate for an office setting.

How about you? What perfume is your favorite? Do you think it fits your personality? What led you to choose it?

"Kuro Pink"?

Welcome to my new blog! Please excuse the mess while I'm getting situated!

This blog will be a mishmash of several different things. Most interestingly, perhaps, I would like to commit myself to doing at least 1 translation a week of something interesting from the Japanese side of the lolita world. Be it an essay from Novala, a particularly intriguing entry from a Japanese girl's blog, or some info from a brand announcement, I will try to provide new information from the land where it all began at least once a week!

But alas, I cannot always be so useful, and so much of the rest of my blog will consist of daily coordinate snapshots, reports from any events I should attend, and photos of whatever sewing project I have made lately!

I will do my best to keep this from coming another "LJ #2", so if you'll put up with my occasional randomness and slightly-less-frequent updates than many, I look forward to seeing you, and hopefully your comments, around! よろしくお願いいたします!

Oh, and a word about my blog name seems in order.

When I was still in college, I was a sad, sad, boring girl, and did not allow myself to properly acknowledge that yearning in my soul for all things goth! (Too busy studying, I suppose, and also living up to expectations of what a perfect student would be interested in...) So when I would occasionally express some heartfelt love for something gothic, oftentimes my friends would be surprised.

One day, one friend, in response to something I had said, asked me, "Are you goth? Is your soul black?"

To which another good friend responded, "Are you kidding? Her soul is pink with butterflies!"

Who would have guessed at the time that it would turn out to be both, a lovely pink and black stripe?

And so therefore, this blog, and indeed my life in general, is dedicated to the discovery and celebration of who we truly are - all those who would judge us negatively for such identity be damned!

And besides - they're damned cute colors together! ♥