Category Archive for Tokyo Gothic Lolita
Earless cat backpacks? My Scottish Fold kitty, Basil Farrow, approves!
Japanese fashion lovers, you can rejoice. This post is all about gyaru-kawaii clothing…
… and there’s more on the way. I’m happy to announce that I’ll be in Tokyo (late Nov to mid Dec), working on a new TV show!
The Pirates (our Japan fixing, arranging and hosting company) are once again teaming up with a German television network. We can’t reveal much about the episode, but it’ll involve the usual kooky Jpop culture, and has something to do with the “Basil in a Box” photo above.
And of course, I’ll find time to bring you reports about the latest Tokyo trends.
Since many of you enjoyed my post about Gothloli stores in Vivre, let’s continue our tour of this Yokohama youth department store. This time, we’ll focus on gyaru (gal) and kawaii brands, including Liz Lisa and Cecil McBee.
You may have noticed I’ve been wearing a lot of Liz Lisa, such as in Belgrade. I like to mix and match items, rather than wearing the brand head-to-toe (LL is too pink and girly for me). I think their aesthetic is well executed, from the swirling font to the rose-studded makeup.
How cute are the little plush lambs, with pink heart-shaped noses?
This lace-covered dress, from Liz Liza’s My Melody (Sanrio) collection, is my current favorite. (Remember I wore it in my Adone Magazine cover shoot.) I bought the light blue one because of the Alice in Wonderland vibe. It was less than $100 US — insane, for the quality and design!
Cecil McBee is another well-known gyaru brand, with a more urban vibe. A favorite of trendy Shibuya girls.
In Japan, a cute cat-face purse fits every style subgroup (Goth, Lolita, gyaru).
Elegant pastel and black shoes with metallic accents.
Blue Moon Blue has a bright, casual look.
Light, wide-neck sweaters and soft pastels are everywhere.
A lot of gyaru boutiques sell the same or similar items. Prices are quite reasonable; these “set items” are about $50.
Happy face backpack, anyone?
I love these artistic cat purses and wallets. I wish I got some at the time…
What’s new in the world of Tokyo shoes? Pastel creepers, platforms and sequins.
Colorful punk pop. I always buy shoes when I’m in Japan, as they’re very well priced and the designs are outstanding.
Not sure what’s going on with this poster.
Tokyo fashion has something for everyone. You can be a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world.
Yokohama Vivre contains a Swimmer shop. No scuba equipment here, but tons of cute accessories and homewares.
Would you choose the cat or the bear purse?
Swimmer’s a funny mix of cute and ugly. (More about Swimmer in this post.)
What do you think of Japanese gyaru and kawaii clothes? If you’d like to see more of Liz Lisa, check out my Hong Kong gyaru shop photos.
I think the only downside of going to Japan is being away from this cat-face!
Is there anything you’d like me to cover while I’m in Tokyo? Places, shops, bars?
All previous blog posts about Japan are here, and my shopping / clubbing guides are linked in the right sidebar.
Notice something different? Haircut! My head feels much lighter; my stylist took off several inches. I think it’s a fresher look, what do you think?
Halloween is near and I have big travel plans, which I will announce soon. Until then, let’s get in the mood with a guide to Gothic Toronto below. And if you’re in Tokyo on October 12, you can’t miss my dear Yukiro’s Spooktacular party… Read to the end for your VIP invitation!
I shot these photos in Vancouver (Robson Square Eagle statue). The rain gave me an excuse to pop open my Hyoma eyeballs umbrella from Izzue Hong Kong.
Studded silver and black top: by my friend and Hong Kong designer, Spider by Natalie Lam. Those of you with sharp memories might recall I wore this as a dress on The Doctors (medical daytime TV show where I spoke about bagelheads). Dorothy Perkins makes a similar studded dress.
Mary Jane shoes: Demonia. They also make sexy buckle boots.
Little black purse with metal chain: got it at the Izzue Hong Kong store. Very similar to this See by Chloe purse.
Red lipstick: Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist, one of my favorite cosmetics brands.
Eyeshadow: purple, black and white shades from the new “Cold Chemistry” collection by Sugarpill Cosmetics – thanks Shrinkle, I love your makeup!
Now, for my guide to Toronto Goth fashion and nightlife. Over the past few years, I became friends with Taeden Hall, designer of a dark and romantic clothing label called Gloomth & the Cult of Melancholy. (Remember I wore her dress to the Luisaviaroma Firenze4Ever dinner?)
Gloomth is based in Toronto, and has a cult following among Gothic Lolita and Victorian fashion lovers. To get the scoop on the Ontario Gothic community, I chatted with Taeden and her friend Laura (editrix of online magazine Morbid Outlook, DJ, and director of tribal fusion bellydance troupe, The Serpentina North Ensemble).
How did you first become interested and involved in Gothic underground fashion and subcultures in Toronto?
TAEDEN: Honestly, I had never heard the word “gothic” until I was about 17/18 years old, this was before the Internet was widely available. I had no clue that there were people out there that looked and felt like I did. I didn’t really have a name for the style I wore, it was heavily influenced by really bad vampire books and even worse movies. I moved to Toronto officially when I was 18 and was already fascinated by Gothic culture and fashion, so the first thing I did was walk right up to the first “Gothy” girl I saw at my university and made her be my friend. It sounds so lame now but honestly that’s exactly how it happened. I’m a doofus. She and I started going to the local clubs/events and meeting more like-minded people.
LAURA: I’ve been kicking around the Goth scene in the US back when I was a teenager (early 90s); I moved to Toronto over 3 years ago because I feel very at home in this city.
Can you tell me how the Gothic scene in Toronto originated and evolved? Are there aspects that are distinct to this movement?
TAEDEN: I read once that a major city is one that has a minimum of 10 full-time Goths. As for the scene developing in Toronto, I think it came about as it did in many North American urban centers – sort of an offshoot of punk and New Wave – from “new romantic” to “Gothic”. Eventually you get enough people feeling the same way and they open clubs and spaces to congregate in – thus the subculture expands. I think Toronto’s “Gothic” scene was really tight-knit for a very long time, the same people running the same events and hosting the same shows. I also think the scene here was really connected to the underground art scene also, which is true of many subcultures.
LAURA: Toronto has been a big EBM town for 10-15 years and there’s a strong cybergoth contingent, although the trad Goth and deathrock scene is making a revival.
How would you describe Gothic fashion in Toronto? Which styles, brands, looks are popular? Has it changed over the years?
TAEDEN: What’s considered “Gothic” now is nothing like what was considered so when I moved here. I think there’s more of a mainstream influence on the culture and fashion than there has ever been. The internet makes it incredibly easy to find the clothing and the music, which was not the case 10+ years ago. At the clubs you see everything from decked out cyber and fetish kids to casual black-skirt-black-top girls. On the streets it’s definitely less dramatic for the most part, lots of big boots and short skirts, babydoll t-shirts printed with whatever comic/movie/slogan/band/thing.
LAURA: Cybergoth complete with big dreadlocks/plastic tubing hair and platforms is very prominent among the younger generation here. Big boots and short skirts are also a very Toronto look.
Can you recommend some Toronto or Ontario-based Gothic clothing brands, designers and shops?
LAURA: Designers include Gloomth, Plastik Wrap, and Futurstate, while stores would include Borderline.
What is the Toronto alt/EBM/fetish club and bar scene like?
TAEDEN: The Goth club scene in Toronto is somewhat sparse. There are some really well-attended fetish nights in the city but the “Gothic” club scene mainly involves the same couple of nights at the same places. “The Velvet Underground” (Queen St. West) has a decent night on Thursdays and lots of people attend “Neutral” on Fridays/Saturdays – others include and “Bovine Sex Club”.
LAURA: Velvet Underground on Thursdays and Neutral on Fridays are great for dancing, but the fashion is very casual. The best dressed can be found at fetish events like Fetish Masquerade and Subspace alt and body mod club.
What do you predict for the darkwave scene in Toronto? Is it growing, changing?
TAEDEN: It’s hard to predict where the scene is going in Toronto. It would be great if people could get some new nights and events going, but it’s always hard to get everyone on the same page and people are notoriously reluctant to try new places. I think “Gothic” style is going to keep being subdivided into a multitude of categories and tribes within those.
LAURA: Definitely. As I mentioned earlier, I think things are coming full circle and the traditional Goth/Goth rock/romantic and deathrock looks and music are being revived and inroduced to a new generation.
(The four watermarked photos are courtesy of Gloomth – check their Facebook page for upcoming events, such as tea parties.)
Now, for a Japanese event. Are any of you in Tokyo on Saturday, October 12? Then you must celebrate Halloween with my evil queen.
Yukiro is debuting a Goth-Glam party, Die Schwarze Frau presents: A Halloween Spooktacular. This night of terror includes performances by Japan’s darkest bands and DJs (see flyer above).
Yukiro will be doing up to EIGHT costume changes throughout the night, including cosplays of famous Gothic divas. There will be a pro photobooth, and dress up contest featuring a dance-off-duel. Prizes include about $500 US worth of plane tickets… you don’t want to miss this chance to jet-set.
Here are all the details you need to party with Yukiro and friends.
When: 2013.10.12 (Saturday). Opens 4pm, starts 4:30pm.
Where: Morph Tokyo in Roppongi (district of Tokyo, Japan)
Entrance: ￥3000 with a drink ticket included. If you wear a costume, it’s ￥2000 and you get a drink ticket.
RSVP & more info: On this Facebook page
What will you be doing this Halloween? Have you figured out a costume yet?
Check back soon for my All Hallow’s Eve plans… as you might have a chance to celebrate with me! Any guesses about where I will be?
Guess what — I’ll be in Asia again soon! Can you guess which city? It may not be where you expect… but I promise, there will be lots of cute, poppy street style reports.
I’m already getting into the spirit, as you can tell from the bunny ears. Here are more photos from my Adone Magazine cover shoot in Tokyo a few months ago.
I had a great time posing in game centers and anime shops. This geeky neighborhood is Nakano Broadway (do you remember the monster-dancing video Yukiro and I made about it?)
They were wonderful to work with; full of creative ideas and energy. The shoot went by fast because we were laughing the entire time! If you’re looking for a professional photographer and hairstylist in Tokyo, I hope you’ll give them a ring (they speak English and Japanese). Take a look at Said’s site to see more of his images and contact info.
Are these Shinto torii gates? Nope, this is the entrance to Mandarake, the famous Nakano manga and toy store.
Near the subway tracks, there’s a long mural filled with cute colorful art, such as this bunny. Since I look a bit like Alice in Wonderland, I thought it would be appropriate to chase him.
I love the pop-rainbow Fruits Magazine feeling of this district. Kukuachoo made these hair extension flowers entirely by hand!
My pirate creeper shoes and bunny-eared hoodie are by Peace Now, the Japanese alt-Goth brand that is sadly no more.
We found a mysterious door, leading to a secret garden.
What lies inside? I’ll never tell…
I can’t resist jumping shots. The street filled with signs made the perfect backdrop. When the sun begins to set, the “golden hour” for photography begins.
My outfit details:
White lace sleeveless dress: Liz Lisa, the gyaru brand
Black booties: Michael Kors
White long coat: Camden Market London.
Me and my lantern. Nothing beats night-time photography in Japan.
This long, white fuzzy coat is among my favorite wardrobe items. It reminds me of the iconic one worn in the film, Last Tango in Paris.
My hair color and personal style are constantly changing… but there’s always some kawaii, underground and J-pop influence in there. You can see my evolution over the years in these photos.
More images from this photoshoot are posted here. What do you think of my pink hair? I only had it like this for a short while because the color washed out quickly..
And where in Asia do you think I will be next? Leave a comment with your best guess!
This is a story about a Harajuku, Tokyo Steampunk shop, called A Story.
If you’ve seen anime films like Steamboy, you might think that Steampunk is big in Japan. In fact, this boutique hadn’t even heard of the word until about a year ago… even though they had been making clockwork and brass accessories for some time!
Kenny and Luke (creators of the party Steam Garden) told me about A Story. On a recent shopping trip in Harajuku, my spooky friends and I were determined to pay a visit.
Said Karlsson, who shot me for my Adone Magazine cover, took a few street snaps along the way. My Alice in Wonderland-like dress is Liz Lisa; the white rabbit bag is from Amavel in Lumine Shinjuku.
It took us forever to find it, so let me give you A Story’s address first: Carat Harajuku 103, 3-27-14 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (東京都渋谷区神宮前 3-27-14 キャラット原宿103).
A Story also has a Shinjuku location, and sells items at the regular event Steam Garden.
The interior felt like a mad Victorian gentleman’s lair. So many handmade accessories, with intricate clockwork parts.
Antique style lockets and key pendants for the ladies.
A top hat with brass decorations — oh yes!
Behind this antique tuba, an artisan tinkered over mechanical devices.
Beautiful the level of detail, purse arranged meticulously
The wrist-watches are marvelously made, with a charming old map background. I could see them on a Jules Verne character.
I was charmed by A Story; it’s well worth mapping it out and stopping by, if you’re Harajuku.
The shopping trip continued with improptu dramatic posing. Batman, woo hoo!
Cat-eared hats are all over Tokyo at the moment.
There’s also a lot of spiky headbands, inverted crosses and Nu Goth fashion.
This Scottish Fold t-shirt design was apparently stolen from Glitter Hell…
Love this pink hair Japanese girl’s outfit and styling.
She’s standing in front of a boutique that sells designer clothes for dogs. (Remember when I visited the swank Deco’s dog cafe?)
Harajuku boys dress marvelously; love the laid-back layers and messenger bag.
It was getting darker when we walked by the h.Naoto store, Gramm. (Here are photos of the store interior, from the Hangry & Angry fashion show.)
Secondhand stores are hit-and-miss, nevertheless fun to browse.
Vintage pieces are great for putting together a retro-Victorian outfit. That’s what I did for my Ladies of Steampunk magazine cover and spread.
Don’t forget to consult my Harajuku shopping guide, packed with addresses, photos and info on the best alternative stores.
Are you enjoying my Tokyo steampunk coverage? Would you wear the clockwork items in A Story?
For more photos of this underground fashion, see my review of the regular Japanese steampunk party, Steam Garden.