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Goth Hanami: Japanese cherry blossoms picnic! Imagine Van Gogh Vancouver review, Ministry of Wings hat, Latokyo.

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Hail Persephone, goddess of spring — and queen of the underworld!

It’s cherry blossom season again, and Vancouver is currently permitting a 10-person bubble to safely gather outdoors (I’ve been following local health guidelines since March 2020). I enjoyed the baby-pink blossoms in my signature way — by attending a Goth girl picnic. 

goth witch black hat round brim, gothic sun hats

Anyone else have wild, extra-long lockdown hair going on? Read on for our sakura flower-viewing photos, along with my Gothic grunge meets e-girl  / pastel kei outfit.

OOTD — Black wool hat with crosses on the brim by Ministry of Wings (give them a follow on Instagram). Long sleeved crop top Latokyo. Purple Goth tartan skirt Ninja Cosmico.  Sunglasses are Chloe Rosie Heart; get them here.

imagine van gogh vancouver convention centre art

And read on for my review of Imagine Van Gogh, the immersive art and music show that is currently in Vancouver. (I attended the media preview; the exhibition has timed limited tickets, mask requirements and other safe practices.)

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I’ve been rather isolated in the past months, so it’s been a treat to see a few trustworthy local friends in recent weeks. The pink and white Japanese cherry blossoms never last for long, so VesperSephony and I went to enjoy the flowers and shoot portraits.

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Travelers from over 150 countries are currently prohibited from visiting Japan as tourists, including Canadians. I miss being in Japan, but at least Vancouver has many parks with cherry bloom trees that remind me of Tokyo.

The pink canopy matches my hair color and pink Skandinavik coat (made from Mongolian sheared lamb fur — no animals were harmed).

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We contrasted the pastel cherry blossoms with Gothic fashion edge! I’m wearing Japanese-style socks, which can be scrunched down Harajuku schoolgirl-style, by Sock Dreams. I’m a long-time fan of their inclusive sizing and wide variety of alternative styles / patterns / colors.

My leather platform heels are these exact Mexique ankle boots by Jeffrey Campbell. Hat by Ministry of Wings, top by Latokyo, skirt Ninja Cosmico. Shop my look with a click below:

big japanese umbrella red inside goth latokyo

This badass umbrella and turtleneck crop top from Latokyo add to the feeling that I’m back in Japan. Latokyo is an indie fashion label that blends Eastern culture with Western apparel, with a dark yet minimal aesthetic.

I am holding their Dead Sky Umbrella, which is a powerhouse: 41 inches, with a sturdy metal frame that will never turn inside-out. The exterior is black, while the interior has an eye-catching red sky print and the LA東京 logo. The parasol comes with a slip bag with a sling, so you can carry it over your shoulder and wield it like a katana!

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I am also wearing Latokyo’s long sleeve crop top, which has the signature stripe logo on the turtleneck, and a cute red label detail at the hem. Love how it pairs well with a variety of wardrobe pieces, including high waisted skirts.

(Pair photos by Joyce Cheung of Ondine Photography. Individual photos of me by VesperSephony.)

latokyo clothing umbrella la tokyo fashion

Latokyo’s umbrella arrived just in time for our Goth spring picnic – it shielded me from the sun and showering petals. I try to do hanami (花見, “flower viewing”) every year; it’s the ancient Japanese tradition of appreciating the sakura blossoms before they quickly fade and fall. We spread out blankets, and enjoyed onigiri (rice balls) and matcha lattes under the pink trees.

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In this bizarre timeline of restrictions and variants, the age-old Japanese concept of “mono no aware”—a wistful recognition of impermanence, as represented by the falling blossoms—hits especially close to home.

japan cherry blossom trees photoshoot modeling harajuku girl

Cherry blossom trees are found worldwide, especially in Japanese gardens. Check your local blossom forecast (桜前線, sakura-zensen) to see the “cherry blossom front,” or blooming predictions. This way, you can see the sakura flowers when they are at their finest.

purple black tartan plaid skirt ninja cosmico

My friends managed to have the picnic at the peak time for this species of sakura (there are various cherry blossom types, with colors ranging from deep pink to white). The sun also came out, after months of rain.

Soft Grunge, Nu Goth, Pastel goth, Egirl aesthetic alternative e-girl clothes

We shot some fashion-walk videos under the trees — see the best cut below and on @lacarmina TikTok. But if you want a laugh, see the “throwing shade” funny outtake here!

@lacarmina

Always dropping shade, even at ##hanami 🌸🌺🇯🇵 – w @spellbound.steph What do you think of my #c#herryblossom picnic outfit? 💞 #s#akura #p#astelgoth

♬ Substitute (Original Mix) – Liquid Gold & Liquid Gold

long pink purple hair heart sunglasses chloe rosie

Outfit roll call: Chloe Rosie Heart sunglasses, black witchy hat Ministry of Wings, long sleevee top LATokyo, purple black plaid skirt Ninja Cosmico, scrunchable knee socks Sock Dreams. and pink furry coat Skandinavik Fur.

goth japanese schoolgirl purple plaid skirt tartan

Have you ever done hanami, or cherry blossom celebrations? Now is the time to see these gorgeous pink flowers before they disappear.

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Vesper and I were fortunate to be able to attend another fantastic local event, Imagine Van Gogh. As you know, I adore seeing art — and this was my first opportunity to walk through an exhibition in over a year.

Imagine Van Goth is an immersive art experience, which is currently in Vancouver until August 29th. The grandiose show pays tribute to the life and work of master painter, Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890).

vancouver Imagine Van Gogh - The Immersive Exhibition

Here’s a sense of the scale — Van Gogh’s distinctive paintings are blown up and projected on multiple towering screens, which fill up a gigantic room at the Vancouver Conference Centre. (Here’s a close-up on one of his self portraits.)

Up close with his thick brushstrokes and bright colors, I felt as if I were part of his expressive works.

van gogh portrait woman face painting art

The projections were constantly shifting, illuminating the room with different colors and movements. Classical music accompanied Van Gogh’s imagery, inspiring me to create this video below:

@lacarmina

Van Gogh’s immersive paintings are my new dance floor. ##vangogh exhibition in Vancouver ##imaginevangogh – tickets still available! ##puttinontheritz

♬ Puttin’ on the Ritz – Taco

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The Dutch post-Impressionist is best known for his paintings of sunflowers and starry nights. (And for cutting off his own ear!). At Imagine Van Gogh, we also got to see his lesser-known landscapes and still-lifes, and black-and-white photographs of where he grew up.

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Imagine Van Gogh is also an experience for your ears (or ear, if you only have one like Vincent). The art projections flowed to the sounds of Saint-Saëns, Mozart, Bach, Delibes and Satie.

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A black-and-white moment that matched our Gothic outfits. (My shirt and scarf are by Latokyo.)

immersive van goth art exhibit installation vancouver

The show reminded me of Tokyo’s Teamlab Borderless and Planets exhibit, which I saw in 2018. (See my story and photos about visiting Teamlab in Japan.) Imagine Van Gogh is touring, and will later be in Edmonton, Tacoma Washington, and Boston MA.

photography allowed imagine van goth instagram media preview

My LATokyo scarf and top were fitting for the show, as Vincent Van Gogh was rather inspired by Japanese art. He fervently collected Japanese art prints, and his “Japonisme” works are influenced by the colors, perspectives, and motifs of these Eastern engravings.

Vancouver Art Exhibition: Imagine Van Gogh tour dates 2021

I hope you’ll get a chance to dance through Imagine Van Gogh while it’s in Vancouver (through August 29). The multi-projections and immersive audio added depth to his imagery, and gave me a new appreciation of his vision.

digital orca douglas coupland statue killer whale vancouver convention centre

Bonus photo from outside the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. I’m posing with “Digital Orca,” a 2009 sculpture of a killer whale by Douglas Coupland. My 東京 scarf and shirt are LA Tokyo.

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And here’s a close-up of my comfortable platform sneakers by Anthony Wang Shoes, and hat by Tenth Street Hats.

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This spring, you won’t see me without my new Baphomet jacket, designed by my friends at Long Clothing. With a circular red patch of the Satanic icon on the back, this Baphomet MA1 Patch Jacket is one unholy bomber.

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Here’s a closer look at my stunning hat by startup Australian label, Ministry of Wings. This design is called the Arrow of Time — it’s a classic dipped crown oval boater, with a wide brim to protect from the sun’s rays. Ministry of Wings crafts their luxurious hats from 100% Australian wool, with silk lining inside. The black velvet ribbon and polished gold plated crosses on the outside are one-of-a-kind!

I encourage you to add Ministry of Wings on Instagram to see their other stunning, alternative hat designs.

Ministry of Wings hat Luxury wool felt hats crosses

If you ask me, the crosses spin in the left direction, which makes them upside down!

Wearing a Latokyo t-shirt featuring their Octopus Girl print. As someone who’s lived in Los Angeles and Tokyo, and still visits often (well, in a regular year), their designs are my cup of sake.

lucien greaves band satanic planet album tour interview satan music

Let’s wrap up with a few of my recent articles and press features. I chatted with Lucien Greaves of The Satanic Temple about his first musical project, Satanic Planet!

In this exclusive interview for Riot Fest, find out what his new Satanic band sounds like (members include drummer Dave Lombardo of Slayer), and learn about the upcoming music videos and album drop on May 28. Lucien Greaves also gives in-depth updates on The Satanic Temple’s activism, including erecting the Baphomet monument, and pursuing lawsuits such as a Texas reproductive rights TRO.

satanic panic lil has x satan sneakers

By now, I’m sure we have all seen the Lil Nas X “Montero” music video where he pole dances down to hell and gives Satan a lap dance. I was interviewed by Unilad about Satanic Panic, and how it’s more urgent than ever to fight conspiracy theories about ritual Satanic abuse. We also discuss The Satanic Temple’s Grey Faction initiative to combat pseudoscience, and their World Congress on Moral Panics conference.

Speaking of the devil, Dr John Skutlin and I chatted with Satanic Study Hall podcast about our 10+ years of researching and writing about Satanism worldwide, particularly in Japan. We also preview our upcoming web TV show, “Satanic Show + Tell,” premiering soon on The Satanic Temple TV… stay tuned for more!

lonely planet journalist japanese gardens japan tokyo garden

I’m keeping busy with freelance journalism. I had fun writing about my favorite Japanese gardens for Lonely Planet’s Budget Travel. From a Zen sand garden in Portland, to an Edo-style strolling path in Seattle, here is a guide to the USA’s most beautiful Japanese gardens.

I also did interviews about my work in fashion / travel for Nylon Magazine and The Boston Globe, coming out soon. And I will have travel and design articles published in Time Magazine, Architectural Digest, and House Beautiful. 

tibetan yogas dream sleep tenzin wangyal rinpoche yoga nidra

One of my work highlights of 2021 was joining the Sleep.com team. I wrote about how I still travel in my lucid dreams, almost every night! Enjoy my personal essay, and reflections of Tibetan yoga nidra or dream yoga. (Above: my cult-y Osho Zen Tarot cards, and book “The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep” by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.)

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As I quote: “Travel in hell, in the devil’s realm. It is just an idea, you will not actually be participating there. But you will be loosening the constrictions that bind your mind.” (Above, I really was on Easter Island, but the rest is Photoshop.)

See all my Sleep.com articles here, and join me every Sunday on Clubhouse for a chat about sleep and travel! You can ask doctors and experts questions about topics related to getting a good night’s rest. Add me @lacarmina on Clubhouse here so that you won’t miss out. (The “Sunday Scaries” chats happen every Sunday at 7pm PT.)

You can keep up with my latest writings and events on @LaCarmina Twitter, which is now blue-check verified (as is my @lacarmina Instagram and Facebook page.) I’ll do my best to be responsive — thank you for staying in touch.

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Gothic Outfit Ideas! The Apiologist sustainable fashion, Sapphire Studios Goth earrings & rings, Skandinavik gloves.

 occult witch wicca fashion blogger outfit

Middle-parted hair and face-framing highlights… Here we are back to the future. (Although I never did the side part hairstyle or skinny jeans; I stayed in the 1990s and remain there today!)

Today, I’ll share some of my favorite ways to style and accessorise Goth outfits in 2021. Featuring this funereal dress by The Apiologist, dark jewelry from Sapphire Studios, and other garments by indie Goth, alternative and sustainable designers. From the start of La Carmina Blog, this has been my focus — and so it shall remain to the grave.

miffy kawaii stuffed toys plushes minimalist bunny

I’ve been fashion blogging since 2007, so it’s no surprise that my Gothic styling has shifted over the years. But some things never change: I love to play around with hair colors, and discover fresh underground designers.

And Miffy remains my favorite cute character for life! I’m squeezing two Miffies from the new Douglas Cuddle Toy collection, available from Maisonette. Keep reading for more kawaii photos. 

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It’s interesting to reflect on how social media has changed over time. I started out on MySpace… and now, I’ve been active on Clubhouse, the new audio chat app.

In fact, I founded the first Goth-themed club on Clubhouse — and you’ve invited into my lair! Search for “Goth Talk” — or click here to join my Gothic club. Please add @lacarmina on Clubhouse as well. Looking forward to discussing dark matters with all of you.

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Let me show you several ways to coordinate a witchy outfit with striking accessories.

I’m wearing a leather visor by Jennifer Ouellette, and slinging an “I am a Friend of Satan tote bag” over my shoulder. It’s from The Satanic Temple Shop (all proceeds go to their campaigns for pluralism and reproductive rights), and designed by co-founder and spokesperson Lucien Greaves. (More devilish TST clothing features to come soon). 

the apiologist gothic dress, alternative goth sustainable clothing

Dancing with the dead, in my Funeral March dress by sustainable designer The Apiologist. The design is one-of-a-kind, and made for movement. Those sheer sleeves and skirt layers, and abstract flowers embroidered in red! 

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An apiologist is someone who studies the science of bees. The London-based independent brand takes inspiration from the bee, which “represents both fragile beauty and strength. The bringer of the sweetest nectar, and yet able to slay those foolish enough to interfere.”

This dichotomy perfectly describes their clothing line, which has Goth / occult / witch vibes along with delicate detailing. Notice the neck ribbon tie, and the glove-like sheer sleeves with a floral hem.

gothic scarves spiderweb skull print cotton

The Apiologist has a wide selection of women’s clothing, from cardigans to cuddle coats and berets. I had fun styling one of their spooky scarves in different ways. 

(You can also catch a sneak peak of my gorgeous ring by Kipkalinka. I’ll be featuring their jewelry in depth soon.)

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In the first photos, I tied the skull and cobweb scarf like a headband. It can also be worn as a head or neck scarf, face covering, or something to sob into! 

sapphire studios alice wonderland pendant, skull ring bats jewelry

I’m a longtime supporter of Gothic jewelry designers Sapphire Studios. As you can see from these close-ups, they’re famous for their dark and alternative fine accessories. 

Putting on their Down the Rabbit Hole necklace made me feel like Alice in Wonderland. The pendant is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic story: the silver and red garnet design includes a rabbit, a garden maze, a cut-out heart fit for a Queen. (It’s available in 14k gold as well.)  

I paired it with their Shadows ring, which looks like three black bats! The rhodium and black stones add texture and a touch of glitter to the vampiric ring, which is adjustable to any size.

Sapphire Studios is known for its beautifully crafted skull rings. The St Noir lets you express ‘until death do us part’ — with two black skulls sitting beneath a 1 carat round cut stone, and smaller stones cascading down in the shape of an X.

️headscarf Gothic Clothing Occult Fashion satanic priestess black mass

“Take thee to a nunnery!” The spiderweb detail at the edges of my The Apiologist scarf is to die for.

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Switch around your headgear, and the same outfit takes on a different vibe. I’m wearing a leather visor by Jennifer Ouellette, who crafts environmentally friendly hats, headbands, and fascinators.

My black leather ankle boots are Jeffrey Campbell Mexique shoes –– click to get them.

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My leather cap contrasts with the sheer overlay and embroidery of my witchy dress. The Apiologist’s clothing reflects their passion for dark subcultures, and everything is made locally with ethical practices. 

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Details of the hand-finished embroidery — an abstract red floral motif, on one side near the skirt hem.  

My Goth styling may shift over the years, but fishnets and these platform leather boots are eternal. 

cobweb spider skulls gothic scarves head scarf

How would you describe this occult look — witchcore? Wearing a Skulls and Webs ‘N That scarf and Funeral March dress from The Apiologist. 

Down the Rabbit Hole Key necklace sapphire studios Three-tone Earrings Cherry Blossom

I’m ready to celebrate sakura season with Sapphire Studios’ eye-catching three-tone Earrings from their Cherry Blossom Collection, Inspired by Japanese spring blossoms, these dangle earrings are silver with yellow and rose gold accents, set with 0.28ct Swarovski stones.  

Sapphire Studios Design also makes this Down the Rabbit Hole Key necklace, from the ‘Two Worlds’ Alice in Wonderland Collection.

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The scarf and my Jennifer Ouellette black leather visor have an added bonus: they keep this vampire shaded from the sun. 

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My hair has never been this long! Thank you BlameChad for keeping it healthy and vibrant purple, with pink front highlight strips.

All photos by Joey Wong. He quarantined alone for two weeks, and then we took photos outside with this Sony A7 camera.

vancouver mountain view cemetery goth scene subculture

Here are some additional photos we took, at Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery. Been haunting graveyards since 1666! It was windy that day, but my hands were snug thanks to these black leather gloves by Skandinavik Fur.

St. Noir ring, shadows bat rings sapphire studios

A cemetery is a fitting place to take my Shadows bat ring and St Noir double skull ring, by Sapphire Studios. 

gothic alternative jewelry, japanese cherry blossoms dangling earrings

Sapphire Studios is all about elegant Gothic jewelry that stands out, as you can see. The Down the Rabbit Hole necklace contrasts nicely against a black and sheer top. The three tone floral earrings from the Cherry Blossom Collection match the pink in my hair.  

sapphire studios design jewellery box engagement goth rings

Their jewelry comes packaged beautifully, and includes velvet boxes for the rings — ideal for a Gothic engagement. 

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I haven’t been able to see many friends over the past year, due to the lockdown…. Good thing my ghost-buddies are always here for me.  

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And Miffy the Dutch Bunny is always ready with a cuddle or two. I think the whole world knows that Dick Bruna’s cute character is my animal spirit.

These new plush toys are beautifully made by Douglas Toys, and available via Maisonette. 

miffy douglas cuddle toys character plushies cool be kind

As you can see, the stuffed rabbit detailing is fantastic, from the rounded shapes to the embroidered eyes. I can’t stop hugging the larger classic deluxe Miffy. She is so plump and fuzzy, and I am all about that minimalist aesthetic.

miffy stuffed toys babies kids stuffies minimalist bunny

The smaller Miffy has a modern palette that matches my apartment’s color scheme (including this Eames chair). She wears an aqua dress that says It’s Cool To Be Kind. 

Maisonette has more Miffy toy variations including bunnies in full pink and yellow, or wearing different colored dresses.

miffy bunny rabbit toys stuffed plush bunnies rabbits

I’ve been staying cozy in my Snow Bunny shirt from Truffle Shuffle. They carry a range of Miffy clothing items and home accessories, starring the X-mouthed rabbit. I also have their Japanese Miffy t-shirt and more. 

miffy hello kitty bunny cathy sanrio japanese rabbit mascot

This is what happens if you try to take away my Miffy bunny rabbits! Get your own designer plush toys on Maisonette. 

skandinavik fur gloves mittens

Bonus: a fourth look! I went for a sort of hippie-Goth aesthetic. I’m wearing a black and gold stars headband by Jennifer Ouellette.

Skandinavik’s soft gloves are masterfully made, with a handy opening so I can show my nails. The side has a Gothic lace-up adjustable tie. 

chloe rosie heart sunglasses, ains and elke vintage pin up dress

And I am wearing Chloe Rosie Heart sunglasses — get them here. I always wanted heart-shaped glasses, and love Chloe’s brown-tinted designer ones with gold detail. 

ains elke stylehaus pin up retro dresses

Another look at my headband, and dress by Ains & Elke StyleHaus. They create vintage and antique-inspired clothing, with a focus on inclusivity. 

ains elke stylehaus retro wiggle dress

Their Gemma Sarong dress has a sweetheart neckline and elastic straps that can be worn off-the-shoulder. 

pin up brown dress vintage style

With a subtle vertical polka dots, a tapered waist, and layered fabric detail on one side, this Ains & Elke dress will make you feel like a million bucks. 

tiktok bathrobe curls no heat curling hair hack

Jennifer Ouellette also made this charming blue headband with a floral twist detail. It fits well with my hair, which I’ve been curling using the “heatless bathrobe curls” method that went viral on TikTok! As you can see, it really does work. 

satanic temple model, fashion blogger satanist girl lavey

I hope these Goth styling tips inspired you to play around with your wardrobe, and create a variety of occult / alternative / witch looks. For more of my outfit photos, find me on @lacarmina Instagram, Twitter and Tik Tok.

PS: I was featured in the Globe and Mail newspaper, in an interview about travel and lucid dreams. I share how “I dream of Tokyo and Hong Kong. I’m walking through busy cities, looking at people… it’s as vivid as if I were actually there.”

clubhouse influencers, popular top clubs goth talk app invite influencer

Finally, are any of you on the Clubhouse app? I founded the first Gothic-themed club there, and you’re invited to come and chat with me. Simply add @lacarmina, or use this direct link to join my Goth Talk club on Clubhouse.

If you follow me on @lacarmina Instagram / Twitter, you’ll know that I’ve been moderating a Sunday Scaries event for Sleep.com. Come chat with me and sleep doctors about ways to maximise sleep health – you can ask me questions about traveling in lucid dreams, or anything! I hope you’ll join our next chat about debunking sleep myths (Sunday, 6-7pm PT). See you on Clubhouse!

 

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