Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Anatomy of an h.Naoto GRAMM Coordinate

The brand h.Naoto GRAMM is known for its ghostly, ethereal gothic style. The name of the brand comes from the Brothers Grimm, which explains the haunting fairy tale and folklore look of the GRAMM line. Here are some coordinates from the h.Naoto staff blog:
As you can see, filmy layers of lace in black, white, cream, and faded lavender fall loosely around the body to create these mysterious, dark fairy tale looks. Layering is absolutely essential to create a successful GRAMM coordinate. The following four outfits are taken from the h.Naoto webshop:
Sometimes, GRAMM makes pieces that have a real morigirl feel to them due to all the layers, looseness, and lace, but I prefer to think of it as a gothic brand. Antique touches such as decorative buttons, shawls, and delicate lace are important to this style as well and add a lot of character.
Here's a coordinate using one of my own h.Naoto GRAMM dresses, but I've tried to make it match my personal style. The top dress and shawl are the only GRAMM items. The purple dress underneath is a lucky off-brand find; I think it goes well with the faded lavender shades. I added some warm cream touches in the accessories and underskirt to make it a little more natural than gothic. I think this coordinate has a late winter/early spring feel.
An easy trick to add interest and fullness to a dress or skirt is to hitch up one side with a safety pin or brooch. Doing so will draw more attention to the underskirt and create an appealing sort of asymmetry in the coordinate. This technique is used fairly often in natural kei.
This photograph doesn't show it very well, but the lavender trim on the lace shawl is actually braided! I'm using my Victorian Maiden hair corsage as a brooch here because the shoulder looked a little bare.
Here you can see the special hair accessory I commissioned from Amaranth Opulent! It's a bird nest trimmed with pearls, moss, charms, and lace-- all of my favorite things. ♥ I clipped an antique lace doily to the back to add a little more GRAMM flavor. Check out the Amaranth Opulent link below to see more examples of gorgeous nature-inspired jewelry and accessories!
Dress and shawl: h.Naoto GRAMM
Underdress: off-brand
Underskirt: Metamorphose
Pearl and Roses corsage: Victorian Maiden
Hair accessory: Amaranth Opulent
Flower brooch: gift from a friend
Bag: handmade

Monday, January 17, 2011

Morrigan NYC's Moby Dick Nautical series

I recently pre-ordered a dress from Morrigan NYC, a lolita brand based in New York City, so I thought I would post a few photos.

The Moby Dick Nautical series is available in skirt or dress form, with several sizes, colors, and even lengths available-- a pleasing diversification rarely seen in the lolita fashion world where dresses often come in only one size. I chose the longer-length black dress because it seems like it will work well for both natural kei and lolita fashion. I can't wait to pair it with an over-sized cardigan, carpet bag, and straw boater hat this spring!
Here's a close-up picture of the bodice and collar. I usually avoid puffed sleeves, but I have to say I'm a fan of these puffs. They seem to perk up a bit higher on the shoulders, so the effect is cute and flattering rather than depressingly broad. The red bow adds a jaunty touch to the neckline.
Of the two screen printed illustrations that decorate the bottom hem, the first depicts the Pequod surrounded by marine life and beautifully framed with a ship's wheel and tentacles. The line "A noble craft, but somehow a most melancholy!" comes directly from the book; it was one of Ishmael's observations when he first spied the Pequod and decided he would join the crew.
The dramatic second illustration shows Moby Dick, the White Whale himself, in the act of breaching the water's surface. The image is bordered by seaweed, eels, and sea birds, and includes a few giant squid swimming beneath the waves. "The White Whale! The White Whale!" is a line shouted by the character Daggoo, one of the harpooners aboard the Pequod, when he first thinks he has spotted the creature.
All in all, I've been blown away by the craftsmanship and true artistry of this dress. It's comfortable, well-constructed, and beautiful, but most importantly, this dress has real character and uniqueness-- two qualities I treasure in the clothes I choose. I'm looking forward to any future designs from this brand!

Recently, Tokyo Rebel, one of the few boutiques in New York City to sell lolita fashion, announced that it has Morrigan NYC items for sale in the store. You can see the shop's page with more information, photos, and prices here. Some other resources are the Morrigan NYC website and the Morrigan NYC Livejournal Community.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Brands: Dolce Piu Amabile

I think it's about time to feature another lesser-known fashion label, this time a Japanese lolita brand called Dolce Piu Amabile. I wasn't able to find out much information about this brand, but did manage to collect a few scattered facts and some pictures worth sharing! All the images are from the Dolce Piu Amabile webshop.
The designer, Yoshie, translates the Italian phrase dolce piu amabile as "sweet and lovely." To paraphrase the brand concept, Dolce Piu Amabile's designs are based on sweet clothes for young girls but with a more elegant style. According to the brand blog, the original webshop first went online in 2007.
Dolce Piu Amabile's style looks like it came straight out of a fairy tale! Many of these dresses have square or round necklines and use materials like velvet, brocade, and cotton printed with traditional patterns, so there's a definite folklore feel. Look, fringe trim:
There aren't many garments for sale on the website because these clothes are all handmade by Yoshie and her mother! Thus, many of the pieces are one-of-a-kind.
Follow the brand's blog in case you're interested in updates. It's written in a personal style-- which is very cute-- but not updated too frequently.
In the following photo, some of you may recognize Misako Aoki modeling a Dolce Piu Amabile dress. Doesn't she look beautiful in classical lolita style? I love how the vines twine together to form diagonal check frames in that gobelin fabric.
Unfortunately, Dolce Piu Amabile does not ship overseas, but you can still order their clothes by using a shopping service. Visit the brand's website for more information!
Extra #1:
There are some lovely photo shoots of Sachi wearing Dolce Piu Amabile available on a photographer's website: one with a Snow White theme and one with a Sleeping Beauty theme.
Extra #2:
Yoshie made some bridal gowns at one point and I managed to find the blog of the girl who wore them. Check out the blog entry with photographs here!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More Etsy Treasuries

I made a few more treasuries on Etsy, this time dedicated to classical lolita and natural kei. They were a bit more difficult to put together considering the specificity of both styles, but I'm pleased with the results! Click the links to check them out for yourselves:

If you want to visit all my Etsy treasuries, visit this link:
In blog upkeep news, I've added an "email me" button in the sidebar to the right. So if you ever want to chat about anything in the blog or in case you have any suggestions, click away! I also added a long list of blogs I enjoy reading to the links tab below the header. If your blog is on the list, thank you for inspiring me and please keep writing!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New Necklace

Happy New Year, everyone! To celebrate, a few friends and I went out for tea yesterday and exchanged belated Christmas presents. I wrapped mine in a gold box trimmed with grosgrain ribbon and holiday berries:
My friend had asked for some morigirl jewelry, so I decided to make her a necklace! I used antique-toned metal for the base.
I tried to match the bird pendant by using fixtures that look like swallows in flight:
And on one side, I sewed on an assortment of frilly bits made from lace, ribbon, and trim remnants:
The necklace actually went well with the outfit she was wearing that day!
Tell me, readers, did you make or receive any nice presents this year? I'd love to hear about it. ♥