Sunday, January 23, 2011

Country Lolita, Old School Part 2: Back to Now

This post is a follow-up to my previous look at sweet/classic lolita fashion's use of "country" motifs in earlier years. I thought I should continue the discussion by showing how new trends have given today's lolita additional options when it comes to country style. To sum up from my last post, country lolita began as a trend in sweet/classic lolita where the person dressed as if going on a picnic in the country--straw hats/bonnets and bags, garden-themed accessories with berries and flowers, and prints of berries, florals and ginghams. While this is still the heart of the country aesthetic, I've picked up on some new trends I absolutely adore:

Top: IW's "Forest Friends" JSK, AP's "Milky-chan" JSK, ETC's "Bunny" JSK; Bottom: IW's "Bambi" skirt, JetJ's "La Pièce du Petit Créature" skirt and a close-up of ETC's "Rabbit School" print--I could think of TONS more examples because forest critter prints are pretty hot right now..
1. Forest Animals are a huge new trend in both sweet and classic lolita, particularly deer but often squirrels and bunnies and bears are prevalent. I really like these prints because they bring to mind a fairytale princess living in an enchanted wood amidst all these creatures. Because they are nature-related and outdoorsy, I think they fit country lolita very well.

Top: Meta's "Honey Picnic," "Teddy Garden" and "Blooming Garden" prints; Bottom: Bodyline Picnic JSK, close-up of IW's "Strawberry Field" OP and IW's "Strawberry Rose Garden" JSK. IW and Meta have been the major producers of many of these garden/picnic-themed original prints.
2. Garden/Picnic-Themed Prints both from official brands, Bodyline and indie brands. These are prints specifically tailored to the "picnic" or gardening aesthetic of country lolita. Often these prints incorporate the forest animal trend (think Honey Picnic from Meta or Strawberry Fields from IW).

And possibly my favorite trend:

Top : Annette JSK from IW, Surface Spell's "Blue Dutch Lady" JSK, IW's "Rose Panel" JSK; Bottom: Surface Spell's "Opera Floral" JSK and two illustrations of traditional East European kroje. I can see a LOT of folk influence in these designs, can't you?
3. JSKs and OPs Inspired by Traditional European Folk Attire such as Austrian dirndls, Russian sarafan and Czech kroje have popped up both in indie brands and from brands such as Innocent World (in the form of my most-coveted Annette JSK). It's not the print or fabric that distinguishes these dresses as "country style" so much as the cut,embellishments and overall design that relates to the regular everyday folk attire of European cultures, which inevitably brings to mind romantic images of pastoral landscapes and country maids. In sum: It kind of makes you want to twirl around in a field singing "The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music." (With sooongs they have sung for a thousand yeeeeeeeeaars! Sorry, I'll stop now.) There's also an element of romantic nationalism playing in here, with nostalgia for traditional elements that possess unique histories and cultures--perhaps I love my calico prairie-style dresses so much because I'm American and they remind me of the Old West and Laura Ingalls Wilder? Could be. Anyway, I love folk costume and gladly welcome lolita's incorporating design elements from it.

Two modern couture takes on the dirndl from Sportalm--the look is so wonderful, I thought I'd conclude with it.

So those are the more recent trends to round off our discussion of country lolita. Hope this was comprehensive enough to supply a good overview, while specific enough to pinpoint the differences between regular sweet/classic lolita and the country lolita subset.

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