Nov 6, 2016

Alive Again ~ Back from Hiatus

Hello again darklings! It has been quite a while since I've revisited this blog (several years in fact, oops), but it seems like I'm still getting visitors and I'm finally in a place again where I have time and motivation to blog. I won't go too much into detail about my personal life, but the past few years have been full of chaos and honestly quite a bit of unpleasantness, but I'm more and more confident each day that the dark times are behind me. A few small updates about what I have going on and how that will affect the blog.

Firstly, I moved back to Chicago after my year in Los Angeles at the beginning of 2014, and I intend to stay in the Chicago area indefinitely. I am still an active member of the Chicago Gothic Lolita community, and I still intend to include coverage of local events and meetups here on the blog. Related to this, one of the most exciting developments is that I have launched a jewelry and accessories line, Atelier Excentrique, which is currently available through the Lolita Collective and through my Storenvy. I will include a widget on the sidebar to direct you to more information about Atelier Excentrique soon! Last but not least, I am getting married! My partner and I have set our date for the summer of 2018, so we have a while, but I might do some posts about alternative wedding planning here on the blog as a part of an effort to include more lifestyle and domestic content. I am looking into promoting posts on Pinterest as well, and may even set up a corresponding Instagram!

Model: Lady Saltina ~ Photographer: Sam Dickey

Thank you dear readers for continuing to read this blog and promoting the witchy lifestyle!

Lady Salt

Aug 1, 2013

5 Songs for Dark Mori Girls

CocoRosie - Beautiful Boyz

Cocorosie's gossamer crooning is the perfect accompaniment for any dark mori girl. All of the sisters' oeuvre fits the strega aesthetic wonderfully, but this is one of my favorite Cocorosie songs. The video is stunning as well! The Bearded Lady is a favorite character of mine (I have been known to show up to Carnivale parties with a well-groomed fu-manchu), and I love her inclusion in this video!

O'Death - Down to Rest

O'Death is a Brooklyn-based folk band I would describe as falling into the Gothic Americana genre, with heavy bluegrass and folk punk influences. Most of their music is reminiscent of fiddle ditties to be played at a wake in the old west, which I for one adore. "Down to Rest" is probably their most popular single, and for good reason. I can't get enough of this song! It's upbeat (for O'Death, that is), and even danceable, but still flavored with a strong dose of the macabre. The video is awesome too, although not very dark mori. Skeletons, astronauts, gambling?! Do yourself a favor and watch it.

16 Horsepower - Sinnerman

16 Horsepower could also fall into the Gothic Americana genre, but what makes them unique is that this band, and their still-active side project Woven Hand, identify as a christian band. What makes them unique as a religious band is their preoccupation with the darker side of christianity, writing lyrics about death, guilt, perdition, redemption, how man is sinful... ect, ect. Frontman David Eugene Edwards has likened himself and his vision of Christianity to that of Northern Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch. Religion aside, 16 Horsepower's sounds are completely enjoyable and relevant to the dark mori aesthetic. No video for this one, sorry!

Siouxie and the Banshees - Strange Fruit

Okay, it's probably predictable but I LOVE Siouxie Sioux. In addition to just good old gothy admiration, I think she's an incredibly versatile musician and can creatively touch just about any genre. This cover of the classic song "Strange Fruit" captures the tragic nature of the original as well as incorporating delicious jazz notes that hint to the song's origins. I think its absolutely perfect for a dark mori girl!

Rasputina - Why Don't You Do Right?

Rasputina is another musical match made in heaven for dark mori kei. This trio sings deliciously gothic folk songs accompanied by the velvety sounds of the cello. I had trouble picking a single song for this list, but their first album "Thanks for the Ether", off which this song is taken, is my favorite.


Jul 12, 2013

Building your Dark Mori Wardrobe

So you've decided you identify with the dark mori aesthetic, and you're ready to take the plunge and start building your wardrobe. As with starting out in any style, building your wardrobe from scratch can seem quite daunting. This post is intended as a guide to help you in your journey to create magical strega style coordinates.

First: Identify your influences

From Left: 1. Source unknown 2. Ovate f/w12 3. Les Chiffons de Pucerones 4. Rowan City Knits by Amy Butler
What styles of dark mori kei inspire you most? Are you more drawn to historically influenced coordinates, or are you smitten with the Nazgul-esque silhouettes of gothic minimalism? Choose if you want your look to be more boho, more modern, more retro, more dolly-kei influenced, more ghost like, more witchy, more hipster.... whatever you fancy. Of course its okay to be in love with more than one of these styles, but narrowing down which looks you are more interested in will help you build your wardrobe. Personally, I am drawn to things that represent the witch archetype, and focus on purchasing a mixture of long flowy things, and more modern, minimal things I can wear casually that still fit within the aesthetic. For my personal style, I generally feel that things that are too bohemian, or too "fairyish", dont really fit in with the rest of my wardrobe, so I try to avoid pieces with that feel.

Second: Hit the thrift stores

A smattering of things from my Polyvore account. Similar things can be easily thrifted.
One of the great things about mori kei in general is that it is very easily achieved just through finding workable pieces at thrift stores, garage sales, charity shops, ect. When you are shopping, pay close attention to the silhouette, details and quality of garments. Make sure to consider how well they will layer, and coordinate with other pieces in your wardrobe. Be on the lookout for things with asymmetrical hems, made of materials like linen or silk, and have interesting details that will play well off of other things in your collection. I will go into more detail about thrifting for dark mori clothes in another post!

Third: Accessorize

From Left: 1. Satchel bag by Henry Baguelin 2. A covetable Ebay cameo lot 3. Antler hair pick by JCMCairn 4. Squirrel Paw earrings available locally at Necromance, LA
Accessories really make a dark mori outfit. In many cases, your accessories will be the only thing denoting you as a witchy mori girl rather than your lighter-hearted brethren.  Printed tights and leggings, available on Etsy, Ebay, and many other online retailers, are great for casual outfits with a baggy t-shirt, or to add texture to your legs underneath a dress or skirt. For baubles, consider bone jewelry, antiques, rosaries, occult symbols, runes..... Making your own accessories is definitely encouraged! Scarves, mittens, and chunky socks will help keep you warm in winter and add texture to your coordinate. Great shoes and a great bag will help ground your outfit and complete the look. For shoes, retro heels and victorian boots are great for more feminine looks, but a great pair of leather lace-up boots or Doc Martins are perfect with any outfit.

Wardrobe Essentials for the Dark Mori Girl (or Boy)

:: A long, full, black maxi skirt (or two or three) ::
 ::A few great chunky sweaters::
 ::An asymmetrical hem cardigan or vest or both ::
 :: A drapey black tshirt ::
:: Printed leggings ::
:: Long sleeved black shirts (jersey or thermal) :: 
:: Fancy blouses ::
:: Doc Martin style boots ::
:: A leather satchel ::

I hope this guide is helpful for those interested in getting into the style! What wardrobe essentials could you not live without? What tips would you give those just starting out in the style? For more information on wardrobe building, please check out this post: Refining Your Style: Wardrobe Wrangling for the Alternative-style Schizophrenic

Jul 11, 2013

30 Questions for Mori Girls: How did you get into ::Dark:: Mori fashion?

Most of my recent posts have gravitated towards coverage of lolita fashion, and while I do participate in Gothic Lolita fashion, and am a member of several lolita blogging groups, this blog is intended to cover the scope of dark romantic fashions and lifestyles. This next series of posts will focus on dark mori kei, adapted from the 30 Day Mori Girl Challenge created by my friend Lauren of Shady Oaks.

As much as I love lolita, I have been active in the style for many, many years now and these days I feel myself drifting more towards dark mori both in my lifestyle and fashion. This brings us to the first prompt in the Mori Girl Challenge.... How did you become interested in ::dark:: mori fashion and lifestyle?

Well, the easy answer is that I stumbled upon your garden variety mori kei when it was first emerging back in about 2009/2010 through tumblr and livejournal, and other internet resources. As a young girl, I generally preferred the company of my garden and the woods behind my house to the company of other children. My mother told me stories about fairies and read me verse by pre-raphaelite and transcendentalist poets. I was utterly in love with nature and enamored with tales of girls who lived in the woods, completely self-sufficient, and I was convinced that I would grow up to be a naturalist of some sort (I really wanted to be a marine biologist). As I grew older, I found myself bound to the city, but my love for nature never died.

When I discovered mori girl fashion, I was immediately reminded of the girl my childhood self aspired to be when she grew up. A mori girl is independent, self-sufficient, a dreamer, a creative, and at one with animals and nature. Her chunky sweaters and warm scarves allow for comfort, while her delicate skirts and antique laces embrace the femininity of lolita. The many styles that can be considered mori let the wearer bounce between casual and almost hip, to very formal and historic. Although I try to let specific aesthetic principles unify my style, I get bored sticking to one "genre" of dress. Mori kei is very flexible, and much of what I find myself wearing on a day-to-day basis can fall into mori-inspired looks.

So why dark mori? Dark mori, for me, is an answer to the lightness of most conventional mori fashion. Dark mori adds an element of the obscure and the occult to the idea of the forest girl. Although I enjoy fairy tales and drinking tea, I also love the dreariness of a fog-soaked pacific morning, or looking for dead things on the beach, or collecting bones and touring cemeteries. Nature is most importantly cyclical, and death and the other side is a large part of that cycle. The witch archetype is something I identify with strongly, and dark mori helps me embrace that visually. Another prompt asks if mori kei has changed your outlook on life or your lifestyle, and I would say it has, but that's a tale for another day! Stay tuned....

Are you interested in mori kei at all, dark or not? How did you get into your fashion genre of choice? Or are you a fashion chameleon? Thanks for reading!! If you are participating in the 30 Day Mori Challenge, please let me know! I would love to read your posts.

Jul 10, 2013

Lolita Blog Carnival: If Brands Made Home Decor.....

Hello from a little hiatus! The last few months have been incredibly packed for me with travel and work, and I have had little time for blogging. Fortunately for Carnivale Salt, I've hit what is commonly known as "the summer slump" in terms of finding freelance work, so I should have more time to be more active on my blog.

This past week's Lolita Blog Carnival topic was "What if brands made home decor?". Hands down, the brand who's homegoods I would certainly break the bank to have adorning my walls would be Alice Auaa. For those of you not familiar with Alice Auaa, the brand is a prominent Japanese goth company fronted by designer Yasutaka Funakoshi. Although popular with gothic lolitas, Alice Auaa is mostly known for its more avant-garde looks and haute couture approach to the goth aesthetic. Highly coveted among Japanese goths, Alice Auaa's signature plain external tags stitched onto the backs of their garments are as much a badge of honor at Tokyo Decadance and similar Japanese goth events as Angelic Pretty plastic jewelry is at lolita meetups. If you haven't already, please google them and look at their runway collections, or even check them out on!!!).

But enough background, why I really bring them up is for their interiors. Feast your eyes at this den of desires.

Unfortunately, most shops in Japan disallow photography, so these photos are borrowed from La Carmina (I know, I know). I had the pleasure of visiting Alice Auaa's Marui One boutique and know just how cool their decor is from personal experience. White plaster hands function as hooks on the walls, displaying accessories and bags. Heads with baroque-looking devices in their mouths, doors that hang to nowhere, and framed prints of artwork by friends of the designer. All this serves to feature the garments of course, but man do I wish they sold some of those awesome hand wall hooks, or that S&M bust modeling the corset or their amazing torture-device chandelier. I loved the shop so much when I went there that I ended up buying an extremely expensive shirt that I have never worn... (ooops).

Thanks for looking! Please check out other participants' posts from this week!

Read what the other girls wrote about that topic:
Snow Rose * A sweet Lolita's Disney Life * Lolita-Glamour

 Lolita Glamour: Lolita Blog Carnival: If brands made home decor..

Mar 9, 2013

Meetup Report: Dolly House Runway

This past sunday was a a very, very exciting event for me and for all of the SoCal Lolita community! After much anticipation, we managed to pull off the first annual Dolly House Runway event hosted at University of California Irvine! For an independently organized event, it was quite grand. I participated as a designer, so the week leading up to the event was nothing but craziness, and I'm afraid I looked rather shabby, but it was worth it because my models looked awesome!!!

Everyone swarms the BTSSB booth.... Those striped blouses were so lovely!
After opening to the public, the event began with an exclusive documentary about the design and manufacturing process at Baby The Stars Shine Bright in preparation for their Japan Expo Paris show. It was a really heartfelt, relatable, and inspiring film, but unfortunately where my boyfriend and I were sitting, we couldn't really see the subtitles. I could understand some of the dialogue, but I mostly had to rely on video by itself.

After the video, there were fashion shows by BABY and Liz Lisa. I enjoyed them, but I had seen most of the things BABY presented before. I lent some shoes to Liz Lisa for the show but they ended up not using my very gothic items ;P.

Our adorable hostesses! 
 After the designer showcase, the floor was opened up for a brief shopping intermission, and then on to the main event, the independent designer showcase and competition! I was so nervous about my pieces, but when my models came out on the runway, I was so proud I nearly cried.

 I'll be showing these looks again and a few others later this spring at a fashion show in Chicago, so this was kind of a trial run! I have a lot of improvements to make, but I am so happy with the results in spite of not being 100% finished.  All together, there were seven independent designers, and each was very unique and talented! I really enjoyed seeing the wide range of interpretations of dolly fashion. My line, and a kodona-pirate collection by Other Type, were the only gothic designs on the runway, so a lot of people really received my collection well. Many people told me my looks were their favorite!

Cyril of Doll Delight was the judge for the independent designer competition, and in the end she chose the pirate-kodona collection, not mine :(. Congratulations Other Type!

I hope you enjoy these photos! All credit goes to Peter Huynh, the event photographer. Thanks for looking!

Feb 14, 2013

Things I Love Thursdays: Dolls, Shoes, and Cats!

Hello readers! I've been insanely busy with work this week but I don't want to neglect my blog too much... I think its high time to revive the Things I Love Thursdays feature!

Switchblade Sister Dolls

A special thanks to the amazing blog Drop Dead Kawaii for introducing me to these dolls! This talented Japanese doll artist makes both soft-body and ball-jointed dolls, but these "face-type" dolls just steal my heart. Stitched into bears, bunnies, kittens, and nonspecific animal-like fluff balls, each creature features a hand painted and uniquely sculpted face that rests somewhere between adorable, creepy, and slightly deranged. I prefir small dolls, so I was delighted to find that these cuties mostly fit in the palm of your hand! Find more at

Jeffery Campbell Abbey Tabby Pumps

I am obsessed with these shoes. First of all, I am a sucker for shoes in this shape, with bows on the toes. I also love brown, faded, ghostly colors that match with black. I also crazy for cats. Be mine shoes!!!!! I've actually really wanted a pair of shoes in this fabric since JC released the cat tapestry Lita's, but this style is much more to my taste. I won't give you the link because they're almost sold out, and I'm holding out for a pair before they're sold out ;-P.

The Art of Yuko Higuchi

I've been in love with these whimsical, semi-realist etchings for ages on Tumblr, but I only recently discovered the mastermind behind these characters, Japanese artist Yuko Higuchi. Her personal Tumblr  is chalk full of amazing art, and great photography of her studio, home, her cat (the model for many of her drawings), and her incredible antiques collection! You can also follow her on Facebook and get updates about her collaborations and merchandise. I believe she also displays her drawings and installations in art shows fairly frequently if you are in the Tokyo area. I'm planning on making a dress inspired by her work soon! 

Easy Vegan Cupcakes by Veggieful

I'm not all-the-way vegan, but my boyfriend and I try to avoid using eggs and dairy in our cooking at home. I've tried several different vegan cupcake and cake recipes, but always have been disappointed by the results. Most vegan cake recipes call for all kinds of weird egg replacers and ingredients I don't always have around, but this recipe was super simple with only about five ingredients that everyone owns, no weird egg replacers, just sugar, oil, and flour! The resulting cakes are everything cupcakes should be: moist, fluffy, and golden brown, without any weird lingering flavors vegan baked goods sometimes have. This recipe makes vanilla cupcakes, but its such a simple base that its easy to experiment with your own flavors. I made lemon-lavender and I plan to try matcha next! I made mine without frosting, so I can't vouch for her frosting recipe, but It looks just as delicious and simple as the cake. I encourage you to try it out, even if you aren't vegan! Find the recipe here at