Jan 23, 2013

Event Announcement: Dolly House Runway

I'm excited to announce that I will be debuting my gothic lolita fashion collection "Lynnesse" very soon at SoCal Lolita's event Dolly House Runway: A Kawaii Fashion Show. If you are located in Southern California, I encourage you to attend!

Today the organizers announced that Baby the Stars Shine Bright will be sponsoring the event, have a booth in the vendors area, and even be showing us exclusive looks and a design process video! I'm really happy that my designs will be shown next to looks from BTSSB <3 .="" nbsp="" p="">
Be sure to check out their website, Dolly House Runway, and get previews of my collection at my shop blog Atelier Excentrique Handmade!

Hope to see you there!

Jan 19, 2013

Lolita Blog Carnival: If I had my own Lolita Café

I nearly missed out on this weeks theme, but once I saw the topic, I knew I had to participate! This weeks prompt: your own lolita theme café. Opening my own café and lounge is something I think about often because my mister is actually in the process of opening a gourmet mobile food truck! Right now my house is filled with test menus and all sorts of business start up books and thinking about the restaurant business is always on our minds.

"Les Lounge des Sel"

Screencap from Japanese thriller "Goth" (2010). I absolutely adore the set design in this film. This cafe caters to people of dark persuasions, and is central to the plot of the movie!

Ambiance and Decor: 

My café would definitely have an old-fashioned, gothic feel, alá the aesthetic of Carnivale Salt! For the interiors, I would choose a dark hardwood with dramatic moulding, Victorian or Art Deco inspired wallpaper, perhaps with a treatment to fake the appearance of age, and salvaged antique furniture. Patrons could eat at vintage sewing machine tables, adorned with lace doilies and dripping candles, and have tea on pretty vintage china. Collections of oddities would line the walls, and I would have a collection of used books for patrons to relax with and read. My dream space would include an open area that could be used for art shows, live music and entertainment, and doubling as a seating area for private parties (maybe lolita tea parties). Ideally, the cafe would be set up as a quiet coffee-shop / tea house during the day, and then open up as a classy cocktail lounge in the evening. Entertainment could range from burlesque shows, to tarot readings, to fashion shows and fortune tellers!

My cafe would definately have a library / bookshop element, where you could come and be among old books and study or read. Lace curtains are always a nostalgic touch. The ambiance of the space would definitely give a nod to the decor of Grimoire, with lots of antiques and creepy touches. A functional spice wall would separate the kitchen from the dining space, giving a apothecary-like feel. Patrons could dine or enjoy their beverages at antique sewing machine tables.....

Aren't these sugar skulls for your tea to die for?! (Excuse my terrible pun).
Available for a very reasonable price at DEMBONES Sugar Skulls Etsy Shop
What would we serve at Le Lounge Des Sel? Tea of course! I would pride myself on having the widest variety of artisan teas and coffees to sample, as well as offering hand-crafted tea and coffee drinks like lattes and espresso. Served of course in pretty antique tea cups!

Weheartit.com has a million pictures of tea pouring into teacups...
As far as food items, my cafe would be a melding of English tea house and rustic French bistro. I would love to offer a traditional cream tea, and formal tea service, in addition to an alá carte small plates menu, specializing in savory charcuterie, artisan cheeses, savory pies, and French traditional inspired cooking. I think it would be interesting of offering a savory cocktail-munchies service, served on a three-tier tea service tray, to accompany cocktails in the evening. 

We'd have a stunning charcuterie of ethically-raised artisan meats, and delectable cheeses. 
In the evening, the cafe would open up into a relaxed but vibrant cocktail salon. Not too crazy, but a perfect haven for like-minded individuals to see and be seen. Naturally, we would want to showcase a menu of (tea-inspired?) craft cocktails and fine spirits. And of course, absinthe with all the ritual! 
I would love to have fancy absinthe fountains and filters for the proper absinthe experience. This photo is from the Albright Restaurant and Absinthe House in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. 
  I don't usually talk about food on my blog, but I am a huge foodie and love to cook and bake. My boyfriend and I are vegan-leaning vegetarians (even though I appreciate some fine cheeses and charcuterie), so my cafe would definitely have plenty of vegan and gluten-free options, and everything would be ethically sourced.

I struggled with whether or not I wanted to create a coordinate for what the waitstaff would wear, and played around with different lolita coordinates, and even toyed with the idea of having the waitresses wear full Victorian maid uniform ala Downton Abbey, but really nothing seemed right. I would prefer for the venue to speak for itself and let the guests do the dressing up! I'd also want the cafe to appeal to a larger audience.... book worms, mori girls, hipsters, goths, eclectic professionals, foodies, club kids, fashionistas. I don't want it to be limited to only lolitas! I feel that the dark romantic aesthetic really goes beyond gothic lolita, and I would definitely want this cafe to reflect that.

All in all, I really want people of all kinds who
appreciate the old and the spooky to enjoy themselves at my cafe!
This was such a fun prompt! I can't wait to read all the posts from the blogs who participated! 

Jan 14, 2013

Lolita 52: Weekly blog prompt challenge! - Five pieces every lolita should own, regardless of style!

Okay, I know I already participate in the Lolita Blog Carnival, but this challenge the Lolita 52, popularized by Caro on her blog FYeahLolita, is more conducive to fighting random writer's block. Whereas the Lolita Blog Carnival has weekly group deadlines (that some of us, cough cough, abide by with varying strictness ;P), one can participate in whenever she feels so moved.

If you'd like to participate, or want to learn more about the prompts, please refer to Caro's post on the Lolita 52 prompt challenge. Without further ado, I bring to you:

Five pieces every lolita (or dark romantic) should own..... Regardless of style

1. Bloomers
Pic from tumblr.... Sorry, I couldn't find the source!
I often hear beginning lolitas asking around the communities if bloomers are actually necessary for a full lolita coordinate, and my answer is always YES! Not only do bloomers provide modesty (because yes, ladies, we can see under those skirts when you lean over) and protection from itchy petticoats, they are also incredibly adorable and add a touch of luxury to each outfit. They are also incredibly comfy if you find a pair that fits right, and come in so many different styles, that they can add anything from touches of antiquity, to just the right amount of sexy to any coordinate. I wear my bloomers all the time: around the house, as pajamas, by themselves and under tunics for a casual kind of dolly-look, with a corset, harlequin tights and a ruff for a marionette costume, I even wore bloomers to a rave party once. I recommend owning several pairs in varying styles and lengths to add to your coordinates, whether it be extra-fancy antique ones that peep out beneath your skirts, or a pair of Star Wars printed short ones for secret nerdiness. 

2. Basic mid-height pumps in your colors

Obviously, my colors are black, but I've owned pink pumps for sweet outfits, red for more retro looks, and others. Whereas tea-party shoes and other popular lolita footwear can make some of us look a little dumpy, a nice heel always flatters the leg and turns a woman into a lady! Honestly, you can't go wrong with these babies. Pay attention to heel height and toe shape when selecting your pump: Higher heels will elongate your legs, so a mid-height or vintage heel is best for lolita to get that elegant but demure look. Stilettos in general look too modern for a basic lolita shoe, I recommend a more substantial heel both for balance and comfort.   Round toes are more suited to sweet lolita, whereas more pointed toes are better for gothic. A nice, almond-shaped toe is a good compromise that can work for all kinds of looks. A plain pair like this can be spritzed up easily with different kinds of shoe clips to dramatically change your shoe! 

*Tip from Lady Salt: Vintage pumps (1940s-1960's) are often more comfortable than their modern-made counterparts. Not only was craftsmanship better then, wearing flats wasn't as much of an option for the fashionable woman in those days. Shoes were made with the intention of being worn and walked in, and have the structure to support those activities.

3. Vintage blouses

1960's Butter-yellow tie-neck silk blouse found on Etsy
The best way to build a unique but frugal lolita wardrobe is to stock up on vintage blouses! When I first began wearing lolita in around 2005, I was a highschool student in a rural area. Japanese lolita clothing was almost impossible to purchase without a shopping service, and even more impossible with my part-time job's paychecks, so I made do by finding loliable skirts and blouses at my local thrift shops and vintage stores. 

This model is great at showing how lovely these blouses can be!
From Vintrigued Vintage on Etsy
As my wardrobe evolved, I eventually let go of most of my finds, but I still keep a healthy stash of vintage blouses around, both for use in lolita coordinates, and for daily ware. Romantic, lolita-appropriate styles have been fashionable in the West with reliable frequency, so lacey, Victorian-inspired, feminine blouses are pretty easy to find. 

1980's new-romantic "poet" style blouse found on Etsy
White and offwhite are the easiest colors to find, and most suited to classic coordinates, but with enough diligence you can find loliable blouses in any color you wish. Make sure to keep in mind the shape of the blouse when you are planning your coordinate: many of these kinds of blouses aren't very tailored and may bulk up under a jumperskirt. Smock-style shirts are best worn tucked into skirts with some sort of belt. One trick to minimize bulk is to tuck your shirt into your bloomers, or tie a ribbon around your waist, over the blouse to keep it from riding up.

Seafoam green / mint blouse found on Etsy.
Vintage blouses can work with sweet too!
Once you start spotting these blouses in stores, you'll notice them all over the place! My favorite vintage blouses include a beautiful wine-red silk mandarin-collar piece with Chinese embroidery, a delicious lace-trimmed off-white beauty with a flowing shawl collar and balloon sleeves, and a high-necked chiffon number with black and cobalt blue stripes! Really unusual but I love it under black jumperskirts and with AP blue items. 

*Tip from Lady Salt: Make sure to always keep quality in mind when shopping for vintage blouses. While there are many beautiful pieces available, there are just as many of terrible quality to be found in the same styles. As with typical lolita clothes, avoid low-quality synthetics, shiny satins, cheap rachel lace, and bad construction. No one will appreciate your vintage gem if it looks like Milanoo! 

4. A Basic Blazer Jacket

I love this blazer by Mary Magdalene, but a basic black suit
jacket can work just as well in lolita coordinates.
When most people think of lolita outerwear, blazers aren't usually the first thing that comes to mind. I include them in this list simply because they are incredibly versatile! A black blazer, cut short enough to accomodate lolita dresses, is an easy find at any high-street store. (I got mine at Crossroads Used Fashion for $10.00), and they are incredibly easy to throw over a coordinate if its a bit chilly, but not cold enough for your Angelic Pretty coat complete with plush animal ears. They suit any style, gothic and classic with minimal embellishment, and sweet if you dress them up with your favorite bows, brooches, and pins. Many brands have released printed blazers that match jumperskirts, but a basic blazer (or three) is a staple every lolita should own. They are also a great thing to own if you want to wear your frills to work!

5. A large variety of interesting tights & hosiery

Verum tights by Grimoire
These days, tights are catching on in the lolita community, thanks to the the popularity of Grimoire's Verum line but it feels like not so long ago when I had to convince most of my lolita friends that expensive printed socks are not always the answer. As a taller lolita with thicker legs, printed socks tend to look awkward on me, and I much prefir the more elegant lines of tights. Tights can change your look dramatically, and now one can find them in almost any print, style, or color you can imagine. There are even places that will let you design your own and get custom prints! But tights aren't all.... to add a bit of sex appeal to you hosiery, why not try thigh-high stockings with garders? 
A generic editorial mori-kei photo of socks, but seriously,
who can hate socks that cozy!!!
But don't think that socks are off limits! Think beyond the box of lolita socks. Maybe give sock garders a try if you're feeling adventurous for an antiquated look. Ankle socks are gaining popularity, and I always love thick, hand-knit, chunky socks for a more rustic, mori-style look. Scrunch down your OTKs for an old-school kogal vibe, or even try layering socks over tights. 

5. One really, really over-the-top dress or coordinate
Not lolita I know, but somehow the perfect dream dress illustration.
Illustrator Howard Chandler Christy

The one. Your dream dress. Every lolita needs that one dress in her closet that she maybe never has an occasion to wear out, but just owning it makes her feel happy. Wearing lolita is all about dressing as elegantly and as dreamily as possible, so why not own a completely impractical dress? This goes for my readers who wear other styles as well: everyone deserves a little piece of luxury they can prance around the house in once in a while. For me, I've always wanted to own one of Baby's really sumptuous Rococo-style one pieces, preferably in black shantung, or chiffon, or velvet.  I still haven't tracked down the perfect piece yet, but when I finally find it, my closet will be ready!

A Very Spooky Birthday

Hello dear readers! Its been a packed few weeks for me. On the first of the month, I celebrated my birthday! My boyfriend and I had a special day planned, but it seems that New Years Day in Los Angeles is not the best of date days - almost everything we tried to do was closed! In spite of all the cancellations, we had a great day anyhow!

Our first stop of the day was a visit to the Hollywood Museum of Death. I was quite excited to visit this location because it seems like the perfect gothy tourist destination, but to be honest, it was a little intense for me. I don't consider myself a squeemish person, but room after room of autopsy photos, and the smell of embalming chemicals was a little too much for me. I did really enjoy their collections of death-row art and poetry, their amazing skull collection (they have a giraffe skull!!!!!), and their really interesting Heaven's Gate and Manson Family exhibits. The owners were really nice, loved our outfits, and even gave me some free buttons for my birthday! They had a really adorable (live, and 20-year-old) siamese twin painted turtle in the lobby. I'm glad I went, but I don't know if I'll be going back any time soon.... 

The infamous Hollywood Museum of Death... visit if you dare!

DEATH parking, teehee

You aren't supposed to take photos inside, but I snapped this
photo of a "family" quilt made by the Manson girls. Nothing pairs like crafts and murder!
After the museum, I wanted to go shopping at LA's oddities emporium, Necromance on Melrose in West Hollywood. Unfortunately, Necromance was closed, but we were able to browse some of the nearby shops that were open. I *almost* bought a pair of skeleton leggings, but I decided against it at the last minute. I should have bought them! There were so many cool stores on Melrose, including a branch of the Asian street-fashion brand JOYRICH, but most of the ones I really wanted to visit were closed :(.  

A shot of the inside of Necromance from Google. I'm so bummed it was closed.... 
After we'd had our fill of Melrose, we headed over to Little Tokyo to indulge in vegetarian Japanese food at Shojin, LA's only all-vegan Japanese restaurant! We ordered stuffed shitake mushrooms, yuzu-cured seitan, eggplant and burdok maki, and a vegetarian dragon roll! The Shojin staff were so sweet! They brought me a fruit dessert with a candle, and gave us our polaroid in a nice, personalized card. They also gave me a CD with the jazz music they played in the restaurant! 
I took my own pictures at the restaurant, but they didn't really turn out. I snagged this from Google. 
After dinner, we had planned on going to do purikura, but it was also closed :(. Luckily, many of the Little Tokyo shops were open, so we got to browse a little after all. My boyfriend bought me some delicious macarons from Lette and a really adorable spoon ring from an Osaka-style vintage shop, and I treated myself to a cute pair of lashes. 

My birthday haul!
Here is what I wore! In celebration of my birthday, I wore my most sumptuous gothic coordinate. Blouse: Victorian Maiden / OP: F+F / Hairpieces: AATP, F21, H&M / Rosary, stole, gloves: Vintage / Shoes: Bordello

Simple makeup.... I put a lot of roses in my hair.... 

Eeeeh, demon face! It was dark by the time we got home, so my pictures are a little blurry! I love this dress so much!