Tuesday, 7 February 2017

First Lolita Meet 2017 - High Tea and Spontaneous Cocktails

It was high time for High Tea...

Well, it's been a while! I've been back in Australia for a while now (since June 2016) and living in Perth. 

Amongst adult-ing for the past nine or ten months, I've not been out in frills or updated the blog. However, I had the most marvellous chance to head out for a high-tea at the Crown Casino this last weekend. Although the weather has been incredibly hot recently, I was enthusiastic about joining the Perth Community for cake and a cup of coffee.

Thoughts on Preparedness...
When the actual day came, the weather was warm but not overly hot. I had decided previously that I would wear Esprit de la Belle Époque de Paris by Baby and wear it with the matching bonnet, which I hadn't had the chance to wear out as yet.  I chose a short-sleeve blouse (the same one I picked up at Baby the Stars Shine Bright Kyoto in April last year) because of the summer heat and my go to off-white wrist cuffs. Honestly, I can't say how useful the Innocent World haul has been for my wardrobe. I knew that the brown bag and the shoes would match the dark brown bows on the dress and just like that my outfit had come together. Thanks to my lovely friend Stephanie who gets the all the preparedness awards for bringing a nifty little camera and taking outfit photos of everyone, including mine. 

Bonnet: Esprit de la Belle Époch à Paris - BTSSB
Blouse: Spring Garden Chiffon Blouse - BTSSB
Jumperskirt: Esprit de la Belle Époch à Paris - BTSSB
Wrist cuffs: BTSSB
Socks: Esprit de la Belle Époch à Paris - BTSSB
Shoes: Innocent World

Despite being fatigued from the past few weeks, I became incredibly excited when I tried on the bonnet with a wig and the colours worked well together. I even had enough time to paint my nails and put on some fake lashes so I felt extra special.

If there's something I've learnt about getting ready for meets over the years, it's "prepare in advance". Knowing what you will wear, how much time it will take to get to the meeting place and giving yourself enough time to shower, get make up on, get dressed, change bags and do a last minute check makes things much easier on the day. I will decide what time I need to start getting ready and what time I need to leave the house to get to the meeting place in good time a day or two before the event. Conversely, I've found concentrating on getting ready too much really tires me out so I try not to spend too much more time than usual on doing makeup. I'm sure everyone has their own personal balance. How do you feel about getting ready? Is it tiring or invigorating?

High Tea at the Atrium...
I arrived earlier than expected and waited to meet up with everyone. It was lovely! The lobby had a gorgeous decoration in the centre to celebrate Chinese New Year. It became a feature of our outfit photos when everyone arrived. 

I hadn't seen many people for a long time. It was wonderful to meet up with some people I hadn't seen in a while and meet some new people in the comm. First, we took obligatory outfit shots and then headed in for high tea. I snapped a little shot of all our frilly butts before we went in to The Atrium.

The high tea was a buffet and needless to say there were a number of cute desserts available. Many of the lolitas were drawn to the many colourful macaroons on offer and I couldn't help getting a plate full of colour coordinated sweets. Afterwards, I chose a plate of savoury food to balance out the sweet. Well, you wouldn't think that such small cakes would take up so much room but I was close to full so after a final plate of some fruit and marshmallows dipped in chocolate I was done! I regretted eating a full breakfast as I felt it undermined my ability to fully enjoy the dessert buffet.

A Conveniently Placed Bar...
After we left the buffet, we chatted for a while - catching up on recent happenings or simply reminding each other of what jobs we do. A member had prepared a prize lottery for us and I got a gorgeous blue hair clip. It was very unexpected and it seemed that everyone thoroughly enjoyed getting hair clips, bangles and even Sailor Moon socks! Finally, we got tired standing around in our tea parties and t-straps (and Mary Janes) so it was onto a couch with a conveniently placed bar right beside it. And that is how the unofficial cocktail meet began. I ordered a cocktail called Purple Rose (pictured below). Again, I was ruled by my desire for colour and thematic coherence. 


I was not alone though, and was very pleased when the lolita wearing Angelic Pretty's Melty Ribbon Chocolate ordered a chocolate cocktail. 

Chocolate goes best with chocolate 
Looking sophisticated in Melty Ribbon Chocolate
Check out @Rafiraga on Instagram

The chatting lasted for another couple of hours and even when we dispersed, we ended up re-grouping in the car park to discuss how UN-lolita most of our cars were. There must be a collective noun for lolitas somewhere - a giggle, a gaggle, a fluff? Perhaps it's a different noun depending on the style - a murder of gothic lolitas, for instance (I'm sure there was a chat about that on LiveJournal at some point). In any case, lolita was just a fashion when I began and it has become a social activity and a friends circle. I'm so thankful to have a group of people who live close by and are into the fashion. It was a while between drinks (literally and figuratively) but I really enjoyed getting back in the frills and having a chat with my frilly friends from the Perth Community. 


Friday, 1 April 2016

Sakura Mochi and Maple Cake - Lolita Date in Kyoto

I had a most wonderful outing last week on Thursday. I needed to go to Kyoto to pick up my blouse from Baby, the Stars Shine Bright. I had forgotten my passport last time, which meant I couldn't buy it tax free. I contacted one of my Lolita friends in Kyoto who said she could meet up so my Lolita date was set.

We decided to meet at a cafe called Café du Thé François in Shijo Kawaramachi so I chose to wear Angelic Pretty's Wonder Party to match the cafe theme. I matched it with off-white accessories including a beret from Baby, the Stars Shine Bright. Rest Room Selfie, anyone?

I wore a wig for the first time in ages to cut down on hair styling time. The wig is from Gothic Lolita Wigs and its definitely my favourite. This blonde doesn't make me look washed out and the hair style is cute but elegant. The reason for leaving early being is that I had to head off early to buy some Japanese sweets as souvenirs before meeting up with my friend. 

Buying Mochi at Futaba

The sweets shop I went to is called Futaba and is situated in Demachi Anagi. It's already quite well known for Mame-mochi but I was there to buy the Sakura Mochi! It's readily available during the cherry blossom season and is a gorgeous glossy pink colour wrapped in a Sakura leaf. Sakura is a slightly strange sweet leafy taste and with the leaf being salty and the mochi being sweet it quite an interesting sweet to eat. I didn't like it the first few times I ate it, particularly the leaf but with the mochi being recently advertised on the T.V. with high recommendations I didn't want to miss the opportunity to try it again.

When it comes to popular foods, in my experience, the Japanese have a different way of thinking to what I've seen in Australia. Firstly, Australians seem to be less enthusiastic about something simply because it's introduced as popular and on top of that most Australians seem to avoid waiting in long lines. Conversely, it seems that the Japanese are happy to line up in order to get something that's been advertised as it means they are sure to get a good product at the end. This certainly seemed to be the case at Futaba as the line curled around three times in front of the shop. There was a person outside the shop reminding people to keep moving forward and that the wait was around 20 minutes. They were also there to stop the line from moving too far over on the path. 

There were so many people and I didn't want to be late for my date so I didn't stop to take photos except for this one above. The line moved quickly and smoothly. Before long I was at the front of the line and my order was taken, the mochi was placed in a plastic pack, wrapped and handed to me in a bag. With my souvenirs in my hand, I walked to the bus stop to head to the cafe.

The Cafe and Kamogawa

I arrived at Shijo Kawaramachi bus-stop an hour before I was scheduled to meet with my friend. It gave me a chance to look around and take some pictures of the newly bloomed Sakura. 

The cafe is situated on Kiyamachi Street is a beautiful street with Kamogawa River running beside it and Sakura running down each side. In the Edo period (around the 18th century) many traditional style cafes, restaurants and bars were built to entertain the travellers who would come to the area. Today, the area is still a place for travellers to come to eat, drink and be entertained, however many of them are foreign travellers, like myself. Many of the places have a traditional shop front and some are even award winning gourmet restaurants. 

I also took a few snaps of Café du Thé François complete with poodle. 

History of Café du Thé François

Café du Thé François was listed as Registered Tangible Cultural Property in 2002. While it was originally a machiya, a Japanese townhouse for merchants or craftsmen, the shop was opened by Shōichi Tatemoto in the 1934 with the building redesigned into a western-style cafe with a design to reflect the spirit of enlightenment through socialism and art. The name of the cafe is a nod to painter Jean-Francois Millet. In 1937, during the second Sino-Japanese war, Tatemoto was jailed for anti-war activities, which included raising money for the Japanese communist party and distributing anti-Facist publications. After his time in jail Tatemoto had the interior re-designed by an Italian architect friend, Alexsandro Bencivenni, who himself had run away from Facist Italy. The interior was designed to resemble an ocean liner travelling between Europe and Asia and is a mix of 17th century Italian Baroque and Renaissance in style. The cafe kept running through the Pacific War when it was re-named Miyako Sabo (Kyoto Tea house) due to the law not allowing the use of enemy languages. Bencivenni, who refused to swear allegiance to the Italian Socialist Republic when the alliance was decided, was even sent to a prisoner camp in Nagoya for two years. The shop eventually closed in 1944 due to food shortages. The shop was re-opened in 2002 with the instatement of it's new status and is now run by the owner's three children.

I didn't take many pictures of the rest of the day but safe to say my friend and I had a great time, which included ordering matching Maple cake and coffee with cream set. It was absolutely delicious and ended up being my lunch. In between I went to buy the blouse and we moved to cafe number two to enjoy a coffee float chatting until 6pm. We promised to get together again in Kyoto as soon as we could manage. It really was a wonderful day. 

Sunday, 27 March 2016

The Opening of Leur Getter Kyoto

After a 17 hour flight, including a 6 hour stop-over in Singapore, I arrived in Japan on Thursday morning. I often read Misako Aoki's blog and she mentioned that she would be attending the opening of a new Leur Getter shop in Kyoto on the 26th. I met Misako at the Kera shop in Osaka last year in June so I was really excited at the possibility of meeting her again. Here's a picture from Misako's blog from the meet at Kera Osaka in May last year. It truly was great to be able to meet her and have a chat.

I admit I spent a good deal of time getting ready so I was late leaving the house and didn't get a snap of my outfit before leaving. There was also the problem of the mirror in the hallway being cluttered with luggage. (Most embarrassing behaviour.)
I wore a very similar outfit to this one below with the only change being the brown Innocent World head band that I wore with the cream beret. 

Luckily, I managed to catch the right train and arrived in Kyoto at 10:30am. The opening was scheduled for 12 so I decided to check out the place where Leur Getter was and then look for a place to get lunch before heading to the actual opening. I exited the station and headed to Teramachi street. If you're familiar with Kyoto you may know the Teramachi street shopping area and maybe even the Metamorphose shop there. The Leur Getter store is about a minute walk on Teramachi street opposite the shopping mall exit closest to Metamorphose. 

After finding the store's location, I returned to the Teramachi Mall and decided to take lunch at the Lipton cafe right at the exit onto Shijo street. The Lipton cafe is a quaint chain cafe around Japan. The main draw card is voluminous Western-style sweets and special drinks, however there is also a lunch menu, both of which can be ordered in a "set" which is a food plus a simple drink for a special price. I chose the daily lasagne with meat and eggplant and an ice coffee. When the drink arrived I realised I had missed a great opportunity of drinking a Lipton tea at the Lipton cafe and to be honest the coffee was not to my taste. The lasagne, however, was amazing. A thick topping of tasty white sauce topped with cheese with two layers of pasta with rich beef mince and eggplant. It was very hot so it took me a while to eat the whole thing but I enjoyed. Every. Single. Mouthful. 

By the time I had finished it was around 11:30am so I fixed my beret and lipgloss and headed down Teramachi street to wait for the opening. When I arrived the shop was already open and the little shop was full to bursting with keen Lolitas. Out the front was the creative director of Leur Getter, and Misako Aoki. 
The creative director is a wonderful older lady who was also the head designer of Emily Temple Cute but has moved on to heading this brand. I was very lucky to meet her once before when she came to look after a boutique in Kyoto for the weekend. She remembered me too! She is very easy to talk to and spoke about how happy she was to open the store and encouraged me to enter the shop and try something on as it would "surely suit me". 
I also spoke to Misako Aoki, who looked gorgeous in a full Leur Getter outfit. This picture is from her Line Blog. 

She asked me about my trip and where I was going. I mentioned that I was interested in going to Tokushima. She laughed as she professed that despite being Japanese she'd never been to Tokushima. I asked her if she was going to do anymore events but she answered that she was unsure if she would be doing anything in the Hyogo/Kyoto area while I would be in Japan. 

Misako wasn't taking pictures at the opening event but if I had bought something over ¥20 800 I could have gone to a flower viewing party with Misako later in the day. Being the first week in Japan, I decided against buying something so expensive so quickly. I took my leave at this point so that more Lolitas could browse the store. I took a few pictures of the shop front and said goodbye to the newly opened Leur Getter shop. 

Teramachi is very close to OPA Kawaramachi, where Baby the Stars Shine Bright is. When I lived in Japan in 2014/2015 Angelic Pretty hadn't opened. I believe that my visiting Baby in Kyoto greatly affected my own style. It was so wonderful to meet up with the staff, Bambi and Leo. Leo helped me to try on the new releases Snow Dot JSK in sax, Marie Antoinette JSK and skirt. She is amazing at tying waist ties, there's a video of her doing it on the net floating around somewhere. I was quick to cast my eye over the blouses and after a serious conversation with Leo about which would sell out first I decided to get the blouse. Surprise! I had forgot my passport. Without it, I could not get it tax-free so I put down ¥1 000 to hold it for a week. 

So, my next adventure is decided! I'm still unsure what I will do next week but I do know it will involve the acquisition of a beautiful chiffon blouse from the new Easter series. I hope you will join me then!

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