Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Beautiful Things I'll Never Own - (Pipe) Dream Dresses as of September 2015

After writing about why I sold my dream dresses two weeks ago (I didn't post last week because my sister was in town) I thought it would be nice to write about the lolita fashion items I just can't get enough of but for one reason or another I don't think I'll ever get to own.

Fleur Antionette one-piece by Mary Magdalene 

First up, my very first and longest love affair, Fleur Annoinette. I first came across this dress when it was re-released in 2012 but not knowing much about the fashion at the time and not having any clue about how to buy from Mary Magdalene's website I didn't do anything about it. 

Why I like it
I really like the design of this dress from the Georgian design to the beautiful rose print.  In my mind, this is the epitome of a spring/summer dress of a courtly maiden. It's feminine but it has a hint of frivolity in it. My favourite colour-way is the green - not only because of the rarity of such a bright mint in Lolita fashion but because I wore a similar colour for my high school ball, so it's a little nostalgic for me.

Why I wouldn't buy it
I would love to own this dress but in reality, I don't think I would ever take it out of the cupboard; partly due to its sentimental value and because there wouldn't be a nice enough event close-by to wear it to. I've also seen the beige version of this dress for sale for US$400...ouch.

Beautiful Glassy Saint Mary - Jeanne JSK by Alice and the Pirates

I was already into lolita fashion when this was released but I didn't buy this dress because I wasn't crazy about it at first but it has really grown on me ever since. 

Why I like it
I love every detail of this dress from the intricately detailed stained glass art, the background pattern bringing a little brightness to the gothic style of the dress, the defined waist, which is my preferred style of dress and the gorgeous pearl chain topping the bust. I also own the Mary Ribbon Blouse!

Why I wouldn't buy it
I got so caught up in owning a dress with a stained glass window print that I bought the design that Korean-indie brand Baroque brought out called "Abandoned Night", which I absolutely adore. I think I can be satisfied with that and besides I recently saw the black version on Lace Market for US $800. No matter how much I love it, I could not put that much money down for a dress besides my wedding dress.

Kumya Kumya's Sweet Chocolate high-waist JSK by Baby the Stars Shine Bright

After seeing a friend wear the brown x pink version and getting my own kumya kumya in chocolate x gold I started take a liking to this dress. Then I made an outfit for a past post "Coordinating using three colours" and my fate was sealed. 

Why I like it
I particularly love the art of the print: the kumya kumya's are drawn so beautifully. I also love the idea that I have a "real" version of something in the print; my kumya kumya, that is. My favourite colour is the bitter chocolate x mint because I feel I would be able to coordinate it in a more mature fashion.

Why I wouldn't buy it
For all intents and purposes I have moved on from super sweet designs, however, this is print is still within my reach, although still a little expensive at about US$300. Even though I've seen it recently, I may have to pass it up on account that the Australian dollar is so weak at the moment.

The END of immortal EDEN skirt by Alice and the Pirates 

Like the Kumya Kumya Chan print above, I saw a friend wearing this and I really liked it.

Why I like it
The moment I saw this I thought Sailor Moon. The floating feathers in the design remind me a lot of Eternal Sailor Moon's feather-filled attacks and transformations. I also love the long length of the skirt and the design of the waist.

Why I wouldn't buy it
Well, actually I would buy it but I've hardly ever seen it sold. If you do see it, drop me a line!

So, how about you? What are the prints you love but probably won't be able to own? Let me know!

Until next time...

Monday, 14 September 2015

Alice in Fantasy Land - Restaurant Review

I can hardly believe three months have passed since I returned to Australia.

The last few months of my working holiday were very busy with work and meeting with friends so I didn't get much chance to write much on the blog about what I did in Japan. However, earlier in the year, I went to Umeda and visited the Alice in Fantasy Land restaurant with my friend. We had a wonderful day together and I would recommend the restaurant so I am writing a detailed review for the benefit of other people who may be thinking of going there. 

I can't remember quite how I found out about the place but I do remember that after seeing some pictures on the restaurant's website that I knew that I could expect a professional atmosphere with enjoyable food.


For non-residents and non-Japanese speakers this may be the biggest hurdle but do not give up!

The language barrier may possibly be the biggest hurdle for non-Japanese speakers who would like to go experience any of the Alice's Fantasy Restaurants. I reserved a table through the online booking system but the system was only in Japanese and required a Japanese mobile email address. If you don't have either a Japanese speaking friend or Japanese mobile, it would be a better idea to book a different way. Although there is English on the Alice's Fantasy Restaurant website, (albeit seemingly done via Google translate) unfortunately, the menu is only written in Japanese. 


A convenient location but it still took a while to find even with the basic map provided.

Alice in Fantasy Land is one of the installments of a series of Alice in Wonderland themed cafes called "Alice's Fantasy Restaurant". The restaurant is located very close to the main stations in the Osaka area: JR Osaka train station and the Hankyu Umeda Station, which is great for people who have little knowledge of the Umeda/Osaka area. A basic map was also provided on the site, however, it still took us a little while and a few walks up and down the road before we found the restaurant. In the end, we got there by passing through the Umeda JR hotel lobby; the restaurant was placed just out the other side. 

Map from the official site
The outside was lit very brightly with a big card soldier statue and a composite murals of pictures from Alice in Wonderland. Although the mural was obvious, the sign with the restaurant name was quite small so it took us a while to realise that we were in the right place.

The front of the restaurant was bright and colourful but it took us a while to see the sign above the door.

Restaurant Layout and Interior

Black interior walls lend themselves to a theatrical experience. There are many different areas catering for both intimate and large gatherings.

The restaurant seemed very focused on creating an atmosphere; as soon as you walked in the door it was as if you had stepped out of the real world into somewhere a little different, a little stranger. 

When we went in, there was a desk where we were greeted by a gentleman in a top hat and asked if we had a reservation. To the left of the reception there was a giant Alice in Wonderland book, which was actually a door and the entrance to the restaurant. There were some hats behind the counter as well and it seemed that you could wear them as I soon saw the restaurant patrons wearing them however I'm not sure whether you had to pay for them or not.

Very soon we were led through the door by the gentleman and arrived in a much bigger room with dark black walls, like a black box theatre. There were a few long tables in the main restaurant area for very large groups, to the side of the main area were some exciting looking booths on the side covered with transparent shiny material for two or three people and then in an elevated area separated from the main restaurant by a wall were some more tables for small groups. Four or so waitresses dressed in identical blue Alice costumes and stripey socks were attending to the customers in the restaurant. The gentleman in the hat called out something along the lines of "Welcome to Alice's fantasy land!" in Japanese and the Alice waitresses all echoed the same back to us. The ones that weren't serving at a table even faced us and curtsied politely. The greeting reminded me very much of a maid cafe "Maid Dreaming" that I had visited in Tokyo once before.

The Service 

Service was attentive and interactive with waitresses that could speak simple English. 

Much to mine and my friends delight we were led to a booth off to the side of the restaurant with the shiny material over it. It was a very nice, private atmosphere for me and my friend with a little bit of whimsy. It wasn't too soon before we were given menus. The waitress who served us was very kind and spoke English for us but when I mentioned that I could speak Japanese we switched over. The waitress explained we had to call "Alice" if we wanted someone to come to our table. I was reminded of the maid cafe again, however, the atmosphere was very different to a maid cafe. The Alice's Fantasy Restaurant is more about allowing the customer to enjoy the atmosphere with their friends with an "Alice guide" rather than enjoying the company and service of a maid.

We ordered our drinks first. I ordered a Happy Unbirthday cocktail, which was extremely tasty and came out with a light in it! We were also given complimentary drinks in a bottle with "drink me" cards. When we had drunk them, the waitress came over to each of us saying that we had shrunk very small and we should be careful on our journey. It was a wonderful touch and really made us feel as though we were experiencing our own Alice adventure. I did get the feeling that some who may not enjoy such a theatrical experience would feel it was a little childish and embarrassed, however, my friend and I very much enjoyed ourselves. 

The drinks were first to come out and, boy, did they make a good impression.

The Food and Drinks

Very high points for presentation, taste is good but not gourmet.

If you are planning on going to Alice in Fantasy Land or any of the Alice's Fantasy Restaurants I would recommend looking at the menu via the website so that you can see what the food looks like. It is, like the entire experience, rather theatrical. This, and, apparently the menus differ from restaurant to restaurant so take at look at the page specific to your restaurant if you can. There are two options for eating at the restaurant: a set course or a la carte. We asked to order al carte and had a difficult time choosing as the dishes all seemed delicious. 

The food was very well presented, often in the shape of an animal from the Alice in Wonderland story. The taste was not excellent but it was at least as good as a family restaurant. Some people may feel it is overpriced because of this but I consider the effort of the staff and the presentation of the food to be well worth it. 

All aspects of the cafe tie in with the Alice theme, even the playful dish designs 

Finishing touches

A very satisfying all-round experience. We were well looked after from the moment we stepped in the door to the moment we stepped out. 

At the end of our meal an Alice waitress saw us to the door and thanked us for coming. The waitress even offered to take our picture at the entrance to the restaurant. We went home both feeling very full and very pleased with our experience at the Alice in Fantasy Land restaurant. 

The fact that the menus differ between each restaurant and there are many different spaces to sit means that the Alice's Fantasy Restaurant doesn't have to be a one-time visit. In fact, I would love to go again. Next time I would love to go there with a bigger group of people and sit in a different place in the restaurant to enjoy a different atmosphere.

Thank you to all the staff at the Alice in Fantasy Land Restaurant for a wonderful evening and to my good friend for a fabulous day that day.

The lead up to the Alice in Fantasy Land Restaurant included a pancake lunch and bubble tea with my friend.
I had a fantastic day with my friend and would love to do it all again someday soon.
Until next time...

Monday, 7 September 2015

Ditching the Dream Dress - Why my wishlist has changed

One of the first things you do when you become interested in lolita fashion is begin collecting an impressive list of items that you really (really, really) want. The "must-have" items are often dubbed "dream-dresses" with other simply desirable purchases placed on a what is often called a "wishlist". I started purchasing lolita clothing in 2012 and created a long list myself. In the year or two following I even managed to acquire some of those pieces. The feeling of excitement and pure rush of getting an item you've admired for so long is so great, isn't it?

Here is a line-up of some of the items I really wanted back when I began wearing lolita fashion.

The puffy tail and ears on the Marshmallow Bunny Sallopette was love at first sight!
Top down on the right: Rose Toilette, Sugar Fairy Cake and Country of Sweets all by Angelic Pretty.

But what happens when the dresses that you've brooded over to finally buy become back-of-the-closet clothes? Or perhaps the style you loved is just not what you want to wear anymore. 
Well, I started to feel this way at the end of last year and after deciding to sell the last of the dresses on my wish list that I had acquired, I decided that I wanted to share some of the reasons why I moved on from those pieces. Perhaps you've felt the same way or maybe it's for a completely different reason. Comment and let me know!

1. Square pegs in round holes 

Sometimes that beautiful piece you love to bits just doesn't look as nice as you imagined it when you finally get to wear it. As hard as it is, you've just got to let it go. In my case, it was the colours and the patterns that I had to part with. The light colours and chaotic prints of the super sweet designs that I loved looked heavy against my dark features. 

I loved the colour and print design of Angelic Pretty's Sugar Hearts.

2. Size does matter

Squeezing yourself into something too small or having to pin, tie or hold up something too big is a real confidence killer. Checking the measurements for your beloved item is one way to avoid disappointment, which is the point I ignored not once but three times! 

This Bodyline JSK L481 (affectionately known as Cinderella Bunny) was an impulse buy at a swap meet.
In the end, I had to pass it on because it was even too big with all the shirring tied up.

3. All dressed up and nowhere to go

"What's the point in having a beautiful dress if I don't have anywhere to wear it." I know that many people would sympathise with that statement. That really was the case with my beautiful Milky Planet. As much as I loved it, it was too casual for a tea party and too gorgeous just to go for a bubble tea in town. I simply realised one day that I wouldn't be wearing it many more times so I made the decision to pass it on.

This is still one of my favourite outfits that I've put together.
I bought the Milky Planet accessories from the new release in a different colour to create contrast.

4. Petticoat Junction

As time goes on the things we like change but it can be hard to accept that you and your formerly favourite print just simply don't share anything in common anymore. When I started wearing lolita fashion I wanted to be decked out in stars, candy and the brightest colours so as to be seen from space but at some point that changed and I wanted to veer towards a more cohesive wardrobe and colour pallet.

After buying two cut-sews in Japan I have sworn them off forever. The size is often too small.
Same goes for mini-skirts...and socks.
This Dream Sky skirt is the culmination of all the above points: the light colour and busy print, the small size and the personal change in taste over time meant I had to pass this gorgeous piece along.

Why it's okay

I took me a while to comes to terms with being able to sell items that I had really wanted for a long time. "Is it okay?" "Should I even make a wishlist?" However, after a while I realised that personal tastes changing as time goes on is something that is very natural. It really cemented the fact that, for me, purchasing a "dream dress" for a price much higher than retail will often lead to disappointment. Additionally, being able to self-evaluate your appearance and judge what looks good on you or what you are likely to wear is a very important skill when you wear any kind of fashion. You might have some great friends whom you can ask opinions of and that's important too but in the end the person choosing and wearing the clothes is you. 

As for my wishlist, I am still adding pieces to it that I really like and some of the pieces I had on there before I've been able to retain and simply change what cut or colour way I would buy. When all is said and done, I still have a long list of dresses that I would love to own one day but I'm going to purchase them if I feel they are right for the wardrobe I'm working towards while keeping a wider perspective that my tastes may still change in the future. 

How about you? How have your tastes changed? What are some of the pieces you've had to let go of? Let me know.

Alice and the Pirates' Gloria - Beautiful Glassy Saint Mary is pretty much a pipe-dream dress.
I really love Angelic Pretty's Wonder Party bustier-style JSK but if I chose the skirt I can tone it down a little more.
I had the pink version of Angelic Pretty's Royal Chocolate Round JSK on my wishlist but the white or beige will tie in with my current wardrobe colours better.
Until next time...

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