Gothic Lolita – Gothic Lolita is a distinctive Japanese fashion style. Gothic Lolita is often seen in places like Harajuku. Gothic Lolita pictures.
Gothic Lolita or “GothLoli” (gosurori; sometimes alternatively “Loli-Goth”) is a youth fashion among Japanese teenagers and young women. It emphasizes Victorian-style girl’s clothing and often aims to imitate the look of Victorian porcelain dolls. Gothloli’s name and origin is a combination of lolita fashion—appearing deliberately cute to the point of looking childish—and certain styles found within gothic fashion. The style started 22as a youth subculture and became a well-established genre available in various boutiques and some major department stores.Some observers consider it a reaction to the “Kogal” aesthetic.
Gothic Lolita is one of the subcategories of the Lolita look. Other categories include “Classic Lolita” (more traditional, light-coloured, also more mature-looking) and “Sweet Lolita” (childish pastel-coloured clothes, lots of lace and ribbons).
Gothic Lolita was influenced and popularised by the imagery of more feminine Visual Kei (or “visual rock”) bands. Visual Kei is a Japanese form of rock music defined by bands featuring performers in elaborate costumes but whose musical style varies. Mana, the cross dressing former leader and guitarist of the Visual Kei band Malice Mizer is widely credited for having helped popularise Gothic Lolita. He coined the terms “Elegant Gothic Lolita” (EGL) and “Elegant Gothic Aristocrat” (EGA) to describe the style of his own fashion label Moi-meme-Moitie, which was founded and quickly established itself as one of the most coveted brands of the Gothic Lolita scene.
Gothic Lolita – The Style
Gothic Lolita style is usually a combination of black and white, often black with white lace and typically decorated with ribbons and lace trims. Skirts are knee length and may have a crinoline or petticoat to add volume. As in mainstream Japanese fashion, over-knee socks or stockings are extremely popular. Black fishnet stockings and white or black tights are also common. Shoes or boots with high heels – though not usually stiletto heels – such as Mary Janes, complete the look. Frilly, ruffled or lace-trimmed Victorian blouses are also popular especially with “EGL” types, who may also favour long skirts and jackets rather than the overtly “childish” designs of typical gothloli’s. Apart from the occasional shortness of skirts, designs are usually modest, sometimes with long lace-capped sleeves.
Some additions may include an Alice in Wonderland-style apron, tiny top hats, parasols, lace gloves, and lace headpieces. Mostly black or white, headgear might consist of a headband with ruffles, ribbons, lace or bows. Sometimes even bonnets are worn. Hair may be curled to complete the porcelain doll look. The naturally dark Japanese hair color may be lightened to blonde or kept black. Some may choose to wear wigs as well.
Makeup is used sparingly and is seen more often with EGL styles than with other gothloli styles. Black eyeliner is typical. A pale complexion is preferred, so white foundation might be used. Red or black lipstick is seen but lighter makeup is the rule.
Goken Lolita outfits may be accessorized with other props like conspicuous pocketbooks, hatboxes, handbags and other bags, sometimes in the shape of bats, coffins, and crucifixes. Teddy bears and other stuffed animals are also common, and some brands make special “goken” teddy bears out of black leather or PVC. Also, many Goken Lolita own Super Dollfies and carry them around.
Although “Lolita” is a reference to Vladimir Nabokov’s famous novel, and GothLoli is often worn by teens, most followers of the style do not consider it overtly sexual. Adherents present themselves as Victorian children or baby dolls and prefer to look “cute” rather than “sexy”. Many Lolitas claim that the term ‘lolita’ doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with sex at all. The usage of the word may also be considered wasei-eigo.
Japanese culture places a higher value upon extremely youthful appearance and behaviour than Western, and some adult women buy large amounts of products, such as Hello Kitty goods, that are typically marketed only to children in the West. GothLoli is perhaps a more visible extension of this phenomenon.
Goth Loli culture
In Japan it is mass-marketed and has wide visibility particularly in the streets of Tokyo and Osaka, on television, in manga (see Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa for an example of gothloli inspired manga) and computer games. Outside of Japan it is still a fringe fashion although it has slowly begun to spread to other countries. Gothic Lolita, along with Cosplay and other Japanese cultural phenomena, can sometimes be seen at concerts and anime conventions throughout Europe and the United States. The style has not yet been mass marketed outside of Japan. However, there are plenty of dedicated fans filling the gap. Gothic Lolita magazines are widely available for purchase on the internet and at Japanese bookstores, which also deal in anime and manga. Adherents in Europe and the United States often sew their own homemade Gothic Lolita outfits, sometimes offering them for sale to make up for the difficulty of acquiring them from Japan.
Gothic Lolita in the West.
Many Goth girls in the west, have borrowed from the Japanese goth loli style, and have created a market for this style of clothing (particulary in online auctions). Americas Tokyopop recently comissioned, along with performer Courtney Love (who is not goth/goth loli herself, but is a former Japanese resident) an original manga in the goth loli style, called Princess Ai. This was the first (at least publicised) Japan/West goth loli collaboration.
Gothic & Lolita Bible
One magazine in particular, the irregularly published Gothic & Lolita Bible, has played an instrumental role in promoting and standardizing the style. The 100+ page magazine includes fashion tips, photos, sewing patterns, catalog descriptions, decorating ideas, and even recipes.
Gothic Lolita – Shopping
Currently the heart of the Gothic Lolita subculture, at least commercially, is the Marui Young department store in Shinjuku, after its predecessor Marui One closed at the end of August 2004. This large youth-fashion oriented department store has 4 floors entirely devoted to Gothloli and related fashions.
Crossover with Goth
“Gothloli” as a fashion is not as strongly associated with a particular style of music or outside interests as goth, and individual followers of Gothloli fashion may listen to a wide variety of music including regular Japanese pop.
In Japan, Goth is a very minor subculture with few followers, partly because the emphasis upon visual identity in Japanese youth culture makes other factors such as music and literature less important signifiers and perhaps partly because Christianity and Germanic culture are not integral parts of society. In Japan, people who have heard the term “Goth” usually assume that it refers to “Gothic Lolita”, except for the Goths themselves, who strongly emphasize the differences. (Likewise, some western observers incorrectly assume that “Gothloli” is the Japanese version of “Goth”.)
However, due to the popularity of Gothloli and its continued acceptance by many young girls, Goth nightclubs and events increasingly include Gothic Lolita elements in order to attract more customers. Thus many Japanese “Goth Clubs” will also feature a guest DJ playing J-pop and Visual Kei music, tea and cakes in the chill-out room, doll decorations, and other items designed to appeal to the Gothloli sense of European nostalgia.
Anime and Manga
Due to the popularity of this cute style with many fans of Japanese animation and comics, characters dressed in the “Gothloli” style may be found in numerous anime and manga. Some of the most prominent are Paradise Kiss, Le Portrait de Petit Cossette, Rozen Maiden, Tsukuyomi – Moon Phase, Othello, Chobits, xxxHOLiC, and Pitaten. Most of these titles appeal primarily to male fans rather than the gothlolis themselves. However, large numbers of gothloli girls are visible at manga events such as comiket. They often buy doujinshi based upon their favourite bands, dolls and movie characters; and some are interested in other kinds of cosplay apart from goth loli style.
The main character in Shimotsuma Monogatari (or Kamikaze Girls as it is known in the English language release) dressed in the “Gothloli” style.
Filed under: Culture