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Monday, September 22, 2008

Gothic Lolita (gosu-loli)

Omotesando, Tokyoゴシックロリータ(ゴスロリ)

"Gothic Lolita" is a fashion style, born in Japan, that blends the dark, brooding gothic and the light, frilly Lolita looks.

To see is to believe.

In other countries, the gothic look is an expression of alienation, teen anger, even anarchy. Piercing and aggressive tattoing are often part of the package.

Lolita is of course the young woman and title of the great Vladimir Nabokov novel. In Japan, she has been appropriated in the "Lolita complex" (rori-con). This is the phenomenon describing Japanese men who are obsessed with very young--very young--girls.

In terms of fashion, Lolita refers to hyper-cute girls in frilly pink and white outfits.

Young Japanese women have melded these different forms of alienation and created a bizarre sub-category fashion look. In highly detailed outfits, complete in many cases with Little Bo Peep umbrellas, they parade in groups in city centers.

Disclaimer: The author is not an expert on gothic, Lolita, or gothic Lolita fashion. We welcome comments and corrections from our readers.

1 comment:

Cleo said...

Actually, lolita the fashion and lolita the book/lolicon are not related at all. Lolitas dress in Victorian and Rococo influenced clothing as a rebellion against the typical "sexy" clothing thats primarily marketed towards young women. The lolita culture encourages followers of the style to dress for themselves rather than to dress up to please men. Also, not all lolita styles fit into the "gothic lolita" category. Gothic lolita is probably the most widely recognized style, usually in all black or black and white with more gothic themes- but the frilly, pink and white style you described is whats known as "sweet lolita". There are many other styles of lolita out there, as well, including classic lolita, which has a much more mature, Victorian look; and punk lolita which combines the antique-doll aesthetic or lolita with a more traditionally punk-rock look. Other styles include outfits inspired by pirates, princesses(known as hime loli), traditional Japanese and Chinese clothing (Wa lolita and Qi lolita), and also related fashions for men known as "kodona" (or ouji) and "Aristocrat".

Also, in regards to the gothic look, the things you described like anger, alienation, and anarchy are all negative stereotypes associated with goths that are not necessarily, and not usually, true. For the most part, goths are well-adjusted, intelligent, creative individuals who just happen to appreciate the "dark side" of life more than others. Goths are very far from the "scary people" the media makes them out to be.

I have been involved in both the gothic and lolita scenes for many years, so I know how these things are. I hope you appreciated my comment!