The Ultimate Lolita Fashion Show serves to showcase a number of designers across the various subsections. Sitting through the handful of catwalks, I had a recurring thought and felt the exhibit raises more questions than answers.
What is the attraction to lolita fashion? Given the current gravitation towards anime with a moe theme, it offers an obvious driving force. But that only begs the question on the force behind said gravitation. People desire youth. Society places value on it. But lolita fashion goes further. It portrays an image of pure innocence. Yet it’s amusing (to yours truly) that a lot of cosmetics are utilized to achieve the effect. Besides, the poses each model would make reflects a level of maturity that fails to conjure the innocence it’s trying to capture. Finally, I found it interesting that most designers chose to accompany the catwalks with a soundtrack featuring sounds of an alternative rock nature with solemn male voices.
I realize that gothic lolita and similar others project a slightly different image but the panel predominantly featured sweet lolita designs. (I have limited knowledge of lolita fashion.) My recurring thought revolves around the reception of the audience versus the designers’ intent. It’s no secret that lolita fashion carries sexual undertones. But does that stem from the designer or the audience? In some ways fashion, lolita included, is like Gundam. It involves a wide array of subjects among which politics may be one of them. Gender politics to be exact. Do women, since fashion is overwhelmingly geared towards said gender, wear a certain style to satisfy their desire or those of others? What about the designer? In other words, is the woman creating the innocent schoolgirl sexual connotation or is that a label affixed by the man or both?
I wish I have more answers. In fact, I know just what to do at the next Otakon.
All photos courtesy of SciFiAnimeHeroes.