Tuesday, February 28, 2023

How to Introduce Lolita Fashion to NYFW - Victorian Maiden at Global Fashion Collective

Lolita fashion will forever be an outlier fashion; even as the style is slowly integrated into the mainstream, with elements seen in Hot Topic and the like. Majority of the time a Lolita fashion show is unheard of unless you attend an anime or comic convention where they are brought out as a guest. 

At New York Fashion Week this is even rarer. 

Global Fashion Collective aims to bring smaller, international designers to the forefront and a chance for their collections be viewed at an even wider, iconic audience like at NYFW.  And to my surprise, Victorian Maiden was featured this year. 

The last time New York Fashion Week showcased a Lolita fashion focused designer was in 2016 where Souffle Song (a Chinese Lolita fashion brand) was selected as part of Nolcha Shows.

It's interesting to note that Victorian Maiden was placed under the “Evening wear” showcase which is often interpreted as code for be as fancy as you want – which ultimately Lolita fashion tends to encapsulate. Since this is not an anime or comic convention where say a good number of attendees have a basic understanding of Lolita fashion, it makes you wonder what the reaction is for regular goers.

There is always this hidden controversy when you hear “Lolita” attached to anything. Sexual. Underaged. Manipulative. Victorian Maiden is and has always been the opposite. And for this collection they presented it as how Japan has always viewed it – inspired by Victorian and Rococo fashion.

Naturally it's always a spectacle. Instead of face-valued expectation of anatomy revealing we are presented with modesty - and we are left gaping in awe. All we can really do is take a photo to preserve that moment and initial feeling.

Courtesy of Global Fashion Collective/BPM PR Firm

For Victorian Maiden this is a show to celebrate their "25th anniversary" so to the unseen eye all the dresses would be entirely new. However it was a mixture of new and old pieces if you were familiar with the brand.

Beginning with the two models posing as “twins” dressed in a Regimental fabric in a Classical Doll style (a design that is used often in their brand). To an outsider this is cute perhaps reminiscent of the Shining or the original historic-based American Girl dolls. To the Japanese fashion enthusiast this is a regular pose that Lolitas have lovingly embraced in twins, triplets, and even sextuplets. Continuing with a Sherlock Holmes style coat and more jumperskirts in black or navy hues. The collection itself starts with a darker color palette to a lighter was also a good choice for an unknown audience as it makes Lolita fashion more palpable. 

Courtesy of Global Fashion Collective/BPM PR Firm

They ends more with a lighter and indulgent style with more gown-like inspiration with original toile print fabrics. Designs you could definitely see being worn at the next Bridgerton Experience.

Lastly, I really liked the choice of only having their second last piece with a cage-style petticoat (or at least the obvious extra detail of fashion enhancement). While a bell-shaped petticoat has defined the Lolita silhouette it's hard to see that as regular wear in present day fashion. It's impractical. However Lolita fashion is not meant to be practical. It's frivolous and fun. With the model's twirl before walking back it sends the message, "Yes, this is a doable if I want to wear it".

Paired with their usual Rococo Bouquet print it presents the theme they will always remain classically unfazed by trends

Courtesy of Global Fashion Collective/BPM PR Firm

Victorian Maiden has always kept their focus on design and textiles rather than flamboyant nostalgia-focused prints. With the focus on design elements like laces, ruffles and pleats it really puts your focus on the talent rather than the generalized assumption of Lolita (i.e. a coquette aesthetic with Nabokov-esque undertones). I found this especially important for Fashion Week, as this is period of time is always the opportunity for what we should view as fashion in general; not necessarily what to expect in the upcoming seasons. The show itself really is a collection of how far Victorian Maiden or even just Lolita itself has come.

Talking with a few other audience goers they really genuine loved it. It was fashion. There were pieces you could see yourself wearing everyday. Often collections made for Fashion Week is not always made for daily wear - it was seen wearable which I think is most important. Especially for such a niche misunderstood fashion. 

1 comment:

  1. It is wonderful that Global Fashion Collective is featuring Victorian Maiden at New York Fashion Week! I love the fashions featured in the Victorian maiden GALLERY on their website - they look beautiful.
    I really LOVE ultra-feminine fashions very much,
    and especially love ribbons, bows, ruffles, lace and tulle,
    Even though I do not own any Lolita fashion outfits yet,
    I can not help but love the ultra-feminine appearances of Lolita fashion designs.