Celebrity VK Fashion Models Tell All at V-ROCK Gothic and Lolita Party
V-ROCK FESTIVAL isn’t just about music, it’s about the whole visual experience, which includes fashion. On October 8, Nack Five Beat Shuffle and Omiya Arche presented the “V-ROCK Gothic and Lolita Party,” showcasing fashion brands Sixh., Baby the Stars Shine Bright, and Black Peace Now. Design students served as models, and the fashion show was headlined by popular models Midori Fukusawa and Yu Kimura. Later, Ali Project’s Arika Takarano and Beat Shuffle’s DJ Hiroaki Asai took the stage for a special V-ROCK promotional talk. The weather was beautiful, which was good because the event was outdoors and fans had been waiting in front of the stage since 11 a.m. By the time the event started at three in the afternoon, they were more than ready to greet the models and hear what they had to say.
The show was short, featuring a few showcase coordinates from each brand choreographed to the poppy punk music of Avril Lavigne. The first coordinate was from Baby the Stars Shine Bright. The model wore the “Alice’s Secret Key” print in pink and white with a winter-perfect soft pink jacket. Though the petticoat they’d chosen was the wrong shape for the dress and gave it a stiff appearance, the model wore it well, posing and clutching her stuffed animals like a spoiled little girl. Next was a classic lolita coordinate in an unusual rich forest green with a subtle stripe. The model carried a parasol and the look was very elegant, with just a hint of petticoat tulle intentionally peeking out from underneath to give it character.
Next was a rock look from Black Peace Now. The model’s bright orange hair clashed with the red velvet, creating a punk lolita enhanced by the sexy lace around the neck and oversized polka-dot scrunchie in her hair. Boy-style, sometimes referred to as “kodona” or “prince-style” made an appearance next with a model in velveteen pantaloons and a jacket with striped cuffs and a striped bow around the neck living up the look. Sixh. showed off two styles, one a casual punk with a Mint Neko bag and sandals and the other a visual look complete with bondage pants. A Frill coordinate in the currently popular regimental stripe finished off the mini-show before the stars appeared.
Yu Kimura came out wearing Black Peace Now, her hair a shocking pink against the dark colors as she blew kisses to the screaming crowd. The more demure Midori Fukusawa was next, wearing the “ALICE’S Marchin Cookie Flavour” print from Baby the Stars Shine Bright. Both posed for the fans for a few minutes, turning to show off the outfits.
“Even when they sit they’re cute!” the emcee exclaimed as the girls took their seats. “Can you tell us a little about the key points of your outfits?”
Midori was equally enthusiastic about her outfit. “It’s a cookie print, and even the main colors of the dress are cookie-like colors, so it all really goes together.”
The aspiring-fashion-designer-come-models took their leave, and the audience was given a rare chance to ask questions directly to the models. It turns out both have a love for anime and manga: Yu likes One Piece’s Sanji in particular, and Midori sometimes watches anime and plays video games until the wee hours of the morning.
“You play videos games in such cute clothes?” The emcee asked, a bit incredulous, but Midori assured her she did.
When asked for their recommended stores, Yu turned out to be a fan of another pair of lolita icons: Kokusyoku Sumire. She raved about their Sumire no Tenmado cafe in Golden Gai, a popular drinking street in Shinjuku. Midori said she wasn’t that good at walking around in crowds, but recently she’s been spending time in LaForet after photo shoots, going top to bottom in the nine-floor department store.
A few questions specifically reflected their role as lolita icons. One fan wanted to know how long they intended to wear gothic lolita clothing. “As long as I have the strength to wear it!” Yu responded passionately. Midori agreed. “I’m even going to wear it when I’m old. Maybe my kids will say ‘old lady, stop wearing that stuff!’ but I think a little elegance suits everyone. I’m certainly going to try.” That prompted another question: Where do you see yourself in ten years? “I want to get married!” Yu exclaimed. “I want to find a nice guy who understands this fashion.” Midori was equally family-minded. “I want adorable twins,” she said. After all, one lolita baby is cute, but a lolita mama with a pair is even cuter!
Another fan wanted to know who influenced their lolita style. Mitsukazu Mihara, the Gothic and Lolita Bible illustrator, was Midori’s choice. Yu admitted she didn’t know much about lolita before she started modeling for Kera. “But then I started modeling for Angelic Pretty, and I was blown away by the pastel colors, and so I learned about lolita there…” A gentle nudge from Midori brought her back around to the question. “Oh, this question is about a person! Right, then, I guess the Angelic Pretty designers.”
One audience member asked them for a memory from when they first started wearing lolita and Yu said her fashion style is usually all over the place “like a guy’s cooking” but when she was working with Midori and having an outfit put all together, from makeup to hair to clothes, she really understood what lolita was and had an epiphany. Midori, who has been wearing lolita for years, told a story from her school days. “When I was young, I actually hated cute things. My mom made all my clothes, but I thought I wasn’t ‘cute.’ I had short hair like a boy, and pretty things didn’t suit me. Then when I was in high school, I grew out my hair and started to wear lolita. One day while walking to the station, I ran into some old classmates, and in that second we all started laughing. I just looked so different!”
After some discussion of coordination and where they would want to go if they had time and money (both were in agreement that Europe would be best, Midori to Italy and Yu to France), it was time for a final message.
“I’m from Saitama, so I’m shocked and happy there are so many lolitas here in Saitama!” Yu waved to the crowd, people now gathered along the overpass above as well as in front of the stage. “I’m having a show later, so please come!”
“Me too,” Midori smiled. “Seeing so many lolitas in front of and above me, I’m very happy! Thank you so much!”
Next, Beat Shuffle’s DJ Asai and Ali Project’s Arika Takarano took the stage to promote V-ROCK FESTIVAL, where Ali Project will be performing, following up the band’s 2009 V-ROCK FESTIVAL appearance in Makuhari.
“How was that? Was it hard to play in front of so many bangyaru [female visual kei fans]?” Asai asked. “It was our very first vk event. But we’re all rock girls, so it was fine!” Arika said. She talked a bit about their outfits as well; stunning stage costumes are a specialty of Ali Project. “I thought everyone will be dressed in black, so we went with all white. This year we’ve thought about it, but I worry we’ll be too plain.” Though Arika admitted the set list for this year’s performance, or even the length of time they’ll have on stage, hadn’t been decided yet, she wanted to put on a good performance because a lot of people would be seeing Ali Project for the first time.
She also announced they were doing a special Halloween live, and fans were expected to come in costume. Last year she appeared as Medusa, “but a cute Medusa!” she assured the audience, and said her fans had also turned up looking quite ghoulish. They were then allowed to ask her questions.
Arika’s outfit choice for the day was a floor-length golden gown with heavy rings with chains that jangled as she moved her hands, and her hair went well past her waist. It was no surprise that many of the questions centered around her beauty routines and clothes. One fan asked about her hair accessories, and Arika revealed that she makes them herself to match her outfits when she has the time. Later, another asked about her fashion concept for the day. “I didn’t know what to wear, so I went though many outfits and finally chose the plainest one,” Arika answered. “That’s plain?” Asai sounded shocked, and Arika laughed. “Yes! You know, I have so many clothes, it can be hard to find things in my closet.” Arika takes good care of her appearance, saying she never goes to convenience stores and avoids junk food, and recently she’s gotten into weight training. When asked for her skin care recommendations, she said she recently received some Korean Dokuhebi (poisonous snake) cream and it’s done wonders. Though some people might be reluctant to put something like that on their skin, Arika had no hesitation, saying “poison is medicine!”
Ali Project often goes abroad and have even performed in America, and recently the band took a group trip to Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Paris. She said she liked Germany because of their manners. “In most parts of Europe, China too, everyone rushes across the streets, but the Germans are very serious and mind the rules.” Through the internet, she said, people from all countries have been able to find out about Japanese music and translate information into many languages, and not just Europe. “South America is really passionate!” Arika herself speaks English and has used that to help her in her travels around the world.
Another topic was the fact that Ali Project is different from the usual visual kei act, and the atmosphere of their shows is quite different as well. “Everyone chooses their clothes very carefully for the show, and they don’t yell. Today, everyone yelled when I came out, but no one really yells at our lives. We have a few heavy songs, but it’s not really that kind of show. I’m giving fans a ‘concert,’” by which she meant, something more orchestrated as opposed to the usual Japanese ‘live’ which often refers to rock concerts—or visual kei..
For her final message, Arika reminded everyone of the upcoming V-ROCK FESTIVAL and Halloween lives, and revealed that Ali Project will be releasing a CD in January. “Please look forward to it!”
After the show, fans could purchase tickets for V-ROCK FESTIVAL and many stayed to hear Yu perform for her new CD release as well. Judging by the crowd that turned up just for the small prelude event, Saitama is ready and waiting for V-ROCK FESTIVAL to begin!
There are 41 photos in this visual kei exclusive.