Fashion Shines at Brilliant Star Decorations Vol. 1
On January 6 of the New Year, descending the stairs of Shibuya REX felt like tumbling down the rabbit hole before reaching Wonderland. Inside the hall, a runway had been attached to the stage and around it gathered a crowd in frilly dresses and gorgeous suits, embodiments of Victorian romance or other cosplay fantasies. Organized by Brilliant Kingdom and Triple*Fortune and featuring other brands such as Dangerous Nude (Kikirara Shoten), entertainment and music were combined to create a dark, magical show.
Appearing first on the stage in outfits matching their personalities, Babi and Kaie of Cosplay Act Brilliant Kingdom gave everyone a gracious welcome. Fully employing their aristocratic charm, the two cross-dressing princes instantly captured the enigmatic mood “Tonight, you are the ladies and gentlemen of our Kingdom. Do you want to meet with princes and princesses?” Kaie smiled, extending both hands. “We will take you into a world of shining stars tonight,” Babi added dreamily, before they introduced the first brand. “First, we shall show you the beauty of creatures like objects… Enjoy! Bring forth the dolls!”
Thus, Dangerous Nude commenced the fashion show, presenting its new collection of tights with a fascinating concept: Nude Socks. From behind a dressing-cabinet on stage, a gallant masked Mr. Rabbit guided the models forward—or rather, presented various living dolls. Wrapped in tulle and fabric from top to waist, the veiled models pulled undivided attention to their artistic leg wear. With elements like rough sewing-marks, rusted ball-joints and shadow play, some resembled old-fashioned, flawed yet attractive marionettes. Others featured dark flowery details and skillful illusions of different fabric usage, the fine print work giving all of the tights a three-dimensional effect. Dangerous Nude’s tights all formed beautiful pieces of their own. It was almost a shame to hide them beneath a skirt.
After the eerie, mysterious dolls, the runway lit up for the other pieces of Dangerous Nude’s collection. With stripes, polka dots and cat-eared jackets, the first outfits expressed a girly style with spunk. Wide layered tops with matching bloomers underneath brought attention to the mid-section while playing with alternating patterns. A cute girl showed off her corseted dress with red and white polka-dots, candy-sweet and feminine. The next outfit stood out for being historically inspired—a big bonnet and corset with delicate flower print atop a long-sleeved blouse and plain cotton skirt. Dangerous Nude did not limit itself to one style, presenting modern-day girlishness and older styles of femininity.
A bell rang and Babi and Kaie returned to the stage, reflecting on the beauty of the previous designs before introducing what was next to come. “The costumes you are about to see were inspired by the gentlemen from the 19th century,” Kaie told the audience. This time, admiring sounds were raised from the female spectators as a handsome male model strutted confidently up the runway before striking a cool pose in his dark blue, velvet coat. Other models followed his lead, all wearing classy outfits designed by Triple*Fortune and accessories by pureblack Gothic Labo. Combining long velvet coats with frilled blouses, head wear and gleaming jewelry, the first models reminded of wealthy pirate captains. The last model appeared in a stunning white suit and a top hat with tulle veil and ribbons attached—an impeccably classy groom, merely lacking a matching white horse.
After the gentlemen had shown off their outfits, Babi and Kaie joined them onstage to ask them to describe and show the details of their accessories. pureblack Gothic Labo had provided them with detailed, dark yet glamorous designs such as silver chained necklaces with large crowns and rings shaped like bats. A bit of comic relief was provided as the models soon bubbled away, clearly excited about the looks they could show off tonight. In fact, these men were not only models but rather, two members from the band Dieu and two from Rovin were to show that their profession gave them a strong sense of style. That did not mean their fashion-knowledge was top-notch, though. “These accessories are so cool. Also, these socks are really cute—Oh wait. They’re tights, aren’t they?” the third gentleman laughed. “I would wear this even when going to the konbini,” the white groom joked about his outfit. “But, of course, you’d be going there in your carriage, right?” Kaie asked.
A few more dreamy poses and the classy gentlemen took their leave, allowing Babi and Kaie to announce the next promising spectacle; the collection from Triple*Fortune, the night’s organizer. “This brand has been reproducing the grace of old Victorian times for this modern day.” Babi and Kaie both crooned a tale full of romance and Victorian aesthetics before leaving the stage to let the models show exactly that. First, fur pelts, corsets and tights set the theme and nothing else was worn in order to draw attention to both the lacings on the different corsets and various beautiful prints on the tights. Next came long-sleeved blouses, dark ones with gothic grace or pink loveliness and models matching their poses and expression to the attire.
The next outfits played the same interesting trick—by leaving out another key-piece of clothing, more attention was drawn to what was worn instead. Corsets and blouses atop frilled bloomers and stockings were highlighted by uncovered petticoat hoops, showing off details and skin in a classy way. All together, the picture remained very alluring and with the grace and bedroom-eyes by some models, the partly stripped look could form a picture of Victorian erotica. Not all were set to seduce though; with white tulle, frills and ribbons and again the big bonnets and hats, Triple*Fortune further heralded Victorian femininity and innocence. Still, an enigmatic, slightly darker edge remained as the star-piece of the collection was presented by an angelic yet melancholy girl in unconventional bridal wear. Her veiled look and white asymmetrical dress appeared pure at first but the longer you looked, the more details met the eye. While she demurely showed the bracelet accessory on her wrist, a closer look at her dress began to tell a story as she made a careful turns. Dark smudges and edges appeared among the layers revealing that she was a blood-stained bride looking as if she had walked right out of a gothic novel.
Pleasant classical music began to play and two cute, identical maids appeared to inform the audience of the rest of the program. Now it was the spectators’ turn to show off their own unique creations. 25 spectators received their moment on the runway where their appearances were judged by a jury consisting of the male models and the night’s designers. All the participants showed off different creations inspired by Victorian times and fantasy themes, and the jury took note of each and then retired to decide the outcome. The two maids thanked the candidates for their participation before moving on to announce the musical performance. Something was awry, though. Even while speaking hopefully of a light that shines even in the darkness, the maids were suddenly snatched away by a dark-cloaked figure. An icy scream pierced the hall from behind the curtains. Then, prince Kaie appeared, carrying candles toward an altar in the corner. “Welcome to the world of night,” the dark prince intoned with a smirk.
Thus, Brilliant Kingdom commenced their performance, capturing the audience within an exciting play filled with poetry and music. The cross-dressing princes paid their tribute to Takarazuka-classics such as The Rose of Versailles as well as anime series’ by performing songs from both, combining vocal strength with planned choreography. Brilliant Kingdom made an intriguing, dramatic story about a search for historical knowledge and beauty within this ugly modern world. Long scenes with difficult monologues and even a short movie connected the songs together. Babi, the blonde prince and Kaie the paler, dark-haired one were like day and night and throughout their whole show they used their contrasted images to cater to any need—fantastic outfits, frivolous rivalry and even unchained fan-service. The performers were well informed on what their audience liked and acted upon it. Cute choreography set to anime-titles (“Angelic Blaster”), seductive acts to Acid Black Cherry (“I’m not a ghost” and “PISTOL”) and several long kisses were all part of Babi and Kaie’s ploy to make the audience swoon—and it worked. In the end, it was hard to divide the two into ‘good and evil’ because despite their good looks and flirtatious charm, could you really trust either of these princes?
That answer seemed to be provided as the evening was coming to its closure. The two maids—apparently still alive and well—came to announce the verdict of the jury. Five candidates were chosen as the selected winners and all received personal comments complementing the originality of their designs. Babi and Kaie re-appeared in their most elaborate princely outfits to congratulate the winners, giving each of them a pretty rose. “Why, you are all such gorgeous princesses,” Babi purred as he flirted playfully with each girl before sharing a meaningful glance with Kaie. “I could just… eat you up.” Squeals rose from the audience as Babi leaned to bite at one lolita’s neck, the curtains falling just in time. It was the last, exciting twist to a wonderful evening filled with escapism and romance.
There are 74 photos in this visual kei exclusive.