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Elegant Gothic Lolita
July 22, 2003 5:26 PM   Subscribe

An Elegant Gothic Lolita, EGL or Gothic Lolita for short, is a Japanese teen or young adult who dresses in amazingly elaborate Gothic looking babydoll costumes. Of course, you could make your own.
posted by signal (38 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Disturbing.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:38 PM on July 22, 2003


Those wacky japanese kids.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:46 PM on July 22, 2003


Inscrutable, those Japanese.

Here's a small gallery featuring some photos of related subcultures. My personal favorite are the death girls, who favor medical garb and bloody bandages.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:06 PM on July 22, 2003


2 out of the 4 links are already dead. Now that's goth.
posted by Espoo2 at 6:10 PM on July 22, 2003


batting 4 for 2 on the bandwidth front.
posted by quonsar at 6:11 PM on July 22, 2003


Strange as they may seem to us, they do no harm and at least they are not hanging around in gangs mugging strangers.
stupid damn geocities links
posted by dg at 6:12 PM on July 22, 2003


Uhm, that's entirely... horrible... unspeakable... unspeakably... hawt.. omg...
posted by xmutex at 6:12 PM on July 22, 2003


As we all know, the Japanese have some of the most interesting fetishes and sexual habits of any culture on Earth. Female youth have long been exciting to older Japanese males

Yeah, those crazy Japanese.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:25 PM on July 22, 2003


Also see TokyoDV Street Fashion: Harajuku Cosplay (QT video)

The one-off stuff is cool. Creative, inventive, wacky. The rest of it gets banal rather quickly. It is nice though that Tokyo has this kind of outlet for those who want to express themselves this way.
posted by gen at 6:29 PM on July 22, 2003


Gen, that video creatively crosscuts 1) a trance party and 2) goth-rocker kids in Harajuku.

These two phenomenon are entirely unrelated and even hostile to one another.

But hey, fuck it, a Jap is a Jap.
posted by dydecker at 7:53 PM on July 22, 2003


Hrm, I knew a Japanese girl in Hawaii who was into all this crap. Well, not really "Into" it, she mostly seemed to just sit on her ass and think about making a website. Ahem.

Anyway, she showed me pics of these girls a while ago, maybe a year or so.

so consider yourself BEHIND THE CURVE!!!! mwahahaha
posted by delmoi at 8:12 PM on July 22, 2003


This is what happens when a culture is totally emasculated by a war?
posted by HTuttle at 8:16 PM on July 22, 2003


this is so not au current or original to the japanese, this is very toronto voodoo club/twilight zone/iguana lounge circa 1981-84. altho' we never wore those declasse frankenbooties today's babydoll goths love so much.
posted by t r a c y at 8:32 PM on July 22, 2003


delmoi, they've been doing this on Sundays in Harajuku for over a decade. The curve has definitely left the building. </snark>
posted by shoepal at 8:50 PM on July 22, 2003


That is sooo cool. Waaaay out there, indeed.

A fine example of expression in fashion from manga culture these kids are interested in. Damn creative.

What kid anywhere, at that age, cares what adults think of how they dress? Precisely the time to dress like that.

As adults, they'd have go to fetish nights to dress like that without folks rolling their eyes and pointing.

I've read how another group in Japan dresses like Elvis and sing karate to his music. Now if these two got together for a jam, THAT would be a sight to behold! Elvis out hitting the town with his french maid, indeed.

Thanks for the links signal.

Life is short, lighten up.
posted by alicesshoe at 8:51 PM on July 22, 2003


Damn creative.

Yes, in that it's already been done by an earlier generation so let's do it again way.

Which is not to say it's not fun to see. There are all kinds of fashions started by earlier gens that I would hope never die off and would continue being recreated by future gens.

But yes, frankenbooties always bad. Bad, bad, ick.
posted by zarah at 9:13 PM on July 22, 2003


Whatever. Until the Japanese people can match Freaky Freezies, we're light years ahead of them.

Except for Walkmans. And Nintendo. And square watermelons. And that thing where cartoon girls are raped by tentacled beasts.

Kidding! Sort of.
posted by Samsonov14 at 10:02 PM on July 22, 2003


Shoepal -

You have a poorly formed post. If you're going to close the tag with < /snark> , you need to open it first.

Geez, some people. These MeFi's should know about the necessity of standards compliance to avoid the worst issues with reader compatibility...
posted by Samizdata at 10:26 PM on July 22, 2003


Yeah, that's for me. The empowered look.
posted by squirrel at 11:05 PM on July 22, 2003


Samizdata, the [snark] tag is always open on MeFi, it is just the attributes that change from time to time. Is it too childish to be amused by MeFi automatically adding a closing snark tag when I typed that with <>? I thought so.
posted by dg at 11:13 PM on July 22, 2003


Nice post signal! This stuff fascinates me. This stylized theatrical fashion seems to me to be greatly influenced by the traditions of kabuki theatre and the geisha culture. Here's another good photo gallery, and another gallery that DBAPaul posted in a prior thread.

And although not specifically goth, here's a prior thread on another rather fascinating Japanes style from a few years back - the yamanba and ganguro girls.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:46 PM on July 22, 2003


The style of the outfits is outstanding...and while agreed, I saw similar clothes in London, NY and Dallas 20 years ago...and a couple of weeks ago in Dallas, those are really nice examples of the Gothic Alice look.

There were actually two outfits that I saw that I'd wear. In public. Including parasol. But not the boots. Never the boots. A pox on those platform things.
posted by dejah420 at 11:58 PM on July 22, 2003


Hey, the higher the boots, the closer to god!
posted by Katemonkey at 1:28 AM on July 23, 2003


DG -

That'll teach me not to read the MetaRFC's....

hangs head in shame
posted by Samizdata at 1:30 AM on July 23, 2003


Hey, the higher the boots, the closer to god! --Katemonkey

Except, I live in Dallas...where the higher the hair, the closer to God. ;) I swear to you, I've seen hairstyles that must have construction underpining...it's the only way you could get that b52's look in this heat and humidity. heh.
posted by dejah420 at 6:22 AM on July 23, 2003


Sigh...just further proof that Japan is the leading edge of the entire First World is slipping over the brink into "End of Empire"/Weimar Republic decadence. Cue the flame-singed violins and jackboots...

OK, not really, but you've got to admit--it's hard to decide who's less healthy, the kids who erotically doll themselves up, or the avid viewing audience.
posted by LairBob at 6:42 AM on July 23, 2003


Whoo, another reason to drool over Japanese women!

This all seems to be on the elegant and ornate side of goth, not the tiresome brooding depression goth. More like Death from the Sandman comics or Edward Gorrey's stuff. All in good fun. I approve.

And it makes a whole lot more sense to me than tentacle rape cartoons :P
posted by Foosnark at 8:24 AM on July 23, 2003


What bugs me about this is that the costumes are NOT painstakingly hand-assembled from a hundred visits to the thriftstore and the hardware store and the lingerie shop, they're bought prefab from one or another of the stalls on Takeshita-dori in Harajuku.

Nothing creative about it. It's merely variant participation in consumption culture.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:36 AM on July 23, 2003


No no, "consumption" is that other goth aesthetic. Or at least anorexia and depression. ;)

Somebody is being creative, whether it's the people who wear the outfits or the people who design them. And yeah, "creative" is relative -- it's not totally new but there's very little in the fashion world that is truly new that isn't just plain stupid.

And a lot that isn't new at all, that is still just plain stupid.
posted by Foosnark at 9:21 AM on July 23, 2003


It's theatre. Just think of it as participating in some kind of a play...

I think that many of them look extraordinarily wonderful.
posted by jokeefe at 11:48 AM on July 23, 2003


I agree, jokeefe. Their appearance creates a world around itself, or invites us to create that world in our minds. In this case the Japanese have duplicated, accelerated and surpassed western culture. This is not to say that the Japanese don't have their own theater traditions--in fact they stretches back thousands of years--but it inroms us to notice that they have adopted a western pop cultural palate. The Japanese gothics have simultaneously miniaturized and accelerated western postmodern self-examination, (and self-destruction). The lolita trip and and the ganguro movement, (which is like the American 50s beach party film genre run through a 70s color scheme with a 80s soundtrack) speak with vivness and with tremendous energy. I admire this mastery of the form, but still it's a little too tight-underwear for my taste. Give me butoh.
posted by squirrel at 1:27 PM on July 23, 2003


I agree, jokeefe. Their appearance creates a world around itself, or invites us to create that world in our minds. In this case the Japanese have duplicated, accelerated and surpassed western culture. This is not to say that the Japanese don't have their own theater traditions--in fact they stretches back thousands of years--but it informs us to notice that they have adopted a western pop cultural palate. The Japanese Gothics have simultaneously miniaturized and accelerated western postmodern self-examination, (and self-destruction). The lolita trip and and the ganguro movement, (which is like the American 50s beach party film genre run through a 70s color scheme with a 80s soundtrack) speak with vividness and with tremendous energy. I admire this mastery of the form, but still it's a little too tight-underwear for my taste. Give me butoh.
posted by squirrel at 1:29 PM on July 23, 2003


Oopsoh.
posted by squirrel at 1:33 PM on July 23, 2003


Actually, EGLs have nothing to do with western goths, derive from completely different sources, a home-grown phenomenon.

Before there were elegant gothic lolitas in Japan, there were plain-old lolitas (which I thought of as "the raggedy-ann look" before I found out what it was called). Sort of rustic frilly, and very much in keeping with the general trend in modern Japanese esthetics towards maximum visual clutter. Eventually a singer (male, in drag, called Mana) twisted that into the EGL look being spotlighted here, and it really took off.
posted by adamrice at 2:23 PM on July 23, 2003


adamrice, I'm sure you know your stuff, but I wonder if you want to maybe reconsider your position that EGL is "completely different" from western goth. Cultural cross-pollenation is a strength that I think the Japanese deserve credit for. I mean, just look at the icon she's wearing on the front page. EGL born and raised in a vacuum seems unlikely, especially given the hyper-postmodern position it represents.
posted by squirrel at 5:26 PM on July 23, 2003


North American Goth [oh no, not NAG!] is black, black and more black. One of those grrls was told she looked like strawberry shortcake , now, is that goth? Nah.

Sure there was Adam Ant et al back when, but this EGL is ...with a twist. Would Whistler's Momma approve?

The gangara girls' makeup look like they belong on a Russ Meyers set. Heh! Too funny, they all look so similar to each other, as if individuality is erased totally.

Those not liking the frankenboots, I say do not comment until you've walked a block in them. I think they look like empowering boots. C'mon, if these aren't shit kickin'!
posted by alicesshoe at 7:21 PM on July 23, 2003


That strawberry shortcake ensemble is lolita, not goth or EGL. I give the Japanese full credit for the genesis of lolita fetish. Even if they didn't invent it, they made the most out of it. Sheesh, listen to me splitting hairs on this bizarre topic!
posted by squirrel at 8:40 PM on July 23, 2003


I had the pleasure of hanging out in Harajuku recently, and checking out the scene on the bridge between Harajuku station and Mejii Shrine.

The kids are really cool, and will definitely ham it up [self link] for photographers, even if you are a Gajin.

My friend, Tadashi told me that a lot of them are imitating a group Called "Malice Mizer", although now the kids are branching off into Neon looking raver outfits.

If you go, go around 1 PM on a Sunday. There is usually a band, and a horde of tourists. For added fun, Go into the McDonalds on Takashita Street, which serves as a makeshift dressing room.
posted by quibx at 6:59 AM on July 24, 2003


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