Lolita goes Victorian, Goth in Japan cosplay trend

Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:24am EDT
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By Hiro Muramoto

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - You can call it Jane Eyre meets the Addams family, but for the hundreds of Japanese girls who dress in Victorian dresses trimmed with lace, eyes rimmed with heavy black makeup, it's "Gothic-Lolita."

Showcasing yet another example of Japan's love for costume and role play, the women carried parasols, wore laced-up bodices and elaborately curly wigs, as wells heavy make up, during a Gothic-Lolita fashion event in Tokyo this week.

Their style has taken Japan by storm in the last few years, even spreading overseas among fans of Japanese "cosplay."

"Lolita is my basic needs. Without Lolita, I cannot be myself so I'm extremely glad that I found Lolita fashion," Eriko Enokizome, 24-year-old part-time worker, told Reuters.

Cosplay, a combination of the words "costume" and "play," originated in Japan where teenagers gather in streets and parks on weekends to show off their costumes -- and indulge in a little escapist fantasy.

The "Lolita" the women take their name from, however, has nothing to do with Vladimir Nabokov's classic novel.

"Gothic-Lolita fashion is like that special magic that allows me to become a different character," said 25-year-old businesswoman Chizuru Matsuda.

"It's been eight years since I discovered this fashion, but it took me two years to actually complete my overall style."   Continued...

<p>Japanese women dressed in Lolita fashion walk in front of the venue of the "Individual Fashion Expo.IV", a gothic, Lolita and punk fashion event, in Tokyo September 23, 2008. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao</p>