Meeting Rouge Dentelle & Rose Ruban
At a convention in September 2021, I met the girls from Rouge Dentelle et Rose Ruban, a French lolita association, and they told me about their lolita event, the Modern Doll Fest. One thing led to another and it turned out that I would design their next poster
The communication really started around January, for the event in August: announcing the dates, exhibitor registrations, ticket reservations, et cetera. And starting June, the organisation of the fashion show started!
Organizing the models
To facilitate the organisation and centralise all the info, we used the Fluffy Show website. In a first step, the brands were invited to create a profile to present themselves with photos, style, etc. In a second step, a call for applications was launched, where anyone could apply regardless of their experience. These future models could create a profile where they indicated their size, style, photos, experiences in other fashion shows, ...
I was really impressed by the details as there were often photos of their entire wardrobe with shoes, tights, accessories, so that the brands could easily imagine how the models could wear their outfits.
Since it was a first and I was totally overwhelmed, our lovely Yumi who was organising the show, helped me a lot in choosing the models and coming up with ideas on how to create the outfits with t-shirts only. By the way, Yumi is also one of our Himesama ambassadors, and she shares lots of tips on lolita fashion on her YouTube channel, so if you’re interested – check her out!
Anyway, we selected three girls for the show, who had three very distinct styles. Yumi said that I should not hesitate to say exactly what I wanted, whether it was make-up, accessories, style, anything. It felt kinda weird to impose outfits because I believe it's important to wear something you like to feel at ease, and that's what Himesama is all about - being original with clothes that make you feel beautiful and confident.
So I contacted the girls by email. The general demand was that I provide a t-shirt and a tote bag, f. Then, taking into account their usual style in their photos, I would make suggestions while remaining open to their suggestions.
For example, Zéna would wear the black Gemini t-shirt and tote bag: I suggested a punk lolita inspired look, fishnet tights, more massive shoes, and darker make-up. She confirmed what she liked, with photos of the accessories she’d be using, and she suggested to add bows to the t-shirt for a more girly touch.
The second model, SelRose, would walk with the Queen of Time t-shirt and Capricorn bag. As she had already created lolita coordinates with t-shirts, I gave her full freedom over her look and she proposed two outfits on a moodboard. It was quick and efficient!
The third model, Camélia, would take the Drama Queen t-shirt with the Virgo bag, in romantic pink tones. I requested a dreamy, sweet look and nude makeup with a light pink gloss for a fresh, feminine touch. These were the only demands, and for the rest she developed the outfit with different proposals of skirts, dresses, socks and accessories.
The girls were really professional and the outfits were defined quickly. I was just a little nervous about the fact that they would do the fittings on the day of the show itself, because you never know with the sizes, or if the clothes don’t fit at all, but apparently this is very common in lolita shows. Yumi said it had already happened that two models simply switched outfits, or that we quickly rearranged clothes that were too large with pins, so apparently it was very zen and I was stressing over nothing. Anyway, on to the big day!
The day of the show
The day of the show, the exhibitors arrived at the venue at around 10am, to start setting up our booths. One hour later, the models arrived and we all went to the catwalk room where Yumi gave a demonstration and all the necessary explanations. The models would wait in order in the corridor, and would be called one by one to the stage. There were three crosses on the catwalk so the models knew where to stop, to pose for eight to ten seconds. While this seemed like a long time for the models, it was necessary for the audience to get the camera ready, take some good shots, with the brand logo on the screen in the background. There was a pose to the right, one to the left, and one from the back, then return to the main stage in one go, and swap with the next month.
The models were able to practise walking in order and test their poses, and the designers also had their say. For Himesama, for example, it didn't make sense to pose from the back, because our t-shirts are empty at the back, so I suggested swinging the bag over the shoulder to fill the emptiness.
We were the second brand, so as soon as the three girls passed, we could move to the changing rooms, which was a small room where all the models had their things, and we took the opportunity to test the outfits with the accessories and the make-up. Roughly, it was around twelve, so as soon as the outfits were validated, I left the girls to get ready on their own to finish setting up the booth.
The doors opened at around 2:30pm for visitors to have a first look around, and it was awesome to see so many lolita and fashion brands in one place. After a first visit, the show started, the booths closed, and the designers met their models in the corridor, who were already lining up in order. Some were quite calm and chatting, others literally had their hands shaking, others were testing their poses for photos, or getting their collars and details readjusted by the designers.
Honestly, I was clueless and randomly running around because I didn't know what to do or where to stand. Like, do I encourage my girls? Do I leave them alone because they must be stressed? It was my first fashion show! As a designer, you only see the show from behind the scenes, and there are the official photographers who share the pictures with us afterwards, to use on our social media.
So when the show started, Yumi would do the comments, and stand by the entrance to tell the models when they could go. It was a big emotional moment when my models went on stage, because well, first times are always great and it's quite something when you see people step up and represent your designs.
For the fun fact, I was standing in the doorway trying to get a few pictures, and suddenly Yumi totally surprised me by announcing, "And here comes the designer!" and pushed me towards the stage, and sent the girls back to me for a group picture. I felt like I was stumbling on stage with my phone, like, "what am I doing??!" - because clearly, this wasn't in rehearsals!
Anyway, the show ended with a group photo where all the brands came back on stage, and then we had a thirty minute break before reopening the booths. This delay allowed the designers to take photos with their models outside of the show room, and also to recover the outfits, as some of them put them back on the booths or even for sale, in the case of unique hand-sewn pieces. And once the booths reopened, we the day went on like a classical con.
The Modern Doll Fest was so full of respect and inspiration, from visitors, designers and models... and it's an experience that will definitely stay with us forever 🥰
Find out more about our wonderful partners:
The organisers & photographer (last photo):
- rouge dentelle et rose ruban (@rougedentelleetroseruban)
- Modern Doll Fest (@moderndollfest)
- Etienne E. Photos (@etienne_e_photos_)