Many of the new spring collections have an air of lolita about them, Fashion Insider cottoned ( an apt term ) on to the theme in her posts on the insightful FI Blog ( http://fashioninsidermagazine.blogspot.com/ ). Lolitean aesthetics have always featured heavily in various permutations of style - from titillating com hither lingerie designs of the west to weird and fantastic harajuku fashions like gothic lolitas from Tokyo... Innocence seduction and allure have always pervaded through fashions, understandably its an enticing realm that can appeal to many different appetites, the lure of a forgotten simplicity or the appeal of something that is essentially forbidden. However a more intrinsic impetus for for this strand of aesthetic constantly re-emerging could be its strong genesis with the notion of fantasy, not the fantasy of a consumer or voyeur who longs for unattainable innocence, or the simplicity of yesteryear, or the forbidden fruit that more freudian passions may operate around but the essentially fantastic world of ones imagination and memories. Miu Miu's Spring 2010 looks are positively characateurs of the aesthetics between Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' or "Through the Looking Glass' and the more exaggerated proportions of Harajuku's Lolitas, perhaps inhabiting a similar universe to Francis Lawrence's acidic trip of a music promo for Gwen Stefani's 2004 single "What You Waiting For". Both Lawrence and Miucci Prada tap into an essentially vital aspect of what fashion should ( to some degree ) be at least a part of - Escapism. The idea of dress up and pretend will always appeal and delight, the force field of fantasy is the key to many designers success. If you can buy into a fantasy, you too can become part of a world ( real or not ) and perhaps not only have a belief ( which is to be found everywhere and anywhere in today secular society - most often between the CD and clothing racks on the high street ) but also a suit of armour. As The Killers lead singer Brandon Flowers once commented about Dior Homme, putting on a Dior suit is like putting on a suit of armour. So too is the embracing of Lolitism. The HyperFantasism of Gothic Lolitas is wonderfully examined by Masayuki Yoshinaga in Phaidons 2007 publication of 'Gothic and Lolita' where the majority of Gothic Lolitas are between he ages of 13 to 20. Such bold expressions of fantasy could only be executed by the young but a facet of fantasy will always appeal to all ages.
Fantasy is perhaps a bigger theme that Lolitism inhabits, but more womanly and feminine aesthetics also flourish around a dream like vision of escapism. Every girl is Alice sometimes....
David Lynch’s trippy and ethereal 2009 advertisement for the luxury brand behemoth Gucci also surfs on top of the tsunami of fantasy and the uncanny. Blondie’s silken synth laden ‘Heart of Glass’ plays over images of slim, rich women in an old money styled mansion. A wind howls through the space rippling over silk dresses and through the curtains, above defined collar bones and hollow cheeks the woman's dark unctuous eyes stare upwards in an eerie blissful manner. She is bathed in an otherworldly olfactory pleasure before the final product shot. The piece is utter fantasy, the world portrayed is otherworldly like the other worlds of many of Lynch’s films. For every world there is a parallel, everything is polemical and dichotic and its the holes between, the ruptures, that cause the fear.... There is an alluring security within fantasy, to build a world around oneself and not let any other world penetrate through that creation is an instinct to many people, it comes naturally like hoarding or travelling, it nourishes the soul and maintains the spirit. No wonder that the allure of the fantastic is so frequently tapped into by many designers.
However, to digress back to the more specific notion of Lolitism ( a quite specific and conspicuous strand of fashion fantasy ), the magical aesthetics of Miu Miu’s 2010 Spring show or Francis Lawrence’s Carrolean music video promotion for Gwen Stefani contain a dualism of imaginary worlds that effectively squares the effect upon the viewer. Marrying childhood textures, themes and images with a realm of fantasy or magic creates a push and also a pull effect. The natural inclination for us to warm to, strive for or even to just feel familiar to various aspects of childhood pushes the psyche to engage perhaps more readily than ( or at least more instantly accessible than ) the multitude of other fashion sub-genres. Everyone has a childhood and for a large proportion of Europe and America especially the fossilised ghost of childhood contains many common notions, Lolitism may be afforded some sort of gravitational interest due to this. Secondly, an autonomous but intrinsically bonded pull of the need for fantasy and escapism pulls the interest and vitality around Lolitism. These two factors are perhaps the most over arching facets of Lolitism, and various other dynamics may dwell within and around the countless interpretations of such a morphological aesthetic. Lolitism will always feel new, familiar, fantastic and alluring and it wont be too long before the aesthetic emerges again from the worlds designers.