This is a post I’ve wanted to get out of my system for a long, long time, but I feared the backlash. I’ve seen recently, however, that there are other people who feel the same, so I think it’s time for me to do this.
Many people have heard the line “Lolita Fashion is influenced by the Rococo era”. With places like Rococo Soul, Sweet Rococo (now closed), and many Lolita pieces that are named, or include the term “Rococo” in their name, it’s easy to believe this if you’re not a history buff. It’s been in documentaries, some pick it up from Kamikaze Girls, even seasoned and e-famous Lolitas who should know better have made the claim while trying to educate people on the fashion, and frankly, I’m disappointed, because it’s very much not. Not one bit. At least, not originally.
This is the part that Lolitas seem to have overlooked for years. When Novala Takemoto was talking about Momoko’s love for Rococo, he wasn’t talking about her clothes, he was talking about her lifestyle. She wears Lolita because it’s frilly and decadent, and she wants to dedicate her life to loving clothes. This doesn’t invalidate Kamikaze Girls as a source for inspiration at all, since the divide between her self-indulgent Rococo lifestyle and her modern Lolita clothing is quite obvious. It’s actually amazing that Lolitas misunderstood this so completely, especially considering that Rococo era clothing bears no resemblance to standard Lolita Fashion at all, and early Lolita developed from Natural Kei, Otome, and other sources (but that’s another post for another time).
Even someone previously unfamiliar with both styles can see that they’re completely different. I’ve pointed out a few things, but it hardly needs to be done, they’re worlds apart and the followers of both dress(ed) with very different ideals in mind.
While you could argue that because Lolita brands started slapping the “Rococo” label on things, and because they did it as far back as 2001, that it’s legit, but the garments still bear absolutely no likeness to Rococo.
To claim that Rococo is the main influence for Lolita erases its history as a subculture and street fashion, and frankly, it’s annoying to have people try to force it. It doesn’t help that the OTT Classic trend makes it more believable to those unfamiliar with the actual Rococo period, since people are wearing underskirts to lengthen dresses, and adding fancier, less Lolita headdresses and accessories. You know what, though? It still doesn’t look a thing like Rococo!
It’s really time for people to stop using the term and acknowledge the roots of the fashion, especially those who are very vocal about it and who have an influential role in the global community. I’ve needed to get this out of my system for so long, because it just doesn’t make any sense. Why cop out with a false history when the real one is so much more interesting and rich?
For those interested in the early development of the fashion, FYeahLolita has a great post about it here: http://fyeahlolita.blogspot.ie/2010/02/old-school-lolita-in-90s-80s-and-70s.html