My Dear Special Anniversary Tea Party: First Look at Alice and the Pirates A/W ’17 and S/S ’18

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright held their large extravagant annual tea party on October 2, 2017 at the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo. This year’s tea party marks the brand’s 30th anniversary hence the title “My Dear Special Anniversary.” At this event, both Alice and the Pirates and Baby, the Stars Shine Bright debuted their brand new collections for A/W 2017 and S/S 2018. 

Attending one of these large tea parties is a wish of mine, but for now I’ll be commenting from the comfort of my home. Since there was disappointingly no livestream again, the pictures are courtesy of Girlism magazine.

Alice and the Pirates

I’ll only discuss AatP since I don’t have enough interest in Baby to write anything in-depth about it. To be honest, I have not enjoyed the direction Alice and the Pirates has been taking for the last few years. It is understandable that the brand’s look has changed since the original AatP designer left the company several years ago. AatP’s current take on ouji style has deviated away from its original gothic vampire aesthetic towards a more classical fairy tale prince vibe. This change is actually good as it expands the overall range of substyles in ouji. I’m just not into classic, but others may enjoy it. 

First up, we have a shiro ouji and shiro lolita pair modeled by AKIRA (left) and Midori Fukasawa (right). The two looks compliment each other by both using an abundance of delicate lace, feathers, and pom poms. I’m assuming the theme of these designs are birds since a birdcage is being used as a prop. I’m genuinely surprised to see a white pair as the first runway look since the wedding look is usually saved for last. At least, I think this is supposed to be the wedding look since there didn’t seem to be an AatP lace monster surpringly.

Starting with the ouji look, it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table in terms of cuts, but does bring some new accessories. The salopette remind me of the Little Prince Papillon Salopette that was released this year, but improved with a wing-like cape and chains for the mere price of 46,000 yen. One thing certainly comes to mind when I see this outfit: it’s going to be a logistical nightmare using the toilet. AatP salopettes aren’t designed very well in my opinion, so you either have to take the top portion off to slide the rest down or somehow wiggle your legs through to get the pants to lift them up. The latter isn’t that easy since AatP leg holes aren’t generous and if you are wearing chunky shoes, good luck. Unhooking the chains adds another step to toilet freedom, but I am glad AatP is using chains again as it reminds me of their 2007-09 era. The salopette appears to have a very sharp collar and lapels that make it slightly militaristic, but paired with the round pants legs makes it really chunky. I’d prefer to see as a separate vest and straighter pants. What I really love about this outfit are the cape and full-sized crown. The cape is the exact shape I have dreamed of for years, but I lacked the skill to make it reality. Unfortunately, it’s included with the salopette as a set, but maybe one day they will release it separately. Crowns as headwear generally phased out of style, but it looks like they’ll make a comeback soon. For their 2016 fashion show, they had used a crown as a showpiece, but they did not release that one. This crown one will be available for 29,000 yen excluding tax. This set also comes in pink.

The lolita look features a tea length OP, lace gloves (possibly a cutsew), rose choker, and new shoes. The combination of the empire waist and length remind me of a combination of AatP’s Swans Feather series and Mon Ange Bien Aime OP. This style of OP usually has full shirring, but the empire waist usually only flatters those who don’t need shirring. The OP’s half sleeves and square neckline add to the overall airy feeling of the look and with the combination of several delicate textures really pull it together. The downside of this OP is the price tag is higher than usual at a whopping 54,000 yen. I can’t see exactly why it’s priced higher than normal right now, but maybe I’ll see when better photos are released. Overall, this is a solid release, 5/5.

Continuing with the feather motif, here’s a print series with two cuts: a JSK model by Aya Ikeda (left) and a sack OP modeled by Eri Maruyama (right). This heaven print, titled something like “Angel’s Living Forest” or better translated as “Forest Where Angels Dwell” (translation thanks to Joshia, official translation pending) features a canopy bed, bird cage, feathers, roses, and a collage of picture frames. I am very impressed that the upper part of the print doesn’t look like mud for once and it reminds me of some of the more classic BtSSB prints. This print looks most likely be printed on chiffon. The JSK has a slight drop waist that possibly could have boning, but most likely not since the material is delicate. The curtain draping on the bodice is a really cute detail to match with the bed in the print. The sack OP has the same cut as the Innocent Rosier OP and the Theatre de l’ erreur ~Lost paradise~ OP which was also another religious print. The matching accessories in this series include a soft bonnet, veil, and two rose corsages. They are also wearing some new T-strap shoes with a low heel. Though I am not a print person, I am interested in seeing if it comes in other colors. I predict this release to be very appealing for those who are into classic style AatP.

For the third outfit, it’s another light colored coordinate modeled by Vivi. This white and gold look appears to be a very ornate blouse, a short jacket, and high-waisted skirt all with lamé accents. There’s also a matching high-waisted pants for ouji modeled by Sugiura Ayaka that was not photographed which also shows that there is a silver version of this series. This coordinate is sparkling and I like that. The cropped jacket looks to be made of a lamé tweed as there’s some visual texture if you zoom in. Baby and AatP haven’t used tweed for some years, so it’s nice to see it again. Emphasis on texture is a high priority for this show. The jacket’s sleeves have a cutout for the blouse’s sleeves to show through which is something AatP hasn’t designed since 2007. This feature is perfect for adding a little detail, but also only works if you have a bell sleeve blouse.The blouse is made of satin and comes in gold or silver, maybe other colors, with matching lame lace and floral collar/choker. The pants and skirt do not appear to be made of tweed, but made of something lighter such as chiffon. Chiffon pants sound like a bad idea because I’m pretty sure I can see the model’s leg through the pants or it may just be the lining showing through. The skirt looks very airy and voluminous. Again, we are seeing lace OTKs. I’m very glad they came up with a new and more delicate design for the see-through lace socks because I could not stand looking at the ones from 2016 as they were way too busy looking. I wish they would stop shoehorning the same socks for every model though. I really like this coordinate and would buy most of it if it comes in black!

Moving onto darker things, here are three very Halloween coordinates. On the left, Oni models the “Brownie’s Orphan” set, in the middle Ruiza from the band D is modeling a witch set, and Rin is modeling a black cat set. The Brownie’s Orphan set is based off of a mythological creature called a brownie which is described as ” “a personage of small stature, wrinkled visage, covered with short curly brown hair, and wearing a brown mantle and hood.” We see the brown hair and the mantle, but I am uncertain why it is paired with a leopard print blouse. Normally, I think black and brown can work together, but the motifs just don’t work together very well; it’s like visual kei band member meets goblin. I predict this release will be a flop as it is very similar to the Loup Garou series.

The witch set is one of the most tragic looking things I have ever seen AatP release. I thought the Rydiana OP was bad, but I think this one takes the cake with its gaudiness. It is clearly intended to be a Halloween piece, but it looks like a Halloween costume in the bad way. There are too many textures combined and the proportions of everything just make it seem unbalanced. The very slim cutesy hat with the very large gothic dress is really jarring. Granted the dress does look unflattering since it is hanging off of him since he is too slim for it, this is a hot mess, but the feather collar is pretty cool.

This is Rin’s second take on the black cat theme, but something very different from what she would normally design. She usually designs a fairly OTT dress for Baby, but she’s switched to the dark side.  It appears to be a long cutsew paired with bloomers making it very cute for casual or roomwear.

In contrast to the above angel print, here is a demon print. This year’s annual vampire print is called “Night of Demon’s Castle” and comes in two JSK cuts with a matching print bonnet. The headdress pictured is not specific to this print.  There was no OP featured in the catalog. On the left, Aris Mukaide models the corset JSK in the black x red colorway and on the right Achiha Hiko models the babydoll JSK in black x blue. Unlike the previous vampire prints, this print uses much simpler with colors sticking only to black, white, and the accent color which I find a bit boring. The OTK socks feature a lot of ornate crosses and they could go great with a lot of other brands’ pieces that feature crosses. AatP put their own unique twist with the bat style shoes that are trending right now. The cross socks and bat shoes are my favorite part of this look.

The next look brings a more gentlemanly approach to ouji modeled by Kaname. It’s a butler style set with monochrome rose print accents. Perhaps there will be a matching lolita piece with the same print. This will most likely have a men’s size. For such a mature look, I would have opted for a printed necktie instead of a bowtie. It’s not bad, but it is the most boring release of the bunch. Not much else to say about this, so time to move on. 2/5.

Finally, the ending runway looks feature matching kuro lolita and kuro aristocrat. Both feature a harmonious combination of different textures of assorted black fabrics. These both also come in black x red. Emily on the left is wearing a gorgeous multi-piece gothic ensemble fit for a vampire princess. The “Twilight of the Rose ~The Bride of Death~”set consists of a fully shirred OP, bustier, lace shrug, pearl necklace and ornate Tudor headdress with a detachable veil. The fabric is a rose jacquard complimented by lace accents. Without the corset, the OP on its own looks like something that Sheglit would release. The headdress is a new style of headwear for AatP and it’s gorgeous! I predict it will definitely sell out quickly. I’d be more excited about this, but AatP corsets are fairly small, so I am looking forward to only the accessories of this set.

“Twilight of the Rose ~Invitation to Death~” is the matching boystyle set. It’s what I imagine if Alfred the butler had to become Alfred the mafia boss. As this is the elegant OTT set, I am surprised by the lack of metallic trim AatP has depended on for the last several years. I am an avid fan of mixing textures, but this actually may be too much. Counting the lamé hat trim, feathers of the boa, velvet flocking of the jacket, gobelin of the jacket, print of the blouse, and material of the pants, that’s a total of 6 different textures together. This set is the most punk thing AatP has released in a long time, so the mismatching textures could work in their favor with the right styling. The hat is a little goofy since the internet has ruined fedoras forever, but it does work for the mob boss look they were going for. The printed pattern shirt with a low/unbuttoned neckline really screams visual host-kei which does remind me of older AatP. Thematically, the whole outfit works, but all I can see is meme. 

I made this at 2 A.M., please stop me.

That’s it for the Alice and the Pirates segment of the show. In total, there were 5 boystyle models and 10 lolita models. At a first glance, I didn’t like what I was seeing, but as I analyzed each outfit for this post, I did find a few gems. I can see a return to the old gothic style of AatP while exploring new themes leaving steampunk motifs behind for now. The combination of the light vs. dark transition and only previewing two print series really emphasizes the use of different textures. 

Compared to 2016’s Dreaming of Little Lover tea party which had 6 boystyle looks, this year’s tea party only displayed 5. The cuts are less innovative making me think that 2018 will not be a strong year for ouji releases. The two white outfits are nice, but the brownie and butler sets are lackluster. The mob boss outfit is the freshest out of the bunch, but it’s not specifically ouji per se. 

As mentioned before, I was looking forward to seeing a very expensive gothic lace monster, but there surprisingly was not one. Both prints look nice and crisp, so they should be fairly popular especially with the complimenting angels and demons themes. Each dress, aside from the witch OP, is stunning and restored my burando faith. Overall, it’s a really solid collection. Not featured on the runway, they did display an upcoming collaboration with The Idolm@ster Cinderalla Girlsfor the character Anastasia.

Love it? Hate it? Let me know what you think about the new collection in the comments!

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