The Paris Review

Lolita Fashion

Drawing by Jane Mai, from the cover of So Pretty/Very Rotten.

Have you ever seen the Japanese movie Kamikaze Girls (aka Shimotsuma Monogatari)? It came out back in 2004 (released in the United States in 2006) and was based on the 2002 novel by Japanese author Novala Takemoto. The story is about an unlikely friendship between two high school girls—Ichigo, who is a member of a Yanki girl biker gang, and Momoko, who wears a niche fashion style called Lolita fashion.

In Shimotsuma, a rural town in Ibaraki prefecture, Momoko stands out in her Rococo-inspired Sweet Lolita outfits with lots of lace, frills, ribbons, and colors like pink, red, and sax blue from her favorite brand Baby, the Stars Shine Bright (BTSSB). On the weekends and holidays, she makes a two-and-a-half-hour train trip to Tokyo so she can go clothes shopping in the Harajuku and Daikanyama neighborhoods. Being a high school student, she does not have a job, so she swindles money

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