Brilliant Fashions at Brilliant Star Decorations Vol. 2


by Kate Havas, Mio Nagasaki, posted April 21, 2013

Hats, feathers, ruffles, lace and even an outfit that incorporated a tea table came together for Brilliant Kingdom’s second fashion and music event, featuring the brands Triple Fortune, Enchantlic Enchantilly and Dangerous Nude, and a live performance by Brilliant Kingdom themselves.

“Shining like the night, like the sea, just like a fantasy but real,” the two cross-dressing “princes” of the evening, Babi and Kaie said in introduction of the event. “This is our castle. This spring, our hearts are bursting with new things. From 100—even 1000 years ago—people have known that spring is the season for dreams to come true and we want our beautiful knights and princesses to enjoy. Now, Alice is coming to tea.”

A trio of models appeared in coordinates from Enchantlic Enchantilly, their ruffled dresses accented by check-patterned bonnets and stockings. The skirts, pushed up by stiff hoops, made the dresses a touch shorter than what would ordinarily be considered proper for lolita but the hoops served to push out and highlight the details of the design. The dress of the aforementioned “Alice” had a maid-inspired pinafore front, while the other models showed variations of the same dress in different color palettes.

The next models wore dark shrouds and posed on pedestals, their hair covered by elaborate floral headdresses. “These strange and beautiful flowers are not from this world,” Kaie said, gently touching the models. “These are the Queen’s roses.” Babi then tore the fabric off a “flower” girl, revealing the sexy and sheer outfit from Kikirara Shoten beneath.

After the introduction, “This is a nostalgic but new style, Nude Sox,” the models paraded, showing off the surprising and sometimes gory patterns on their thigh high stockings—patterns which included eyeballs and barbed wire. The upper halves of the models were clad in tight corsets and with the flowers resting in their hair and the renaissance-faire music playing in the background, the display was a mix of whimsy and shock.

More models emerged to show off a set of corset skirts, the classical style given a modern touch with polka-dot design and beret hats. Another coordinate showed an example of dolly-kei, with thick gobelin fabric in rich browns and golds and an accented top hat.

“Let’s continue the tea party,” Babi said, taking the crowd on a historical trip to Victorian England with a discussion on the history of tea parties and manners. The next brands up were Triple Fortune and pureblack Gothic labo, mixing classical and decadent lolita with heavy gothic accessories. The juxtaposition in some outfits was jarring, such as ripped and tattered black shift dresses with sweet, ruffled bloomers and a men’s sailor outfit with a heavy silver cross. In some however, the balance hit just the right note—such as a gothic bride in full regalia and shining accessories. In many outfits, the simplicity of plain black shirts and shorts allowed the carefully crafted accessories to be highlighted to full effect be they roses sculpted out of silver or arm warmers with screen-printed corset lacing.

The Triple Fortune rococo dresses were elegant showstoppers. A model stepped out in a dress constructed of layers of dusky rose ribbons, her oval bonnet dwarfing her face. The next pair of models showed unique gowns with wide lace bell sleeves constructed in two different fabrics:one a stripe, the other a floral print, making the dress appear different depending on what side you were looking from. These coordinates also incorporated the current fad for graphic tights as butterflies and climbing flowers danced up the models’ legs. With so many details, it was hard to know where to look! The highlight of the set was a tea-length coat-dress with cape fit for a Victorian promenade. The pale pink of the fabric was echoed in the roses and gems that practically dripped off the model’s bonnet. This coordinate was also shown in several variations, including a black gothic version where the Sunday stroll outfit was converted into elegant mourning garb.

For the grand finale, one of the male models emerged in a princely snow-white outfit and lead out a princess in an elaborate cage skirt decorated all over with roses and butterflies. Stunning and impractical, the outfit required handlers on stage to help the model move up to the runway and prevent her from stepping through the skirt and tripping, but it made a memorable final impression.

Next, it was time for the “best dressed” contest, though truth be told the fans were just as carefully made up and well put together as the models, making judging no easy feat! The presented outfits included Alice themed looks, Japanese-inspired kimono and corset combinations, a dashing 19th century soldier and a group of seven girls in Angelic Pretty’s Melty Chocolate print clutching wands made out of candy packaging. None could deny that the most striking of the line-up was a literal tea party dress, on which the wearer had arranged a tea party of miniatures balanced on the table wide hoops of her skirt.

The judges moved behind the scenes for debate and Brilliant Kingdom took the stage for their live performance beginning with a dramatic video of shadows and light in a European church which set the tone. The princes entered to the squealing and calling of their fans.

“What is love? It’s hard to put into words. There are different kinds of love: philia, eros, agape.” Kaie lightly touched the closest members of the crowd with the riding crop that accented a militant outfit. “But the opposite of love is betrayal.” “Love has many forms,” Babi countered, “but the opposite of love is indifference.”

Fans had glow sticks in their hands which they waved as the pair stalked around the stage, Kaie the aggressor and Babi the pursued. The pair sang, twirled and kissed while the enthusiastic crowd squealed their approval through “Namida ni Furue Seinaru Yurushi Kiss wo Shiro” and “Zetsubou XTC,” the music and performance turning darker with every verse. As they paused between songs, Babi mused again on love and what makes it real. “You’re the only one left in my heart,” the blonde told Kaie, prompting scorn. “Love is wrath, pain. Why would you want something like that?”

Babi left the stage and Kaie addressed the audience. “Tell me, princesses, who do you love? Are you happy?”

When Babi returned, the revealed costume change had sparkles and chains that caught the light playfully for the up-tempo numbers to follow. “Gekka no Binetsu Gensou” had intense music but the vocals were airy and light and the pair’s coats whirled elegantly as they danced and posed. They played their roles well, angelic and devilish mannerisms evident in every step.

“There isn’t anything that can’t change,” Babi told the crowd. “If that’s true, anything can be healed. Anything can be forgiven.”

The crowd raised their arms as the princes led them in the choreography for the final number, “Angelic Blaster.” Green disco lights sprinkled the stage and audience with color as they called the “princes’” names and were rewarded by the two leaning toward them as Brilliant Kingdom finished the show with a cheerful song and blown kisses.

The maids then returned to announce the winners of the fashion contest, including an elegantly dressed pair of real twins in lolita, a sweets-themed couple with one wearing a melon-pan dessert as a hat—and, of course, the insanely elaborate tea party outfit. The military outfit was also called out for a special mention but sadly the winner was no longer in attendance.
“They look delicious,” Babi purred, looking over the winners. “I should take one home.” The lucky and talented winners were passed roses and posed for pictures as the event drew to a close.

The next decadent show is planned for June 9 at the same venue, so if you’re thinking of attending and entering the contest, start planning your outfit now—the bar has been set very high! Here are some of the winners from this round. Check the gallery for full shots of all the contestants!

VK Exclusive

There are 94 photos in this visual kei exclusive.

Kate Havas first became interested in Japanese fashion and culture in college when manga, anime, and visual kei were just beginning to make their way to America. An art and English major with a love of clothes, Kate signed onto ROKKYUU in order cover fashion and report on Tokyo trends, but was quickly also recruited to the music side of things and has been having an adventure expanding her knowledge of all things VK since. Follow her on twitter at keito_kate!

Mio Nagasaki is a freelance photographer lending her time, skills, and love for the genre to ROKKYUU Magazine.

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