In Tokyo, it happens for a single store to become the cradle of a new street style. This is what happened to Grimoire, vintage shop in Shibuya area, famous for being the birthplace of Dolly Kei, one of the latest Japanese fashions! Taking a look inside the boutique, you have immediately a clear idea of the style and especially the differences with Mori, a street style that shares some stylistic choices with Dolly, but that refers to a quite different aesthetic.
Inside of Grimoire. Image from Tokyotelephone.com
To simplify, we can say that if Mori girls dream of living in the ethereal forests of Northern Europe, Dolly Kei transports us into the heart of the continent, between woods, old dolls, elves and atmospheres reminiscent of Russia, Celtic England or Grimms tales. Floral prints, fur inserts and long skirts blend with mystical and religious symbols, vintage dresses and dark, warm colours which together create a bizarre, vaguely gypsy and decadent outfit.
Some examples of Dolly outfits. Images from dolly-kei.tumblr.com
How to dress Dolly Kei, then? First, we have to keep in mind two key words: vintage and handmade. Dolly clothes are almost exclusively from second-hand and flea markets. If the dress has a snag, all the better: what you wear has to give the feeling of old and used garments. Obviously, handmade clothing and accessories are very popular: the brand is absolutely not important. And the colors? Generally, Dolly prefers dark and warm tones (brown, black, red… to draw gothic atmospheres), but there are also those who prefer lighter colors (white, ivory, pale pink). There are, in some cases, elements borrowed from Lolita, such as laces and petticoats, and Mori, as the use of layering. The make-up is similar to that of the “cousins” of the forests, simple and with accentuated red cheeks, but sometimes with false eyelashes to give that “doll” look in the eyes.
1. Deep forest headband from Grimoire – 2. Dolly rose antique clock necklace from Grimoire – 3. European motif red belt from Grimoire – 4. DECO chipmunks silver ring from Grimoire – 5. Tapestry hand bag with chain from Rosy Baroque – 6. Collar from The Virgin Mary – 7. White long cotton dress from The Virgin Mary – 8. Angel Socks from Grimoire Almandel blog – 9. Blue Boy Locket from The Virgin Mary (via Tokyofashion).
Of course, the shops of reference for the girls who dress Dolly are second-hand boutiques, first of all the aforementioned Grimoire (especially for those who love the Gothic current of this style). The store was opened in 2007 and it’s managed by Hitomi, a former model for Cutie magazine, who has followed her passion for handmade and her years of study at the fashion school. At Grimoire, you can buy also clothes from her brand “Dolly”! Other very popular shops are The Virgin Mary and Rosy Baroque, but an excellent source of Dolly clothing and accessories are also the classic vintage markets, that we can find in our cities as well. Among other things, Grimoire imports from many vintage western clothing retailers, so if you like this style there is no need to navigate through online stores or shopping services… just go to the flea market near home or take a look at your mother/granny closet (and maybe have fun modifying your vintage clothes with needle and thread – about this, I recommend you the blog Stylebunny, with lots of creative, easy and super cheap ideas and one of my favorite sources of information on Japanese street styles)!