The Doll Life – Part 1 of 2
So the other day, I was browsing my local Kansas City Lolita group on Facebook, when I came across a post regarding a new TV series that premiered on the myxTV channel. I’m not familiar with the channel and that probably has something to do with my wife and I choosing not to have Pay TV in our house. Blu-rays and Netflix are more than enough for us.
The show is titled “The Doll Life” and features a small business by the name of Dolldelight, located in San Diego, CA. Dolldelight claims to create original outfit designs for people who wear Doll Fashion. Well obviously this has many within the Lolita community upset, as we Lolitas continuously have issues of being confused with other not-so-great fashions and hobbies. One of the most notable is Doll Fashion and to set the record straight, Lolita is a completely different fashion for various reasons. One difference that can set Doll Fashion and Lolita apart is it’s tendency to resemble cosplay or what we Lolita’s sometimes will call a Lace Monsters. People who wear Doll Fashion in particular, try to make themselves resemble fancy Victorian style dolls. Some wearers of Doll Fashion will even wear skin colored tights with designs that resemble ball joints, a common feature of most Victorian style dolls.
I understand the concerns of many Lolitas, as there was unforchantly an episode of My Strange Addictions on TLC that featured an individual that was overly addicted to not only wearing Doll Fashion but also looking just like the doll. This episode has warranted a large number of people outside both fashions to commonly ask Lolitas if we are one in the same. I personally was not very much phased by the episode, like many were, as I’ve had a decent share of negative media causing people to assume things about myself. One instance I can recall in particular, is the whole Brony fandom, I honestly think the media did more damage to the Brony fandom than what My Strange Addictions did to Lolitas. As of writing this post, there were three episodes of The Doll Life on MyxTV’s website, in this post I plan to only review the first two and share some concluding thoughts. I might do a follow up post once the remaining episodes are uploaded but for the time being, here we go.
Episode 1: Photoshoot
In this episode, Dolldelight was holding auditions for two new “dolls” as well as to do a photoshoot to introduce them online.
The episode serves as more an introduction to the series and their “brand”. Cyril apparently first started sewing Lolita Fashion but due to the criticism she received she decided to separate herself from Lolita and start calling her fashion, Dollie Style, which I will just call Doll Fashion, for reasons. I am a tiny bit happy and surprised, Cyril took a “quick” moment to point out that Lolita Fashion is not Doll Fashion, but sadly she had to focus on the ugly parts of the Lolita community and that did make me upset at both her and the Lolita elitist that gave her a hard time early on. I honestly don’t know anything about Dolldelight or her Dollie Style. I’ve never looked her up and don’t plan to, so forgive me if I’m more merciful than you believe I should be.
Their first model, somewhat having similar reason as Cyril for quitting Lolita Fashion, claims that being African American means she gets more criticism for not having the right skin color or features. I don’t want to focus on this but really? Your so concerned about criticism from the Lolita community, that you would prefer to wear Dollie Style? I don’t think switching fashions is going to fix much of your problem and I say this to both of them. I understand that your for the most part you’re trying to escape the elitist in the fashion but changing fashions is not really the way to escape them. Go look up Jordan in the San Diego Lolita Group, he’s both a guy and an African American, he pulls it off very well and I’m sure he gets plenty of the same, if not more criticism.
So the next model presented was Tiffany, it was said that she was one of their biggest customers, ordering everything custom and spends a lot of money on *cough* her addition. But I guess Cyril had some concern for Tiffany’s priorities since she also has a huge love for modeling Cosplay and honestly, I’m finding it this was quite an unfair judgement. Mostly for issues I could see with the two models Cyril actually ends up choosing. First selected was Audra, she has a really crazy childlike personality, which I can see why she got picked. I’m not sure if any of them knew this but Audra’s apparel is very similar to DecoGirl, you should go look it up. Issue number one with not selecting Tiffany, the group had a huge concern that Audra would “maybe” goof up instructions since she once burnt a cup of Ramen but apparently Tiffany’s possible conflict with cosplay was more of an issue. Next selected was Ashphord and get this, she has a cosplay group. Yeah, you heard it right and Cyril did not even bring up the concern of her cosplay. I don’t understand what the problem was here but yeah. I’m calling conspiracy here, as I bet they just needed to manufacture a reason for not selecting Tiffany and the real reason for not selecting her, was because she is such a huge customer to them and once she’s a model, she would probably get discounted if not free stuff. So yeah, just a theory.
So here is another issue I have with both the show and Dolldelight, at the photoshoot, Audra shows up with break out and they acted so upset that this may ruin the photoshoot that not only did they NOT take the opportunity to show practical information for hiding it, the group had a bit of a sour attitude towards Audra and I would say it did not show Dollie style as a nicer group than some of the stuff that goes on in the Lolita community. This also served as proof the show is all about DRAMA not actually giving practical information. *sigh* I get it, it’s about the drama, it’s reality TV but I’d love it if someone could actually put on a practical show with practical information about something that steams from something I enjoy, but I guess I can only wish.
Putting all that aside. Lastly we got THE PHOTOGRAPHERS! Yep they went there, they hinted at the typical pedophile guy. The first photographer acted so bad, I honestly think he was part of the filming crew and they just threw him in to spice things up. What I find really strange is when they finally do the photoshoot they bring in this other guy who’s apparently the official in-house photographer. So they had a photographer selected all along. Anyways, this is not okay, we don’t need more reminding that their are creepy pedophile guys out there. Spare me please, I’m a guy and I get enough assumption that I’m a pedophile when being involved in the Lolita Fashion.
Now, there is mention of the fashion show they are doing in the next episode and I wanted to comment that having the convention provide your models and say how much this is not a great idea, I know you might want all you can get but I don’t think I can trust a con to find workable models for a fashion the con has no understanding of, reasons for this are in my next section.
Episode 2: Hana-Doki Con
So in this episode they make it out to Hana-Doki Con in San Francisco after what they claim is a 5 hour drive due to Paula’s driving and right away things are not working out for them. So where do I start with all this? Well, the first thing that bothers me about this particular convention was when they interviewed the Con Chair, who by the way said “The reason Hana-Doki Con chose Dolldelight as it’s head liner, was because San Diego has a very large Lolita Fashion community…”, okay well it is obvious at this point that this con has no actual concern for finding a legit Lolita group to be involved in the show or represent the fashion well. I don’t think San Diego having a large Lolita community is a reason for choosing Dolldelight, I actually bet they had a hard time getting a legit Lolita group and sadly real Lolita’s would call BS on this whole thing. The first issues to come up for them is when they discover that two models have cancelled, — Reason number one you should not have a conversion select your models — which leaves Cyril to decide that they will have to have two models switch outfits during the show.
Midway in the show, lots and lots of drama incurs as in my opinion they would seem to be short on content for this episode. Honestly the acting has to be the worst I’ve ever seen. I mean I know these people are not professionals but there were two scenes with Paula and Ashphord acting outraged and how fake it was, really showed. By the end of the episode, the fashion show was over as expected. And honestly for the amount of drama that ensued, the fashion show was very disappointing. For one they all acted way over the top worried and two, the room for the show appeared very small, I don’t think they had very many people present as well, unless their was like 500 chairs hiding behind the camera. I understand this is a reality TV show and much like Breaking Amish, you need to create drama or people will get bored. I also understand that having a tier of ruffles on a dress ripping is plan terrible but there was no need to freak the way they did. And I think it ripping that easily showed some poor craftsmanship on Cyril’s part, so it might have been avoidable.
I know there was not a whole lot to say about this episode but I can at least say this. It appears the convention website, http://www.hanadokicon.org/cosplay-fashion-events/, says that next year Dolldelight will be at the show again. But the obvious no care of the con for Lolita Fashion, is mostly in the last line “…it’s a Lolita’s dream come true!”. Yeah, they obviously don’t know the different or care. I love how there is even a question mark next to San Diego Lolitas hosting the fashion show next year. I’m tempted sometime of asking someone I know in the San Diego group to shine light on this.
Reality Check? – My Experience
I wanted to say a few things in regards to my own experience of similar events. Back in September at Ramencon in Merrillville, Indiana, my wife and I hosted the Lolita Fashion Show and I’d consider us to be true Lolitas, unlike what Hana-Doki Con thought of Dolldelight. We featured, I think, 6 dresses ranging from AP (Angelic Pretty), BTSSB (Baby The Stars Shine Bright), F+F (FanPlusFriend), Bodyline, and Indie. In my opinion Ramencon is a larger con than Hana-Doki Con and while it’s still a small con in comparison to some of the really big cons, it still makes me very proud to say my wife and I organized a Lolita Fashion Show. Anyways, the stress was there, we had at least one model cancel on us but for good reason and we knew well in advanced. This is another reason we would never let a convention provide models, we let Ramencon forward people to us who were interest but screened each person personally so there was a somewhat personal connection involved. I think this allowed for better quality in the end.
We were concerned that things would fall apart and that our models might not represent the fashion well. It was not easy but we ended up filling the main programming room maybe 3/4th full, which considering the Cosplay Catwalk that followed just maybe barely filled all the seats, I’d say it was a success for us, specially since some people did not know very much about the fashion. Afterwards the father of this one kid the watched our show went to the Con Chair and told him how much he appreciated our presentation of the fashion, saying we represented a fashion that featured modest clothing and gave girls something to feel feminine in, something I don’t think very many Lolitas hear. And let me tell you that Merrillville, Indiana is somewhat considered a conservative christian town, so kind of interesting when you consider all that. I personally was very happy to hear people loved the show. We sadly only took 15 minutes when we had been allocated an hour to fill but that was partly due to our lack of models, experience, and notice. We are pretty sure we will get asked again next year to host the show and hope we can fill more of the hour. I honestly think our show went over better than Dolldelights, with less mishaps and stress but probably four times as many people. Sadly, I never got great pictures or video from the show.
Well like many reality TV shows, this one reminds me of some of the most famous, Breaking Amish or Toddlers and Tiaras, which does not surprise me one bit. It’s obvious that it’s suppose to create drama and glue people with no life to the screen, which for myself it doesn’t do anything more than frustrate me that someone can be that stupid. I don’t like working with anyone who can’t be punctual or well organized. Like I pointed out in Episode 1, Cyril said she started doing Dollie Style because people in the Lolita Fashion were mean to her and rightfully so, read my post A Man in a Women’s World for a great example of Lolita drama. But I feel that herself and her associates are not doing any better, they are being just as mean to others as they claim Lolita’s were to them, which I think is a huge problem no matter where you go.
And as for the Lolitas I know out there that are concerned that this show will give more bad rep, well it won’t. Because honestly, the episode of My Strange Addictions only got so far and that was on a major TV network. My reasons for this show will not making it any worst is partly because the people that watch this show are not worth your time and are probably the same people that already saw My Strange Addictions. You decided to wear Lolita for yourself, not so the world could accept you. I understand that we all wish the world would love us but honestly, if you really wanted that, you would have not put on that cute dress to begin with, I know I didn’t. Don’t let “The Doll Life” make you concerned, Dolldelight sadly is riding a wave of success that stems from interest in Lolita Fashion. We should be proud that people like the father at our fashion show, proves there is interest in what we wear and honestly I think this TV show might somewhat help people gain more interest, maybe not understanding but interest. Next time someone walks up and says “Your one of those dolls right?”, politely respond with “No, I’m wearing a Japanese Street Fashion known as Lolita.” and offer up more information if they ask. Be glad Dolldelight is not some whore house, they are honestly doing it for the some reasons Lolitas do it, they may wear more cosplay like outfits but at least they don’t make us Lolita look worst.
So again, remember, Lolita is about you, not what people think of you, you should not even let what other Lolita’s do effect how you think of yourself. Wear it however you see fit.
You can find episodes of the show here.