Monday, 26 March 2012

Strawberry Parlour by AP

Today I will be looking at Strawberry Parlour by AP (fruit prints are all the rage right now!).This series has 3 dresses, a skirt, a head bow and socks. Additionally, some older strawberry items by AP have been re-released. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on the strawberry bag now I have a second chance!

This is the shirring JSK. Unsurprisingly, this means it has a lot of shirring! The bodice is a nice shape despite all the shirring and at least with more shirring you know it will stretch further and (hopefully) suit the wearer's curves better. I dislike large panels of shirring but it is not as obvious as I thought it was going to be. The ruched part on the front looks more like detailing than extra shirring. The shirring on the back runs all the way across and has nothing covering it, but the whole point of this dress is flexibility with the sizing. If it was me, I would just throw a pretty bolero over the top! I think the waist bow is a bit on the large side but it has a good sturdy shape. The bows by the straps (which are detachable) are made with very shiny ribbon, but I think they look cute. I think the dress looks a little plain with them detached. With so much shirring, the neckline could have looked messy, so thankfully AP have just added some good quality lace and I think the straps bows help too. The straps are a good width. These are also shirred so you really do have a lot of size flexibility! The skirt has that rounded and full shape that I have come to expect from an AP dress. It will hold loads of petticoat and has that perfect sweet shape. The print is not cluttered by any details and it is also displayed well with not too much gathering. The bottom hem is finished with cute strawberry lace, which I absolutely love. Overall, I think this dress has a very casual feel to it and I could picture this dress being easy to wear.

This is the tiered JSK. The bodice is well fitted. This dress has 2 sets of straps. Although the halter-neck straps are detachable, I think the dress looks better with them on because when they are removed, it makes the shape of the bodice look a bit strange. I just think the lines run a bit smoother with the straps still on. Again, the waist bow is large but it looks a bit more perky than the one on the shirring JSK. I like the lace with the ribbon threaded through it, and this is continued on other parts of the dress so the theme is constant.  However, I do think it is odd how the line runs across and points upwards at the sides. Above the lace and ribbon line, the top part of the bodice is ruched, which is very cute. The lace along the neckline is good quality and cute, and it is topped with a sweet little bow. The back has a panel of shirring, which is well concealed by a ribbon corset. The skirt part has a lovely flared shape to it, although I think the shirred JSK has the nicest skirt shape. Despite being tiered, the skirt does not look bumpy and it flows nicely. Halfway down the skirt, there is another line of that ribbon-threaded lace. It fits in really well and compliments the print. This line of lace is topped with small bows which look shiny, but blend in really well with the dress. The bottom hem is finished with more of the cute strawberry lace.

This is the OP. The bodice looks a good shape, but I really dislike the sleeves on this dress. I think the sleeves could have done with being a bit longer or maybe a bit puffier.

Instead of my attempting to describe the bodice, here is a picture! I think there is a lot of detail going on here and maybe it goes a little too far. It is definitely my least favourite dress in the series. I think what I dislike is the material layered over the sleeves because it makes the area look wider.

The detachable collar is very interesting. A lot of detachable collars seem to be kept plain, so trust AP to go a step further! The ribbon and bow design is very interesting. For me personally, I think it makes the collar look too OTT for my personal tastes, but I appreciate AP have tried to make it less boring.

This dress also has a large waist bow and there are no pictures on AP's site with this removed so it might not be detachable. I suppose it has a nice shape to it, but I like having the option of detaching waist bows! The back has a shirring panel. Although it is concealed with ribbon, the ribbon colour is contrasting and the ribbon is shiny. Therefore, it sticks out quite a bit. The skirt shape is rounded and full. It is very similar to the shirred JSK skirt and is thankfully kept free of cluttering details. The bottom is finished off with the same lace.

And here is the print close-up. I love anything with strawberries on it, so obviously I do like this print. Although with so many strawberry prints out there, this one doesn't really stand out. Despite not having stripes, I also feel this print is essentially a strawberry version of Fruits Parlour, with different colours. As you can see, this print comes in 4 colours. For me, there isn't a great deal of difference between the 3 light colours and so I really like all of them. I would probably go for the white or pink if it was me. I don't know why, but the black version looks less appealing to me. I love all the details with the strawberries and the desserts are making my mouth water! The polka dot ribbon with the stripy bit underneath mimics a cafe canopy, but with AP's typical cutesy style. I really do like the print, but as I said, there are loads of other brilliant strawberry prints out there.

Overall, I do like this series but I am not overly enthusiastic about it. I never thought I would be saying that about a strawberry print! If I had to pick, I would go for the shirred JSK (provided I could find a nice bolero to quickly throw on over it) or the skirt. I think that the white colour-way is the nicest, but there is not much difference between the colours. However, it could still be a nice addition to a sweet lolita's wardrobe.

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