Today I will be looking at Sweets Parade by Crown Label. This series has 3 dresses, a skirt, socks, a blouse, a head bow and a frilly headband thing. I know I have skipped over Meta's Typewriting Squirrels series, but it was so hilariously awful (well, in my opinion anyway) that I couldn't bring myself to write a serious discussion about it.
This is the Apron Pinafore JSK. The bodice looks really well fitted. I worry that the scoop neck is a little low on this dress and may be prone to sitting a bit funny on the wearer, but I guess it gives the opportunity to wear a blouse with a very frilly neck piece. The 2 bows on the front are a nice size, very firm, and well shaped. However, I do wonder if they blend in a bit too much. They don't really stand out that much. The lace on the edges is thin. It doesn't add much to the design, but at least it wont be itchy. The straps are a good width and look very supportive. The apron size looks a bit small for this dress, and I am not a fan of it. I appreciate that the print has a sweets theme and the headdress would help make a cute little maid outfit, but I don't think the execution has been done that well. However, I do like the big heart detail on the apron because it helps to liven up what is otherwise, a very dull and plain apron.
Something that confused me about this dress is the random little strip of material which is visible in this photo. I am talking about the little strip to the right of the bows in the picture. At first I thought this was just a stock photo thing, but it also appears in the draft picture, so it is there for a reason. Is it a pocket? If it is a pocket, then it can't be very big at all and would be sitting on the chest area, which would be a bit awkward. I think it is really odd! We can also see here that if you remove the apron, there is a strip of material with Crown Label written across it. I think that this looks strange as well and I dislike it.
The back has a very wide panel of shirring, which gives a wider range of size options, but also looks very exposed because there is nothing in place to conceal it. The skirt has that typical fully-flared shape that Meta is famous for. You could stuff a massive amount of petticoat under this dress. The skirt is divided in to 2 tiers, with more of the thin lace separating the top of the skirt and the border part of the the print. Luckily, the tiers do not make the skirt outline look lumpy or bumpy, and it all flows quite nicely. The lace line is topped with 2 thin ribbon bows. Whilst these are cute, I don't like how they are a darker brown than that used elsewhere as there is very little of this brown shade used elsewhere on the design. In fact, it is only used on these bows and the apron buttons. Obviously, this could just apply to this particular colour-way shown in the pictures. The bottom hem is finished with more of the thin lace. I think my issue with this dress design is that it is very plain and dull, and this conflicts with the cuter maid style of the apron. Maybe I am being too picky, but something about this dress just doesn't look right to me.
This is the Cross-back Pinafore JSK. The bodice has a very interesting shape, but there is not a lot of it. It is almost a bit like an apron-style skirt, but with a tiny bit of bodice thrown in. I admire how different this is, but I am undecided about whether I like it or not. I think I would need to see some worn photos. The bodice has some cute candy shaped buttons running up it, which I really like the sound of. Shame you can't see them that well in these photos! However, the folded over collar on this dress looks awful! It has an interesting scalloped shape but I hate how they have made the under-side of the material the visible part. It looks dull and faded compared to the material on the rest of the dress, and it looks as though it has been accidentally put on the wrong way. I don't understand what Meta were thinking. I would have made the collar part solid coloured, or at least used the proper side of the printed material. The cross-straps look cute, but I don't think they are really needed. I am certain that this dress doesn't have shirring, but that is probably because there is absolutely no room for shirring anyway. The back is almost non-existing. Again, the skirt shape is very flared. It looks a little bumpy in comparison to the first JSK. However, it will hold a lot of petticoat underneath. The skirt is quite plain, but the print is displayed well. The bottom hem is finished off with some thin lace.
This is the High-waist Pinafore JSK. The bodice is well fitted and has a nice shape. It is probably my favourite bodice of the 3 dresses. The waist bow is a bit large but it is very shapely and not at all droopy. The colour on the waist bow is very slightly different to the main colour of the dress, which means it doesn't blend in as much. I think this is a good idea, as some of the details in this series blend in too much. But it is worth noting that the waist bow is not detachable. There are 2 cute vertical frills running up the bodice which stops the area looking too plain, but at the same time is not too over-powering. There is a small panel at the top of the bodice which is the same colour as the waist bow, so helps tie that together. The lines of ribbon are also a good complimenting colour. I think that the bow on the base of on of the straps is a bit too big, but it is still quite cute. The straps are a decent width and very decorative. The back has a very wide panel of shirring and it is very exposed. The skirt shape is not as OTT as the other 2 dresses, but it does have a nice bell shape to it. It will still hold a decent amount of petticoat. The border part of the print is displayed beautifully and I think it works because there are no fussy tiers on this dress. The bottom hem is finished with a ruffle and then topped with a tulle ruffle, which I think looks very cute.
And this is what the print looks like. The print comes in black/lavender, cream/mint and pink/brown. Whilst I think the black works well with the print and the cream is okay, I really dislike the pink/brown colour-way. I think this colour choice is very odd. The brown is not a nice chocolate brown, but more of a caramel shade, which I don't think looks sweet enough. The items in the print have been drawn in a typical Meta way, which may not appeal to some. I personally think the ice creams look really cute. It is not remotely original, but it still works. I think the thing I like most about the print is the diagonal lines alternated with cute stars and teddies. But it does seem to be a subtle nod to Angelic Pretty's Jewelry Jelly print.
I think my opinions on this set are very divided and it is not a series I would like to own. The only dress I like is the high-waist pinafore one and I only like the black colour. I think this series is un-original and to be honest, I would rather go for another series instead of choosing this one. I think the problem is that at the moment, Meta are pumping a lot of prints out (sometimes 2 at a time) in such small time periods. Instead of doing this, Meta should concentrate on releasing fewer prints and putting more time in to making these prints better and more desirable. I don't think this series will do that well and it will just end up being a forgettable series. I am disappointed!