Today I am having a look at 2 prints to keep up with all the new releases. Scroll down further to see what I think of Alice and the Pirate's new Halloween print (Yes, really. Halloween in the Summer!)
Firstly, I'm taking a look at Sister Maria's Humming Birds by Baby the Stars Shine Bright. This series includes 5 dresses (3 printed, 2 non-printed), a skirt, a blouse, tights and 5 different hair accessories.
This is the Standard JSK. The bodice looks reasonably well fitted, although the overall bodice shape could have been prettier. It is a bit too boxy and square shaped for my liking and I feel the bodice needs to end higher up. The straps are a good width for the dress but I think they look a bit casual in comparison to the rest of the dress. I feel they could at least do with a little thin lace along the edges to liven them up a bit. The waist area has a stripy belt which helps to emphasise the waist area nicely. The ribbon used for the belt appears to be of a good quality and isn't shiny at all. The bow in the middle helps to finish off the belt cutely. The bow is a good size and shape, and sits well on the dress. The bodice has a ruched panel. I feel the panel needs to be wider and finish lower down on the bodice. As the panel is, it is going to cut awkwardly across the bust area of some wearers. Also, if it finished lower down it may help to fill in more of the plain area of bodice. There is a line of gold lace which sits just beneath the ruched panel which keeps things looking neat, but I'm not really sure it is needed. The neckline has a ruffle of net tulle, topped with gold lace. The tulle looks okay, but I don't think it is the prettiest option. The tulle is gathered well though, and gives the neckline a very soft, frothy appearance. There is a chain of pearls dangling from the neckline, with a cute music note charm in the middle. There is a random line of pearls dangling from one side though, which I think looks a bit out of place. The neckline is then finished off with a stripy bow. The bow size is fine, but I think a smaller bow here would have looked better teamed with the waist bow. The shape is good though, and it sits well on the dress. The back has a panel of shirring, which is concealed neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has lots of volume and has the potential to flare outwards loads. The overall shape is very rounded and I did wonder if maybe it was a little too sweet looking for a classic series, but I actually quite like it. The majority of the skirt is kept simple and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of stripy ribbon and 2 gold tulle ruffles. The stripy ribbon is topped with bows and I feel the bows could do with being a bit smaller. The 2 lines of tulle are layered neatly, and give the bottom a lovely soft finish.
Here we have the Long Frill JSK. The bodice seems fairly well fitted. The overall bodice shape is quite simple, although it is a little hard to tell under all that lace! The straps are thin, but seem to be a good width for the style of dress. Whilst I like that the straps are lined with lace, I think the lace is too wide and is a bit overpowering teamed with the rest of the lace on the bodice. I also dislike how this lace is bright ivory, teamed with the gold tulle elsewhere on the dress. The ivory lace looks too harsh and it really sticks out in my opinion. The waist area has a stripy ribbon belt design which helps to nip the waist area in. It uses the same non-shiny ribbon that the other JSK has. The belt is topped with a bow, which is a good shape and size. The bow is also lined with narrow lace, which helps to liven it up and make it look less plain. The front of the bodice has a line of buttons which are positioned nicely and spaced out well. However, I'm not overly keen on the style of button used. The button design is pretty, but I don't think it is the best style for this particular dress. The neckline is finished with gold tulle and a line of gold lace which again, I don't feel is the prettiest it could have looked, but I suppose looks okay. There is also a very wide line of ivory lace. Whilst the lace design is pretty, I feel the lace used is far too wide. I think more layers of narrower lace would have looked better. The wide lace just looks floppy and it droops loads. I would even go as far as saying it looks messy. All of this tulle and lace is then finished off with a stripy bow on top. Whilst the bow is cute, I feel it needs to be smaller in size. I also think that there isn't enough of the stripy ribbon to justify using it on this dress and I would have preferred solid coloured ribbon instead. The back has a generous panel of shirring, which is concealed well by a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has plenty of volume to create a nice, classic lolita silhouette. I think the skirt shape is a bit nicer than similar dresses we have recently seen from Baby. It has got a bit more shape to it. The print is displayed very well. The bottom hem is finished off with 3 layers of gold tulle. I wish they hadn't attached them over-stitched though, as I think it looks a bit messier than under-stitched. However, the tulle is layered beautifully and it is a lovely, soft way to finish off the dress.
And here we have the OP. The bodice looks fairly well fitted and the shape is interesting. The sleeves are a really good length. I love the folded over cuffs with gold braid detail. However, I feel the lace on the end of the cuffs is a bit overkill and really isn't needed. The sleeves would look a lot less fussy if that lace wasn't there. The neckline has a sailor style collar, which is very cutely shaped and is a good size too. The gold braid is a nice finishing touch. The collar is lined with lace, which gives it a softer, cuter finish. The collar is finished off with a stripy bow in the middle, with a smaller one at the waist area. Both bows are a simple, but nice shape. I also like that the 2 bows are different sizes and are also both detachable, so you can play around with the positioning to see what you like best. I personally like just the smaller bow attached to the middle of the collar. The rest of the bodice is kept plain, but I think the bodice already has plenty of detail to it. The back does not have any shirring and the waist ties are also very thin, so it may not offer a huge amount of size flexibility. At the back, the sailor collar is divided in to 2 parts. I know understand that it need to be like this because of the zip placement, but I feel the shape of the collat at the back could have been done better. The long skirt is typical of what we have seen from Baby a lot recently. It has a good length to it and has enough volume. The skirt flares out well and the A-line shape is pretty. The main thing here is to make sure to wear the right sort of petticoat. The print is displayed fairly well, although the longer length means there is more of the background and less of the actual print. The bottom hem is finished off with gold braid and then 2 lines of gold tulle. The gold tulle is layered well and looks very floaty. I do feel the line of gold braid needs to be a bit wider though, as it gives the skirt a slightly funny shape towards the very bottom. The tulle is topped with more of the stripy bows. I think the bows could do with being just slightly smaller and placed a little bit further apart.
Finally, here is one part of the print close up...
...and another part. This series comes in ivory, pink, sax blue and brown. Aside from the sax blue, all the colours are quite muted and soft. I am glad there is a slightly bolder offering with the sax blue and the brown offers a bit of a darker option. My personal favourite is probably the pink though. As for the print itself, I think the musical background spoils the print. Although we can see that the background is meant to be stripy with musical bars, it doesn't look good when it crosses over the top of the pictures. It gives the illusion that the pictures have been printed poorly on some dodgy printer. It would have been better to have the background stop whenever it reaches any of the framed pictures. As for the pictures, I suppose this print must be amazing for Sound of Music fans. It is definitely a new area for lolita and an interesting choice. It sure makes a change seeing this instead of a thousand similar looking Alice in Wonderland prints. It's just a shame that the stripes over the pictures spoil them in my opinion. Here is hoping the pictures actually look a bit clearer in person.
Baby certainly seem to have found a style of dress they love and something tells me they will be sticking to this style of dress for a while. Overall though, I feel this particular series is a lot weaker than other recent offerings. The dress designs look okay and I would only make the odd tweak here and there. But the print is a bit of a disappointment in my opinion. I really hope it looks better in person than it does on the website. So this is not a series I would buy. If I had to though, I would choose the Standard JSK in pink. I feel this series could have been a lot better than this.
Today I am also looking at Guilty Meltin' Sweets Town by Alice and the Pirates. The series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, a vest, 2 blouses, pants, 3 hair accessories, a necklace, a hoody and some socks.
This is JSK I. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is lovely. I'm not sure about the dual set of straps though. The halterneck tie straps look a bit too thick and the normal straps are very thin and look a bit flimsy. If AatP insist on having 2 sets of straps then I would have made the halter straps much less bulky looking. But to be honest, I would have just had one set of regular straps and just made them slightly thicker. The neckline has a line of wide lace, topped with 4 ribbon bows. The bows are all different shapes and sizes, but they all match up well with the rest of the dress. All 4 bows are cutely shaped and are positioned on the dress. I especially like the bows with gold detail. The ribbon used is a little shiny though. Four bows may seem a little excessive, but judging by the rest of the dress, it is meant to be OTT. I can't say I am a fan though. There is also 2 lines of chain dangling from the bows with a cute star charm on the end. I feel the top line of chain with the pearls is a bit too taut and needs to be a bit longer. Otherwise, I think the chain is a nice idea. The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed by a ribbon corset.
I really don't understand the random side bustle on this dress. It is only on one side, which gives an interesting asymmetrical look, but I don't think it has been executed well. Firstly, I don't like how narrow the bustle is. Secondly, I feel the tiers don't fall nicely and don't sit well on top of each other. It sort of looks a bit bunched together and the design doesn't flow well. Also, I feel it would have been better to stick to one colour instead of alternating. It just sticks out and looks awkward. I am not saying a side bustle is a bad idea, but I don't think this particular one has been thought out that well.
Apart from the side bustle, the skirt is otherwise a very pretty shape. It has lots of volume and flares out well. It will accommodate plenty of petticoat. The print is also displayed really well. The bottom hem is then finished off with wide lace. I personally would have liked the lace to be a bit more narrow, but I suppose it does match up with the wide lace on the neckline.
This is JSK II. The bodice looks very well fitted and the shape is very interesting. I love the bat shaped straps! The straps are a good width and the shape has been executed so well. The folded over bat collar sits nice and flat and it finishes well to make a good neckline. It may seem a bit too costume-like for some, but I am impressed. The bodice has a tuxedo like design which works surprisingly well with the bat-like details. The dropped waist line does look a bit bumpy, but apart from that I love the tuxedo design. The simple buttons are spaced out fairly well. The back is fully shirred, which means there is nothing to conceal the shirring. It does offer a good amount of size flexibility though, and the shirring looked less obvious on the darker colour ways anyway. The skirt shape is not as pretty as I had hoped though. The waist line probably has affected the skirt shape. I feel a skirt shape a bit more like JSK I would have been nice here. However, it still seems to have a reasonable amount of volume and with the right petticoat it will probably look a lot better than the stock photos. The skirt design is kept simple, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished neatly with thin lace.
So overall, I think this is an interesting Halloween themed series (although it seems AatP release their Halloween stuff earlier each year). However, I do wonder if for some people the dress designs will seem a bit too costume-like. Also, there seems to be a conflict between more darker, gothic elements and cutesy elements. I think this is a series that people are either going to love or hate. This series is not to my taste, but I am impressed with the design for JSK II. So if I had to buy this series, I would go for that dress in either navy blue or ivory. In my opinion, JSK I just looks messy in comparison. I expect this series will be popular with certain lolitas though and will probably sell out fast.