Here we have the OP. The bodice seems to fit well but the shape is a bit frumpy looking. I can't quite put my finger on what exactly it is I dislike about the bodice shape though! I seem to dislike the way the sleeves attach to the dress, but I do like the bell shape at the bottom. I think the length of the sleeves is pretty, although I know some people out there will disagree with me. The bell part of the sleeves have a good amount of flare to them. They are very OTT in style, but the size of the bells suits the dress. The lace that makes up the bell sleeves is pretty and layered well. The sleeves also have a line of gold braid to finish them off, which really neatens things and also adds a nice added touch of luxury. The bell sleeves are topped with bows. The bow size suits the sleeves and I think the bow shape is good, but the ribbon used is very shiny. The waist line is in a V shape, which is very pretty, although the waist area is quite plain and boring. The bodice has many different lines of lace running up it. The lace is pretty and adds a bit of added texture. However, the lace maybe blends in a bit too much with the print and it doesn't really stand out. The neckline is a pretty shape. It is lined with gold braid and lace, which looks very pretty and matches up well with the sleeves. The lace here sits nicely too. The neckline is then topped with a large bow, with lace layered underneath it. The bow is very big, but it doesn't seem too out of place on the dress. However, the shape is very strange. It seems to be wonky and an unbalanced shape! At first I thought maybe it was just one of the stock photos, but it is wonky in every single picture. The material used still seems to have a slight sheen to it, but not as bad as the shiny bows. The bow is finished with a simple, but pretty pearl cameo in the middle. However, the weird shape really puts me off. The dress has a matching choker, which has a large shiny bow on the front. I personally am not a fan, as I think this style of choker looks stiff and uncomfortable.
The back doesn't have any shirring, so the size is very limited. The back does have these weird ribbon corsets on either side though. I don't feel these ribbon parts would really do anything to help adjust the size and they look a bit strange. In this photo we can also see that the back of the skirt has a bustle. I think the bustle panel could do with being a bit wider so it fills up a bit more of the back. The tiers of the bustles are layered well though, and the material looks very soft, so hopefully wont add too much bulk to the wearer's backside.
The stock photos show the skirt is very full and has more than enough volume. I guess with an OTT style dress like this, you probably want that extra volume and this dress should hold plenty of petticoat. It is a shame the skirt is not a bit longer in length though. The skirt has a line of gold braid which sits above the print. Because of where it is located, the gold braid fits in very well, without really obscuring the print. The gold braid is topped with more of those shiny bows. I personally would have liked them to be smaller and with less shiny fabric used. The skirt material is gathered a lot, so the print is maybe not displayed as well as it could have been. The bottom hem is then finished off with cute bow themed lace.
This is the Tiered JSK. The bodice shape is simple but nice looking. However, the bodice material did look a bit baggy and loose in some of the stock photos. The straps are a decent width and suit the dress. They are lined with lace, which helps make them a bit less plain, although I'm not too keen on the lace used to line them. The waist area has a large solid coloured bow. The bow is a bit on the big side and again, the bow shape is a bit lop-sided. I really don't understand why the bow has been done like this. I also feel the bow is very basic looking and looks poorly made. The bodice has a small solid coloured yoke at the top, which matches up with the waist bow. I think the yoke is quite a nice shape, although maybe the scoop shape could have ended slightly lower. The yoke is topped with a shiny bow. The bow again looks quite basic and sloppy, although the cameo placed on top does help to conceal it a bit. The cameo is simple in design, but pretty. The cameo is detachable and for some reason, AP have stuck a random tassel underneath, which I don't think really contribute much to the dress. The neckline is lined with good quality lace, which looks fairly pretty. Underneath the yoke, there is a further 3 bows and 2 lines of lace filling up the rest of the bodice space. Again, the bow shape doesn't appeal to me. But the bows are at least spaced out well and the lace sits nicely on the dress. But when you put all of the bodice details together, I do feel the bodice looks a bit fussy and over-crowded.With a few small tweaks I think it could have looked a lot better. The back is fully shirred so there is nothing to conceal it. However, the shirring does blend in with the print a bit anyway. The stock photos show the skirt is very full and will hold a decent amount of petticoat. It flares out very well. As the name suggests, the skirt part is tiered. The tiers have been joined very neatly and the end result looks very smooth. The join has also been topped with a line of pretty lace and some small bows, which helps to conceal things nicely. The print is displayed very well too. The bottom hem is finished off with the cute bow lace again.
Here we have the Standard JSK. The bodice seems well fitted. The bodice shape is pretty, apart from the neckline, which I think could have been a bit more heart shaped to make it look softer. The straps are a bit thin, but suit the style of dress. AP could have maybe gotten away with making the straps a little thicker. The straps are lined well with pretty lace. I love the way the lace has been shaped on the straps too. It makes them appear very fluffy and cute. However, I do feel the bodice design is a bit disappointing. The bodice features a corset design which uses thick cord. I just don't think the cord looks very attractive and even looks a bit like shoe laces. Either side of the cord corset, there is a line of wide lace. The lace design is pretty and I like the slight gathering. It adds a bit of extra texture to the dress and I think it sits nicely on the dress. There are also some thin lines of lace on the far sides of the bodice. They do blend in to the design a bit but it does add a bit of extra texture and makes the dress look less flat. The neckline is lined with lace, but the more detailed side of the lace is facing downwards. It makes the edge of the neckline look too dull and plain. The neckline is topped with a cameo, although it looks a bit out of place with the bodice details. I don't think the cameo compliments the cord corset well and I wouldn't put the 2 together. I feel the bodice would be a great deal better if the cord was replaced with ribbon. The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed neatly by a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has a pretty, full shape to it. It flares outwards beautifully and has plenty of volume to it. The skirt design is kept simple, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with the cute bow lace.
And finally, here we can see the print close up. As we can see the print comes in ivory, pink, wine and brown. I think all 4 colours work very well with the print, but for me the stand-out colour is the wine. It looks so rich and vibrant and really compliments the gold in the print. I feel the ivory and brown colours are very mature looking too. As for the print itself, I do like the bottom border part. The cameo frames are decorated fancily with golden swirls and the tassels help to fill in the empty spaces between the frames. The pictures inside the frames show typical romantic scenes, with a French feel to them. I especially adore the castle picture. As for the non-border part of the print, I do think the lines of lace have been drawn well with a lot of detail to them. The smaller cameos amongst the lace is a cute idea. However, overall I find the non-border part of the print to be too overpowering. It is too busy. Perhaps if the lace lines were thinner and AP had chosen a less busy background, it may have been a bit better.
So I think this is a series which will definitely receive mixed reactions. Judging by the website sales, it looks as though the wine colour was the only fast seller. I myself am not overly amazed by this series. If I were to go for this series I would choose the standard JSK in wine, but the first thing I would do is take that awful cord off the bodice. I am put off the other 2 dresses because of their strange bows. But I will be giving this series a miss.