This is the OP. The bodice looks a bit baggy in some stock photos, but the shape is interesting. The sleeves look a good length, although I am not really liking the use of chiffon. This is quite a bold print and the fabric looks too soft and floaty. The cuffs also look a bit strange teamed with the chiffon. The cuff design is quite cute though. I like the gold lace and card suit themed buttons.
Here we have a close up of the bodice. I really like the shape of the heart neckline and collar. A part of me wishes AP had just made this dress a JSK and not bothered with the sleeves at all (a bit like the Bare JSK from the Starry Night Theatre series). The collar is very smart looking and shaped well. The lace lining the collar sits nicely and is well gathered. The material used for the bow on the collar is a bit shiny though. The great thing about the collar is that it is all detachable and there are many different ways you can wear it. You could detach just the bow, or remove the frilly jabot part as well (I personally quite like the jabot though) and just use the collar. Although I like the shape of the dress neckline underneath, I think the lace could have been done better. Part of the reason why I like the jabot is that it disguises this and the jabot helps create an interesting shape anyway.
I think the waist bow is a bit too big. It has a pretty shape to it though and looks quite firm. I like how it is lined with gold lace, although I'm not too fond of the white lace used as well. The centre of the bodice has a strip with buttons running down it and is lined with a lace ruffle on either side. The buttons are well spaced out and use the same cute card suit themed design. I think the lace is a bit messy looking though. There is a little bow at the top, which is slightly concealed by the jabot. Although the bow is a cute shape, I don't think it is that well positioned and the colour seems slightly off. The stock photos for the brown and black versions of this dress suggest this bow is detachable, and I would definitely remove it or at least position it differently. The bodice also features 2 lines of lace which looks like rik-rak on either side of the bodice which adds unnecessary distraction and doesn't look very appealing either. This dress does not offer any shirring and has limited size flexibility. The stock photos show the skirt has lots of volume. The shape is pretty and there is the potential to create a really lovely full, rounded shape. It will hold more than enough petticoat. The skirt design is kept simple and the print is displayed brilliantly. The bottom hem is then finished off with a tidy line of gold braid and some crown themed lace. I was a bit surprised with their choice of crown themed lace, as AP have used other lace before which would fit the print theme a lot more. The lace itself is quite pretty though.
Here we have the JSK. I think the bodice shape is okay, but it could have been done better. This shape is not going to flatter everybody and it doesn't look very forgiving in the chest area. The straps are a good width and look quite supportive. They are mainly concealed by the lapels that make up the tuxedo design of the bodice. The tux design matches up perfectly with the theatre theme of the print and the shape is interesting. I like the subtle use of gold studs on the lapels as I think it is quite classy looking. I am not so fond of the white lace used to line the tuxedo parts though. I think the lace should have either been the same colour as the main part of the dress or not been there at all. If the lace wasn't there, it would have given the edges a sharp, crisp appearance which could have looked quite smart. The bodice also features random lines of lace which looks like rik-rak. I don't like rik-rak anyway, but on this dress this lace just looks too fussy. The tuxedo part creates an interesting shape at the waist line and I like how it continues down the skirt slightly. However, I dislike it teamed with the waist bow. I am not entirely convinced this dress really needs the waist bow. The bow is quite big in size, although the shape is quite pretty and it sits nicely on the dress. I think it is a shame this bow isn't detachable, as I definitely would prefer the dress without it. The middle part of the bodice is neatly pleated and has a nice texture and look to it. However, it does feature more of that lace that looks like rik-rak trim. It does blend in a bit better with the design here though. The buttons on the bodice are well spaced out. I like the band of colour at the neckline. This is topped with a bow, which again is made from quite shiny material. The shape and size is okay though. The back has a panel of shirring which is well hidden by the massive halter-neck straps and large waist ties. I do feel that both the straps and the ties make the back too bulky but at least the shirring is well concealed. The stock photos show the skirt has a lovely, rounded shape to it. It is very full and plump and flares out well. The skirt is kept quite simple and the print is displayed fantastically. The bottom hem is then finished off in the same way as the OP with braid and lace.
And here we have part of the print close up. This series is available in wine, navy blue, black and brown. I feel the brown may be the odd one out here, as it looks a bit washed out and out-of-place next to the other colours. I think a circus print needs fairly bright colours. As for the print itself, as much as I want to like it, it is way too cluttered. All the separate components are pretty and drawn well. I especially like the rabbit jumping out the hat. But there is a strange mix of themes going on here. Is this meant to be a circus themed print or Alice in Wonderland? Or perhaps a casino theme or a party theme with the wine bottle? I just can't make sense of it. There is far too much going on here and the busy background only adds to the problem. It is a shame because if the different items in the print had been in other prints they could have worked out quite nicely, but this mixture of items is just confusing and messy.
I really love what AP have done with the socks for this series. The tuxedo top is so cute! I do feel the ribbon bows are a bit too shiny, but it is such a sweet design. It is such a shame I can't justify getting these!
So aside from the socks, I find this series overly complicated and messy. There are too many themes going on and I am not fond of the print. I feel there is a lot that could be done to improve the dress designs too. So it is probably very obvious that I wont be buying this series. If I had to, I would go for the JSK in black or navy. I am really not impressed though, and this is coming from somebody who has loved previous AP circus prints like Starry Night Theatre. Judging by the site, this series looks as though it is a slow-seller, and I can definitely see why.