First up, I shall be taking a look at Christmas Holly Night by Baby the Stars Shine Bright. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, socks, 4 hair accessories and a Christmas themed cape for Usakumya.
This is the Scallop JSK. The bodice looks well fitted. The bodice shape is a little simple, but looks okay. I think the straps are a suitable width for the dress. The straps are scallop shaped on the outside and I'm not particularly fond of this. I feel the dress already has enough scallops elsewhere on the dress and the straps don't look as appealing. There is a bow on the waist area, which I think is a suitable size for the dress. It has a good shape to it and sits quite nicely on the dress. The bow is neatly lined with gold lace, which gives it a more decorative look without being too OTT or distracting. The bodice features several lines of the thin gold lace, which gives it a panelled look and leads to a slightly raised panel at the chest area. The bottom of this raised part and the neckline have a scalloped edge. Although I don't usually like scalloping, I think it has been executed well here. The scallops are nicely shaped and lined neatly with the gold lace. The only issue is that it may not sit well on the chest area of some wearers. The neckline also features 3 bows with 2 underneath the straps and one in the centre. The ribbon used for the bows is quite shiny, especially for the 2 strap bows, but aside from that they are quite pretty. The size and shape of the bows is good. The larger middle bow features a gold Baby logo charm, which fits in with the overall theme of the dress brilliantly. The back features a panel of shirring which is concealed neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has a reasonable amount of volume and flares out well. The shape is pretty too. The skirt design is kept simple and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem features a scalloped edge and again, the scallops have been shaped fairly well. I think it is a shame these scallops haven't been lined with gold lace like the rest of the dress though, as that could have looked really nice. The bottom hem also features a tulle ruffle underneath. Although it doesn't look bad, I feel something a bit more solid and less soft looking would have suited this better. The rest of the dress is quite bold and the tulle looks a bit too floaty and light.
This is the Ribbon JSK. The bodice seems well fitted and the shape looks lovely. The straps are quite wide and look very supportive. I think that maybe Baby could have gotten away with them being just slightly thinner, but they don't look too bad. The insides of the straps are lined with lace, which sits quite nicely and compliments the neckline. The waist bow on this dress looks ridiculously big. I don't think the shape is that appealing either, and the bow also looks a bit droopy. The lace on the bow really exaggerates the size of it as well. Thankfully, this bow is detachable and I feel it looks a great deal better without it attached. The bodice features 2 lines of pretty lace, which meet another big bow on the neckline. Despite its big size, I think the neckline bow is much better suited to the dress. The shape is simple, but the lace along the edges livens it up a bit. The bow also creates a more interesting neckline shape. This bow also features a double chain of pearls dangling from it. The chains hang beautifully and I like that it matches up with the print. The print features dangling stars on pearl chains and these bows hanging from the bow mimic the print. The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed well with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has lots of flare and it is possible to create a full, plump shape. It has lots of volume. The skirt design is kept quite plain and the print is displayed well, although the large waist bow is a bit distracting. The bottom hem is then finished off with lace which is of a reasonably good quality, but looks-wise isn't that interesting.
And here we have part of the print close up. This series is available in ivory, pink, red, green and black. As this is a Christmas print, I feel the more traditional colours of red and green work the best with this print. The ivory is very pretty though, with that typical Baby look to it. As for the print itself, I really love the trees and garlands. The heavily decorated trees make me feel really nostalgic. The garlands are an easy way to make a repeating pattern for the non-border part of the print. The dangling stars and baubles help to fill in the empty gaps. The toys are very cute too. I like the family of Usakumyas! The ribbons and bows at the bottom are well drawn and offer a great burst of colour. It works especially well with the bows on the Scallop JSK.
So here we have what is a very cute Christmas themed print that incorporates Baby's famous Usakumya mascot really well. It manages to look quite traditional. The only problem with prints like this is that you feel a bit silly wearing them outside of the holiday season! So for that reason alone, I could never justify buying this series. If I did get this series I would go for the Scallop JSK in green. The green is a really fantastic choice for a Christmas themed dress. I imagine that despite its limitations, this series will still do quite well.
Next up is Sugar Dream Dome by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, a salopette, a head bow, an eco tote, tights, wrist cuffs, a bolero and several pieces of jewellery.
This is the OP. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is fairly interesting. I like the material used for the solid coloured sleeves as it is very soft looking with just a slight sheen to it. The sleeves are suitably puffy with nicely gathered cuffs. The cuffs have been finished off cutely with a subtle bow, which is a good shape and size, and white lace. The white lace reminds me of snowflakes and is a very cute design. I like the use of white lace as well, as it contrasts nicely with the main dress colour and just adds to the frosty look. The centre front of the bodice features a wide line of lace, topped with buttons and bows. Again, the polka dot lace reminds me of falling snow and really fits the overall theme. The bows are a cute shape and well spaced out. The material is matte as well. I feel the bows could do with being slightly smaller though. I am not too keen on the buttons, as I feel the clear, round buttons are a bit plain and dull. On either side of the bodice, there is a subtle line of thin lace, which lines up perfectly with the lace on the edge of the over-skirt. There is a really cute fur collar which is dotted with pearls. The fur material looks very soft and the collar is a neat shape. The ribbon used to tie the collar is a bit shiny in comparison to the bows on the dress, but this is just a minor issue. Underneath the collar, the neckline shape is a bit boring. I definitely feel the dress looks better with the collar. The neckline is lined with the pretty lace, which lines up nicely with the collar when the collar is on. The back doesn't have any shirring, so the back is a bit plain and doesn't offer much size flexibility. There are 2 thin lines of lace on either side, which matches up with the lace on the front on the bodice. The stock photos show the skirt is very full and has a lovely rounded shape. It is very plump and flares out well. It will hold plenty of petticoat. The skirt features a tulle over-skirt, which is attached with 2 bows. I am very unsure about the over-skirt. I do like the gathering and the way the tulle is shaped at the front and the lace lining the edges has been done very neatly. However, I dislike the way the over-skirt sits on top of the skirt and feel it looks a little awkward. It sticks out too much and also makes the waist area look a lot wider. I also feel the over-skirt could be longer and finish a bit lower on the skirt, whilst still not obscuring the border print. The print itself is displayed well and not obscured by the over-skirt at all. The bottom hem is finished off with a line of lace with a layer of pom pom trim layered over the top. Now, my long-term readers will know my feelings about pom pom trim! But in this particular case, I think the pom pom trim works really well with the dress theme and the lace underneath helps to soften it a bit. It looks quite cute here.
Here we have the Collar JSK. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is interesting. The straps are a good width and look quite supportive. I think the size of the waist bow suits the dress. The bow also has an interesting shape and sits quite well on the dress. I like the choice of lace used to line the bow, as it has a 'frosty' look to it. The bow also features pretty pearls dangling from it, which is a lovely finishing touch. The bodice features several lines of lace which are placed quite well and looks very neat. In the centre there is a line of buttons. The buttons are well spaced out but again, I feel the button design is a bit boring. The dress features a fur collar. The collar is nicely shaped and the fur used is very neat. I also like the pearls dotted on the collar. The ribbon bow that tops the collar is detachable. The ribbon used for the bow is very shiny. The pom poms are a cute way to finish off the ribbon ends and it really balances out the use of fur on the rest of the dress. The back of the dress is fully shirred, so there is nothing to conceal it. I also dislike the back of the collar teamed with a low sitting back. I think the back could have looked better with a high back and maybe a smaller panel of shirring topped with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has plenty of volume and flares outwards well. It has a cute rounded shape to it. The skirt design is kept simple and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom features a wide line of the fur material and is also topped with pearls. It matches with the collar so well and the design is also quite different. It is unusual, but I quite like it. Underneath the fur is a line of pom pom trim. Luckily for me, the pom pom trim is mainly hidden by the fur!
This is the High Waist JSK. The bodice is well fitted and the shape is pretty. The straps are a suitable width too. The straps and neckline are topped with a cute looking ruffle. The ruffle is gathered well and sits nicely on the dress. I think the waist bow is a suitable size and the shape is very pretty. The solid colour and lack of lace give the bow a simpler look compared to the other 2 dresses. It does at least offer a slightly more mature offering. The bodice features neat pleats and subtle lines of lace. It is very understated and looks a lot less dressy than the other 2 dresses. The ruffle on the neckline is topped with a bow made from the printed fabric. The bow is a cute shape, but it is a bit big and I think it would look more balanced if it was a bit smaller. This bow is detachable and I think if it was me I would detach it. The back has a panel of shirring which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The skirt looks very full with plenty of room for petticoat underneath. However, I don't feel the rounded shape works that well with the high waist design. The skirt design is kept very simple and the print is displayed brilliantly. The bottom hem is then finished off with cute carousel themed lace.
And finally, the print close up. This series comes in pink, sax blue, lavender and navy blue. Whilst all 4 colours are very cute, I feel the print fades in to the background on the lighter colour ways. The darker navy blue offers a nice contrast and the print details really 'pop' on this version. I am quite fond of the lavender version though. As for the print itself, I think it is an interesting take on the frequently used carousel theme. I often wonder how AP can make a fresh carousel print which doesn't look the same as their previous carousel prints. Putting the carousel horses inside of snow globes is definitely an interesting idea and gives the print a lovely Winter theme. The globes themselves are well drawn and I love how the globes are decorated. The bases of the globes are well detailed. The cakes and toys inside the alternating globes help to break up the carousel theme. The background of the print is cute, although I feel the lines of clouds need to be spread out better. The cloud lines look a bit too narrow and bunched together.
I feel this is a very cute offering and I can see why it has sold so well. Despite being Winter themed it isn't a Christmas print, so at least it can be worn throughout the Winter and not just in the run-up to Christmas. The print has that typical dreamy Angelic Pretty look to it as well. The dress designs are also quite interesting. Would I buy this series? Yes, but it isn't going on my wishlist. I would definitely go for the Collar JSK but I am torn between navy blue and lavender.