But first, I shall be looking at Elisabeth Unicorn by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 3 dresses, a head bow and tights. It seems a pretty small series. Perhaps AP are planning to release a few bits of jewellery and stuff later on, but this was all there was at the time of writing.
First up is the OP. The bodice appears fairly well fitted and the shape is lovely. I think the arms look an okay length and have a suitable amount of puffiness to them. The cuffs are finished off nicely with a ruffle, which matches the bodice details perfectly. Although I prefer the more simpler cuffs, I think AP could have gotten away with putting a subtle line of gold braid on them, just to make them a tiny bit more interesting. There is a ribbon waist bow, which is super shiny and I think it looks a bit cheap. The tails of this ribbon bow look too long and out of proportion with the top of the bow as well. I also feel this bow looks a bit 'out of place' and I don't feel it is needed at all. So I am a little bit disappointed that the waist bow isn't detachable. The bodice is taken up almost completely by a large white bib. When you have a busy print, using solid coloured parts can be a good way to help break up the business going on with the print, but I actually feel the white part of the bodice is too big. I would have liked to have seen a tiny bit more of the printed fabric on either side. The way this white part of the bodice has been done is lovely. It is really neatly set out with a cute ruffle and line of gold braid on either side. There are some pleats too, which look really tidy and well spaced out. They add a bit of texture and extra depth to the white areas as well, which could have looked too plain without the pleats. The star buttons running up the middle are spaced out really well and have a cute design too. The ruffle around the neck has been kept quite simple and it doesn't look to constricting. There is a detachable ribbon bow at the neck area. The ribbon is still a bit shiny, but the shape of the bow is cute and the sizing is okay too. I think the neck bow offers the perfect pop of colour to break up the white on the bodice. I only wish they had made the waist bow detachable instead of this one. The back offers no shirring, so sizing is not that flexible. The back generally looks quite neat, but I did feel the zip stood out quite a lot on the white part. The stock photos show the skirt is very full with plenty of volume. I really love the rounded shape. The skirt is kept simple in design and so, the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off very neatly with a line of AP logo themed lace, on top of the ruffle of crepe de chine. The layers have been layered quite neatly, although I was surprised AP didn't go for a more interesting custom lace design. They could have used star themed lace or maybe carousel patterned lace, for example.
This is the High Waist JSK. The bodice looks well fitted and the overall shape is quite cute. At first I thought the straps were too narrow, but on reflection I think they are a decent width. I think the style of straps really suits the rest of the bodice. They are lined really neatly with thin lace on the outsides, which makes them look a bit less plain. Unfortunately, this dress also has the super shiny ribbon waist ribbon. It looks awful in my opinion. I also feel it looks as though it has a look of being randomly 'stuck on' the dress without much thought being put in to it. If the waist bow was detachable I would like this dress a whole lot more. The bodice features some neat pleats and thin lines of lace. The final look is subtle, but with just enough detail to stop it looking too boring. I really like the more toned down bodice on this dress. The centre has a line of the star shaped buttons, which have been well spaced out. The neckline features some lace, which has been gathered to give it a frillier, frothy appearance. This has been done really well and I like the end result. I think it looks cute. The neckline is then topped with another shiny ribbon bow. I am not overly fond of the shape of the bow, but I think the size is fairly good. It doesn't look too dominant. The back of the dress is fully shirred, which means plenty of stretch, but it isn't too attractive to look at. The stock photos show that the skirt has lots of volume and it flares outwards brilliantly. There is plenty of room for petticoat and a lot of potential to create a great shape. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with the AP themed lace.
Here we have the Gillet JSK. The bodice looks well fitted, but I am feeling a little unsure about the shape. I'm not sure I like the neckline shape. The straps seem a decent width. I love the use of lace and gold braid topping the straps and going along the neckline. It has been done so neatly and the choice of lace looks pretty too. There is a waist bow and I am at least pleased to see the shiny ribbon has gone! Sadly, I don't like the shape of the waist bow and the identical bow on the neckline. The rounded shape looks a bit odd and it doesn't appeal to me, personally. It doesn't look as though either of these bows are detachable either. The gillet is set out neatly. The pleat and lace add an interesting texture to the area and I love the neat gold braid border. I am a bit unsure about the star buttons though. I am not sure I like them spaced out like this, and I think I would prefer the stars to be in a single line down the centre instead. There is just something about where they are placed which just doesn't sit right with me. The back has a panel of shirring, which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. It looks quite tidy. The stock photos show that the skirt is very plump with lots of volume. It will hold a decent amount of petticoat. I love the really rounded shape. The skirt is once again kept simple in design, although there are these weird small flaps at the top of the skirt, and I am not really sure what the point of them is. But otherwise, the print is displayed really well. The bottom hem is then finished off with the AP logo lace.
And finally, the print close up. This series comes in ivory, pink, wine and navy blue. The colours are pretty, although the pink is a bit too sickly sweet for my tastes and I wish there had been a dark green colour, as I think that could have looked amazing. As for the print itself, it looks pretty but there is a lot to take in. The print is so busy that it is almost overwhelming. I love the emblems, but perhaps they should have just been kept along the border. The carousel horses are beautiful and so well drawn. But it does feel as though the emblems and horses are fighting for space. I think the size of the items in the print need to be changed. I love the chains and stars in the non-border part, but I feel the non-border part is far too crowded. It's like the print can't make up its mind if it wants to be a border print or an all-over print. What is there is pretty, but I don't feel it has been executed in the best possible way.
So I have to say that I am feeling some quite mixed feelings towards this series. The dress designs are okay, with just the odd thing here and there that I would change. There are aspects I like about the print as well, but it also feels too crowded in my opinion. I am not surprised to see this series sold so well though. Would I buy this series? No, because I really don't feel 100% sure about whether I like it or not. I think this is one of those series that I would need to see in person. If I were to get this series my top choice would be the High Waist JSK in either wine or navy blue, but I would definitely be removing that ribbon waist bow!
Next up today is La Priere by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, 2 blouses, 3 hair accessories, tights, pants and a long vest.
This is JSK I. Well, it's called a JSK but it's clearly verging on an OP. The bodice seems well fitted and the shape looks lovely, if a little simple. The mini sleeves are very elasticated, so this is useful if you find OP sleeves can be a bit tight. I like that the sleeves have a generous amount of puff to them, although I am not keen on how the lace has been used on the sleeves and the neckline. The lace itself is pretty in design and of a good quality, I just don't like how its been used. There is something about the way the neckline lace meets the sleeves which doesn't appeal to me. The bodice features 4 large buttons, which have a pretty design. However, I don't think the buttons work on this particular dress design. I don't think the buttons work paired with the chest ribbon and the spacing seems a bit off too. As for the chest ribbon, I like that it offers a pop of colour. If you look close enough, the colour choice does sort of tie in with the less used colours in the print, but it isn't immediately obvious. The ribbon is of a good quality and the small bow in the centre is a nice finishing touch, without looking too attention grabbing. Inevitably, this chest ribbon is not going to sit right on some wearers though. The back of the dress has a panel of shirring which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. Perhaps a less vibrant coloured ribbon could have been used here though, because it does stand out quite a bit and draws your attention to the shirring. The stock photos show the skirt has a decent amount of volume to it and it flares outwards gently, but enough to create a lovely A-line shape. I think the skirt shape is pretty and goes well with the bodice too. The skirt is kept simple in design and so, the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem features a ruffle, and I only wish it had been under-stitched, rather than over-stitched. This ruffle is then finished off with some pretty lace.
Next up is JSK II. The bodice material is quite loose, but that is a part of the gathered look AatP were going for. I really hate the look of the straps/sleeves though. There is a normal set of JSK straps, with an added flap of material draping over the shoulders. It is sort of a bit like what Angelic Pretty did with the Crystal Dream Carnival tiered JSK, although AP used chiffon and the end result was a lot softer and more delicate looking. I think what AatP have done with the sleeves on this dress doesn't work anywhere near as well. Using the main dress fabric doesn't seem to work as well and I think using lace here was a mistake as well. The lace going along the neckline looks sad and limp too. There is a bow topping the neckline, which actually isn't too bad. The size of the bow seems in proportion and the idea to layer lace over ribbon is an interesting idea. The lace used has a pretty and heavily detailed pattern. Although the ribbon used underneath is a little bit shiny, you can't really see it that much. The only thing I dislike about the bow is the use of the AatP charm in the centre. It's a pretty charm but I don't think it works on this particular bow. The back of the dress is fully shirred, which means great size flexibility but not so attractive to look at. The stock photos show that the skirt has a reasonable amount of volume, although I think the overall skirt shape is lacking something. It looks a bit lifeless. Hopefully with the right petticoat, it will look a bit better than it does in the stock photos. The top of the skirt features this weird over-skirt thing, which I can't make up my mind if I like it or not. It looks a bit lifeless when you look at the dress as a whole, but weirdly, I think it helps balance out the bodice. At least the lace used to line this over-skirt looks pretty and I suppose the over-skirt does help to break up the length of the long skirt. The skirt is otherwise kept plain and simple, so the print is displayed really well. The bottom hem is then finished off with some fairly good quality lace.
Here we have the OP. The bodice material looks a bit baggy, although the belt helps to pull it back in and create a better shape. There is something about the bodice shape which I don't like. I think it might be that I think the neckline is a bit too wide. I also feel that the sleeves are quite an unusual length and I hate the gathering on the sleeves. Although the lace on the sleeves and the neckline has a really beautiful design, I think the width of the lace is too wide and I feel it is a bit too domineering. As mentioned, there is a belt, which is made of a wide line of ribbon. The ribbon is of a good quality and I am pleased to see it has a decent amount of length for bow tying as well. I really feel the belt is vital to help give the wearer a better shape. The material is gathered enough so that the dress has a bit of stretch to it and the waist is elasticated too, so the back of the dress does not have any additional shirring. The back of the dress is set out quite neatly and pretty much looks the same as the front of the bodice does. The stock photos show the skirt has a good amount of volume to it and it flares out quite nicely. There is the potential to create a lovely A-line shape here and it should hold plenty of petticoat. The skirt is an open-front design and the skirt parts to reveal a lovely chiffon skirt underneath. I think there is a good balance of the printed fabric and the chiffon. I just wish the ruffle along the hem of the main printed material had been under-stitched. Because this is an all-over print, the print is still displayed fairly well on the skirt. The solid coloured chiffon underneath has decently spaced tiers, which sit on top of each other well. My only concern would be the very bottom chiffon ruffle, because it looks quite see-through and ideally you would want a petticoat long enough to reach this bottom ruffle. Otherwise, the bottom ruffle is going to droop and look a bit saggy. So I would be very careful about picking a petticoat for this dress, as you would ideally want one the correct length and also the same colour as the chiffon.
And finally, the print close up. This series comes in ivory, pink, brown and black. The colour choices seem a good match for the print. I can't imagine other colour choices working quite as well as the ones AatP have selected, so I agree with the ones they have gone with. As for the print itself, I do think it looks quite pretty. I like how the print doesn't just focus on one part of a church, such as the stained glass window prints we have seen frequently from lolita brands. You have the stained glass, but there is also murals, ornate looking organ pipes and nicely detailed columns in this print. And every part of the print has been drawn really well. The way the print has been set out seems to work quite well. I like that the print has the strips of colour breaking up the softer tones in the print as well. I think that little burst of colour is needed.
So overall, I was quite surprised to find that I really like the print, even if it is not my usual sort of style. I am feeling a little unsure about the dress designs though. There are definitely things I would like to change about each dress design. Would I buy this series? Probably not, although I do think the print is pretty and I can imagine it selling really well. My top choice would be JSK I in either pink or brown. I think I would lean more towards the pink colour way.