First up is the Bustle JSK. When you ignore all the distracting details going on, the actual bodice itself seems well fitted and the neckline has a cute shape. I really dislike the 2 sets of straps on this dress, especially together. The regular set of straps has a suitable width and I like that they are lined with gold lace. However, the ruffled organza on this set of straps is really messy looking and makes the shoulder area look too bulky. I also don't feel this set of straps suits the bodice. I feel the halter neck straps are a better match for the bodice, but sadly this set of straps is made from flimsy organza and would not be supportive enough on their own. Instead of having 2 sets of straps, I would have just had a set of halter neck straps made out of the main dress fabric. The shiny ribbon bows at the bases of the regular straps add to the bulk as well. The halter straps are detachable on this dress, and I would definitely detach them, just to help tone things down a bit. The bodice also features a massive chest bow, with trailing tails going along the sides of the bodice, and 2 smaller bows. I don't feel that the chest bow is that well formed and the bow shape is not immediately obvious. It needs to be better defined. The material used for all the bows looks a bit cheap too, especially the tacky looking gems placed on the centre of each bow. As if this dress didn't already have enough bows, there are further large bows at the waist area, which are attached to the organza over-skirt. The over-skirt itself looks pretty decent. It sits nicely on top of the skirt and ends long before the border print. It has a good shape and I quite like that it has been lined neatly with gold lace as well. The waist bows however, are too OTT and add unnecessary bulk to the waist area. I wouldn't have bothered with having these waist bows at all but I think that even a smaller size bow would have been a big improvement. The back of the dress is fully shirred, which means plenty of size flexibility, but exposed shirring which is not too attractive to look at. That being said, this dress is so overloaded with details, maybe nobody will notice the shirring! The back of the skirt features a massive organza bustle. The bustle has a nice number of tiers, which are spaced out decently. However, the bustle is very voluminous and it sticks outwards loads, so it is not the most flattering dress if you are a bit self-conscious of how big your butt looks. I also think that it is far too much to have both the over-skirt and the bustle teamed together. It pushes the OTT elements way too far for my liking but also, I don't think these 2 details work well together. The skirt itself has plenty of volume and it will hold more than enough petticoat. From the front view, the print is displayed really well too. The bottom hem is then finished off with an organza ruffle which is further lined with gold lace. At least it matches the rest of the dress, I guess.
Next up we have the Angel Collar A-Line Dress. The bodice is very short but what there is of a bodice looks really cute with a nice shape. This dress is not going to be very chest friendly though. If the waist line was a bit lower down it would be so much more wearable. The arms seem to have a decent amount of length to them and I like the slight puffiness to them, which doesn't look too OTT. The cuffs are really cute too. They are nicely gathered, finished with a line of lace and topped with a ribbon bow. I think they have just the right amount of detail to them. The waist line, or should that be chest line, is topped with a double layered bow. The bow looks quite well formed and the shape suits the dress. I think the sizing of the bow goes well with the dress too. The bodice has multiple lines of lace and a line of buttons too. These details are perhaps not needed on a bodice so short, especially with the collar too, but the details have been set out neatly and look nice all the same. The collar is super cute and has been well shaped. However, I am not entirely sure the angelic shape of the collar really ties in with the rest of the dress theme. I really love how this collar looks though, so I am hopeful we will see this collar shape again in the future, hopefully on a more suitably themed dress. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is a bit limited. I guess with a bodice this short there isn't really any room for shirring anyway. The back looks very neat and tidy. The collar looks good from the back view as well. Despite the dress being quite sack-like in design, there is a bit of a defined shape there and I like the way the skirt flares out. The skirt seems to have a decent amount of length to it and there should be enough room for petticoat too. The skirt is kept very simple in design and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of lace.
This is the Ribbon Dress. The bodice seems well fitted, although I think the overall bodice shape could have been a little bit better. The neckline and sleeves give off a bit of a frumpy vibe in my opinion. Although too much lace can be a bad thing, I think in this instance the sleeves and neckline could have done with a bit more lace, or at least some more interesting looking lace. The neckline looks very bare and too basic. The waist area is topped with a double layered ribbon bow. The bow looks a suitable size and the shape of the bow is cute and well formed. The layer underneath is a bit too shiny, but it is mostly obscured anyway. This bow is detachable, but I personally feel the dress would look too boring without it. The bodice is divided up by several thin lines of lace. The lace is set out nicely, but it doesn't really feel that exciting to look at. There is also a line of pearl buttons going up the middle, which helps to break up the empty space. The buttons at least have a pretty design to them. The chest area is then topped with 3 small bows. The bows are a good shape and are well spaced out. The back has a panel of shirring, which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has loads of volume and it flares out beautifully. I love the full, rounded shape and there is a lot of potential to create a really lovely silhouette. Such a shame I am not really excited about the rest of the dress... The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of lace and topped with 2 shiny looking ribbon bows.
Finally, here we can see the print. This series comes in bordeaux, smoky pink and navy blue. At first I was really unsure if I liked the colour options for this series but on further reflection I think the colours work okay with the colours in the print. I can't say that I have any strong feelings towards any of the colour options though. As for the print itself, I think it is a very interesting take on the carousel theme. I know that carousel prints have been done to death, but the choices of animals keeps the print looking fresh. Yes, Angelic Pretty did Fantastic Carnival with the different animals, but AP didn't use anything as fierce looking as the amazing looking tiger in this print! I think the more mature colours in the print keep it from looking too similar from a lot of other carousel prints too. The animals in this print are drawn well. I especially love the swan for some reason. I like the swirls of gold too. I am a little unsure about the stripes hiding behind the animals though, as I think it would be better if the animals stood out a bit more. I am also not keen on the floral lines that are a part of the non-border part of the print. I just don't think they fit in that well.
So I think this is an interesting print, but the dress designs have left me feeling a bit cold towards this series. In my opinion, one dress looks too OTT, one goes too far the other way and looks boring, and the other dress looks a bit difficult to pull off unless you have a very specific figure. So I guess all that leaves is the skirt! I am not exactly amazed by any of the colour choices either. They look okay, but I would struggle to pick a favourite colour. So this is not a series I would personally go for. I can see it appealing to some Meta fans out there, but I will be giving this a miss. I guess I would go for the Ribbon Dress in navy blue if I had to pick a dress.