First up today I shall be taking a look at Strawberry Garden by Metamorphose. This series includes 2 dresses (one comes in 2 lengths), a blouse, a hair accessory, tights, socks and a novelty shaped bag.
First up is the Stripe Ribbon Dress. The bodice looks well fitted, although the shape of the bodice is a bit simple. I like that the straps look a decent and supportive width, but perhaps they have could have been lined with some thin lace, just to stop them from looking so plain. The bows at the bases of the straps are a nice touch, but I am a little unsure I like the placement. There is a waist bow, which looks a suitable size for the dress. The shape of the waist bow is cute and it seems to hold its shape quite well, with no obvious signs of drooping. I think the lace on the waist bow looks a bit untidy though and I think a thinner lace would have looked better. The bodice has 2 lines of lace running up it, giving the bodice a paneled appearance. The centre panel is then topped with alternating bows and buttons. I think the pearly heart shaped buttons are really cute. However, despite being a cute shape, I think the bows are perhaps a bit too big. I am not a fan of the lace running along the neckline. I think it looks really messy in the stock photos. It is not helped by the fact that it hangs so limply and looks so lifeless. I also feel it could have done with a bit more shaping and could have gradually tailed off before the arm pits. The back has a panel of shirring. which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has a fair amount of volume to it and it has a lovely full, rounded shape. I do think the skirt looks a bit short in the photos though. The majority of the skirt is kept very simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then slightly gathered upwards and finished with lace and a stripy ruffle underneath. I love how well the bottom hem has been shaped and the bows are a nice finishing touch. The lace has an interesting "M" design, although perhaps some strawberry themed lace would have been more fitting. The only part I am unsure about is the stripy chiffon used for the ruffle. It is an interesting design, but I don't think the colour of the stripes works.
Here we have the Standard Dress. Shown in the picture is the longer medium length. The bodice seems well fitted but again, the bodice design is quite basic. The straps are a decent width. Thankfully, this time the straps are lined with a thin line of gold braid and some lace, which also cuts across the neckline. The lace has a pretty design and it sits nicely on the dress too. There is a solid coloured waist bow, which seems a reasonable size. The bow is a bit floppy, but I think in this instance that is not a hindrance. It works quite nicely. The bodice features many pleats, which had been done neatly and add a bit of needed detail and texture to an otherwise simple bodice. There is also a line of the pearly heart buttons running up the middle, which look cute and have been well spaced out. The back is fully shirred, so the dress should have plenty of stretch, but sadly it isn't too attractive to look at. The stock photos show that the skirt has lots of volume and it flares out well. There is the potential to create a really cute shape. At 53cm, the mini length version still has a reasonable amount of length to it, although I think I prefer the 65cm medium length. 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 finally, the print close up. This series comes in off-white, navy and pink. I think the navy blue offers a refreshing alternative to the other 2 colours, which are pretty standard for a strawberry print. I think the details in the print show up better on the darker navy background as well. As for the print itself, it is quite cute, but I wouldn't call it anything remarkable. In fact, it reminds me of a Taobao strawberry print I saw once (I forget which store it was though). After releasing so many berry prints over the years, you expect Meta to be able to draw some fantastic looking berries. The berries in this print definitely meet my expectations! They look juicy and good enough to eat. The flowers are pretty too and really help to fill in the gaps between the strawberries. The bunny in the print is also adorable. My main criticism of this print is that I think the spacing looks a bit off. When you see the print on the dress, the border print looks quite small. I feel that because the print is quite simple and the background is not too cluttered, Meta could have gotten away with making the border print a bit bigger.
So overall I am a bit disappointed with this offering from Meta. Compared to other strawberry prints Meta have done in recent years, this series feels a bit underwhelming. It seems to be lacking that special touch. Would I buy this series? No, because there are many Meta berry prints I would prefer to get over this one. I also think the dress designs are very basic and, dare I say, lack imagination. My top pick for this series would be the Standard Dress in navy blue. I think the fact that Meta offered a navy blue colour, is probably my favourite thing about this whole series. I guess I will be waiting to see what berry prints the other brands offer this year.
Next up today is Cecelia Cross by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 3 dresses, 3 hair accessories, a cutsew, socks and wrist cuffs.
First up is the OP. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is cute. The arms seem to have a decent amount of length to them and I love the puffy appearance of them. However, I am not so keen on the random bows placed down the sides of the arms. It feels so OTT and unnecessary, as if AP are adding bows just for the sake of adding bows. The cuffs are cute though, and the lace used for the cuffs has a pretty design. There is a waist bow, which has a bit of a sheen to it. Aside from the slight shininess, the bow is otherwise quite nice, with a good size and shape. It sits nicely on the dress too, and seems to hold its shape. The bodice is simply broken up with several lines of lace. It is simple, but I think it is the right amount of detail, considering how busy the print is. The neckline is a cute shape too, and I like the lace used along the neckline, which sits so nicely on the dress. The back offers no shirring, so sadly the size flexibility is quite limited. The back seems to have been done neatly though, with the zip line quite well hidden. The stock photos show that the skirt has a lot of volume to it and it flares out well too. There is more than enough room for petticoat and the skirt seems to be a good length too. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is shown very well. The bottom hem is then finished off with some beautiful cross themed lace.
Here we have the Long JSK. The bodice seems quite well fitted, although the shape of the bodice is a bit basic. I also feel the straps of the dress look quite thin and a bit flimsy, although bulkier straps would not have suited the style of dress. What I do really love about the straps though, is the pretty layering of the lace and the chiffon ruffle. It creates such a gorgeous shape and it looks so light and fluffy. The lace used is pretty too. The simple ruffle along the neckline really compliments the details on the straps too. There is a waist bow, which again is a tiny bit shiny but is a good shape and size. The bodice features many gathered lines of lace and chiffon ruffles. The gathering has been done so neatly and the details give the bodice such an interesting texture without looking too overpowering. The neckline is then finished off with a ribbon bow. I don't feel the long tails on this neckline bow are really needed, especially with the waist bow. This bow is otherwise very pleasant looking. The back has a panel of shirring which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full with lots of flare to it. I like the plump rounded shape achieved in the stock photos. The skirt will hold more than enough petticoat. The skirt is again kept quite simple, but this time there is a chiffon overlay on top of the skirt. So the print is still displayed reasonably well but the chiffon layer means it is not as clear and crisp as it appears on the other 2 dresses. I am also not that fond of the length of the chiffon overlay. Personally, I would have liked it to end at a similar point to the bottom hem of the main dress fabric instead of having a random inch at the bottom of just chiffon. Both the bottom hem of the main dress fabric and the chiffon is finished neatly with a neat line of thin lace.
This is the High Waist JSK. The bodice looks well fitted but again, I feel the shape of the bodice is a bit basic looking. The gathered straps are very thin and don't look too supportive either. The chiffon ruffle along the straps is cute though, and gives the straps a frothy appearance. I really hate the waist on this JSK. AP have chosen to add a gathered ruffle along the waistline, which gives the illusion of there being a separate skirt. I don't like the way it harshly breaks up the silhouette of the dress and I think it looks a bit clunky. The design just doesn't flow that well. The bodice has a few neat pleats and some thin lines of lace, which look very tidy. I am really unsure about the neckline details though. The chiffon ruffle with lace layered over the top is a nice idea, but I don't think the chiffon has been well shaped. They also seem to stick out oddly. These details are then topped with a ribbon bow which given how the details beneath it stick out, makes the bow sit a bit weirdly on the dress. It is a shame because the bow is otherwise very cute looking. I really don't understand what AP were thinking when they designed this dress. The back of the dress is fully shirred, so there is plenty of size flexibility, but it is not that attractive to look at. For some reason, I felt the shirring on this dress looked even more unattractive than it usually does. The stock photos show that the skirt is generous with volume and it flares outwards loads. I love the rounded shape of the skirt in the photos. The skirt is again kept simple, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a pretty chiffon ruffle.
And finally, here is the print close up. This series comes in pink, sax blue, navy blue and black. The colour choices seem to be quite standard options for this sort of print. I am personally not a fan of the black, as I feel that colour is a bit harsh, but the other 3 really compliment the print. As for the print itself, it feels like AP have mashed together a couple of their previous prints in the hope this series will be a hit. It reminds me a lot of Celestial and Milky Cross. Whilst I love the gems and the images inside the gems (the pony and the cross are so beautiful!) overall I think the religious elements in the print are too strong. I would have preferred it if Mary did not appear in the print and I feel that teamed with the crosses in the background, the religious tones are overpowering. There is enough in the background already, such as the floating feathers, clouds and stars, that I don't think the crosses are really needed in the background. Besides, crosses already feature in one of the gems. I just think it looks tacky.
So overall there are several elements which don't appeal to me personally. Even if I ignore what I dislike about the print, I don't think the dress designs are that great, especially the High Waist JSK design. The OP is probably the most appealing to me design-wise, but even then there are things I would want to change about it, like removing those awful arm bows. So I think it is safe to say I wont be buying this series. If I did, my top choice would be the OP in sax blue (yep, I am choosing sax blue over navy blue for once!). To be honest, I think Angelic Pretty have overdone this whole religious imagery and cross thing with a lot of their series over the past year or so, and they need to come up with something different. Crosses are not the answer to everything!