First up today though, is Fantasy Parade by Metamorphose. This series includes 3 dresses, 2 skirts, 2 hair accessories and socks.
First up is the Twinkle JSK. I am not a fan of the low dropped waist, but the bodice shape is otherwise quite pretty. The neckline shape is really pretty and the straps are a good width, which also suit the style of the bodice. I initially felt that the bodice needed some more trimmings, like lace, but on reflection I quite like the thin and subtle gold lace. The lace creates neat, bold lines, which are well set out. There is a ribbon corset in the centre, and I feel the ribbon could have been spaced out wider. I like that the sides of the ribbon corset are lined with lace though, as that keeps things looking tidy. There is a bow topping the neckline, which has a cute shape and design to it. The bow is a nice size too. This bow is double layered, and the gold ribbon used for the top layer has a gorgeous design to it. It is very decorative. This bow is detachable, but I personally think the bodice looks too plain with it detached. There is also a random drape of chiffon on one of the shoulders which I think doesn't really work. I can't see it working well with anything other than a long-sleeved simple blouse, or no blouse at all. The drape is quite big and bulky too, although I admit it does hang in a nice way. This chiffon part is detachable too. I am a bit undecided on whether it would be better to detach this or not. It is one of those things that I feel you have to see in person to get a real feel for how it works. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is quite full, despite the drop-waist. I think with the right petticoat, the skirt has a lot of potential, although I am still not a fan of the low waist line. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed well. The bottom hem is then finished off with a line of gold lace and a neatly done chiffon ruffle.
Here we have the Shirring JSK. As you would probably expect with such a shirred bodice, the shape of the bodice is pretty lumpy and bumpy. I don't think it looks appealing, although it looks a lot less obvious on the black colour way. At least we know this JSK is going to have plenty of stretch. The straps seem to be quite a supportive width and I like that the straps and neckline are lined neatly with lace. I find the straps and very straight neckline a bit uninspiring though. There is a ribbon bow at the waist. Unfortunately, the shape of the bow is quite basic and the ribbon used is super shiny. The quality of the ribbon looks cheap. It is the sort of ribbon I would expect on an inexpensive box of chocolates, rather than on a dress from a Japanese lolita brand. This same ribbon is also used for the small bows at the bases of the straps, which don't look much better. All of these ribbon bows are detachable, but you are then left with a very basic looking dress. It is hard to find a good balance here between details and quality. The front centre of the bodice has a line of buttons with a double ruffle on either side. The ruffles are well gathered and sit nicely on the dress. I do feel the button design is too basic though. Meta could have so easily gotten some buttons with a cute design here. As you would expect, the back of the dress is also fully shirred. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and it flares outwards plenty. I think the model photos among the stock photos show that this skirt has lots of potential to look fantastic. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with some Meta swan logo themed lace.
This is the High Waist JSK. I do wonder how well this bodice is going to fit on those who are larger in the bust area. Also, the bodice shape is generally quite dull and uninteresting. There is a small detachable panel at the chest area, but regardless of whether it is attached or nor, the neckline looks too square and harsh. The chest panel is at least gathered nicely and features a small bow, so I would leave it attached. If nothing else, this panel adds some much needed detail to a very boring bodice. The straps are at least a decent width and look quite supportive. They are lined with gold lace on the insides, which then continues along the neckline. This lace only emphasises how straight the neckline is, but I would rather have the lace there than nothing at all. The only other detail of note is the ribbon waist bow. This time the ribbon used looks a little less shiny, which is an improvement. I still don't think this waist bow is that well shaped though, and it seems to hang quite limply on the dress. This bow is detachable and as a suggestion in the stock photos, Meta have placed the bow on the chest area. I have to say that I feel placing the bow here instead is a massive improvement. It is amazing how much better the dress looks just by moving this one bow. The bow also has a cute star charm dangling from it, which is a nice finishing touch. The back of the dress is fully shirred, so there is plenty of size flexibility, but also means the unattractive shirring is exposed. I like that the skirt appears to be generous in volume and how much it flares out. The stock photos show that the skirt will hold more than enough petticoat. The skirt is once again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off with a double ruffle of the main dress fabric. I like that these ruffles have been lined so neatly with thin gold lace. There are also some small bows on the bottom hem, which add a nice extra finishing touch without being too distracting.
And hopefully, this gives some idea of what the print looks like. A decent close up was not available at the time of writing. This series comes in black, red and mint. The red colour is maybe a bit 'out there' but the 3 colours generally work quite well with the print. As for the print itself, I think it is quite a nice idea for a design. It doesn't look too crowded or overdone, which is a huge bonus. The buildings are well drawn with some nice turret shapes making for an interesting skyline. My only criticism is I think the word 'Metamorphose' randomly floating in the sky, behind some of the buildings has been quite poorly placed. I wouldn't have bothered putting that writing in the print at all. The fireworks are suitably sparkly. I like that they fill up the whole of the background, but at the same time the design is quite simple and it never looks too overwhelming. I like the subtle inclusion of the famous Meta swan in the fireworks too!
So overall I think this is a pretty decent print. It may not be that original a design, but I think the print is decent enough. There are a couple of things in the dress designs which are maybe a bit questionable, but I feel there are ways of working around that. The great thing is that most of the parts on all the dresses are detachable, which means you can mix and match things. Would I buy this series? Possibly, although it wont be going on my wishlist. My top choice is the High Waist JSK in black. After initially hating that dress design, all it took was the movement of one bow to completely change my mind! Perhaps this serves as a good reminder to me to keep an open mind!
Today I am also looking at Angelic Pretty's Checkmate. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, 2 hair accessories and socks.
First up is the OP. The bodice looks well fitted and the overall shape is cute, but mature. I think the arms have a good amount of puffiness to them, not looking too OTT. The cuffs are set out really neatly, with a nice military feel to them. I adore the gold emblem buttons used here, and the gold braid and the lace keeps the cuffs looking very smart. For some reason, I am not really liking the waist details. The gold piping along the neckline doesn't work in my opinion. Whilst I think the idea of the chiffon drapes on either side is interesting, I don't feel the soft and delicate feel of the chiffon goes with the sharper, bold military details on the dress. It is a shame, because the chiffon parts have been well executed and fall nicely, with a neat line of gold lace lining it. It just doesn't work with this particular dress. The bodice features a boldly shaped yoke, which has got such neat pleats around the edge. The inside is set out well too, with a nice use of gold braid and more gold buttons. I do feel the bow topping this though, doesn't quite work. It is a cute shape, but it is a bit big. Also, the choice of colour for this bow looks a little bit out of place on certain colour ways. This bow is detachable, which I definitely would detach if it were me. There are some sharp looking epaulettes on the shoulders, but with all the other details going on, it just looks a bit too cluttered. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. I do think the back is set out very smartly though and it looks very tidy. The stock photos show that the skirt is super full and it flares outwards very widely. There should be more than enough room for petticoat. Aside from the little chiffon bits, which finish before the border print anyway, the skirt is kept simple in design. This means the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off quite neatly with a line of gold braid and a ruffle of the main dress fabric. If I was being picky, I would say the ruffle is perhaps a tiny bit too wide.
Here we have the JSK. The bodice seems well fitted and although the shape is a bit simple, I think it looks quite smart. However, I do feel those thin straps look a bit flimsy and I would have liked them to be a bit wider. They are lined very neatly with gold lace on the outsides though, which stops the straps from looking too plain, but also doesn't look too frilly teamed with the military themed style. There is a ribbon belt, which does emphasise the waist area, but I feel it sits oddly with the flaps on the skirt. Although the chocolate box themed ribbon has a lovely design, I am not really feeling it on this particular dress. Although as we get to discussing the print, you will see I am not that keen on the chocolate part of this series anyway! The flaps on the skirt I mentioned have been done quite neatly. I do feel this idea works better than the chiffon parts on the OP. The bodice features folded over parts, which look a bit like lapels, and also a folded down collar. All the different flaps and folded bits are lined neatly with gold lace, which emphasises all the lines nicely. It also works well with the stripes in the print. The 'lapel's are topped with more of those emblem themed gold buttons. I personally think having that many buttons is a bit much, and I would have just had 2 buttons at the top of the lapels, instead of 6 buttons. The centre has some criss-crossed gold braid, which I don't feel is needed, as there is already a lot of detail on the bodice. There is a bow on the neckline, which is a decent size and an okay shape. I like that this bow has been kept relatively simple and doesn't look too frilly. This bow is detachable, although I am not sure if I would detach it or not. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped very neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is very plump and flares outwards loads. I love the full bell shape of the skirt. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off with a line of gold braid and some regal looking lace. Although the lace is beautiful, I personally would have preferred a ruffle at the bottom instead, like the OP.
Finally, this is what the print looks like. This series comes in wine, navy. black and green. The colours are very mature and suitable for a fall release. If I was being critical, I would say that the navy version is perhaps a bit too bright. The regimental stripy background is perfect though. As for the print, the chess pieces and crowns are pretty, but AP have essentially taken the chess pieces from previous series and made them all gold. To make the print seem a little bit more original, they appear to have attempted to add a chocolate theme as well. Although as we know, AP have already done Chess Chocolate. So it seems that AP have essentially taken popular themes from previous releases and mixed them in a way that looks like a new print. I personally really like the golden chess pieces, but I don't think it quite works with the chocolate bar bit at the bottom. If the chocolate part at the bottom wasn't there, I would probably really love this print.
As this is similar to some other AP series which I liked, I thought I was going to like this series. But actually, I think the print looks terrible. There are also times where the dress designs feel overdone and they have taken the detailing a bit too far. I think the OTT dress designs teamed with the busy print makes this series a bit too overwhelming. There are definitely bits about this series which I would like to take out. So I think it is safe to say I would not buy this series. My top choice would be the JSK in wine. However, I will be keeping an eye out for any potential jewellery that later gets released for this series. Fingers crossed there will be some nice pieces, like when AP released Chess Chocolate!