Today sees me looking at 2 prints. Scroll down further to see AP's Diner Doll.
First up today I shall be looking at The Melody of the Rain by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 4 dresses (one non-print), a skirt, a blouse, 3 hair accessories, socks, a hair pin, a necklace, a wrist bouquet and a bag.
First up is JSK I. I can't put my finger on what it is, but the bodice shape and fit look a bit weird to me. Perhaps it is the neckline shape? The straps look a reasonable width and fairly supportive. They are lined very neatly with this cute floral themed lace on the outsides. There is a waist bow, which I feel is far too big. However, it has got a nice, well formed shape to it and it shows no signs of drooping, despite its size. This bow is lined with the same floral lace as the straps and has the addition of teardrop shaped pearl charms dangling from it. Sadly though, the size of the waist bow is off-putting in my opinion, so I am really glad to see it is detachable. The bodice is generally quite plain and the only real detail is on the chest area. Perhaps some thin and discreet lines of lace could have helped to have broken up the bodice a bit and made it a bit less plain. There is a slight raised panel at the chest area. It doesn't look like it would sit funny if the wearer isn't too busty, but it is perhaps something to bear in mind. I like the crisp, defined edges of this raised panel and how there are further teardrop pearls dangling from this panel across the chest area. I appreciate it wont be to everybody's taste, but I am kind of hoping we see some details like this again in the future. There are 2 bows at the bases of the straps, which I feel look a little bit out of place. These bows do look very cutesy and are perhaps a bit too sweet for the overall theme of the series. It is a shame, because these bows have been so well done, with nice materials used and a good shape. I also feel the neckline could do with some lace or something running along it to make it a bit more interesting. Maybe the bows would have worked better if there had been some softer details like lace in this area. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full with a lovely rounded shape. It flares outwards generously and it should hold plenty of petticoat. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off with some very pretty good quality lace. I have gotten so used to AatP always using the same sort of lace for the bottom hem, that I actually got a bit excited when I saw they had used something a little bit different.
Here we have JSK II. The short bodice seems well fitted and the shape is really cute. As there are more cute and sweeter elements to this bodice, I think the more cutesy aspects of this dress work better in comparison to the too-sweet bows on JSK I. The straps look a decent width and fairly supportive. I really love the lace used on top of the straps and along the neckline of this dress. It has a polka dot pattern, but also a very flowery shaped border, which goes with the print. The lace is really soft and sits nicely on the dress too. There is a very thin line of lace running along the waistline, but it is barely noticeable, so the waist is still very well defined. The bodice then has a line of the same neckline lace running vertically up the middle of the bodice. It looks pretty, although it is a bit obscured by the bow on the neckline. This neckline bow is a bit on the big side, but I think it still works. The bow has a really cute shape and it sits nicely on the dress. My only complaint is that the ribbon used is a bit shinier than I would have liked. The back of the dress is fully shirred, so this means plenty of stretch, but some very exposed shirring. I also think it is a little strange that AatP have decided to cross the straps over at the back, which in my opinion looks a bit odd. I suppose I could forgive this though, as the rest of the dress is quite pleasant and pleasing on the eye. The stock photos show that the skirt has a good amount of volume to it and it flares out well. I quite like the shape created in the stock photos, and think the skirt has some potential to look great. Once again, the skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of the same polka dot lace, so there is a good amount of continuity with this dress design.
This is the OP. I feel the bodice needs to be better fitted and the sleeve shape really spoils this dress. The sleeves are a weird length and are gathered in odd places, which creates a really weird shape. It looks so frumpy and unflattering. The elasticated neckline is shapeless as well. I suppose the lace on the sleeves and neckline has a pretty design to it, but that wont rescue the terrible bodice shape. There is also a bit of gathering in the middle of the bodice, but it feels like it has been lazily done. It has not been gathered that well and it doesn't look appealing. The bodice also has several lines of lace, which has a lovely design and is of a really good quality. It does feel like all this pretty lace is a bit wasted to be honest. There are further lines of lace and bows topping the gathered panel, which also don't really add much to the design. I suppose the slightly bigger bow on the neckline is cute with a nice shape, but ribbon used is shiny. As this bodice is elasticated, there is a good amount of stretch. I guess this does make the back look a bit better, rather than having a proper shirring panel. The stock photos show that the skirt has a good amount of volume and it flares outwards well. I am not as fond of the skirt shape here as I am of the JSK skirt shapes though. The skirt is once again kept simple is design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off with a line of good quality, but slightly boring looking lace. This is the exact lace that I mentioned above about how AatP always seem to use this same lace on their bottom hems!
Finally, here is one part of the print...
... and another part of the print. This series comes in pink, yellow, lavender and blue, although the pink looks almost peach and the yellow almost looks lime green in some of the photos that have been shared online. The lavender and blue versions are perhaps slightly more complimentary, although a part of me wishes AatP had gone for a darker and less bright shade of blue. As for the print itself, there are some very interesting ideas here. I really like the combination of soft shading, which almost looks like water-colour, with the crisper black lines. This sort of colouring works really well with the hydrangeas in the print. And it is always refreshing to see a flower other than roses being the star of a lolita print! What I am not so keen on is the random splodges of colour in the background. There is also a bizarre mish-mash of themes going on. In these print close ups alone we can see music, flowers, books, cinema, cats and rainy themes. Whilst the print is drawn well, there is just too much going on and the print doesn't feel that cohesive. I do hope the idea of water-colour like colours and shading is something we see in a print again though.
So overall there are some good ideas lurking here and there, but I don't think this series works as a whole. The choices for the dress designs are quite questionable at times and the print feels a bit confusing. I personally think the print would have worked better if AatP had just gone with the raindrops and hydrangeas, provided it was arranged right. So I think is is safe to say I wouldn't go for this series. My top choice would be JSK II in lavender. Some of the accessories from this series look a bit promising though, so those might be worth checking out.
Today I am also looking at Angelic Pretty's Diner Doll. This series includes 2 dresses, an apron skirt, 2 hair accessories and socks.
First up is the OP. The bodice seems well fitted and the shape is quite cute. I like the length of the sleeves, but feel they need to be puffier. The heart lace lining the sleeves is adorable, although I think the ribbon bows on the sleeves need to be just a slight bit smaller in size. The bodice features some thin lines of lace, which help to break up the empty space. I also feel it is good that this area is kept simple, as there is already a lot of detail with the yoke/collar and also the apron. The apron has a cute shape to it and I love the simple ruffle running along the edge. I like that the ruffle tapers off towards the waist. There is a heart shaped pocket on the apron, but I really dislike the use of rik-rak trim to line the heart shape. I think the rik-rak looks really cheap and immature. Thankfully, the apron is detachable. However, seeing as the apron is one of the main features of the dress, it doesn't feel worth getting this dress if you don't like the apron. I do like the cute heart shaped buttons which hold the apron in place though. The yoke and collar are an interesting shape. I think the collar is especially cute and a decent size. The use of lace to line the yoke and collar has been well executed, with the lace having a good design and softening the details. There is also a line of gold heart shaped buttons. Given that the heart buttons at the waist are not gold coloured, these gold buttons here feel a little bit out of place. The button design is still sweet though, and they are well spaced out. There is more rik-rak on the collar, but this looks a little bit better here than it does on the apron. I am still not a fan of it though. The back offers no shirring, so sizing is very limited. The back is very neatly set out though, and I like that the print seems to line up well along the zip line. Judging by the stock photos, the skirt flares out loads and has a really full shape. There should be more than enough room for petticoat and I quite like that the shape reminds me of the sweet lolita from around 2010. The skirt is kept simple in design, and even with the apron attached the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with polka dot lace, which looks cute, but I was surprised AP didn't go with the heart themed lace they used elsewhere. I think the heart shaped lace looks a lot cuter.
Here we have the JSK. The bodice seems fairly well fitted, although the bodice shape is a bit basic. The straps seem a good width and quite supportive. They are lined with some cute, frilly lace on the outsides. However, on the insides, the straps appear to be lined with rik-rak, which looks terrible. There is a waist bow, which has a cute, well defined shape. It is a bit on the big side though, and there is yet more rik-rak on this bow. I really wish the waist bow was detachable. The bodice is mostly kept simple, with just some thin lines of neat looking lace. Although with the large details on the chest area, not much detail is needed lower on the bodice. The neckline features some layered lines of wide lace and a thin sausage shaped panel, which is topped with heart buttons and a large bow. The lace is of a good quality, and I suppose the polka dot and AP themed design is okay. I think a more imaginative lace could have been used. I think the little panel of fabric sitting on top of the lace looks a little weird, and the buttons are cute, but seem to be there just for the sake of it. The chest bow is too large and makes the bodice look too top-heavy. Although the bow has a good shape and sits nicely, a much smaller bow is definitely needed here. In fact, even a small ribbon bow would have been an improvement. The back of the dress is fully shirred, so there is lots of size flexibility, but also means the shirring is exposed. The stock photos show that the skirt is again incredibly voluminous and it flares out more than enough. Once again, there is the potential to create a really full, sweet shape. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with the polka dot lace again.
Finally, this is what the print looks like. This series comes in pink, mint, red and navy blue. The pink, mint and red work with the retro feel of the print. I also think the navy blue is an interesting inclusion and provides a different take. As for the print itself, it is very difficult to be unbiased here, as AP's Fruits Parlor (and the heart shaped apron skirt in particular) was one of the prints that initially got me interested in lolita. This print is definitely reminiscent of Fruits Parlor, but the sweets in the print look updated. The checks at the bottom ramp up the diner part of the print. There are lots of different cakes and sweets, which are full of cute little details, such as sprinkles and cherries. It is all set out nicely. Like Fruits Parlor, the background has a stripy design, but there is much more going on in the background of Diner Girl. I don't know if this more detailed background is actually for the better, or not.
So overall the print may not be 100% original, but there is enough here to keep it looking interesting. However, I am not sold on the dress designs. I especially hate the use of rik-rak and I question the lace choices in places. I can't say I am that surprised that this series hasn't done well. Although it captures the late 2000's look quite well, Diner Girl doesn't have the same charm as Fruits Parlor. So I don't think this is a series I would go for. My top choice would be the OP in mint, although I think the apron skirt is much cuter. I feel this print hasn't been used to its full potential. I will be keeping an eye out for some cute accessories in the near future though.