Monday, 28 August 2017

Chateau de Nounours ~ Angel's Secret Winery by Alice and the Pirates

Today I am looking at Chateau de Nounours ~ Angel's Secret Winery by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, a blouse, 3 hair accessories and socks.

First is JSK I. The bodice seems quite well fitted and although the shape is quite simple, I think it works really well. The straps look a decent width and very supportive. There is a line of embroidered ribbon going along the inside of the straps and along the neckline. This ribbon is absolutely gorgeous and gives a slight 'folk' feel to the dress. There is an apron, which is obviously detachable if you are not a fan. I personally really like the apron though. It is a good length that doesn't obscure the border print and I think it has just the right level of cuteness to suit the style of the dress. The apron also features a line of the embroidered ribbon, which is a nice bit of continuity. There is a small solid coloured panel on the bodice, which is then topped with a ribbon corset. It is also lined with more of the embroidered ribbon on either side, which keeps the edges looking neat. I like that the panel gets more narrow towards the bottom, which is quite flattering. The ribbon is well spaced out, although I wish a slightly less shiny ribbon had been used. AatP have used some unusual ribbon colours, so perhaps they were harder to find in a matte finish. There is then a small bow on the neckline. I think this bow is a good size and shape. It adds a little bit of extra detail too, which stops the area from looking too plain. The back offers a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is very plump with volume and it flares outwards a fair bit. I absolutely love the full, rounded shape created for the stock photos and have high hopes for it. Aside from the apron, the skirt is simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem then features a lint of embroidered ribbon and a thin line of subtle lace. I think the level of detail here is spot on.

This is JSK II. The bodice looks fairly well fitted. Again, the bodice shape is quite simple, but I don't think it has quite the same 'wow' factor as JSK I, despite JSK II having more details on the bodice. The straps look like quite a supportive width and suit the style of bodice. These straps are lined very neatly with a pretty line of braid. The braid is really lovely, but I prefer the embroidered ribbon of JSK I! This braid is also used on the neckline along with a line of lace. The lace is of a good quality, but it doesn't look like anything particularly special. There is a waist bow, which I think is a bit too big. I also wonder if maybe the shape is a bit too sweet and cutesy? The edges of this bow are lined with a matte ribbon. Despite the bow being quite big, it seems to hold its shape really well. There are no obvious signs of drooping. However, it would have been nice to have the option to detach the waist bow. The bodice features a wide neckline ruffle which is lined with the same ribbon used on the waist bow. I don't think this ruffle has been particularly well gathered and it looks a bit flat. I also feel that if they are going to do a ruffle like this on the bodice, it would have been good to have a similar ruffle on the bottom hem to give the dress a bit of balance. At the base of both straps, we have some further bows. There is a matte bow featuring a bunch of fake grapes on one side, and 2 shiny ribbon bows on the other side. I like the bow with the grapes, but overall I can't help but feel that these bows look a bit unbalanced. The design just doesn't seem to 'gel' if that makes sense? I would have maybe not bothered with the 2 bows on the other side or would consider putting something else there. I am not sure what else you could replace those bows with though. The back is fully shirred, which means there is loads of size flexibility but also that the shirring is left exposed. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and it flares outwards plenty. It should hold plenty of petticoat. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem is then finished off with a line of the matte ribbon and a thin line of lace.

Finally, here is one part of the print...

... and another. This series comes in ivory, wine (how apt...), navy and black. I think the 3 dark colours work really well. The navy works well with the purple colours in the print, as does the black with the dark red. I like that there is a lighter colour option. It looks completely different to the 3 darker colours! However, I think the ivory colour could have done with being a bit darker in tone and less white. As for the print, I think this is a really cool idea for a print, and I am not just saying that because I came up with a vineyard print idea for a design contest years ago! (I didn't complete it in time for the deadline unfortunately...). The brickwork arches and barrels do remind me of a vineyard I visited in France years ago. I like how the grapes effortlessly drape around the other print details. The grapes feature a decent amount of highlighting and shading as well, which makes them look more three dimensional. I can take or leave the bows that appear near the bottom of the print. I don't think they add much. The mice add a touch of cuteness, but it is just the right amount of cute for the print. There are a few things that confused me about this print though. What do the random angels have to do with anything in the print? I think they look a bit out of place. Although it did make me laugh to think of a bunch of angels getting drunk! I also thought the chandelier above the mice is a bit strange, as I assumed they were outside! Overall though, I think my misgivings with the print are quite minor. It is quite a fun and interesting print.

So I like that this series explores a theme which is not really seen that often in lolita (I think there has been wine themed prints before, but they are not common, especially not by the big Japanese brands). With regards to the dress designs, I think it is obvious I prefer one dress design over the other! The print is also packed with detail. I feel as though every time I look at it, I am finding new details I missed before. Would I buy this series? Possibly, yes. My top choice is JSK I in black. I would have picked the navy, but I am a sucker for that black and wine red colour combination. I think this could be a series which would be really fun to co-ordinate. There are so many different directions you could go in. I hope we see more of these kind of releases from Alice and the Pirates in the future.

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