30 Mar 2016

Aoki Misako no Kawaii Kakumei



Continuing on with our Lolita enrichment, here’s another book by the famous Misako Aoki. And again, this one’s only available in Japanese. However, if you’ve read what I had to say about Lolita Fashion Book, this one might be more your cup of tea, especially if you’re not a newbie to the fashion.




While that's not the best word to describe it, this book is most likely as close to Misako's biography as we're going to get for now. Yes, there's still a lot of talk about the fashion and what's that about, but the focus stays on Misako: what she likes about Lolita, what are her favourite brands, how she does her makeup and her, so on and so forth. After all, that's not necessarily things that we know. What we see most often is what she wears as part of her modelling career, from photoshoots and catalogues, although, of course, those following Misako closely and/or who have seen her at an event will probably already know what her style is like. Nonetheless, it's always interesting to hear or read about it from the person themselves, in their own words, even if, in true Japanese fashion, she doesn't go as deep into it as some, myself included, might've liked.

The fact that this book is about a person, not the fashion, instantly changes the way I saw all of the "how to" parts: it was a shift from "this is what X Lolita will generally wear/look like" to an individual's personal interpretation of Lolita. And while I may personally think Misako's outfits rather classic, as in not particularly deviating from the common or stereotypical Classic and Sweet Lolita stuff, that doesn't mean that it's wrong - just a difference of tastes. Having said that, even if I myself may not find Misako to be inspiring, I still think that there is value in knowing what a Japanese Lolita model wears and how. I would then like to follow that up with a more in-depth analysis - do all Japanese Lolitas or all Lolita models stay so "true to the rules", so to speak, or is that just the way the fashion works in Japan - even a look at the surface of it all gives you some insight.
Some of Misako's favourite colour combinations.

Again, the book is divided so that the earlier parts are more about the coordinates, hair and make-up, and the later ones about something else. This time there was more of Misako's room, her favourites (e.g. brand), what she likes doing when out in Lolita and where, and a little bit more on her experiences from travelling as a Kawaii Ambassador. And again, I would've liked something more, some more analytical comments or interesting observations rather than the standard "everyone was so lovely and looked cute", but at the very least there's more countries that she's written about and we get tiny hints as to some of the culture shock or cultural expectations that she experienced during her travels.

However, indisputably for me, the last few pages relating to Misako's life as a nurse were the ones I enjoyed most. To reflect the contract in the two lifestyles, as well as indicate a change of topic, those pages have less photographs in them and are printed in pink almost-monochrome, and in my opinion those are the parts that reveal the most about Misako privately. She talks about why she became a nurse, but probably more importantly, on how she manages to keep the two lifestyles going almost simultaneously (nursing is a demanding career everywhere in the world, squeezing modelling into this as well is one hell of a job), what her routine looks like and just how busy being a nurse and a model is, and a little bit of her thoughts regarding her future. On the one hand, those pages don't reveal anything that you wouldn't be able to predict, but on the other - I saw some humbleness and quiet determination there, which add so much personality to someone who for most time is just a
pretty face on a photograph for the majority of us.

Nurse Aoki
I think this book is worth a read even if you're not a fan of Misako and aren't interested in her personal opinions on and favourites within Lolita fashion. Every one of us is a lot more than just the clothes we wear, regardless of whether we're wearing Lolita occasionally or every day. Having an insight into a Lolita model's life beyond the photoshoots, at her daily routine as a nurse as well as just the places she relaxes or hangs out with friends at, can both inspire to add a bit of cuteness to our daily lives, if we don't already have any, and remind us that anyone can be a Lolita. And who knows, maybe knowing that Misako works hard everyday as a nurse, and still manages to be a successful model and incorporate cute fashion into her everyday life, will motivate some to apply themselves to whatever career or learning they wish to pursue with just as much determination and good looks.

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