Dream Masquerade Carnival - Day 1


So, Dream Masquerade Carnival happened – which I’m sure you’re already aware of if you’re on Instagram or in the Closet of Frills group on Facebook. This was my second large Lolita event, as well as second and also last Tea Party Club event, as at the tea party they announced that there would be no more, so I can’t exactly say that I’m highly experienced, but expect some comparisons to last year’s Wicked and Whimsy. Also, prepare yourself as this will be a lengthy and picture heavy-ish post – maybe make yourself a cuppa to go with it!

Before you start reading, let me say this: after the initial emotions after the announcement of it being the last TPC event have cooled down, I thought a lot about it from various points of view. I read many Facebook statuses from people involved in organising the event (and involved with TPC across the years), as well as ‘just’ attendees. What you will read below is my honest opinion, but since there won’t be another TPC anniversary event, any concrit is aimed at people organising other Lolita events or thinking about them. These are also my own opinions and experiences and do not reflect those of anyone else.

Photo by Emily Valentine Photography.
| Angelic Pretty Diner Doll JSK | Angelic Pretty Large
Ribbon Brooch
blouse | Angelic Pretty Sweet Cream
headbow | Angelic Pretty Sealing Border OTKs |
Angelig Pretty Logo Ribbon Charm wrist cuffs | Angelic
Pretty Milky Candy brooch | Metamorphose Triple
shoes | After Midnight headdress | BtSSB
Merry Sweet Cake ring | Chocoming ring | offbrand
rings | Etsy earrings | handmade straw |

Photo by Emily Valentine Photography.

Photo by Emily Valentine Photography.
After I changed into flat shoes.

As usual, let me start with my outfit. My theme was to be a walking milkshake, something which came to be right after the Wicked and Whimsy tea party and somehow not only survived as an idea, but actually came to fruition. I slightly regret not taking an outfit shot when I still had my Meta heels on, but my feet got quite tired pretty quickly (which is odd as I walked in the same Meta heels just for shopping in my own town and I was fine, and that was before I put in the gel insoles too) and I was grateful for the pair of offbrand flats I originally bought to go with this outfit. This is the most pastel and most Sweet coord that I have ever done and I must say that I enjoyed it and felt good in it, so this may have opened the doors to more pastel outfits (and who knows, maybe they’ll even be pink, shock horror!).

This year the main guest were Maki and Asuka from Angelic Pretty, accompanied by Babi and Kaie from Triple Fortune, Ayumi Watanabe from Rose Marie Seoir and Imai Kira. There were also Kunika, a kawaii cake decorator, now based in London, and Risa Nakamura, although she was only in the fashion shows. For AP alone I had to get a gold ticket, which I was really lucky to get. Unfortunately, this meant an early start (and I don’t like waking up early) and as I was chosen to model in the fashion show, I had to get up even earlier to make it to the 8:30am rehearsal. So up at 6am I got up, got ready and went.

Photo by Emily Valentine Photography.

The gold ticket entry was when I first noticed that the event had more glitches than Wicked and Whimsy last year. The door opened late and as we approached the front desk, people were only just assembling the goodie bags, instead of having them ready and waiting. As a result, some things got placed in by mistake and some were left out by mistake, which not everyone got the memo about (I didn’t know about the missing stuff until it was too late on Saturday). Although kudos for fewer flyers, business cards and paper ads in general inside the bags – I’d much rather pick those up as I shop and know whether someone’s stock is of interest to me.

Once we got past the front desk, there was no clear sign where to go, as gold ticket holders were meant to have breakfast with the guests, but luckily one of the organisers came out to point us in the right direction. Based on last year (and previous years, from what my friends told me), I expected the breakfast to be a sit down event with no shopping until the breakfast was over, but instead there was a buffet with pastries, cakes and drinks that everyone was welcome to help themselves to, while Maki and Asuka were already taking photos with the gold ticket holders and the attendees flooded the AP shop. Since I wasn’t desperate for anything from AP, I headed back to Triple Fortune to get myself a dream bonnet and then came back for the photo and to impress Maki and Asuka with my giant handmade straw. Still, without a sit down breakfast I felt like the whole point of gold tickets, which is to spend a bit more time with the guests, was gone and Maki and Asuka aren’t like Haenuli in terms of mixing with the crowd and leaving their posts just to wander and/or socialise with others, so I probably would’ve gotten just as much interaction with them had I bought silver.

Photo by Emily Valentine Photography.

Photo by Emily Valentine Photography.

As far as the gold ticket perks went, there were only two left: a game with Maki and Asuka and a ride in a horse drawn carriage. The game involved passing round a couple of small prizes, while one person read a story and on cue we had to change direction in which the prizes travelled. It was quite fun, kind of musical chairs in style but without walking, and if you knew the people in the story (all of whom were the event organisers and their friends) then the story was a laugh too. But it stopped just as another girl and I both had out hands on the prize! Stupidly, instead of agreeing to split it (it was a towel and a necklace), I got greedy and risked it in a game of rock paper scissors – and lost. Shortly after there was more rock paper scissors over the carriage rides with the guests, but I never even came close to winning, however, the carriage ride was just as fun without the invited guests and in all fairness, I’m not sure how they managed to fit four people on top of Maki and Asuka – there were four of us in my carriage and I felt like we’ve taken up all the room!

Photo by Emily Valentine Photography.

Photo by Emily Valentine Photography.

By this point silver ticket holders were starting to enter and as I had my first volunteering slot at 12, this is when I’ve done the bulk of my shopping. I ended up mostly supporting the UK indie brands ran by people I know – not to say that the others didn’t bring anything good, but somehow my Sweet Lolita coord influenced my shopping and I bought more Sweet bits than Classic (which I later regretted as I wanted to bring home some Classic jewellery). I feel like the remote vendor rooms could have been bigger or better laid out, as I missed plenty of things that I genuinely wanted to buy, like the Puvithel necklaces, Atelier Pierrot or Baroque stuff or the Wunderwelt lucky packs (or their stall in general). Whilst I appreciate that these were the only available rooms left, so queues and crowds were pretty much unavoidable, this could’ve been compensated for by clearer signing outside the doors so that you didn’t have to squeeze past people to see what was on which table. On the flipside, the idea of listing remote vendor and Bring and Buy stock in advance was great, that helped establish whether you actually wanted something from someone or not and how quick you had to be based on how many of each items were available. But time really flew by and before I knew it I was with Ayumi at RMS stall for my first round of volunteering with her, missing the welcome speech and the AP Q&A as a result, and then dashed for my carriage ride and some lunch.

Photo by Emily Valentine Photography.

Photo by our carriage driver from my phone.

Photo by Jatzu of Freefal Creation.

As you may have already gathered, the event was absolutely packed with things to do. They really went all for it to create the most epic event yet, with many unusual parts, such as the Frilly Feuds or Kunika’s Cookie Challenge, but I missed those as well due to either volunteering or changing for modelling. Thankfully, these were live streamed by Nadina, one of the official event photographers, so I had a chance over the evenings and weekend to see how they went.

Photo by Jatzu of Freefal Creation.

Photo by Jatzu of Freefal Creation.

However, let me tell you, modelling was exactly what I had hoped it would be! This was a dream come true and the girls I was modelling with were absolutely amazing! Team Lady Sloth was incredible and when we came to take a photo with the designer herself, she gave us all thank you goodie bags – which included a 10% discount code for her shop. If wearing the dresses wasn’t a good enough incentive to support the brand and buy something, then the care and thought Lady Sloth showered us with as her models was. Now I just need to decide what to buy! And Team Baroque was fabulous too, although we had a few issues behind the scenes that stressed us out – everything worked out in the end (big shoutout and thank you to Rebecca who was modelling for Long Ears and Sharp Ears and helped us a lot, both when getting ready and to keep us all calm). I think this experience made us grow quite close in a very short amount of time and I hope that the other Baroque models have managed to enjoy the rest of the event and shake off the stress and negativity of the things that happened to them. You girls smashed it and I hope to meet you again soon!

Photo by Colleen Andrews.

Photo by Emily Valentine Photography.

At that point, after the fashion show, I was finally able to put on the glittery makeup I really wanted and after a short second round of volunteering, I went for the Fashion Fix, which again was top notch. It’s difficult to describe what Fashion Fix actually is to those who have never seen it without underselling it, but what you need to know is this: people strut down the runway in their event coords and two of the organisers, this year joined by Babi and Kaie, had to guess who had the oldest item on them (usually it’s whose outfit was the least expensive, but as the theme of DMC was that it was TPC’s 10th anniversary, they changed it accordingly). But that’s just the basics. What really makes Fashion Fix special is that you strut your stuff down to the music of your choice and you can flaunt your outfit in whatever way you see fit. Remember the catwalk or dancing you used to do in front of the mirror as a kid, imagining yourself to be a supermodel or an idol? That is what Fashion Fix is and what it feels like. It’s so much fun to do and you might surprise yourself just how far you’re willing to push your Most Embarrassing Behaviour. As a reward for taking part in the Fashion Fix we also got to kabedon with Babi and Kaie – and that was worth absolutely everything!


After the Fashion Fix I had a bit of a crisis: whether to go do some more shopping, which by this point I realised that I had wanted some more Classic bits, or to stay and watch the 10 Years of Lolita Fashion with Angelic Pretty. I opted for the latter and while it was a nice fashion show (finally seeing Cats Tea Party in real life counts for something), I was hoping that it would be more than just a fashion show. Some of the dresses chosen for certain years were quite surprising choices from a Western Lolita’s point of view, for example the distinct lack of Sugary Carnival in the mix, so I would have appreciated a bit of background and story to accompany the runway – at the very least what the dress is (since not everyone’s obliged to know every single AP release) and why have Maki and Asuka chosen this one to represent a given year. I felt similarly about the 10 Years of TPC segment, which also felt quite speedy and lacking in the storytelling. I had expected some funny stories from the events (one or two got an honourable mention, but not much more) or more photos submitted by others, but instead it was mostly kept to group photos from the events/meets that the TPC has done and the focus was on how it grew from the very first meet for something like five people to an event with major brand guests for three hundred. It was an enjoyable glimpse into TPC’s history, but I wanted more than just a couple of photos and numbers.

Photo by Emily Valentine Photography.

By that point it was already past 6pm – usually these events are done by about 5pm, so you can see how much they packed in to keep it going for this much longer. It wasn’t actually over until well after 7pm, as there was still the group photos and the raffle left. And again, something somewhere along the line didn’t work out to plan: there was a delay in schedule and then it turned out that the raffle tickets got mixed up from two separate booklets and many ticket numbers from the original booklet weren’t even in the bag to draw them from. Given that it has been ages since many people ate lunch and everyone was generally quite tired, it ended up being more of an annoyance than it should have been, although at least it got resolved within a reasonable amount of time.

So, let’s sum all of this up!

DMC positives:

  • The goodie bags were great once you got them (mugs, colouring book, Long Ears and Sharp Ears accessories).
  • The carriage ride as a gold ticket perk.
  • The special photo set (even if I didn’t get a photo on my own in front of it).
  • The fashion show and the Fashion Fix.
  • The variety in the event program (I like it when events do something that’s not common).
  • The opportunity to meet people I have so far only followed online – having AP as guests attracted people who otherwise maybe wouldn’t have come.
  • Triple Fortune! ♥

Areas for improvement:

  • There was too much packed into one day, more breaks felt necessary and enforcing a shop closure would help people actually take that break. Or just stick to usual event length.
  • In an attempt to go big and selling extra tickets, the event felt too packed for my liking, which particularly affected smaller vending rooms and the photo set where the queues were long.
  • The organisation and running had more glitches compared to Wicked and Whimsy (goodie bags being assembled as people were entering and missing items/having extra items, the raffle ticket confusion).
  • Some of the event segments, like the 10 Years of… felt like the ideas weren’t executed fully and could’ve been elaborated on.
  • I regret not going for another round of shopping because of fear of missing out since the event was this packed with things to do.

Neutral comments/observations:

  • Some guests interacted more than others. Ayumi is a TPC veteran, so managed to interact quite a lot from behind her stall, and Triple Fortune were very keen on interacting with people, whereas I didn’t see Maki and Asuka except for the gold ticket photos in the morning and when they were required on stage. Imai Kira seemed to be stuck at her shop (I don’t know whether this was her choice or not) and Risa Nakamura only appeared for the fashion show, which I know disappointed some of her fans who may have wanted an autograph or a photo. This was a big change of pace after Haenuli and her mum, who were enthusiastic as if they were ticket holders, and quite a discrepancy within the guest lineup, although this was more noticeable at the tea party than the main event.
  • I personally would’ve spent more time socialising and less time shopping had I known that this would be the last TPC event. Whilst I understand why this wasn’t announced beforehand, I have regrets because I know that I would’ve acted differently if we were informed. It’s easy to fall into the “I’ll do it next year” mentality and therefore not make the most of your time there.
  • Given that the event was a lot longer than usual, having at least one vendor on site selling food and drinks would’ve helped avoid the tiredness and overworking yourself out of fear of missing out. When you feel like you might miss out on buying something, going quite far back to get the free refreshments (which were either sweets, alcoholic drinks or soft drinks and I think the sweets and the soft drinks ran out fairly quickly) is easy to put off, let alone having to go outside to a Pret-a-Manger or something. A vendor with bottled drinks and maybe a range of sweet and healthier snacks, possibly Japanese food, would’ve promoted taking a break a little bit better.

Overall, despite the glitches, I did enjoy myself on Saturday, although as I said, I would’ve done things differently had I known that this was the last TPC event. I was absolutely shattered afterwards and my feet hurt, but I had enough life in me to go out for ramen with some friends and then simply crashed into bed once I got back to the hostel. At least the tea party started later, which offered a possibility of catching more sleep.

Did you go to DMC this year? Was it your first time or one of many? What did you think? So far I have found there to be a mix of opinions on DMC, so I’m very interested to see how it looked from someone else’s point of view.


  1. I agree with you in all the critics, even if the event overall was amazing! I think it is impossible to make everything perfect, they already had to consider sooo many things!

    I never think that an event has too much program because then everyone can choose what they like, however it is hard when you want to watch everything but at the same time you don't want to spend the whole day sitting in the same room. So I missed the things I really wanted to see (Fashion Fix and the Lolita game) because I wanted to walk around at the wrong time haha!

    Btw your outfit was awesome and the straw was a really unique idea! I wanted to say hello but I didn't found the right opportunity to say so ^^'''

    1. True, people will always find something to pick at, even if the event was seemingly perfect. It's important to distinguish what's objectively gone wrong from what is just your own personal opinion. I can objectively say that some of the organising was chaotic, because we saw it in the goodie bags and raffle, but the fact that the event was too packed/needed more strictly enforced breaks is just my opinion (because I did want to attend everything - although in hindsight, maybe a short explanation of what each part of the programme was would've helped establish what I really wanted to see and e.g. let me know that I won't me too interested in the 10 Years of... parts).

      From my experience of sci-fi cons in Poland, I know that how you prefer your programme depends on how long you've been in the scene for. At those I always preferred the programme to be too full, because I was going for the programme and to enrich myself, whereas my parents preferred it to be emptier because they were mainly going to socialise with friends and most of the programme they've either already seen somewhere else or weren't interested in. And it seems to work quite similarly here: fuller is better for people who don't feel the need to shop or socialise that much on the day, but emptier works better for those who want to spend time with friends without missing on something from the program as well. (I hope that makes sense :P) And as I keep saying, had I known that this was the last TPC event, I would've only done one shift of volunteering, so that at least I had the morning or the afternoon to chill with people.

      Thank you so much! I realise that me being everywhere and constantly having to go somewhere didn't make me appear like the most approachable person and I would've loved to say hello to you too (I was so everywhere that I think I only saw you somewhere in the crowd on Saturday once, it was packed :P).

  2. I very much agree with some of your criticisms of the event with regards to aspects of the day feeling very chaotic, disorganised, or last-minute in places. Of course, it is super hard to create an event on this scale and for everything to go off without a hitch so honestly, these sorts of things don't bother me too much, especially having seen actual disaster events in the past by other groups! These hiccups here and there really didn't impact my enjoyment of the day. My favourite gift from the goodie bags (I had Silver) was the mug for sure!

    My experience as a vendor was a bit different as a lot of my day was focused on being at my stall or getting my models ready. For me, I would have liked more information on what the day would entail, as I had no idea I would need to be away from my stall as much as I was, and was lucky my friends were attending and were happy to take over when I needed breaks for model dressing, actually getting to have a walk round the event briefly, and using the loo! I didn't get a chance to meet the guests or see the stage events also, so that was kind of sad lol, but I knew what I signed up for! I think shop closure (different rooms being closed at different times would have been awesome as different vendors would get a chance to enjoy the day as a regular attendee, too) is an excellent idea.

    That portrait photo of you is absolutely stunning, and perfectly captures just how sweet and incredibly well coordinated you looked on that day. Again, I am so glad we got to meet!

    I'm pleased that modelling was such a great experience for you! You absolutely killed it on the catwalk, and I felt so proud watching you!

    I ended up giving away my raffle tickets because I was literally too tired to stick around beyond 7pm!

    I find that I keep thinking back on the event because I enjoyed it so much! <3

    1. I've never been to an event that would've been a total disaster, at least not a Lolita one, though I agree: I'd take minor inconveniences or blips any day over a whole day of major disasters and mishaps. And I love the mug! It's getting so much use (everyone I know who has one is the same). Although I really do love the colouring book too! I got quite into colouring books, but the adult ones are too detailed for me, so this is more up my street. Though I'm going to photocopy the pages and colour that instead, to keep a neat memento (as well as if I decide to do the same page more than once). :P

      I haven't even thought about how this would affect vendors, but you're right. Only main guests and remote vendors had volunteers assigned to man the stalls and I know a few people had organised something amongst themselves, but if you hadn't or couldn't, then even basic things like bathroom breaks or getting lunch would be difficult to do. All this on top of not getting to see other parts of the event. Closing different rooms at different times would've really helped the vendors to take part a bit more without having to compromise on their own sales (I know there was a live stream of some of the event parts, but it'd just be annoying to watch the live stream, when a couple of seconds earlier you hear the real deal from couple of doors down), as well as ensure that everyone really got a break.

      Thank you so much! Emily is such a talented photographer, even I'm surprised at how much detail you can see on that one photo. And I'm incredibly happy to have met you too! <3

      Aww, thank you! I think because of where you were, you got to see my favourite part when I thought "well, most people are now looking at Jo behind me, let's give some sass". I think you're the only one who captured that as well, since most of the photographers were closer to the stage, so thank you for that photo. <3

      I don't think that there were that many winners in the raffle and most were either 400 or 100 numbers, so probably not a major loss.

      Same here! It's been a magical weekend, just like you'd expect from Tea Party Club, but because I know that that's it for a while, I try to cherish it all the more and keep the memory of it as close to me as I can, reminding myself of it with little things where possible.


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