My Thoughts on 5 New Releases


Just like a band’s latest albums, new lolita releases are a commonly and widely discussed topic. We anticipate what our favourite brands might bring out next and enjoy comparing these to other brands or to past releases. This week’s Lolita Blog Carnival prompt asks us to look at and share our thoughts on five new releases of our choice.

This prompt could easily turn into a rant about Angelic Pretty. As arguably the biggest and longest-running Japanese brand, it is the one we talk about most – probably especially given the creative direction they’ve taken in recent years. However, I don’t want this post to end up being a moan fest about things I dislike or create the impression that AP is the only brand whose releases matter. Instead, I will look at one of the latest releases from all five major Japanese brands: Angelic Pretty, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, Alice and the Pirates, Metamorphose temps de fille and Innocent World, and talk about those. In most cases this will be the actual latest releases, but where I’ve felt that something else deserved more attention or if there weren’t enough pictures to make an informed judgement, I picked something else instead.

Angelic Pretty – Magical Horoscope

Picture from the Angelic Pretty website. I do not own.
Given that I haven’t liked much of AP’s recent stuff, I am surprisingly positive about Magical Horoscope. Recently it’s been very rare for me to look at an AP release and like all 3 of my major important areas: cut, colourway and print. And while the print itself is not something that I would buy, I can objectively say that it is nice – the border print is lovely to look at and the background is neither too full nor too bright. The choice of colourways (ivory, sax and navy) makes sense with the cosmic theme of the print and each colourway compliments the print nicely. The sax one has the least contrast, which may not necessarily be a bad thing – some people may prefer a slightly more subdued overall look. While the OP cut is a bit repetitive (as in many other recent Angelic Pretty OPs have had that cut with maybe slight collar difference), it is cute. More importantly, the JSK cut is finally really nice and not that high-going-on-empire-waist thing that flatters only the select few. What I particularly like about the cuts is how they give you different vibes: the OP is more school uniform-like thanks to the collar, while the double-breasted buttons on the JSK’s bodice give a slightly more military-ish vibe. The headbow is basically the same shape as the Harlequinade one, but with more of an Astro Academy colouring and detail, and the socks have a nice selection of items from the print to add more detail, without looking too busy. Actually, both the headbow and the socks are neutral enough that they’d be great for mixing and matching with other coordinates. Additionally, although it’s a slightly different series, Angelic Pretty released a blouse, wrist cuffs and combs under the Magical Star series name, which compliment Magical Horoscope. So even though they are technically not the same release, I am giving these an honourable mention, as the colours, themes and details are matching. I’m not surprised that Magical Horoscope has sold out on release day, it is an all-round pleaser and while it may not be to my taste, I am relieved to see that AP has not abandoned more regular-waisted JSK cuts altogether.

Baby the Stars Shine Bright – La Floraison Feerique

A suspiciously short name for a BtSSB release… What’s most interesting about it is that we have two OPs, one pretty casual (and really short) and one very OTT, and four different hair accessories. There is also a sort of sub-part of this release called Le Floréal Féliciter, which has just one OP and one hair accessory, but for the sake of brevity, I will ignore that one. The casual OP comes in white, pink, sax or black and looks more like something Liz Lisa would put out: it’s cute, but insanely short, more like a mini dress and even the model needed an underskirt. I’m very hesitant about calling it lolita. And unfortunately, the more I look, the worse it gets. The floral fabric looks like something out of a cheaper fabric store, I’m not entirely sure about the bling embellishment on the collar and I can’t tell if the thin ribbons at the shoulders are some sort of faux straps (weird given the cut of the bodice) or just a trim (weird placement for that). The pictures also don’t make it clear whether the lace sleeves and collar are part of the OP or some extras. Probably included, but they look massively out of place with that whole design. If we didn’t call it lolita or if it was released by a brand unrelated to lolita fashion, this would’ve been alright. But if it’s a mini dress even on a Japanese model, who are not known for being tall, then it really is too short to be lolita and together with everything else I just really don’t like it at all.
Then we move to the OTT OP, which in turn comes in pink, lavender, sax and mint. This one is almost floor length – so also debatable whether it’s still lolita, but at least it can give you that silhouette more than a mini-dress. But while I’m not sure about that length, I appreciate that the design is kept very simple. Baby has been known to just throw more lace if in doubt, so I like that they didn’t do that. The lace that is there is well placed and lovely looking, while everywhere else they’ve opted for ruffles, satin ribbons and other trims in the same colour as the main fabric. This makes for a very sophisticated and elegant design that won’t be for everyone, but at least it doesn’t offend anyone’s eyes and photographs well on the stock photos.
Neither OP has any shirring, so forget about fitting into it if you’re not a size small or extra small. For everyone else all you could get are some hair accessories: combs, a headbow, a rectangle headdress or a boater hat. They are all cutesy and floral, but fairly neutral in terms of matchy-matchiness to the main pieces from the series. It’s nice if you’re looking to expand your collection of headdresses, but four hair accessories and two dresses is quite underwhelming as far as releases go. I am happy to admire the long OP from afar, I will ignore that Baby committed the short OP at all and other than that, this release leaves me with no reaction whatsoever. It’s a bit meh, but I’m sure it will be up to someone else’s taste.

Picture from the BtSSB website. I do not own.

Alice and the Pirates – Le petit fleuristeEternal bouquet and a Time waiting for you

That’s more of the name length we’re used to! The print itself is the type that I personally dislike: a large room sort of scene that basically takes up the entire skirt. Too big to be called a border print, too small to be an all-over print. I didn’t like that style when AatP did a Sherlock Holmes study sort of print with it and I don’t like this style now. However, that is just a personal preference – the illustration itself, of a flower shop, is rather lovely and had it been a framed painting I think it would’ve been quite nice. We have two JSKs, a skirt, a headdress and some smaller accessories, which is a decent enough range. I like the waist placement of JSK I and the shape of the neckline, but not the ruffled lace at the neckline. JSK II was doomed for me from the beginning for being essentially empire waist. And then I noticed the satin trimmed chiffon ruffle at the bottom, which I’m not so keen on – AND THEN that weird sweetheart neckline overlay with the lace across one boob which I DEFINITELY do not like. Both dresses have a simple skirt part, which is a good choice with that style of print. But the actual skirt is the nicest cut in my opinion and I’m very surprised to see that it appears to be fully shirred too. This means that all three pieces have some size flexibility, which is not that common for AatP, so I applaud that. The choice of colourways – ivory, mauve, dusty light green and black – works well with the print design and steers it more towards classic territory. I can see some classic lolitas wearing it really well and making this print look lovely, but it’s certainly not for everyone. The accessories, of which you have a necklace, brooch and corsage, are neutral and in one colour scheme only, so they would complement many floral or dusty toned classic coordinates.  On the other hand, something about the rectangle headdress does not work for me. Maybe it’s the fact that all this ruffled fabric is too OTT for the mostly simple cuts of the main pieces? Most likely. The black one is probably the most versatile one here, given the less common shades of green and pink – and is it just me or does the ivory on the headdress looks much more greyish than on the dresses? Overall, I’m not entirely sure how to feel about this particular series. For me it falls into that ‘meh’ category when it’s subjectively very much not for me and objectively not that exciting to write home about. I’m sure some people will like it and wear it well, but for the most part I foresee it going on some massive reductions. So if you want it, but not at full price, just wait.
Picture from the BtSSB website. I do not own.
Picture from the BtSSB websie. I do not own.

Metamorphose temps de fille – Memories Garden

With their printed series (and other ones too, to be fair) Meta continues to do what Angelic Pretty seems to have stopped some time ago: make a full blown release with different dress cuts, different accessories, socks and often some other bits. Memories Garden comes as an OP, two JSKs, a bonnet, headbow, socks and a blouse. Unlike AP, which has had the main Magical Horoscope print series and a complimenting but different Magical Star series, this is all on one page under the Memories Garden tab, even if some of the names are different. From what I can see, the print itself is absolutely beautiful. It reminds me a little of some of the Labyrinth prints BtSSB did in the past: it’s dreamy, it’s fairytale-like and has good balance between the large border print and the subtle yet still there background. The print can lean more sweet or more gothic without losing any of its classic charm thanks to the choices of colourways (ivory, navy and black). As always, Meta is very size inclusive and all three cuts have full back shirring. Each cut is suited to slightly different needs: the OP is quite casual, the Frill JSK is very OTT and the Ribbon JSK is the basic one that can do anything. Though still, it’s Meta, so the OTT cut actually has plenty of detachable parts to customise it to your needs (I counted 4 sets: the neck ties, waist ties, sleeve flounces and front bow). You can then up the game or tone it down, depending on whether you accessorise the dress with the bonnet or the headbow. The print on them is only of the roses, so as long as you wear any of these colours you would have another versatile hair accessory to mix and match with. Same goes for the socks – they are busy enough for sweet and neutral enough for classic, with the black ones being potentially ok for some gothic looks too. And while the blouse cut may be leaning more sweet with the Peter Pan collar and short sleeves, it’s such a good wardrobe staple and I like that there’s a choice of fabrics for the ivory colourway. Overall, I consider this series a great success. There is not a thing that I would change, everything works beautifully and there is something there for everyone, style or size-wise. Whilst I wasn’t originally going to buy this, the more I look at it, the more I kind of want it. But then I’ve no idea which cut or colourway I’d want, so my inability to make a decision will end up saving me some money – but it definitely is a series I would not mind owning, not in the slightest!

Picture from the Metamorphose website. I do not own.

Innocent World – Maiden’s Rose Garden

Picture from the Innocent World website. I do not own.
Innocent World does a lot of single-item kind of releases. It goes well with their aesthetic and brand idea that you can wear your clothes how you want and don’t necessarily have to stress out about being all matchy-matchy. Having said this, the Maiden’s Rose Garden series was the latest one I could track that would have more than just the dress. It includes an OP, two JSK cuts and OTK socks. There isn’t much that I can say about the print, as it’s a floral design. It’s simple and charming, well spread out, so that it avoids looking like an old curtain. Like with most Innocent World floral designs, the charm is in the cuts. The OP and the Tiered JSK are both long, which instantly caught my attention. Although as a brand they’re known for releasing plenty of longer pieces, usually the longer length has been either just one cut or an option for one JSK cut. Doing two in one series is a good choice, lets taller lolitas know that they are appreciated, as well as gives this series a more mature overall vibe. I absolutely adore the neckline on the OP, with the sheer fabric going into sleeves and those darling buttons. It gives the cut a sort of Edwardian feel, which somehow still feels fresh enough for a modern girl. While the OP comes in sizes M or L, Innocent World’s OP sizes are still somewhat restrictive, particularly in the shoulders, so without shirring I’d be very careful before opting for this cut. The Tiered JSK also comes in sizes, but has shirring on top of this. It’s a fairly standard cut for Innocent World, they’ve done it in the past and I can’t fault it, although I can’t say that it excites me either. It’s just good. As for the Cross Ribbon JSK – well, it certainly is a choice. As far as I can tell the corset lacing at the front covers a panel of shirring, which was a common feature in oldschool lolita. I’m not sure how I feel about it myself, but as I imagine the ribbon can be taken out, it’s probably not a big deal and extra shirring on top of partial back one can only be good. It’s the crossed ribbon design at the bottom of the skirt that has me more concerned and raising eyebrows. I can’t decide whether I like it or hate it. Something about it gives me a sense of nostalgia, but more for like antique interior décor, curtains and tablecloths rather than clothing. Maybe if that panel was lower and the designers skipped the two horizontal pintucks underneath it would’ve been a bit better? I’m not sure. It’s certainly a choice and certainly won’t be to everyone’s tastes. While the dresses come in three colourways: pink x offwhite, purple x offwhite and blue-grey x offwhite, the socks additionally come in offwhite x offwhite, black x grey and ivory x ivory. They have the same floral pattern as the fabric of the dresses and I think are lovely. They would definitely be versatile and it’s nice that Innocent World thought of doing additional colourways for the OTKs to coordinate with other floral outfits. To sum up, it’s quite a nice series, albeit nothing novel or particularly exciting for Innocent World or in general. Although I love the look of the OP in pink, I daren’t buy it without knowing with 100% certainty that it will fit and it’s not something I’d feel the need to buy at full price. Although so far this entire series is still in stock, except for the offwhite OTKs, so maybe it will make it to sales later on.

What are your thoughts on these releases? Are there any other ones that came out recently that have caught your eye (either in a positive or negative way)? If you’re hungry for more opinions on select latest releases, make sure to check out what the other participating bloggers have written – someone somewhere is bound to spill some tea!


  1. I like the fact that Innocent World's release has this nostalgic feeling to it (I really feel like I've seen this fabric before!), but, as you said, the bottom part is a bit... strange? The collar area, though, is stunning. Definitely my favourite part.

    1. Definitely, I love Innocent World exactly because they are not trying so hard to reinvent themselves, but rather keep doing what they do best. I feel like I've seen this fabric too, probably from Innocent World as well, but I couldn't find it again. It might just be that it's a commercially available floral fabric? If only I could fit into the OP, I would buy it so hard!

  2. I thought La Floraison Feerique was odd as well; I had trouble figuring out what was going on with it when I was posting it to updates. But yeah, I agree that there is probably a target market out there that would love it, but I didn't really "get" it.

    The cut of Maiden’s Rose Garden that has the X's of ribbon at the bottom is almost a carbon copy of Rococo Tulle OP from 2005 ( without the puff sleeves. I don't know off hand if there was a JSK back then or not and if so, I'm not sure what it looked like. I suspect this was an intentional re-working of the old design and not a coincidence because it's so similar... still, if I was going to pick a design from 2005 to re-release, I wouldn't have personally picked that one. But, it seems to be at low stock already in come colors, so clearly the designer knows better than I do, lol!

    1. If Angelic Pretty can do pieces that are completely not intended to be worn as lolita, then so can any other brand. Although AP at least makes it a bit more obvious rather than try to make the non-lolita design worn for lolita (like BtSSB did with this one with the underskirt). I think we'd all be a little less confused had BtSSB just called it a casual version or something.

      I think that might be the one I was thinking of when thinking of seeing that fabric before. As far as a simple design update, it definitely is a lot more modern lookig than the 2005 OP version - so the update part has worked. It's just the choice of criss-cross ribbons like this is heavily subjective. But the other two cuts of are lovely, so I'm happy to overlook or ignore this one. :P


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