Kaneko Shop Custom Headdress Review


Back in simpler times, when plans were still something one had, I expected to attend some lolita events, which have since been postponed until further notice. Without the pandemic, at this time right now, I would’ve been preparing to go to the Imperial Garden event in Brussels, originally scheduled for next week. As soon as it was announced that Baby the Stars Shine Bright were to be the guest of honour, I knew exactly what I wanted to wear. It was an outfit that was only missing a few pieces, one of which being a headdress, which I also knew exactly where to get it from. So while I couldn’t pick it up at the Gothic Lolita Festival in Moscow, I have had it posted instead and it is now safely with me, just waiting for its time to shine.


About Kaneko Shop

Kaneko Shop is a Russian lolita fashion brand ran by a married couple, Mikhail and Elizaveta. They are predominantly known for their accessories, particularly hats, French hoods and flower pieces, although they make clothing too, having recently released a knight inspired collection. Whether more gothic or classic, darker or lighter, their style has a very romantic feel to it, giving a nod to historical fashions and somehow making pieces that are ornate, yet at the same time feel simple and timeless. They have recently moved from Etsy to their own webshop, which is a part of their website, www.kanekoshop.com. It may be that if you request a custom order, it will still be processed via Etsy (as mine was) or maybe they have found a way to facilitate that through their own site, I’m not sure. However, if in doubt, message them via Instagram, which is @kaneko_shop, or by Facebook.

Order Process

Since my was a custom made and at the time of placing I expected to pick it up in Moscow, I messaged Kaneko via Instagram first, to ask whether this was a feasible time frame. I messaged in late January, once I had bought tickets to the event (which was due to take place in early April). Being Russian, Kaneko designers really understood what I was after and how I wanted the headpiece to look, though being professional and wanting to make sure they nail that exactly, they were messaging me quite extensively to confirm. Once we agreed, they set up a custom listing on Etsy, where I completed the purchase and then left them to the creative process.

Next time they messaged me was at the end of March, to both confirm that the pieces they bought looked the way I wanted and to ask what to do about the item given the postponement of the event. They were happy for me to pay postage later, once the headpiece was completed and ready to be shipped, which from then only took 3 days. I had asked them to change one ribbon on it, which initially was supposed to take longer, as they needed to buy bits and by that point lockdown had been imposed in Russia too, but then they found an alternative in their stash that I was excited about. I paid for postage via PayPal this time, the headdress was posted on April 8th. We all expected postage delays anyway and tracking seems to have gotten stuck anyway, so when the headpiece finally arrived on May 1st, I was both ecstatic and surprised. So for a creative process on an individualised piece, starting from the initial message on January 25th, to the headdress being posted on April 8th (which would’ve been in time for collection on April 10th had COVID-19 not interrupted with those plans) is pretty reasonable to me.

What I Got

The order arrived in a plastic envelope, which at first had me quite worried. Surely an established indie brand like Kaneko Shop wouldn’t just post something like this? And they didn’t, there was plenty of padding inside in the form of bubble wrap and paper wrapping. I actually really liked the simplicity of the paper wrapping, it somehow made my order feel more luxurious and showed that the designers let their product speak for itself instead of trying to blindside you with flashy wrappers.

This envelpe had me worried for a second.

Simplicity is elegant.

Phew, she's safe!

Before I even unwrapped the headdress, I quickly got out the thank-you postcard and the Alyonka chocolate. If any of you ever ordered anything from one of the Russian indie brands or had a care package sent from Russia, you’ve probably gotten one of these two, I think it’s one of Russia’s most famous chocolate bars. I got one when buying from My Inspiration, now with Kaneko Shop - I wonder whether my L’Esprit de la Noblesse order will also come with one? The thank-you card was, as always, a lovely personal touch that just makes you feel valued as a customer.

Side note: everyone I've ever met whose native language is written in Cyrillic has the most beautiful handwriting when writing Latin alphabet.

Damn, Kaneko, your postcard tempts me to get one of your French hoods!

But enough circling around the topic, let’s get into the main event! As this was a custom order and the designers have been fantastic at communicating with me to ensure that they create what I wanted, I knew what it’d look like before I even unwrapped the headdress. I had seen pictures of the fake flowers first and then received several photos of the finished piece. There was never any doubt that it’d be stunning, yet still what I received surpassed my expectations.

Featuring my unironed tablecloth for maximum folklore vibes.

Probably the biggest surprise was the lace lining the inside of the headpiece. The pictures I had received were on a headstand, so I wouldn’t have been able to see that. While no doubt it has a practical application such as covering the construction, it also ensures that no stray pieces catch on my hair and that there is something soft directly against my head. The lace is really lovely, both to look at and to the touch, and while it is most likely generic one the designers had in their stash, its shape works really well with the floral crown.

Maybe not the clearest picture of that inner lace, but you can see how well it works with the flowers.

As you may have gathered by now, this headpiece is supposed to match my Polonaise Brillante dress from BtSSB. I don’t know whether this is a print that Kaneko designers had ever seen in person, I only mentioned what flowers I had in mind and what colourway my dress was, but they absolutely nailed it. Rather than to mimic the pansies from the dress exactly, I wanted the headpiece to look like it’s been made of summer flowers you could find on a wild meadow during your harvest break. So there are poppies, centaureas, marguerites and other ones that I can’t name, as well as a bit of some faux wheat. This is truly a headpiece fit for the goddess of harvest and fertility!

May thy harvest this year be plentiful and feed the entire village for I bless thy fields and the fruit they yield.

The way they have balanced all of those colours is testament to their brilliance as designers and artists. It’s not easy to make a flower crown look like it’s been put together at random, however you managed to grab that armful of flowers, whilst still keeping it elegantly proportioned, yet they managed that beautifully. Not one flower looks as if it’s in the wrong place and there isn’t a part where you’d think that there’s too much of any one colour over others. Also, as there are so many beautiful shades in there, this will allow me to use this piece in other coordinates for that country/folklore feel. I can really see this working with Haenuli’s Lovely Memories JSK, for example!

To recreate the chaos that we see in nature takes a very keen artistic eye.

And so many colours to try that will allow me to wear this with more than just one dress!

And the ribbons! Originally the jacquard ribbon was a satin royal blue one. However, whilst it looked gorgeous, I wanted some green in there to tie it with Polonaise Brillante a bit more, so I asked for that to be replaced. The addition of a jacquard ribbon instead of satin, in my opinion, adds an extra point of interest and some texture that give the headpiece another dimension. They are quite long, reaching to my natural waist when worn, and honestly, I can already see how charming they will look when caught dancing on a summer breeze.

Vibrant colours and wonderful textures - and a cheeky hello from my roomba in the background lol.

The headpiece cost $80 to make plus another $20 for postage. Considering the level of craftsmanship that has gone into it and that Kaneko Shop had to source these flowers God-knows-where (trust me, I thought about making my own flower crown with fake poppies and pansies - even those turned out to be harder to find that I expected!), this is really not a bad price. The understood my vision straight off the bat (you know, Slavic nations do share some aesthetic – this is a big reason why I asked them to create the headpiece instead of a Western creator) and were fantastic to work with in terms of communication and how accommodating they were to my requests. Although this has been a commission that I requested, part of me also wants to make them proud as designers by wearing their creation in a way that allows it to shine, to show off Kaneko Shop and their artistry. Although I will have to wait to even see whether I’ll be able to make the rescheduled Imperial Garden event, I know that I want to wear that whole coordinate on a photoshoot, either in a field of wheat scattered with poppies in summer (an image I firmly associate with summer in Poland and that I found myself yearning for, despite being an utter city rat) or in the most beautiful open-air museum dedicated to Polish folklore that I can find. I said the first (and last) time I wore Polonaise Brillante that I haven’t even reached my final Polish form – now we are there, I just need an excuse to assemble it!

This is the aesthetic I aspire to match. If you want to see more of this, paste "Zagroda Felicji Curyłowej w Zalipiu" into Google Images, it's peak Polish folklore that I don't think my boyfriend will ever let me live.
Photograph is of a country house at the open-air museum in Zalipie, taken from MojaMolopolska.pl.

Overall I would rate Kaneko Shop a fantastic 10/10! I already knew that the quality of their pieces is fantastic and now I could confirm that they are truly able to make your dreams come true. This whole experience has really made me want more of their pieces, especially accessories, though as I never know what exactly I want, this would be easier browsing on their stall at an event. Though not doubt if I ever have another moment of clarity and inspiration like this one, I will call upon their service once more.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.