Just a week after my last meetup in New York City at the BABY/Tokyo Rebel store, I hopped back on the train to visit again. This time, to meet one of the most influential people in Lolita fashion, Novala Takemoto.
His appearance at the store was completely sprung on the community, which was only announced about a week in advance. Picture it, there I was planning my outfit for a meetup for some friendly shopping at the BABY store on Saturday, and within the same week, Tokyo Rebel's blog advertises a special signing with Novala the following Saturday. I really didn't want to have to travel into the city back to back, but how could I miss such a thing? This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, and I wasn't going to squander the chance because the commute seemed monotonous.
I can go on and on about my gratitude for Novala, but that's an appreciation post just waiting to happen. So I'll spare you for now.
I knew I was without a doubt going to the event; that was the easy part. The main thing I had to worry about was my outfit. What was I going to wear?! The week before, I already wore a pretty Old School coordination, and didn't really feel like wearing another black and white JSK two weeks in a row. I felt like I either had to wear something Old School or Punk for the sake of Novala. But none of those outfits I planed sparked my interest. At the time, I was eyeing my new Metamorphose JSK and felt more drawn to it than anything else. I claim to be an Old School Lolita, but I wouldn't say that this outfit was Old School. I called it Gothic Lolita, but I don't think that fits too well either. But either way, I think my outfit came out looking nice. I call it "Throw Everything You Own On Your Blouse."
|Blouse and shoes: Bodyline|
JSK and socks: Metamorphose temps de fille
Accessories: Handmade of thrifted
Not wanting to be greeted by a line from hell like the one for the store's opening, I made sure to get there at least thirty minutes before the start of the event. Though, there turned out not to be a lot of people who came. In its own regard, I would say that the event was a success. There were a large amount of people who came for the signing and a good few who actually bought pieces from his new clothing line. But in comparison to the size of the opening, this was extremely modest. There were definitely more people who came during the event's two hour time frame, but it started with about only eight of us standing outside waiting for it to begin. And in a way, this makes me sad. I remember a time when Novala was revered as high as any Lolita designer. It's hard to see someone who housed so much significance in our fashion lose much of their importance. I guess his influence only holds any weight now if you still have a soft spot for Old School Lolita.
|Because let's be real, Novala is an Old School god.|
Source: Parfait Doll
If you don't know how renown Novala was, or need reminding,
please take a moment and read Parfait Doll's post on Novala and his teachings.
In my effort of getting there early, I arrived almost a hour before! It was a good thing that I meet one of my friends on the train, because I would have been waiting outside in the cold by myself. The store was closed before the event for preparations, so my friend and I went to Vivi Bubble Tea as an excuse for some tasty drinks! It was my first time going to Vivi, but we've since promised to make it an occurring stop whenever we go to the BABY store. The staff is so cute and nice there!
We went back to the store, with about ten minutes left, and saw more Lolitas waiting on line. Our trip to Vivi relinquished our spots in the front of the line, but, jokingly, we let it be know we were first to arrive, even though we were going to the back. Another one of our friends was in line and we nudged her to come to the back with us so we wouldn't be lonely. "Cool people in the back!" But it was only about eight of us then, so it was like everyone was in the front!
|Some Lolitas from my community who came.|
The reason for the signing was a promotion for Novala's new collection clothing line, NOVALAR'S, a sporty yanki style with a mix of Lolita's flair. As many Lolitas will say, "It's like if Momoko and Ichigo had a baby!" While there is certainly a buzz coming from the Lolita community about his collection, it's mostly meet with disdain and ridicule.
|Source: Tokyo Rebel's blog|
Even I was on the fence. I saw the pictures of the collection and said, "Yeah, I don't think I'm going to be buying anything when I get there." A lot of people would say because his designs are ugly, but, for me, I honestly couldn't see when or how I would wear his pieces. However, after seeing them in person, I can say that I just don't have the right amount of imagination or guts to pull them off. Novala's new line is absolutely something that needs to be seen in person to appreciate it. When standing next to his clothing rack, I could hear many Lolitas saying hushed things like, "Honestly, it's not that bad" or "I kinda really want this now." It has the right amount of zaniness and kookiness that's purely infectious in a good way. I'm bummed that I didn't get anything.
|Source: Tokyo Rebel's blog|
A swanky Lolita sporting her new Novala track pants.
She was such a delight and very funny to talk to.
After the autograph session and photo opportunity, my friends and I idled around the store a bit more to soak up some more of the atmosphere. Everyone seemed to be in such a good mood. I even bumped into some people that I follow on Tumblr! Luckily, I was able to take a picture with manda-the-stars-shine-bright. She has an amazing blog that showcases many Lolitas of different styles. Every Lolita follows her! And she reblogs a lot of my pictures as well.
|manda-the-stars-shine-bright and me.|
|My friend, Sabrina, and me.|
It was fun, but we didn't stay for the entire two hours. To make room for the others who were coming, my friends and I moved the party outside, but the cold we proving too much for us. After, a hour and a half, we decided to get something to eat. I had no objection, but I wanted just one last picture with Novala on my phone. I saw someone ask for the same thing inside and was shocked that it was allowed. I was surprised that we were allowed to take pictures with him in the first place. I thought the pictures were only for the people who bought something from his clothing line. I was very happy that I turned out to be wrong. I felt very embarrassed coming back in wanting another picture (how greedy), but he was kind enough to comply.
|Look how big I am compared to him!|
Novala looks like my middle-aged, Japanese son!
Having a chance to meet everyone was fun, but, after my second picture, we really needed to get somewhere warm to get some proper nourishment. After almost stumbling into a bar (we really need to be more careful!), we stopped at a noddle restaurant called Cho-Ko. Of course we never heard of it, so, naturally, we wanted to check it out. Though, any place would've good so as long we were out of the cold!
|Christmas lights and grapes? |
I guess you can say this restaurant has character?
But above all, the place was empty, which was good because we could have as much space as we needed with the least amount of confused stares as possible. The restaurant was dark just like the other Japanese restaurant we went to last time. This has to be some type of Japanese trend. I'm glad we decided to eat here because the decor was really peculiar and gave us a good laugh.
|Gomoku Ramen and Gyoza|
Soy sauce based soup topped with vegetable, bamboo shoots, pork,
chicken, squid, shrimp, and a boiled egg.
The gyoza was a bit burnt, but turned out to be tasty, nonetheless. I already started eating the ramen before I took the picture, so I apologize that it looks disheveled. It looked so good that I had to dig right into it when the waitress placed it in front of me! There was so much in it. I couldn't even eat it all. Thankfully, we all were able to take our leftover home with us.
Metting Novala was like something out of a dream. There's no way that I would've thought I'd ever get a chance to meet him. I wish the event was more intimate, where we could have a discussion with him, but him calling me chan and having him hug me was good enough! I need to start a Lolita bucket list, because the most glamorous occurrences are starting to happen to happen to me. Who'll be next? (I predict Mana, hahaha~)
°˖✧ 'Till next time