I have an unreasonable interest in the Japanese cosplay subculture.
It’s not age or culturally appropriate, but whether the tiny Japanese girls are dressed as little maids, little vampires, Victorian baby dolls, or just some sort of doll that’s been employed as a maid but is for some reason dead, it makes me smile….I had to stop buying the Gothic Lolita bibles after the fifteenth, because I ran out of three-foot tall bookshelf space. I like watching trends run through Lolita-land in Harajuku. One Summer, inexplicably, everyone had a bloody eyepatch, like all the dolls had a fight.
I made a Lolita dress for myself for Halloween two years ago, and I am still waiting for an event where a six-foot tall Western lolita might be appropriate.
Last year, I wanted to do Strawberry Switchblade with my extremely easy-going spouse. I don’t think there’s another hetero male in the world that would agree to dressing as half of a defunct Scottish girl-group, and don’t think I don’t know I’m lucky. Here’s my initial sketch and a reference picture-
Strawberry Switchblade were an adorable pop duo who had a hit with “Since Yesterday”, and later a minor ripple with a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” They were best friends who later split up messily, and the tiny one, Rose McDowall, went on to work with Death in June, Coil, Current 93, Nurse with Wound and Psychic TV, and has thus developed a certain amount of street cred. I think that Jill is driving a cab in Glasgow.
Here’s how our costumes turned out:
While I was doing my Strawberry research, I noticed that there were a lot of photos of Strawberry Switchblade touring Japan in the early 1980’s, and then I found this nifty pic of an early Visual Kei group, Velvet Eden, that used to dress as Strawberry Switchblade, and who also covered their songs. Half the group, a drag artist named Dada, is also involved with/models for Lolita clothes label Arachnophobia. Which brings us to the question: was anyone dressing like a doll who was not first into Strawberry Switchblade?
What does it all mean? Did Strawberry Switchblade invent Gothic Lolita?