Hello Snarklings! This round of Show and Tell is less a review of items, and more burbling about an event! The fifteenth annual Sakura-Con was a few short weeks ago, and the Lady of the Manners was delighted to attend. Sakura-Con is an event that is focused on Japanese animation, comics, gaming, and cultural arts. Over the past few years, Gothic + Lolita fashion has become a larger presence at the event, including attendees dressed in their finest frills, and fashion shows from some well-known Japanese alternative fashion designers!
h. naoto is a brand the Lady of the Manners has admired ever since she first saw photos of their designs in an early volume of the Gothic + Lolita Bible. Their blend of slashed and deconstructed punk details and Gothic Victorian black lace and tulle was eye-catching, and looked like the garments were designed to be worn in (admittedly very fashionable) daily life, not just saved for special photo shoots.
The h. naoto booth in the Sakura-Con vendor hall was constantly busy. This was at long last a chance for all of us to see the clothes in person, and marvel at the designs, the construction details, and the gorgeous prints! Plus the added excitement of if you purchased anything, you were given a voucher that allowed you to get a photo with the designer. (See if you can find the Lady of the Manners here; it shouldn’t be too difficult.)
The Saturday afternoon fashion show for the line was slickly produced, with wild hair and makeup to rival looks done at haute couture shows. And the clothes! Oh, the clothes. There were a wide range of looks that stomped down the runway.
There were asymmetrical jackets that looked like origami.
And outfits that are what the Lady of the Manners originally envisioned when the term “cyberpunk” was thrown around way back when.
There were outfits that would be perfect lounging-about wear for an ardent Ziggy Stardust fan, with short lamÃ© tunic dresses and lace dusters.
And of course, there were enough dark frills to make the heart of any EGL or Gothic-Victorian type beat faster.
At the end of the fashion show, after the bows and the Q & A session, it was announced that the garments that we had just seen on the runway were going to be available for purchase at the h. naoto booth! Which led to something of a mob scene in the vendor hall as we all ever-so-casually loitered around, waiting for the racks of delectable dark and shiny goodies to arrive. (One of the Lady of the Manners’ friends did manage to purchase a jacket from the fashion show, and it looks fantastic on her.)
h. naoto has several sub-brands: NAOTO SEVEN, h. naoto blood, Frill, Gramm, Anarchy, Sixh, gook, and of course, Hangry and Angry. (The Lady of the Manners is a little shocked that she managed to restrain herself from getting anything featuring the “grotesque cute” cats.) h. naoto has a US retail store in San Francisco, but for many alt.fashion enthusiasts, the only way to see items in person is to attend one of the larger anime/Japanese pop culture conventions.
The Lady of the Manners is already making plans for next year’s Sakura-Con (more panels! Maybe even dabbling in some cosplay!), and is devoutly hoping that h. naoto will make a return appearance!
All fashion show photography is used with permission and taken by Libby Bulloff, all rights reserved. The rest of her h. naoto fashion show photos can be found here.