Lolita Blog Carnival: What Made Certain Prints Like Iron Gate & Cat’s Tea Party, Etc, So Popular?

This weeks Lolita Blog Carnival topic is “What Made Certain Prints Like Iron Gate & Cat’s Tea Party, Etc, So Popular?”. For those who aren’t aware, “Iron Gate” and “Cat’s Tea Party” are two different lolita print series, from two different brands. These two series have one thing in common though: They were so sought after that they have sold second hand for over $1,000 USD, despite the initial prices being much lower.

This is something that really fascinates me personally, because at first glance, it seems almost arbitrary which pieces are and aren’t very valuable on the secondhand market. Personally, I think it varies from piece to piece, so I’d like to break it down by series, and I’d like to talk about a few other high price lolita items as well.

Moi meme moitie iron gateMana Iron Gate

First of all, Iron Gate. Iron Gate was released by Moi-même-Moitié in 2006. It was featured in Gothic Lolita Bible, Volume 20, where it was modeled by Mana, himself. One thing that is very interesting to note, in my opinion, is the opposite page. That left hand column talks about the latest album from Moi dix Mois; Beyond the gate. This issue of the GLB hit news stands a little less than a month after the album release. And in the side column, Mana talks about his latest Moi-même-Moitié collection and his latest musical work, which are tied together by this theme of gates. It didn’t all immediately sell out, though, in 2006, very few things did. In fact, In april, the JSK was still available in black x white, and black x navy, and the skirt was still listed in most colors in may. At least one cut/color of the skirt was still availableyear after release. So, while we can infer that the white colorway, the bag, and the OP cut, at least, were immediately popular, it appears that the series as a whole wasn’t immediately gone from stores. In fact, someone even posted in 2009 that they had an easy time buying it from CD Japan, who used to sell MMM overseas, because of how long it had been available.

It was, however, one of very few border prints available at the time, and it was relatively popular. It’s likely that there was a significant number of pieces made, since it lined up with the CD release. 2 years later, in 2008, a skirt auctioned off on EGL sold for 280 Euros. In 2012, a bag appears to have sold for $700 USD. In 2014, a faded dress was auctioned off with a starting bid of 400 Euros. It got no bids. In 2015, a JSK was listed for $850 USD. In fact, the first time I saw Iron Gate listed for over $1000 USD, it was a western second hand shop selling it, and it sat for a while because the price seemed too high to people at the time.

Royal GateIron gate now regularly sells for over $1,000, and while MMM has released a very similar print called Royal Gate, it doesn’t sell for anywhere near as much, though it does still fetch retail prices. (It is worth noting that Royal Gate is flocked and generally much less attractive). Overall, Iron Gate has an attractive motif, it was a border print in a time when border prints were just starting, and, I think most importantly, it’s still in fashion in a way that many of the other popular prints from that time period aren’t. For example, Angelic pretty’s 2006 print pastel a la mode looks dated when you compare it to other sweet prints, and there are so, so many cake prints to pick from. I think with Iron Gate, part of it is just that it was established as a status symbol, and once it became a status symbol, once Iron Gate became Iron Gate, I think it accelerated it’s value. Add a few people who were willing to pay way more for it, and the fact that it’s now well over 10 years old, and you have a piece who’s reputation as a rare, expensive status piece precedes it to the point where it easily fetches a 4-figure price.

puppet circusThere is another piece that is conspicuously missing from the lolita blog carnival topic’s title though, and that piece is Angelic Pretty’s Puppet Circus. By around 2010, if my memory serves, Puppet Circus and Iron Gate were pretty firmly established as the iconic lolita prints. Puppet circus has a lot in common with iron gate; it’s a monotone border print on a solid base, with lots of delicate detailing, it was one of a very small number of border prints available in 2006 when it came out, and it has a very solid design. Unfortunately, the wayback machine didn’t capture much of the Angelic Pretty webshop in the fall of 2006, but Puppet Circus was soundly and thoroughly sold out by February of 2007. It’s very interesting to compare it to some of their other pieces though; many other pieces that were popular at the time like Carnival mention that they sold out on reservation (pre-order), but Puppet Circus doesn’t say anything about that on the JSK listing. In fact, according to the sendai blog, only the OP sold out on reserve at all, and even then it was just red and white. The skirt, at the very least, was still available a month after release, even in red, one of the more popular colors per the same blog. So, while puppet circus certainly started out at least moderately popular (it did sell out in some cuts/colors relatively fast for the time), it wasn’t the most popular piece from AP that year.

Cats Tea Party

Cat’s Tea Party is the first of the prints in this post that was released after I became a lolita. At 41,790 yen, it was significantly more expensive than the average Angelic Pretty dress at the time. It was released as set consisting of a choker, headbow and JSK. There were two colors, but that was it. Gray or Pink, one cut. It has quarter shirring, and while I can’t find anyone who actually lists the minimum and maximum measurements, it’s relatively safe to say it’s probably around 90cm +/- 8cm in the bust and 70cm +/- 8cm in the waist. So, it’s about on par with Innocent World’s standard sizing. When it came out, the dollar to yen exchange was horrendous, like 78 yen to the dollar, kind of horrendous, making this set something like $535 USD (and that’s before international shipping and shopping service fees).

It’s a cute print, sure. Some people really liked the snooty little cats in it. But it’s a pastel print with cats. There are a bunch of other ones. So, at the time, a few people were really excited about the way the cats looked in this print, and some of them could afford it and bought it. But, some people were also just really indifferent to it, and some people couldn’t afford it, and some people just missed the fact that it even existed, and some people it wouldn’t fit so they didn’t bother. And that matters, a lot. Because it was make-to-order only, and it was only available for a short period of time. My theory is just that not many people bought this dress and/or the people who did had to really, really love it if they were spending twice the cost of a new dress for a dress in an unpopular theme (cat prints did not sell well in 2012; it was hard to get rid of them second hand, even when they were new). When the dress is sold in the western community, it’s often a piece that has already changed hands before, and it doesn’t come up for sale often. A few people who really love this set have been willing to pay a very high price for it over the last 5 years, and because of that, in particular, the price has gone quite high. It’s sort of become a status symbol because of this, but it’s a very bizarre one, in my opinion, because it’s really only so rare because people didn’t want it.

By the way, if you are interested in the value, there is an analysis of sales prices by Nadinao.

4c38abdb8acef17a750d23a81d305a60--gothic-lolita-fashion-lolita-styleBut, while these three dresses are currently quite expensive on the secondhand market, that status isn’t guaranteed. Alice and the Pirates Elizabeth Bride of Death series released in 2012 shot up to over $3K USD at it’s highest point on one particular Japanese auction. In early 2017, the cut without the slit in the front was selling for a cool $1k on lace market. Then, Baby announced that they were going to re-release the cut shown to the right on make-to-order. Overnight, the value of both cuts plummeted, and now the pieces from the series are go unsold at half that price. If you are in love with one of the dresses above, but not their current price tag, my advice would be to check out other pieces from those brands. Search lolibrary for things like cats, or gates. You may find that one of the many other pieces with those motifs speaks to you, and your wallet too. Or, just wait it out. Values of most lolita pieces have been falling in general. Time will only tell if it will hit these iconic pieces as well.

545430_945698161629_573562109_nOther blogs participating in this theme:
Cupcake Kamisama’s Lolita WorldThe Bloody Tea Party ♥

Winter 2017-2018 Lucky Pack Round Up!

I’m not doing so great this year, sorry guys. I’m really busy and really tired, but I wanted to try to get some of the info up. Please understand that this is an incomplete list, and not as detailed as past lists because I’m really exhausted.

Lucky Packs, or “Fukubukuro” (sometimes called “Lucky Bags”, “Happy Bags”, “Happy Packs”, “Happy Sets” or sometimes “Special Sets”) are blind bags of clearance merchandise that you can buy from Japanese stores at the end of the year. It’s believed that keeping old things into the new year is bad luck, so to get rid of all of last year’s clearance that didn’t sell in winter clearance sales, shops will put it in these blind bags and then sell them at a huge discount. It’s a great way to get a lot of brand new stuff for very cheap… as long as you like and fit into pretty much everything a brand makes. Be aware though; you will not get the best selling, most perfect item from the brand of your dreams. If they had a dud item this season, chances are that’s what you are going to get.

It’s become a little like “black friday” in the United States where some stores that don’t have great things to put on sale (maybe they just don’t have a lot of clearance) will often stock a limited number of a specific item just for these sales. In these cases, they usually call them “Special Sets”, instead of “Lucky Packs”. These bags can contain either all items that were made just for these sets, or a mix of special items and clearance. Baby the Stars Shine Bright and Angelic Pretty both design new prints for their new years special sets. While Metamorphose is known to use leftover material to make skirts and dresses in simple patterns.

The list got super long in the last few last years, so I’m including a quick-jump list. Brands in the quick jump list which do NOT have links, had lucky packs last year, but have not yet posted lucky pack info for this year. I’m not including anything outside of Japan this year (at least not yet).

Japanese Brands

ALGONQUINSAlice and The Pirates | Angelic PrettyBaby the Stars Shine Bright | Enchantlic Enchantilly | GrimoireInnocent World |  Listen Flavor | Liz Lisa | Marble | Metamorphose  | Milklim | PutumayoSwan Kiss | TOXIC STAR | Wrouge | Victorian Maiden


Japanese Brands



Alice and The Pirates

See: Baby The Stars Shine Bright


Angelic Pretty [Source]

December 1st- Tokyo Shop
December TBA – All others

Angelic Pretty Lucky Pack TOY HARMONY


Set includes JSK, Socks, Petticoat and headbow. 3 colors: Pink, Sax, Black

Baby the Stars Shine Bright [source]

Baby the Stars Shine Bright Lucky Pack

通販限定!アウター入り プレミアムハッピーパック/ Online Limited Outer PREMIUM happy pack – 54,000 yen

17:00 on December 8th

BABY original pattern jumper skirt
PIRATES original pattern jumper skirt
BABY original pattern skirt
Original pattern bonnet

Some items are special products for this pack,
so they have not the same as stock items.
The choice of the color and the items are unacceptable.
It’s not a coordinate set.


Enchantlic Enchantilly

125609960 125609960_o1


2018 Happy Lucky Bag – Payment by paypal – ¥ 22,680

More released on wunderwelt for international! 

HappyBag special unreleased item! It is a luxurious lucky bag containing about 6 items around items total of about 30,000 yen equivalent of dress and set socks entered.

Selling price 21,000 yen (tax excl. Price)
Final Price: 22,680 yen (tax included price) (+Free shipping)

Contains a OP with shirring in the print teased in the close up
Length: 100 cm (BNP ~)
Bust: ~ about 100 cm
West: ~ about 90 cm
Skirt Length: about 55 cm

Two color options, Black and Wine

Shipping is within Japan only, so use Tenso if you want it. There is a listing for bank transfer payment as well, but most people are going to want to use paypal if they are overseas.



Info here:

Innocent World







Listen Flavor [Source]





Liz Lisa [source]

December 1st


【☆ LIZ LISA × MyMelody ☆ bags】
 ¥ 30,000 + TAX

☆ LIZ LISA × MyMelody ☆ Lucky bag detail page is here ♪

LIZ LISA and My Melody ‘s lucky bags that are sold out every year also appear this year!
What a lucky bag limited me Mero!
Dress up with a twin ribbon ♪
A pose looking up from the bouquet
Rare poses never seen before!
It looks like strawberry milk

Pink × Mai Melo’s original pattern is too cute ☆

To my thumbstack carry bag that can also be used for travel
My throat pattern one piece,
knit cardigan,
Knit tops,
My throat pattern skirt,
Inner camisole,
7 points of Mai Mero Charm! !
Luxurious set that can enter a lot and can coordinate 2 ☆


【2018 New Year Lucky Bag ☆】
¥ 12,000 + TAX

Lucky bag that filled in popular item of LIZ LISA ♪

BIG Tote Bag with LIZ LISA logo
There is no doubt that this winter is still active
Flower pattern one piece,
Knitted dress,
4 pieces of inner camisole entered! !
2 Happy set that can be coordinated ☆




Metamorphose [Source]

☆Metamorphose Winter Special Set 2018☆
Pre-order start date: 5pm, December 20th (JST)


Lucky Pack A – 9,000 yen

No color selection
♥ 4 piece set ♥

– 1 skirt
– 1 bloomer
– 1 or 2 accessories
* The accessory is randomly chosen
– 1 pair of socks
* the color is randomly chosen from 3 colors


Lucky Pack B – 6,000 yen

No color selection
♥ 3 piece set ♥
– 1 skirt
– 1 or 2 accessories
* The accessory is randomly chosen
– 1 pair of socks
* the color is randomly chosen from 3 colors


Regimental Stripe Ribbon Shirred Dress Set – 16,000 yen

2 colors, green or grey
♥ 3 piece set ♥
– 1 shirred dress
– 1 pair of ribbon clips
– 1 pair of socks


Snow Party High Waist Dress – 16,000 yen

3 colors (red, navy, black)
♥ 3 piece set ♥
– 1 high waist dress
– 1 logo ribbon clip
– 1 pair of socks


Snow Party Ribbon Shirred Dress – 16,00 yen

3 colors (red, navy, black)
♥ 3 piece set ♥
– 1 Shirred pinafore dress
– 1 pair of ribbon clips
– 1 pair of socks




PUTUMAYO / Putumayo 2018 Lucky bag (2018 LUCKY BAG)

price: ¥ 10,800 (tax not included ¥ 10,000)
Sales period: December 01, 2017 10:00 – December 10, 2017 23:59
Including new volumetric frill skirts, a total of 40,000 yen ~ 50,000 yen equivalent items included Otoku lucky bags ★ 10,800 yen (including tax)
Because it will be limited quantity, sooner!

※ The color of the volley frill skirt can not be chosen.

Size: Ladies size M


PUTUMAYO_75240034b PUTUMAYO_75240034i PUTUMAYO_75240034p

Already sold out, sorry guys

Swan Kiss








Victorian Maiden


Happy Bag – 32,400 yen

Contains a ¥ 64,800 value, ships at the end of December.


Beth Happy Bag – 10,800 yen

Contains a ¥ 21,600 value, ships at the end of December.


Happy Bag – 54,000 yen

Contains a  ¥ 108,000 value. Will ship at the end of december.


52 Week Lolita Topic Challenge : How I First Found Out About Lolita

Today’s post from the 52 Week Lolita Topic Challenge is 10. How I first found out about Lolita. 

I used to do pixel art for a dress up doll website when I was younger. We took requests, and one of the requests we got was for lolita clothing, and so I started looking online for examples to use for artwork. I’m not 100% sure how exactly I ended up going from just admiring the fashion and drawing it really badly to actually being interested in it. I remember after I had gotten my first actual job after college I ran into two sites which had lolita clothing that wasn’t hundreds of dollars. One was the infamous Milanoo and the other was Bodyline. At the time, Milanoo was still stealing stock images, and I knew very little about lolita so I didn’t know that the images were actually stolen.

On milanoo I fell in love with this:

AP Stock Photo Stolen by Milanoo

“Cotton Red Sleeveless Front Lace Tie Sweet Lolita Top and Lace Skirt” Also known as Angelic Pretty’s “Pretty Bustier & Skirt Set” from 2008

And on Bodyline, I fell in love with the Candy Skirt. I actually liked it better in pink, but I had decided that getting it in blue was more likely to match with the bunny set which seemed like a very good deal.

                Bodyline Candy Skirt

After waffling back and forth, I ended up buying some things from Bodyline (mostly because it seemed like a better deal; I could get a dress and a blouse and a skirt and a petticoat for the same price as the milanoo set):
Bodyline Bunny Set   Bodyline Candy Skirtpan013-2

If I remember correctly, the skirt cost me $13, the petticoat (I can’t remember which one I got. I have Yellow, Sax and Dark Pink because I later bought more because it wasn’t fluffy enough alone) was $11, and I want to say the bunny dress set was either $25 or $31? So for under $60, I got two basic coords that needed only bags/shoes and leg wear. Unfortunately, the blouse looked absolutely awful on me, the detachable sleeves were like tents on my arms, and the bow was like helicopter propellers. I tried. It didn’t come out that well, but, at the end of the day, I hadn’t spent a ton so I wasn’t as horribly upset about things as I think I would have been if I’d spent over $100 for something that didn’t suit me.

I later went back to bodyline and bought a yellow high waist skirt, and a blouse with bunny ears in white. Then, from Quitieland I bought a sax star shaped purse and sax an*tai*na shoes.

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The shoes from an*tai*na actually were terrible, and I paid waaay too much for them when all was said and done, but I had a few pieces I could mix and match. I made myself some accessories, added some tights and knee socks from target and I wore these pieces occasionally around the house for a while.

Later I went to Otakon, though I was too shy to really meet any of the other lolita there. And sometime in the year following that I started buying second hand pieces from EGL Comm Sales. My first pieces of “brand” were bought the same week; two Angelic Pretty Skirts. The first was “Strawberry Picking” and the second was a gingham one.

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I made the terribly extravagant purchase of a pair of red x white bodyline shoes (red shoes! How much wear would I really ever get out of red shoes! Oh if only I had known….) and a strawberry shaped purse. Shortly after that I started bidding on items on mbok and Y!J auctions. I’m pretty sure I just bid on everything and anything that I thought might remotely fit me and was under $100. I ended up with a ton of main pieces really fast, but I didn’t really love most of them. In the end, I ended up selling most of them off a few years later. I also picked up some items from Taobao, though, most of those ended up getting sold as well.

It wasn’t until a good year or two after I started buying brand second hand that I actually went to my first meet up and joined my local community.

And I didn’t buy any main pieces new that weren’t on sale at all until Christmastime in 2012 when I caved and bought Toy March in Wine. I got the blouse, headbow and socks too, and I remember thinking it was super extravagant at the time. I still love that dress. After that, my buying habits changed a lot. I started buying more AP prints new (though I still bought a lot second hand too)


All-in-all, I think it’s interesting how my perceptions of what is and isn’t extravagant in lolita changed over the years. There were a few years where I’d buy 2 dresses per month (some new, some used) and I kept a lot of them for years. I’ve cut back my spending a lot over the last year; I’ve only bought one dress this year: Juliette et Justine’s Le Premier Cri, which hasn’t even come in yet, despite it being bought in February.

Some things have changed a lot over the years; when I started out, my coordinates were fairly simple, then they moved into decololi, and now, as I get older and more tired, they are sliding back to being more simple. One thing, however, has remained constant; I absolutely adore wearing red, even if it is a bit impractical.