Current Trends: Lemons!
This month’s theme for Bibliotheca is food, and while typically fall foods tend to be more along the lines of pumpkin pie and savory dishes, there just isn’t a huge showing of those types of foods in lolita.
In fact, the closest candidates for an American ‘thanksgiving’ themed dress I can think of are a pair of Princess Doll x Yoh collaboration prints. At least, I think it’s a pair of prints. I just went digging through a bunch of scans looking for a Princess Doll cornucopia print that I absolutely remember and the closest I can find is Le Couple OP, which, I don’t think is the same dress.
But maybe it is? Maybe I just couldn’t tell what it was a picture of as a new lolita? I don’t think I can properly express to you how much consternation I feel at this moment about this. Please, if you know of the cornucopia dress, leave me a comment. Please help me figure out if younger me just needed to be wearing my glasses.
But I digress. There aren’t many fall food prints, and I don’t really want to write a homage to the American thanksgiving mythology. So I though it would be interesting to look at a recent trend instead: Lemons!
Lemons in Lolita Prints: A History
Lemons aren’t totally new to lolita; Shirley Temple had a children’s border ‘print’ of Lemons, Strawberries and Cherries back in 2002, and Emily Temple Cute’s fruits print from 2003 featured whole lemons, as did Jane Marple’s Happy Fruit series. MILK had a necklace in 2001 that featured lemon slices among other fruits as well.
To go back even further, Shirley Temple had a fruit parfait border print in 1990 that whole lemons in it!
And when Angelic Pretty released there very similar Fruits Parlor print in 2008, it too had lemons, though they are cut and featured in a scatter print as well as in a lemonade or soda and the ice cream instead of just on the table. Which, you know, I never really thought about… but why is there lemon in the ice cream? Any why ice cream, soft serve ice cream and jello together? Is this a thing? I feel like this isn’t a thing?
But in general, strawberries, cherries and apples got a lot more attention in the early days of lolita prints than the sunny yellow lemon did.
Interestingly, in 2011, when Bodyline did their take on a fruit parfait print that wasn’t a direct replica, the print they used seems to use pink grapefruit. Which, again, equally puzzling. I feel like I could do a whole post on ‘times brands made really aesthetic looking food prints that would taste super weird in real life’.
Meta released a fruit punch / fruit parfait print the same year that had lemons in it, though their print really uses a whole rainbow of fruits and focuses more of fruit punch / lemonaid than on ice cream, so while the concept is similar to the above Shirley Temple and Angelic Pretty prints, it’s a sort of thing of it’s own.
Jane Marple’s 2013 Candy Paper series featured lemons in more of a staring role, while their 2014 Fruit Candy series was a bit more subtle.
Meta’s 2014 Juicy Basket series as also a bit more bold in it’s use of lemons.
Jane Marple’s 2015 Fruit Picnic print also uses lemons mixed with cherries.
While ETCs 2015 LEMON Swan Puff series made the lemons more front and center to the design.
Also from 2015, Meta’s Pink Lemonade, and Leur Getter’s fruit label series also feature lemons pretty prominently.
Over in the realm of Chinese indie, Cat’s Broom released Sweet Lemon Jam in 2015, which had a matching strawberry version, which is interesting. NyaNya released their Lemon Planet series and Faded Fantasy released a series called, and I am not making this up: The Nymphet of Lemons. ToAlice also released a cute heart shaped lemon bag.
2016 was a less lemon-y year with Meta releasing Heart Lemon, and really cementing lemons as a fruit their brand was going to use in prints. Puddingtree also released a lemon print called Lemon Tea and VCastle released Lemon Battleship.
Baby did a take on a parfait print this year as well, and I wanted to mention it as part of the ongoing discussion of ‘why is this citrus with ice cream’ as they seem to have gone with a heart shaped blood orange in theirs. It’s kind of interesting, because Meta did heart citrus back in 2014, as well as having a 2016 print with a heart citrus…
In 2017, the only really lemony print in lolibrary was Angelic Pretty’s Dreamy Parfait.
I should note that as I’m going through, there have been a small number of prints with oranges in them, including a 2017 orange print from ETC that had a beret of an orange slice that also came in yellow, but interesting far less oranges appear than lemons. Which is particularly odd because when I think of table fruits, oranges are a bit more common for eating in the US.
There were however some indie lemon prints that didn’t make it into lolibrary like Cheval de vois’s Lemon garden, Sweet fragrance’s Lemon, Nyanya Lolita’s Lemon planet, Into red velvet’s Afternoon lemon and Dream Nocturne’s Carbonated Soda series
The lemon prints from these indie brands are all sort of dreamy / subtle / soft in appearence, with red velvet’s afternoon lemon being very vintage kitchen sort of themed.
Lemons in the past 5 years
2018 brings us Pumpkin Cat’s Lemon Cat, Dreamer’s Lemon fragrance, Shiotori’s Summer lemon ice, Sweet fragrance’s Lemon (re-release?), Babysong’s Lemon slide, Lemon four’s lemon soda, Meta’s Vintage fruit and Baby’s Cheerful Lemon, which interestingly brings us heart shaped citrus and cherries, again, very similar to the concept of Meta’s Juicy Basket, though the elements are arranged very differently for a very different end look.
The lemon prints in 2018 sort of fall into 3 categories. Vintage / antique, dreamy and pop / sweet, which is an interesting shift.
in 2019, things pick up event more with Koi’s Honey Lemon, Melody BasKet’s Citron Soda, Lemon Honey’s Iced Lemon Soda, HANA’s Lemon series, Tululu’s Sunflower and kumquat lemon (which may have been announced in 2018?), Nightingale’s Lemon series, Beleganty Lolita’s Lemon & flower, 3F’s Lemon and Lime Print, Fantastic future’s Summer lemon and Angelic Pretty’s Fruity Lemon.
A lot of these are more pop, with the vintage and dreamy looks kind of blending together more. It’s also worth noting how many indie brands have popped up with lemon in the name!
2020 brought us Stardust Rose Boutique’s Lemon Soda and a re-release of Angelic Pretty’s fruity lemon. It was a hard year, and I can’t help but speculate if production issues limited the number of print releases produced by indie brands and big name brands alike. Lemons are also a very happy sort of print, and it was a serious and scary summer for many people. It’s also possible that a lot of the very easy to think of lemon print ideas had already been used and Chinese indie designers may have thought the market already saturated with lemon themed prints.
But lemon prints picked back up in 2021. Children’s brand Star Wish came out with a print called Lemon Rabbit, Milky Way released Lemon Dog & Honey Peach. PinkyWinky released a bizarre print called Let’s eat lemon which featured scissors and safety pins. I can’t decide if this is just a weird attempt at punk or I’m missing some sort of innuendo here.
While there weren’t as many indie lemon prints in 2021 as there were in 2018/2019, I feel like the ones that did come out had a much higher level of complexity. The concept isn’t just “here are some lemons” or “here are some lemons and ice cubes”. We have a whole print concept and lemons are just a part of it.
Additionally, Doll Paradise released Lemon Story which featured accent lemon pins / embroidery on a solid base. There was also a yellow dress called lemon soda from strawberry machine that didn’t actually feature lemons, but conveyed the feeling of carbonated lemonade.
Over in Japan, Axes Femme Kawaii released an all over lemon print and ETC did an all over lemon slice print. Both are simple, but different enough that they don’t feel like the same thing over again like some of the 2018/2019 ones do.
Staying in Japan, 2022 brings us a re-release of Meta’s dreaming heart lemon, Angelic Pretty’s Lemonade Float, Jane Marple’s Lemon Lime and Angelic Pretty’s Retro Cafe. Angelic Pretty also released a lemon shoulder bag and some lemon accessories. The shoulder bag, while significantly different enough not to be a copy, is quite reminiscent of the earlier To Alice bag, which is interesting because I would expect to see more lemon slice bags that were round or wedges along side these two, but surprisingly, there weren’t a ton that I saw when I search that were from lolita-specific brands. It may be that bags that are more typical lemon shapes are just more readily available on the market so there wasn’t a need for them.
Overall, I think 2017-2019 was the peak of the lemon-print boom (and apparently, I wrote about this in 2019 and totally forgot about it), but I think that really solidified lemons as a theme in lolita and I really do expect to keep seeing at least 1 or 2 lemon prints each spring/summer season going forwards.
What do you think? Do you like lemons as a print motif? Hope they are here to stay? Bored of them already? Do you know about the cornucopia dress? Let me know in the comments below!
And of course, as we move into the start of the extended holiday season, I hope you and yours have a safe, healthy and bright holiday season.
Other blog posts from this month’s theme…
- 昔のSewing: A Brief History of Strawberries on Dresses
- Lovelylaceandlies: Konbini Market JSK – The Black Ribbon – Indie Brand Review
- I don’t know much but I’m learning: Bibliotheca November Prompt: Food | Let’s Talk about Q-Pot
- Stephano: I had a fashion photoshoot inside H Mart
- Luna By The Lake With Cake: Tea Time Recipes!