Crimson Reflections

Because sometimes the world is too complex for black and white
Lolita Fashion History

Katsucon 2023

This past weekend I got to attend Katsucon along with my girlfriend who is one of the designers for Belladonna. I don’t usually blog about events because I usually end up too tired when I come home, but I’m actually doing OK today, so here is a rough write up.

We got in really late on Thursday because we were trying to wait for a delivery of a hobby horse stick (which never came) and missed badge pickup. Thankfully, the Virginia half of the Belladonna team got in much earlier (as planned) and was able to set up the booth.

I packed three decololi coords for this convention, with backup hair accessories so I could tone down two of them if I had to. I get migraines, and I have POTS, which makes me get tired very quickly (among other things). Decololi is physically hard because of the weight on my head and arms, but I’ve been on new migraine meds which have been working really well, and I decided to just go for it even if it wore me out.

Friday was the first day of the con, and I did the evening shift in the booth before rolling over to the fashion show dress rehearsal.

Here are some of the dresses and skirts that were for sale in the Belladonna booth! We still have some of the map print JSKs and the two spooky print skirts (and I think the yellow x sax x mint sky print skirt?)

While at the dress rehearsal, Anh, one of the Belladonna models, offered to take coord photos for me, so I actually have more than just a selfie and a photo of my feet for once…

Coord Rundown (I’m sure I’m missing things…)

  • Angelic Pretty: JSK, Pink Headbow, Sax Headbow, Flag Pennant, Star Necklace, cutsew, pink x lavender rabbit ring, star ring, star chain bracelet, candy bangle, fruits parlor pin
  • Bodyline: Shoes
  • Sweet Mildred: heart rings
  • 6% Doki Doki: Bracelets
  • Chocomint: Bracelets, star 2-way clip, plastic star 2 way clip, hard plastic pink bow
  • Dreamy Planet: Rabbit bow & bear rings
  • Yuki’s Music Box: Socks
  • MarinaXStudios: Ita bag
  • Lolita Collective: Glitter Star hair clips, large candy pin
  • Maki Tiny Sweets: Pins
  • Starlight deco dream: Let’s Party Pin
  • Dark Star Island: Tiny candy pins
  • Offbrand: Various children’s ribbon bows

By the way, the little balloons on my head are cupcake picks! I bought them like a decade ago and I haven’t seen them lately, though you can still find regular balloon shapes pretty easily.

One thing I definitely realized is that I really do need a new short white petticoat. I bought a slightly longer one recently because I’ve been wearing meta’s plus size stuff which is a little longer, and I bought a short black one, but not a short white one… and my AP petticoats are not very fluffy anymore…

Also, because I think it’s fun, here are some photos of just the accessories from this look…

Thank you to everyone who gave me back accessories I lost on Friday; I was dropping bows left and right all day. I only ended up loosing one for good, which honestly, is surprising.

Rehearsal went fairly smoothly for us… we were one of the last brands to get practice time on the stage, so there was lots of time to figure out who was wearing what…

Here are some secret behind the scenes photos of designer Rachel talking to one of the models, model Jazzmin hanging out on the cart, and designer Michelle testing out the stage while model Gray waits in the wings.

We had brought some cow print bucket hats to Katsucon to sell, and they all sold right away on Friday, so om Friday night after the rehersal, we made the decision to sell the hats we had not put faces on because we weren’t going to have time to put faces on all the ones we brought.

Saturday, I was on evening shift for the booth again and we sold out of all the cow print hats we had put out, and I also went to the Jfashion trivia panel. It was so hard! I really don’t know much about non-lolita Jfashion and the brain fog I get while tired at conventions is intense… I couldn’t remember the name of fairy wish! It was super fun though, and my team came in 2nd…. and I ran into Anh again at the panel (she was also on my team) and she took photos for me again. (thank you <3 <3 <3 )

I went with Lemonade float for my coord for Sat. Sky blue is my absolute favorite color and sky blue x yellow is one of my favorite color combos (it’s up there with red x pink and red x blue), although it’s really not a common one in lolita. I’ve also just been really into lemons lately. IDK, I did my kitchen up in lemons, strawberries and sunflowers.

Coord Rundown…

  • Angelic Pretty: Lemonaid Float Special Set JSK in sax, Yellow heart pin, White headbow, yellow star necklace, sax star ring, yellow heart ring, blue bow bangle, star chain bracelet
  • Bodyline: Shoes
  • We Love Colors: Tights
  • Dark Star Island: Blouse, small candy pins/clips
  • Metamorphose: Sax headbow
  • Lolita Collective: lemon slice ring, iridescent star bracelets
  • Baby Style: Lemon blossom ring
  • Minty Mix: glittery heart pin in my hair (I put a bobby pin through the pin back)
  • 6% Doki Doki: Yellow & Sax heart bracelets
  • Chocomint: chunky Star bracelet
  • MarinaXStudios: Ita bag
  • Offbrand: pearl bracelets, lemon hair clip, various children’s ribbon bows

And the accessories again….

After the dealer’s hall closed for the evening, it was time for a quick bite to eat and then I went back down to the fashion show to help out with any last minute tasks. This year, that meant steaming a cute cherry print dress so my girlfriend could focus on doing one of the model’s makeup.

For the fashion show, because I was accompanying Belladonna as their shop girl, I got early seating, but I didn’t bring my real camera and I didn’t want to get in the way of the real photographers. So, I took a seat in the second row and didn’t move up until after someone else left. So, while, I snapped some photos / video for a couple of the brands, I didn’t photograph all of them. Mostly this had to do with where the models were posing and who’s head was in front of me at the time.

All of the brands did a fantastic job, as did the organizer and the MC! There were also official photographers there who I’m sure took much better photos than I did, so keep an eye out on the various brand’s social media for those. Here are a couple brands I took photos of…

Star Crossed Lovelies

This runway had a dark celestial theme with magical elements. The last model for this brand was wearing a long chibi-usa wig and was giving me serious Black Lady vibes. And I don’t know why, but something about how the model walked out to the center of the other models on stage already made me think this was the designer, and I didn’t take any photos of the last model? Look, I’m faceblind and I was seriously exhausted, and it wasn’t until the actual designer walked out that my brain caught up and figured out what was going on. Pastel Bats has the full show uploaded on youtube though!

A. Gato Designs

A lot of my photos from this one came out blurry, so I only have two of the looks, and I don’t remember the intro exactly, but the overall theme was a sort of valentine’s heartbreaker type theme with lots of pink and lots of attitude? The props were very cute and I love red x pink so I enjoyed this runway a lot. There was a red x pink plaid JSK which was my fav piece from the collection, but I didn’t get a photo. You can see more of the looks in this reel or in Pastel Bat’s video.

Sweet Mildred

Belladonna and Sweet Mildred have done a joint booth at Katsucon many times in the past, but when they stopped grandfathering in Vendors they liked, we both applied separately so we weren’t together this year. Sweet Mildred’s theme this year was like ‘soft’ / ‘softness’ / ‘allowing yourself to be soft’ and the garments were really different from a lot of her past work with lots of airy, sheer, pastel fabrics. I loved the movement of all of the pieces in this show.

I think the short floral print JSK with the big poofy shoulder bows modeled by Gray was my favorite piece, but the long pink puff sleeve dress really looked so beautiful in motion.


Toshi, the designer for Dollybox has collaborated with Belladonna as a model and make up artist many times in the past and is always such a fun person to work with. I’m absolutely over the moon about her having gotten the chance to show her work this year. She’s super creative and her show was absolutely a joy to watch. I wish her all of the best, and I hope we get to see more shows of her work in the future!


Katsucon marks the anniversary of Belladonna every year, and this year was the brand’s 10th year. Over the pandemic, my girlfriend and manager Sam both became interested in long furbies / oddbody furbies. My girlfriend created a face mold based on this concept and started casting and customizing resin faces, which she started attaching to things like 90s fur bucket hats and fur purses and long boys. This runway combined denim and cowgirl/cowboy style with 90s nostalgia, and it was a ton of fun watching it come together. A lot of the denim used was vintage / upcycled jeans. They also created a full denim version of Ice Cream Shoppe, complete with tiny, skinny, little jeans pockets on the front of the bodice.

After the show, the Belladonna team took a photo with the Dollybox team. <3

There were several other designers in the show, and I was busy clapping / enjoying the show or just didn’t have a clear shot for the others, so if you are looking to watch the whole thing, do check out Pastel Bat’s video.

Sunday morning, we packed everything up, while manager Sam went and opened the booth. Apparently the denim ice cream shoppe (aka Jice cream shoppe, aka Jolejean aka Joljean’s Jice Cream Shoppe) sold 11 minutes after we opened! All the hats and bags except for the blue face hat sold too!

I hear-tell one of the two twin black x white spotted furbs and the long black x white spotted furb will go up on discord for patrons, as well as the remaining pieces from the show. Those pieces include the green gingham apron skirt, the red scalloped hem jsk (it’s a heart print with knit cherries), the coordinating shirred red x white gingham OPs, the navy cherry print JSK, the heart front gingham JSK that was shown under the vest in both blue and black, and a yellow apron skirt that is similar to the pink one in the show, except without the twirling hearts.

On Sunday, Michelle and I wore coordinating outfits with Strawberry Picking. I actually picked out all of her coords for this weekend; she was too busy working on the fashion show to pack, so I brought her looks and she OKed or Vetoed them. Her criteria were ‘long sleeves’ and ‘must match this one pair of shoes’, which was hard, given she pretty much doesn’t own much of anything with long sleeves that matches those shoes (I had to lend her a cutsew for under one of her JSKs. I tried to lend her a pile of accessories to get her to do deco again, but she’s got more common sense than me).

Coord rundown Michelle (left)

  • Angelic Pretty: Apron Skirt, Socks, ring
  • Emily Temple Cute: cardigan
  • Liz Lisa: Cutsew
  • Melissa x Sanrio: Shoes
  • Dreamy Planetarium: Necklace, ring

Coord rundown Me (right)

  • Angelic Pretty: JSK, red headbow, white headbow, Heart pins from fruits parlor, heart rings, Bag
  • Innocent World: Socks
  • Dark Star Island: small candy pins/clips
  • Dreamy Planetarium: Necklace, ring
  • Bodyline: shoes
  • Belladonna: polka dot bow
  • Infanta: Blouse, gingham berry bows
  • Chocomint: star & heart bracelets, bangle
  • Yuki’s Music Box: Sock toppers
  • Handmade: daisy pins, strawberry ring
  • Offbrand: Various children’s ribbon bows, pearl bracelets, red stripe bracelets

And the accessories from my coord…

We went through the artist’s alley and said good bye to friends who are moving away soon who were selling there. ;___; And picked up some cute shirts and a pin. My ankle quit (I’m hyper mobile and sometimes my joints just get mad), and I had to wrap it in an ace bandage and switch to tennis shoes…

I don’t have pictures of all my new treasures, but the “big” lolita specific ones were this cutsew op from Sweet Mildred that I’m already in love with, and this cute shoulder bag from MLTY universe via the Lolita Collective, both from the merchants hall.

We got packed up pretty quickly, made our way home, and…. turns out my fridge quit while we were away, so we had to deal with that (we had sandwiches and instant pasta for dinner….). But even with the set backs, I had a really nice time. I’m really happy that I got to see so many dear people who I haven’t seen in so long and I’m already looking forward to going back next year.

Also, just for fun, here are some 10 years ago throwback decololi photos from Katsucon 2013… I miss twintail wigs, they had so much more space for bows!

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since Belladonna started, and I can’t wait to see where Michelle and Rachel take the brand in the future!

4 comments on “Katsucon 2023

  1. I love how diverse in style the fashion show was and seeing those models in motion only makes it better. Thank you for uploading all those pictures :). My favourite is Belladona´s Denim JSK, but those Furby hats are cool too.
    And your coords look stunning!

    1. Thank you so much! ^_^ and I passed on your comment to Michelle from Belladonna and she says thank you as well (and Clover, our little cat, apparently wants everyone to know she says MEOW! because she keeps interrupting)

  2. Oh wow we met briefly at katsu and I had no idea you ran this blog! This blog helped me get into lolita, katsu was my first time wearing a coord in public. I’m so bummed I missed the fashion show, so thanks for posting pictures!

    1. Congratulations on your first time wearing lolita in public, that’s so fun and exciting! ^_^ My first time wearing lolita out in public was a con too (at otakon, way back in the day!). I’m so glad my blog was useful, and I hope you have a really wonderful lolita fashion journey ^__^

      I’m really bad at remembering to take coord photos, and so I don’t post a lot of photos of myself on my blog so this honestly happens a lot, lol. XD

      I’m sorry you missed the fashion show, I think a lot of people were sadly in the same boat. It was pretty late… balancing the timing with all the indie brands also selling at conventions is always really hard. Here is hoping you can catch one in the future!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *