Sunday, May 5, 2013

Pop Princess Facebook Fan Page & Sneak Peeks of Starry Garden Designs!

So at the request of the adorable Kieli (whom I very much look forward to chatting with on Faceboooook : 3 ), I have finally gotten around to making a fan page so I can chat and keep up to date with you cuties real time! This is where I'll be posting major updates, info about reservations/pre-orders, sneak peek photos of runway garments, and hopefully showing of you beauties wearing your Pop Princess frills in the future! ; 3

Just to get you to go look at it... a sneaky sneaky photo of Starry Garden in lavender!

© Pop Princess//Annika Simmons & Flor Lopez 2013
Hope to meet and chat with all of you very soon! <3

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Imai Kira Girl Walking on Moon Tights & Mirukuma Shopping Service Review

Imai Kira Girl Walking on the Moon Tights
As the usual segue goes, once I started getting into sweet lolita fashion, oh many moons ago, ha ha, I eventually had the great pleasure of stumbling across and being introduced to the stunning images that make up the great Imai Kira's artwork and illustrations. I, like many others, fell hard and instantly in love with her gorgeous illustrations featuring small, pale wide doe-eyed girls staring up from the pages. They reminded me of another artist whom I love, Audrey Kawasaki, by the melancholy that pierces through their level gazes despite being draped in lovely frocks and frills. Which meant that I begin collecting Imai Kira's art, as if I needed another addiction.

One late night (one of many, as I still haven't really been sleeping, I suspect due to being anxious about the fashion show and getting my runway pieces done among other things), I was surfing about the interwebs and was looking at Mirukuma to see her latest posts from Closet Child and saw the beloved "Girl Walking on Moon Tights" designed by the lovely Imai Kira herself and of course had a near heart attack. Which led to me frantically searching to find them, and realizing I had missed a pre-order on Fairytale Boutique and that they were only sold on Japanese website.

Image belongs to Kat//Mirukuma.
I have never, until recently, taken the plunge in using a shopping service to order things from Yahoo Japan, Mbok, etc, or any other Japanese site (which is probably in all honesty better for my savings as we all know how terribly tempting those sites can be!) I mean, where was I to start?! There are so many choices, so many reviews and suggestions, and good/bad experiences?! I still had Mirukuma's website open at the time and I recalled that Kat, the girl that runs the shopping service, always had stellar reviews on the EGL forums from very happy customers. So after a few days of thinking, and by that I mean... thinking about how cute I would look in said tights and that I NEEDED them in my life, ha ha, I took the jump and contacted her.

Image belongs to Parabolica Bliss
The tights, which can be purchased here, were fairly pricey but it was Imai Kira and since I have settled with myself that it will be a very long time since I can or will ever own any of her illustrated garments from AP, it was worth it! Below is a review of both Kat's lovely shopping service and the tights themselves.

It was a couple days before Kat responded because she was super swamped and busy, but of course, since it was my first time submitting an order request I was worried that I had filled out the form incorrectly. But I was delighted to hear from her----the email was very sweet and kind, and within a day she had arranged for the payment through the Amazon checkout process which was super easy and simple! She kept me informed every step of the way, letting me know about shipping from them to her, and then from her to me! (✿◠‿◠)

After shipping the tights arrived fairly quickly in about two weeks. They were wrapped in a small brown package, and the tights were inside two separate plastic packages to keep them nice and safe on their journey. Included in the package was a special postcard illustrated by Imai Kira and a few pamphlets about other artists and upcoming exhibitions. I spent most of the time sitting in the parking lot of where I work ripping open the package and trying to see them because I was so excited. : 3

The tights themselves look darker in the photographers, and are more of a blacky brown than a pure black, and when worn they become sort of opaque/sheer. The print itself has a kind of pleasant softness so it is not really blurry or in focus---it features a light blue ribbon that wraps up around the leg, showing cute little motifs of butterflies, teddy bears, perfume bottles, roses, etc. The main feature of course is the girl on the left leg near the ankle floating in mid air and reaching up to the moon on the right leg.
I have never actually been a tights kind of girl. I always found them extremely restrictive, and uncomfortable, where it kind of cinched uncomfortably at the waist and dug into the hips. These tights, however are incredibly soft, pliable, and stretchy. Since I'm small they hug the curves of my legs nicely, and sit below the natural waist area, and the waistband of the tights are very comfortable, like I wasn't even wearing any.

For the price, I believe that the manufacturer could have done a better job of lining up the print at the seams. The seams on the left and right side of the leg are a bit misaligned, where the ribbon doesn't match up properly and is off, which makes the print look disjointed---whereas if they had tried a little harder, it could have looked flawless, a seamless, continuous print. That is my really only complaint as I appreciate expensive products that match their seams ha ha.
Because the intricate simplicity of these tights, I feel like I can wear them to dress up like in my pink vintage lacey dress or to dress down with a cute pair of shorts and a chiffon button up top. I look forward to trying out different coords, though if these tights ever get a run in them or rip I will basically just lie on the floor and expire from sadness. (╥﹏╥)

In summary....

Mirukuma Shopping Service:

Easy peezy lemon squeezey! The order form is extremely simple and easy to fill out. You just submit your name, other info, the item you want to buy//quantity//color, and the link to where it needs to be bought from. This particular website wasn't on Kat's list, but she was super obliging and agreed to help me purchase it anyway!   

Perfect! Kat was always quick to respond, very kind and super sweet. She was never hard to get a hold of and just a fabulous person to work with.  

*SHIPPING: (5/5)
Super quick! No delays in customs, or issues at all! It arrived in about 2 weeks. 

*PRICE/FEES: (5/5) 
I found Kat's fees for her shopping service to be extremely reasonable! I will definitely be buying from her again for all my future purchases!

Imai Kira Girl Walking on Moon Tights: 

*PRICE: (4/5)
The price for these tights were fairly expensive for what they are, but I realized I was paying for Imai Kira brand name and illustration more than anything else.
*QUALITY: (4/5)
They are mostly true to color, soft, and flexible. I still believe they could have lined up the seams of the print better, other than that I'm happy!
Sooooo much more comfy than tights I remember being! It feels like you aren't wearing any.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Starry Garden Final Color Swatches & Progress

So the time has come the walrus said to speak of many things...

Or just give you an update on how things are going! ^o^ With only three weeks left till the FRILL fashion show, things have been basically non-stop sewing time in between finishing commission pieces as well as prepping and finishing all the runway garments, and of course working at my other job which has been crazy busy long hours. Really, I am trying to get less hours there so I can spend more time designing all the commissions you have been requesting of me! <3 (Thank you for those by the way! I never imagined so many people wanting me to design them things!)

The first set of yardage came in a couple weeks ago, and I was so nervous to take the plunge--
I bought 8 yards total, one of the lavender, and one of the slate blue.

Because what if something didn't line up? What if there was an error?! But what was I thinking? Flor is basically magic and everything lines up and looks PERFECT.

Colors Featured: Lavender & Slate Blue © Pop Princess// Annika Simmons & Flor Lopez 2013 
I personally am looooving the slate blue and the lavender so far. They turned out really beautifully, especially when printed on the Kona cotton fabric since that one has a really nice weave and is considered to be "premium" cotton of sorts.The next set of fabric arrived for my adorable plus sized model's design, in the navy, yesterday and this one is the all stars design at the top.
Colors Featured: Navy © Pop Princess// Annika Simmons & Flor Lopez 2013
Colors Featured: Navy © Pop Princess// Annika Simmons & Flor Lopez 2013
Colors L- R  Featured: Queen Bee, Sax, Pink, Black, Navy © Pop Princess// Annika Simmons & Flor Lopez 2013

I think the rest of the test swatches turned out really well and are true to color! The one on the far left, the Queen Bee, I had printed on a cotton silk and it has such a gorgeous sheen to it. I think if I do a second release of Starry Garden, perhaps I'll do a set number of skirts (JSKs?) in the silky one if anyone shows interest of course. ; 3
 © Pop Princess// Annika Simmons & Flor Lopez 2013
I was having trouble finding the chiffon fabrics that I wanted for the JSK and OP design, since originally my vision had the sleeves/accents in a darker color to set off the fabric. I decided for the lavender to go with a gorgeous light lilac chiffon from the David Tutera collection, and a pretty white chiffon for the slate blue. I should be able to mock up all the rest of the designs/colorways after the show!

And you will not believe how difficult it is to match the print/seams on this fabric!! It took me over 4 hours to cut out the skirt/bodice pattern pieces I had drafted out. >o< It's all those diamond criss cross-y patterns that make it so hard to make the print look continuous all the way around. I am learning, so one day I will get it perfect just like how I want. And all the lace will be dyed by hand so it might take a couple times to get the perfect vat of each color!

Here is a sneak peek of the lavender, just the bottom bodice so far. : 3 I think I will be able to finish a good majority of it today on my day off!

 © Pop Princess// Annika Simmons & Flor Lopez 2013
  It still looks like a June release date! So hope you're looking forward to the variety of cute colors to choose from for Starry Garden! <3 Which color is your favorite so far?

I have been doing sneak peeks of the other runway designs on my personal Facebook page, though I suspect I should probably make a Pop Princess fan page one, yes? Would you also like to see sneak peeks of designs in progress? <3 


ps: In case you missed the notice, hang out with Annika on Facebook! <3
Pop Princess Fan Page

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