Back to the Forest

"I hope that women become happy with lovely clothes, because they spend very stressful daily lives"

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Grimoire-Tokyo-03-2010-007-600x399

God bless the Japanese. And not just for their strength, fortitude, and kindness in making their way through the cataclysm of the last weeks. But also for their whimsical collective imagination, which pushes the limits of technological advance in one sector while harkening back to the idyllic days of the primeval forest in another.

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Grimoire-Tokyo-03-2010-008-600x399

I am a little late jumping on this bandwagon, so perhaps you are already familiar with the "Mori Girl" style. Mori means forest in Japanese, and this look is all about the revival of peasant, fairy tale, princess frocks and lacy floral feathery accents. Closely related to the Lolita and Dolly Kei looks to be certain, but with a sweet vintage bohemian twist all its own.

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grimoire2
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grimoire3

Last spring I was at the most amazing vintage/antique/thrift store in Fresno. I found score after score on the racks. But then I looked up and saw dozens of exquisite, spectacular, gorgeous vintage dresses hanging from the 30 ft high warehouse ceiling. I immediately went up to the counter and asked about them. "Sorry", I was told, "They're for the Japanese."

I was perplexed and intrigued, but not surprised (every time I list a sweet Gunne Sax or a dolly dress I think about a darling little Japanese girl wearing it. Which, often enough, does end up happening).

Then, watching this video, I realized that it was probably the very boutique owner profiled here who the dresses were for! At about 4 minutes in they talk about a trip she made to California to get some vintage clothing :-)

I adore this woman, Hitomi Nomura- what an inspiration (an inspiration who was, like me and so many of you, inspired herself by Tasha Tudor). The photos of the boutique in this post showcase her shop Grimoire, which looks to me like the happiest place on earth. This girl is a master of layering vintage with handmade into one seemingly impossible forest-frolicking masterpiece of an outfit.

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Grimoire-Tokyo-03-2010-001-600x399
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Grimoire-Tokyo-03-2010-013-600x399

Here is another video, featuring some killer fashion quotes from some beautiful Japanese women:

I have given some money to Japan in the last weeks, but I foresee more bleeding out of my pockets towards the country ( or more accurately, the Grimoire Boutique) in the very near future...

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spoon-mar09-mori-girl-3

Camera, Banjo, Fiddle-The Troll & The Maidens

From the Camera, Banjo, Fiddle photo series.

Once upon a time, two brown haired maidens set out from their home at the edge of the meadow to explore the woods beyond, ignoring warnings from the townfolk to beware the evil troll who dwelleth there...

The girls were young and adventuresome and, in fact, the stone bridge they had been told to avoid was their very destination, for underneath it flowed sacred water believed to ensure goodness of heart, vitality, and everlasting life to all who called upon it. And they wanted these things.

And so the girls gazed intently into the distance and began to concentrate on conjuring the qualities the water was purported to impart, for they knew that they must work to cultivate those things in themselves before they could ask the water to bless them.

But suddenly the air shifted, and the girls realized that something was wrong.

Where once there had been only the serene sound of the magical water flowing beneath the stone there now grew a terrible rumbling, and the girls looked down and realized in an instant that the legends were true- and that the troll had come to undo the very magic they were trying so earnestly and faithfully to do.

He tried to break their concentration and ruin their lovely afternoon, the scoundrel!

There was a moment in which the maidens thought that all was lost, and that their attempts at immortality had backfired so severely that they were sure to lose their lives that very day.

But they kept their wits about them, kicked that old troll in the face, and ran off through the woods to take photographs of one another instead, knowing that the water had heard their calls after all and that they were free to live the rest of their everlasting lives romping around the woods in their favorite vintage nighties.

And they felt the gaze of the Faery Queen looking down at them from her tower, and knew that many good things and beautiful frocks would come their way as they explored the forest and the wide world for all of eternity.

And mostly they felt no fear, until they came upon a little house dug into the hillside which they knew must belong to the old troll himself.

They took precautions to ensure that the troll, if he had been able to drag his wounded and bleeding self from beneath the bridge and make it home, did not detect their presence.

And, in fact, once they remembered that they were now endowed with immortality they quickly lost all fear and began to relax...

And have fun!

And when the troll emerged from his home (with an actually quite handsome face, which had healed astonishingly fast!) to apologize for frightening the girls so, they knew they had made a friend and forest ally for life...

and were much pleased...

especially when he offered to play his banjo and carry their clothes back to their home at the edge of the meadow for them.

Photography by Artemas Rex, troll embodied by John Lee Simpson, vintage nighties frolicked in by Ariella Daly & myself.

The Dress and The Dream, Revisited

From Sasha

You all remember Cerise, our fabulous Australian friend who bought the California Dream Girl Dress? If you read her spirited interview, then you probably won't be surprised to learn to learn that this multi-talented young woman is a talented photographer. She took the Dream Dress out for a shoot with her lovely friend Jessica, and just LOOK at the magic that they created!:

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It makes my heart absolutely HUM with happiness to see one of our dresses becoming part of someone's artistic inspiration, half a world away. I hope they all find such happy homes!

For more of Cerise's beautiful camera work, check out her Flickr stream here. Told ya we have the best customers.