The Mythic Ball, Part 4: Kitsune’s (Japanese Fox Spirit) Wa-Lolita Dress

A knee-length teal green dress with a fox mask and nine fox tails fanning out from underneath the skirt. The mask and tails are in a golden brown color with white accents. The dress has Japanese touches, with a subtle rice sheaf pattern woven into the fabric and dyed red, orange and yellow maple leaves arranged on the skirt and on the sleeves, with a couple at the shoulders. On the skirt and sleeves, they look as if they're falling, with a few near the top of the sleeves and skirt and most at the hem or the base. The sleeve isn't sewn at the sides, but is rather tied with a yellow bow underneath the wrist, and the lining of the fabric is bright red. The collar is folded over on one side and is edged with a wide black field, then a smaller white collar near the neck is lined with a row of black lace. There's a black obi, or wide belt, with a pattern of golden leaves and abstract flowers, with a red obi sash puffed out over the top. The obi sash is decorated with a pattern of tie-dyed dots creating diamond shapes. Around the obi is a silver cord, on which is mounted a shining blue fire-shaped jewel. Although the top part of the dress mostly looks like a traditional kimono, the skirt is full and knee-length, puffing out to the sides in an exaggerated way, as if there's a crinoline underneath it. There are four rows of sea-green silk with a subtle interlocking circle pattern on them, arranged so that they drape in overlapping ruffles from the obi to the hem of the skirt. They're edged with black lace. The skirt is also edged with black lace, and there's a bright red petticoat visible underneath the skirt. The black stockings and black boots are mostly covered by the fox tails.Kitsune, a Japanese fox spirit known for shapeshifting, cleverness and a love of deep-fried tofu, has enjoyed such tremendous, enduring popularity in her home country that she has long reigned unofficially over the little clique of Japanese archetypes. The recent rise in popularity of anime, manga and Japanese culture in other parts of the world has raised her stature, and she’s spending more and more time outside of her little group of monsters and ghosts. This has caused somewhat of a re-evaluation of her persona, as she would like to impress the big shots of the English-speaking world — the ones with the near-lock on Hollywood movies. Kitsune would quite like a movie or two. The first one doesn’t have to win an Oscar; she’s not picky. She’s thinking rom-com, at least to start with.

She always used to wear kimono to the ball, thinking that they make her look more refined and more in touch with her roots than the foreign archetypes in their showy gowns, but in recent years she’s tried out some masquerade dresses herself. The other archetypes in her old clique, who haven’t enjoyed quite the same popularity, felt threatened by this. Last year Kappa (another Japanese archetype) picked a big fight with her, mocking her Western-style gowns and accusing her of feeling superior to the rest of them. (Kappa has never quite recovered from reading the Harry Potter books; she was thrilled to hear that kappas were mentioned in one, and absolutely crushed when she found out that Professor Snape claimed that kappas were found in Mongolia.)

She doesn’t want to lose their good will, but she was really rather enjoying her forays into the world of fancy dress, so this year she opted for a daring new look: a wa-lolita dress. (Wa-lolita is a subset of a Japanese fashion subculture called “lolita” which emphasizes frilly, hyper-feminine clothes based on fairy-tale Victorian styles. Wa-lolita makes use of Japanese design elements like wide obi-style belts, kimono sleeves and Japanese patterns. To see examples of lolita and wa-lolita outfits, check out my Pinterest “Lolita style” board.)

Kappa, Oni and the others still think she’s putting on airs, but somehow it’s not quite as galling as seeing her in a knockoff of whatever Dragon wore last year. They’ll forgive her, Kitsune thinks, when she gets her rom-com and gives them all parts in it. (Little parts, of course.)

A couple little cultural notes about the dress! The blue ornament over the obi is a kitsune-bi (狐火), which are mysterious lights said to be associated with kitsune. The color of the fur is “kitsune-iro” (きつね色), or “fox color” — an actual color word in Japanese, often used to refer to things like the color of nicely cooked bread. The leaf pattern is based on Japanese maple leaves, “momiji” (紅葉); you don’t have to be a Japanese studies major to guess that it’s a fall-themed design element. Also, the fur brush I used was created by CoyoteMange and is extremely useful even for a fur beginner like me!

Next week will be our final guest at the Mythic Ball, Phoenix, and an opportunity to vote on this year’s Queen of the Mythic Ball. In the meantime, you can download combined color and black and white PDFs of all of my 2014 dolls and outfits for free! Also follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest for sneak previews, paperdoll thoughts and the occasional lolita dress. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.

Liz Patterson’s Final Wedding Dress with Teal and Lavender Roses from For Better or For Worse

Click for larger version; click for the list of dolls.

Since my 1940s wedding dress attached to a rant on For Better or For Worse is one of the more popular dresses on the blog, I feel like I should bring the saga to a close. Dee ended up altering the supposedly sixty-something-year old dress into something reasonably modern, the Ghost of Grandma made up for fanciful logic on the part of the cartoonist, the flowers were hideous and Liz ended up marrying that creep. All the way up until the vows were said I was hoping Liz would come to her senses, but immediately after that scene I was so over the whole thing, as evidenced by my putting off the dress for four months. If the end of the saga was boring its weird rebirth is mind-numbingly dreary, although sometimes I visit the Foobiverse!’s Journal out of nostalgia and their second-hand psychoanalysis of Lynn is amusing at times. I still follow Foob’s Paradise, though, which is a webcomic that continues the Pattersons’ adult lives.

Since I get so many search queries related to weddings, I’m thinking of doing some sort of “wedding week” perhaps, maybe after Christmas. If you have any pictures of wedding dresses you just love, feel free to post links in the comments so I can get inspired!

The Good Queen is so far holding her own over the other dead queen and the rest of her competitors. She would say that’s only the way things should be, but it’s not over yet. I will do a bonus costume or two for whoever wins, so if you adore one of them get your vote in, send your friends over, post to your weblog and beg your readers to vote for your favorite!