Okay, this isn’t really a meetup; it wasn’t a group of lolita getting together to enjoy some time together. However, I had an amazing time this weekend at Volks‘ Doll’s Party in New York City 4! I’m not avid about ball-jointed dolls, but I do find them fascinating. I have a weak spot for toys (hence the My Little Pony collection, recent purchase of Calico Critters, and Pinky:st figures), so the concept of well-made, customizable dolls was just a bit too much to resist~
I was really nervous about attending Dolpa NYC 4. I wasn’t really going with friends, although I thought I might at least see one or two people I knew. My flight in and out of NYC allowed no leeway for exploring or lateness.
My husband I woke up at 3:30am to get on a bus in time to catch a train to the airport. I really wanted to use public transportation, as cab fare from the city to the airport is very expensive. I was already paying for a hired car to take me to and from the airport in New York; I wanted to avoid spending any extra money! We got to the airport with no trouble at all, but the security line was very, very long. I got a lot of stares and whispers; inevitable when one is wearing something pink with bunnies around the hem.
I had taken off my hairbow and petticoat for security and the flight; I try to limit accessories, so I don’t set off the detector. (I really don’t want to be wanded or patted down.) I passed through with no problems and hurried to my gate. My flight boarded on time, and soon I was on my way! It was really, really exciting! As we started to land the gentleman sitting next to me started asking about my trip and such. It was rather interesting that he was only vaguely curious about what I was wearing, and much more intrigued about where I was going. (He was kind enough to carry my suitcase off the plane, as well.)
It was very easy for the driver to spot me when I stepped out to the pickup area. We made it to the hotel very quickly. I was much too early to check-in, but I got in line anyway, just to see. Some of the employees were giving me sideways glances or raised eyebrows, but they were instantly accommodating when they saw the name on the reservation. (My father travels constantly for work, so he ranks very high as a customer for the hotels and airlines he typically uses; it really comes in handy when I get the chance to travel!) They wanted to give me a room right away, but I needed it to have two beds, as I had offered to let some friends stay with me. Instead, I checked my bags and headed out.
Being back in New York made me very happy, even though I didn’t have time to do all the things I really wanted to do! Just walking down the street, heading towards FIT, reminded me of all the things I’d missed. New York City is my favourite destination in the US. (Although I’ve only ever been out of the country to visit relatives in Canada!) When I arrived at Dolpa, I met some friends who had been waiting in line for a while. There were quite a few girls wearing lolita fashion, including three adorable young girls attending the event with their mother. They were dressed up for the “Alice in Wonderland” theme as Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the Cheshire Cat! ♥
I really enjoyed talking to everyone in the line, and seeing their beautiful dolls. ♥ It was really clear that everyone had put forth as much effort as possible! When the doors opened and we were let into the venue, I was amazed. I hadn’t really known what to expect.
The event took place in a large hall, with many round tables at the center. The round tables were for displaying dolls and sitting to eat dinner. There were no reserved seats–you simply found a place to sit after registering. Around the perimeter of the room were long tables set up as different “stations.” Beside the door was the registration table and a podium for announcements. Beside that was a table for FDQ, an important partner in the event. They were advertising for their magazine and the limited edition dolls: Super Dollfie 13 Boy Williams as “The Hatter” and Super Dollfie 16 Girl Cristal as the “Queen of Hearts”! They were absolutely beautiful dolls!
Beyond their section was the display of one-off dolls, and in front of those areas was a table showing the limited items for the party–Little Alice, Little Lorina, the White Rabbits, and the outfit sets. They had it very cleverly set up so that it looked like there was a mirror at the center of the table, when really it was an empty picture frame that showed Alice mirroring Lorina “through the looking glass.” Whoever set it up did an amazing job!
The eleven one-offs were Luna, Tohya, Jun Tachibana, Shiro Amukasa, Tsukasa Konoe, SD16 Ruby, Hikaru Genji, SD16 Madoka, Shinku, Cecile, and Suigintou. One-offs are dolls specially designed by the various artists. They have special clothing, special face painting, and often use headmolds that are otherwise hard to acquire. The dolls this year were really, really gorgeous! I loved looking at them! I didn’t enter into the lottery for any of the one-offs, though; I didn’t really need one. It sounds like they all went to people who will really, really appreciate them!
In the back the “Dolly Doctor” had a room where he was taking appointments, and they also had a place to check luggage. Beside the coat room was a table set up as a very tiny “Tenshi no Sumika,” one of the Volks stores. They sold lots of tools and equipment for painting and customizing, a few outfits for YoSD, and many-many-many wigs. I bought a new wig for my doll, and they were kind enough to let me try it on her, to make sure it would fit her big head, as it wasn’t quite the standard size for her type. They also brought four dolls: Ryo, Kanata, Mark, and Nono. The first three sold out right away, but the last doll did not.
This was particular bad for me because Nono is my dream doll. Seeing that box sitting on the Sumika table tormented me all day! I kept waiting for someone else to buy the doll so I wouldn’t be tempted anymore.
Beside that was the table for Full-Choice System. FCS is a service that allows you to custom-design your doll. You pick everything–the headmold, then the body, eyes, wig, and makeup. You can put what is normally a “girl” head on a boy’s body, or vice-versa. You can pick any eye colour or wig colour and style. You can even choose separate hands–like fists, pointing fingers, or other positions. It’s really neat! (It’s also very expensive.) The ladies at the table tried to talk me into signing up for a spot, but I resisted.
Past that (coming back around the perimeter of the room towards the entrance) was a photo space. It was a string of displays where you could pose your doll and take pictures, all of which were Wonderland themed. The first section had giant chess pieces and lots of jewels across a black and white checkered background. The second was a large walkway with a red carpet, red roses, and green hedges. The third consisted of a couch and a small table with a teacup. The next scene was a “mad tea party,” with tea set upon the table (and a dormouse in the teapot!) and plenty of seats. The last area looked like a garden or meadow–lots of flowers, benches, and mushrooms!
I was absolutely amazed by everything! I wandered from table to table, eager to see everyone’s dolls. There was so much creativity at work! A few tables even set up full scenes with their dolls posed with props and furniture. It was quite astonishing! So many people were excitedly meeting with friends they hadn’t seen in years; the atmosphere was really warm and welcoming. The staff did a great job making sure that things ran smoothly.
At some point it was announced that the dormouse was missing, and party-goers started to poke around for the dormouse. A picture of the dormouse was discovered under someone’s chair–and that lucky person got to take home an adorable sleeping dormouse! It was a very cute surprise.
One of the other lolita that I met at the event asked if we could get a picture together! I wish I had gotten more pictures. She looked so pretty in her Wonder Cookie outfit; if only I weren’t so bad with names~ I look really short here!
In a little while it was time for the lottery! That’s when the people who decided to try for the one-offs found out if they were going to be purchasing that doll. I’m sure that all the lucky winners will cherish such precious dolls! Then company president Mr. Shigeta and the Volks staff came up to the podium to give a short speech. They were all dressed in costume–Mr. Shigeta as the Mad Hatter and all the other employees as cards! During this time dinner was served; I made sure to get a piece of strawberry unbirthday cake–being myself, I cared about the dessert more than the “real food.” Mr. Shigeta, Volks president, came around to the tables after his speech. I really wanted to get a picture with him, but I thought that I had missed my chance. However, a friend of mine dragged me over and we were able to get that picture! ♥ Hooray!
The lottery involved tickets we had been given upon registration. Mr. Shigeta pulled numbers for winners to get postcards, posters, printing proofs, doll beds, wig grab-bags, and YoSD outfits. Everyone in the room was waiting anxiously to see who would win Sei-Tenshi or Rei-Tenshi, very tiny dolls that are only available from lotteries at these events. There were 5 Rei-Tenshi, the smallest kind, and 10 Sei-Tenshi! Fifteen very lucky winners took home those adorable little dolls that looked like angels~ I was so happy to see the beaming, amazed faces of the winners as they hurried forward to claim their prizes.
I think everyone was thinking about what Mr. Shigeta had said earlier in his speech. He mentioned a phrase that is the best way to start your day–as soon as you wake up, think:
Lucky, Lucky, So Fun!
Lucky, Lucky, So Happy!
Lucky, Lucky, So Wonderful!
Lucky, Lucky, So Fantastic!
He claimed if you do this, you will open your life to “Super Dollfie miracles.” And some of those winners did get their “Super Dollfie miracle,” whether it be the girl who won her 3rd tenshi at a time when she was feeling a bit blue, to the gentleman who welcomed not only a tenshi into his life, but another angel as well–a granddaughter!
The event ended after the lottery, and I headed back to the hotel to check in. I made an attempt at picking up some macarons, but the shop I like to go to was completely sold out so close to closing time. When my friends rejoined me, I convinced them to go on an excursion with me to Rice to Riches, a rice pudding shop that I’ve been visiting since high school~ Every time I’m in NYC I try to make that a stop.
It was the perfect way to end the day–I went to bed completely exhausted, yet excited for the second day of the event! (I’ll make that a separate entry–this is already much too long~)