Meetup Report: Angelic Pretty at ACEN (Day 2)

Meetup Report: Angelic Pretty at ACEN (Day 2)

I apologize for the brief delay–I caught a cold and have been spending the past few days bemoaning my stuffy nose and sore throat. n_~

Saturday morning began bright and early–models met with the hair and makeup volunteers at 7am. I was lucky in that I didn’t have to get up as early as some of the other girls with farther to travel, but I still wasn’t as early as I wanted to be. During the fitting they had requested that model volunteers apply whatever base makeup they could before coming to the room for hair and makeup, that way the ladies doing hair and makeup would have more time to style everyone. I don’t exactly wear makeup regularly, so even trying to provide a starting point for the makeup artists took me longer than I had hoped.

Angelic Pretty Fashion Show
My little sister came with to help backstage; she took plenty of pictures during the process.
When all of the models and workers were assembled, work began immediately. We were asked to change into our first outfits, and warned to be careful and tidy. It was a bit nerve-wracking to spend time around makeup in a pretty and expensive dress that wasn’t mine! The shop staff and designers were always very mindful of keeping the clothes in the best condition possible. When we sat down to have our hair styled or makeup applied, Asuka cautioned for us to fold and smooth our skirts and sit in a particular way–to avoid wrinkles.

There were three volunteers doing hair and makeup, along with hair and wig-styling help from Maki and Asuka. Due to the number of girls in comparison to the number of stylists, we were again asked to do whatever of our own makeup we could manage, including putting on false eyelashes. I had a very hard time with that! Thankfully the other girls were more than willing to help each other out, so I received an on-hand tutorial on how to apply them. We crowded around one mirror and applied and adjusted as best as possible. Some models were asked to wear multiple pairs of eyelashes for extra impact; I felt lucky to wear only one pair!

When we were fully dressed in all the elements of our first outfits and were waiting for a turn with the stylists, we practiced walking and posing. RinRin made herself available to coach us all, particularly for posing. She was very kind and thoughtful. ♥ Each outfit had coordinated props, and RinRin helped everyone come up with five different poses that utilized the props and looked as cute as possible. (The format of the runway required each outfit to pause for poses at five different points, and the designers preferred that we did not repeat the same pose each time.) She was always willing to provide another critique or suggestion so that we’d all be at our best. I was very thankful for her input!

The ladies who volunteered for hair and makeup were very friendly and very efficient! We were lucky to have their assistance.

The extra curly hair that would be pinned into my hair was packed in with my outfit, so I had it handy and available when it was my turn for hair styling. My pigtails were adjusted to be pulled as high on my head as possible, then wound into buns to provide a base for pinning on the curly hair. They used lots of bobby-pins and hairpins to keep it securely attached to my head. (To test how well it was pinned, the stylist asked me to jump up and down. This is a kind of silly and dangerous thing to ask me, because I took her very seriously. It stayed in place without a shiver!)

Angelic Pretty Fashion Show
This is my serious face. I wore it whenever I wasn’t being reminded to smile!
As soon as my hair and makeup were all set, I went back to practicing. It might seem foolish, but I took this very seriously. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a model–but that doesn’t mean I wanted everyone in the audience to know it! I was very lucky to not only have RinRin’s suggestions to focus on improving, but also critique from my little sister. She was absolutely invaluable during the time backstage in preparation, because every time I did something I shouldn’t have done, she called me on it so that I could start over. I don’t know exactly how much time I spent walking back and forth across a small mock-up of the runway, but it wasn’t a short period of time!

The designers wanted the models to walk slowly, but with spirit. We needed to look up and keep our chins up–no looking down. (This was extra-hard for me! I tend to look down, sometimes subconsciously.) All of our turns were supposed to be right turns, despite the fact that natural inclination is to turn left when facing the audience at the last stop. And, most importantly, we had to express happiness and cheerfulness! ♥ I drilled myself on the first issues, that way I wouldn’t have to think about them during the actual fashion show and could then be as happy and cheerful as possible–because I’d really feel that way. I am very thankful that I took the time to practice; if I hadn’t, I am sure I would have made a fool of myself on stage!

As the starting time for the fashion show crept closer, the models for the Hangry & Angry fashion show joined us in the room, as the hair and makeup stylists were now their hair and makeup stylists. In only a few minutes it was time to head backstage! We were all very nervous, but also very excited!

Angelic Pretty Fashion Show
Everything was a blur once we got backstage! We were all anxious for the fashion show to begin!
Backstage we went over the layout for the quick change–outfits in one area, accessories in the other. As soon as we stepped off the stage we were instructed to remove our hand and other small accessories, so that when we got back to the dressing area backstage we could immediately place those items in the bag that accompanied our first outfit. We did our best to memorize our order, so that we knew who we would be following or followed by. The rule was that there must always be at least three girls waiting to go on stage, so if you looked up and only saw two you needed to get ready faster! RinRin walked down the runway to practice the timing for the lights and music during the different parts of the show.

The fashion show was arranged in two parts–the first featured outfits that had already been released and that were for sale in the Angelic Pretty pop-up shop. After the first part, there was a brief video of a previous fashion show–I believe it was one from Paris–to provide a little bit of extra time for the models to change. The second part showcased outfits that had not yet been released! (This was so exciting!) When the second part of the show concluded, all of the models followed each other on a cheerful walk-through, then circled back and repeated the walk-through, remaining on the stage. For this finale, Maki and Asuka came out, saluted the audience, and everyone exited behind them.

When the fashion show finally began, the excitement of the past few days was finally an experience! I blessedly forgot all of my anxiety as soon as I stepped out on the runway. I only hope that I conveyed my happiness to the audience! ♥

The rush to get backstage again and change for part two of the show was nerve-wracking! As soon as I stepped off the stage I made a mad dash down the hallway, skidding to a stop just in time to bolt through the door into the dressing area. My accessories were ready to go into the bag, and someone was waiting to accept them. I unbuckled my shoes and one of the fitters passed them to the next girl whose outfit they were for. Someone unzipped the dress and I ducked into the curtained area with the clothing racks, quickly changing into the blouse and jumperskirt for the next outfit and heading back out. I put on my socks while someone else helped to put on my shoes, then added jewelry while someone else adjusted my hair accessories. It was a great team effort! We were done with plenty of time to spare–much better than rushing right up until the last moment!

Angelic Pretty Fashion Show
This outfit isn’t my usual style, but it was so much fun to wear! I loved that wand!
My second time on stage was even more thrilling because I loved my second prop–a card-themed baton! I didn’t really know what to do with it when I first practiced during the fitting, but Maki cleared up my confusion; she told me to “give the audience magic” and gestured with a wave of the wand. I am all about magical girls, so that’s what I took on as inspiration! ♥ (Also, the models were constantly told to make our movements big–and with a big prop, that’s even easier!) I really hope that the audience received as much “magic” as I tried to give them!!!

Angelic Pretty Fashion Show
All of the models, plus the designers and RinRin!
After the final walk-through and the finale, everyone backstage was bouncy and jubilant! It was a relief that all of the anxiety was over, and now there was absolutely no tenseness. We had fun taking pictures with each other and chatting until we finally had to put our real clothes on and return the fashion show attire. It was a really fun experience, and I am so happy to have been able to participate! I will treasure these memories forever! ☆

After the fashion show I returned to the Angelic Pretty booth to help out for a few hours before the independent designers’ fashion show that evening. After all of the bustle that morning I enjoyed standing in front of the booth greeting people and passing out flyers for the Meet & Greet with Maki and Asuka and the autograph session. (Neither of which I was able to attend, but it was still fun promoting it!) It felt relaxing even though I was still on my feet.

When it was time to prepare, I gathered together some of the other girls who would be modeling for ICK! by Industrial Kitty. When we headed up to the hotel room to prepare for the fashion show, we were met by the makeup artists and hair stylists and the other models. It was quite crowded for a while in the room while we were all getting ready! I helped out with a few last-minute tweaks to the different outfits; I’ve developed a knack for sewing on buttons. It was lucky that we had planned in advance to have several hours to get ready, because we used every minute of it!

I got a little bit lost when we headed down to the room for the independent designers’ fashion show, but thankfully a lolita I had met earlier at the convention pointed us in the right direction. It was pretty chaotic when we got to the room, though. The room was really, really small–far too small for a fashion show–and it was already full of attendees even though there was still a gigantic line snaking around the downstairs level of people who wanted to get in to see the fashion show! There wasn’t any space for the models and designers to stand while we waited for the show itself, but we kept getting chided about blocking the flow of traffic in the hallway. It was very uncomfortable for a while, particularly as there was nothing we could do about it. Each of the designers had at least five models, and there were quite a few designers–so that’s a lot of people.

Finally someone authorized us to wait in an area behind the room, which also became where we would enter and exit to walk for the actual show. I’m not sure what happened beyond that point; I couldn’t see or tell anything about what was going on in the room, nor did I have any idea about how large it would be. My first glimpse of it was when I waited near the door only a few models prior to walking in. I hadn’t realized just how small the room was, but it was really, really tiny and utterly packed with guests and photographers. There wasn’t much room for the models to walk around, just a little space at the front of the room and part of an aisle down the middle, so each model was in and out very quickly.

After each designer’s models had walked on we planned to do a final walk-through and exit the room out the back door. It started off pretty well, but when I walked into the room I noticed a weird sound in the music. As I reached the back of the room near the door, I realized it wasn’t something in the music, it was the building’s fire alarm system. Someone had triggered the alarm system for a full evacuation of the hotel. As soon as the models for ICK! by Industrial Kitty exited the room, we followed our designer upstairs and out of the hotel. The evacuation wasn’t panicked, but it wasn’t very orderly either. Some people didn’t really seem aware that it was an evacuation, or they simply didn’t want to comply. It was difficult to keep an eye on the people you were with whenever we entered a densely-populated area.

When we got outside, we decided to head to the hotel across the street from the convention center. There were a lot of people waiting right outside the front doors of the evacuated hotel–which is generally not safe and also very inefficient–and at this point emergency vehicles were trying to get into the area. Along the way we encountered other groups from the fashion show or groups of lolita who had also been evacuated from the hotel; we brought them with us and tried to pass along the message of where to meet. Once we reached our destination I went back out to see if I could notice any other lolita. I found one group easily because they held up an opened parasol–it was a great beacon! The evacuation was a very stressful time, but thankfully in the end everyone was alright and we found all of the community members we were looking for. I was pretty tired when I got back to the hotel, though!

It took me no time at all to fall asleep that night, although I had a heck of a time trying to remove the false eyelashes from the earlier fashion show! I didn’t really know how to take them off, and even though some of my friends provided helpful information, the glue was stuck very firmly to my eyelids. I’m not really encouraged to try false eyelashes again anytime soon! (I need more time for recovery, haha~!)

Meetup Report: Angelic Pretty at ACEN (Day 1)

Meetup Report: Angelic Pretty at ACEN (Day 1)

And so my report on ACEN continues! I stayed with a friend on Thursday night, because I was concerned about getting back to the convention center early enough on Friday morning. She was graciously hosting two other friends from out of town, so Thursday evening involved trips to the airport and early Friday morning a house bustling with frilly girls. ♥ As volunteers at the Angelic Pretty booth in the convention’s Dealer’s Hall, we had to get there bright and early! Everyone was out of the house by 7am, and after running a quick errand we hurried to our destination!

Helping out at the booth was a really fun experience! I was very thankful to have something to dedicate myself to and focus my attention on, even if it was only chit-chatting with customers and neatening clothing racks. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not particularly fond of attending conventions; knowing that I was “working,” even in the loosest sense of the word, kept me both from boredom and anxiety. I did my best to follow any instructions or suggestions from the official employees; they were all very adept at their jobs and very knowledgeable as can be expected.

Angelic Pretty Pop-Up Shop
So cute, so frilly, so tempting!
There was another benefit to being stationed at the booth in the Dealer’s Hall–I saw all of my friends~! ★

The Angelic Pretty pop-up shop was a highlight for everyone in the community, even those who usually don’t purchase their clothing from the company. For those with different style preferences, the booth offered a wide selection of garments and accessories not only from Angelic Pretty, but also from Chantilly, Atelier Pierrot, and Black Peace Now. With fluffy frilly cupcake princess fashion on the Angelic Pretty side and elegant dark lovely enchanting fashion on the Harajuku Hearts side, there was a little bit of something for everyone! (h.NAOTO was also represented at the convention, providing even more of a variety, but as that was at a different booth I didn’t see it. I really didn’t leave my post during the weekend!)

As a result, whenever anyone from the local community wandered over I had the opportunity to chat with them while they browsed through the shop. It was lots of fun, and I don’t think there was anyone I missed an opportunity to say hello to~ I also spoke to many lolita (or starry-eyed-dreaming-of-lolita shoppers) I had never met before. Everyone was so nice, and so friendly, and the time passed so pleasantly! I really hope I’ll see some of my new acquaintances again sometime!

Paradise Rose in Artists' Alley
Paradise Rose, in Artist Alley–one of my stops during my lunch break!
A little bit later on the in the afternoon I took a break to eat lunch, give my husband a call, and say hello to two friends with tables in Artist Alley. (I had other friends with tables as well, some of which I sort-of knew about and others that I learned about as the day progressed, but I wasn’t able to visit everyone…I could only remember the numbers for the two who told me.) I briefly considered wandering around the hall for a bit, but the crowds seemed a bit too daunting; I hurried back to the booth to continue fluffing dresses and encouraging sales.

Advertising, Advertising!
Maki and Asuka had signs advertising the fashion show taped to their purses, and Maki had one on her back as well! It was adorable!
When I returned the shop staff had printed flyers for Saturday’s official Angelic Pretty fashion show. Everyone present was asked to help spread the word and pass out flyers. Maki, Asuka, and RinRin were very dedicated and efficient at engaging passers-by, even though Maki and Asuka don’t speak very much English. I think they were simply too cute to ignore or refuse a flyer from, even for the convention patrons who weren’t stopping by the booth for any shopping. ♥ With the help of the other volunteers, fashion show flyers wound up in the hands of nearly anyone who walked by. I had a very clear view of this from my position on the outer corner of the booth’s space.

All of the excitement and promotion for the fashion show made me feel rather nervous, but also exhilarated! ☆

The rest of the evening before the Dealer’s Hall closed passed by in a happy blur! I didn’t attend any of the other lolita fashion events that day, although I know there were some, but I still had a nice time just fluffing around the booth. I was an opportunity I am very thankful for! I’m not about to run off and seek my future as a shopgirl, but getting to do anything–even the smallest of things–for a company I adore so much was absolutely fantastic. After everything was draped and secured, I filed out with my friends, still thrilled from the experience! By the time I got to my hotel room and took off my shoes my feet ached from standing all day, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. ♥

I intended to go to sleep early, to get plenty of rest for the fashion show the next day, but I was too wound up to fall asleep immediately. It went just fine even with that minor kink in my plans, and I enjoyed chatting with my little sister while she worked on some last-minute preparations for the Independent Designer Fashion Show occurring in the evening. We had no idea what would be in store for that!

Meetup Report: Angelic Pretty at ACEN (Day 0)

Meetup Report: Angelic Pretty at ACEN (Day 0)

My weekend at Anime Central (ACEN) was even more wonderful than I could have imagined! ♥ It was a really fantastic time, despite crazy things like full hotel evacuations that coincided right with the end of the independent designers’ fashion show. (Yes, that really happened. Yes, it was absurd. Yes, chaos reigned in the streets around the hotel. YES, all frilly folks were accounted for and okay!!!) I was astonishingly lucky to be able to not only take part in the Angelic Pretty fashion show, but also to help out at their booth in the dealer’s hall and attend the formal tea party. It was magical~ ☆

Although the convention itself began on Friday, the fitting and first rehearsal for all volunteer models occurred on Thursday evening, from 4:00pm until 7:30pm. I felt very lucky that I had taken Thursday off of work when originally planning my time off–before I knew anything about the open call for the fashion show. Taking the train to the convention center isn’t difficult, but it can be time consuming. I doubt I would have made it to the fitting on time if I had work that day, unless I had left early. I wasn’t the only one–there were a few girls who couldn’t make the fitting due to their travel arrangements. I did my best to plan for it, however…and wound up getting there an hour early! XD Whoops!

I feel like I should add a disclaimer at some point stating that I am not a model nor have I ever proclaimed to be one. The extent of my “modeling experience” has been helping out friends when they are involved in fashion shows for school-related or independent projects–and even that is something I’ve only done a handful of times. I’ve helped with a few local community-organized lolita fashion show in past years, but most of those occurred when I had first started wearing the style. It’s been quite a while since I was involved in anything like that. Although I’m kinda scrawny and am pretty easy to zip up in a dress and direct to walk across a room, I don’t have the skill (or talent) of a model. (I’m also utterly the wrong height.) I applied to model in the Angelic Pretty fashion show on a whim, just because I love the company so very dearly.

It’s hard for me to find the right way to express how I feel about Angelic Pretty. Many lolita ♥love♥ Angelic Pretty, so it isn’t as though I have some attachment to the company that no one else has. I’m not their most devoted customer or fan. I don’t collect the newest prints or aspire to the styling featured in magazines. I don’t know all of the tidbits of trivia about designers or models. I’ve never visited one of their stores. I simply adore the clothing. Wearing a lolita outfit from Angelic Pretty makes me feel like a truer version of myself–happier and more self-confident. I don’t disdain any of the other brand companies, but I’ve always been more partial to the designs and inclination of Angelic Pretty. Their presence at ACEN was more than I could have ever hoped for. I applied to model because any opportunity to interact with the company sounded amazing to me.

Thankfully, it was amazing. The reality of it out-shined anything I could have dreamed.

Waiting far too early with my luggage at the designated meeting spot, chatting on the phone with my younger brother to pass the time, I spotted Maki, Asuka, and RinRin. That moment sparked recognition that this was real; while I was planning for the trip or reading the email with instructions or traveling toward my destination, there was always a hint of, “Maybe this will be cancelled,” or “What if it doesn’t work out.” I didn’t jump up and chase after them–I continued my phone conversation and started chatting with the other girls as they arrived, but there was so much more excitement! ♥

Watching the designers and model at the fitting and practice increased my admiration for them. They are all very dedicated, professional, and inspirational. All of the models selected from the model call were volunteers, and we were both treated with confidence that we would perform suitably and provided with direction and instruction to compensate for our lack of experience. (I don’t mean to discount any of the other girls’ talents or abilities; I simply feel that it would be unfair to classify any of us as professional models.) The designers treated every detail with seriousness and consideration that demonstrated their adroitness. I really enjoyed witnessing their passion for their work.

At the fitting we tried on the outfits the designers had preliminarily assigned to us and they made comments and minor adjustments styling or accessorizing. Discussions and notes with hair and makeup volunteers followed. (I particularly adored that Maki and Asuka had drawn sketches of the hairstyles they wanted for each model; very simple and very charming!) Models were asked to bring wigs and most of the hair styling was performed on wigs rather than actual hair. I don’t own a wig, and rather than fit a borrowed one on me they decided to pin curly fake hair to my head in two voluminous pigtails. Watching Asuka and Maki try to describe what they wanted to the hair stylists to do with the false hair became utterly adorable when the Japanese explanation was punctuated with “Mickey! MIC-KEY!” and gesturing like the iconic round mouse ears.

While other logistics and arrangements for the fashion show were discussed by those directly involved, the participants practiced with the hand props for their outfits. Every coordination came with props of some kind to accompany and accent the outfit: cupcakes and forks for those wearing Sugary Fairy Cake, lollipops and candy for models wearing Toy Drops, parasols or purses for outfits without a print, and birdcages and flower baskets to coordinate with the newest birdcage series. The layout of the stage involved five different places for each look to stop and pose. Finding five different ways to pose with a give set of props could be pretty difficult! I was definitely not as original as some of the other volunteering models; I probably repeated the same motion quite a few times. ~_~

Every last minute of the scheduled time for the fitting was used. In fact, I believe we ran over our allotted time. There was always some other instruction to add, another notice to announce, more critique to be delivered, and such~ I wasn’t working terribly hard, but I felt exhausted by the time it was over…although my evening wasn’t over yet and the convention had yet to begin!