H. Naoto. Goth Lolita ensemble with matching angry doll. 2008
The Lolita style is a Japanese fashion subculture characterized by extreme cuteness, including childlike, feminine dresses with pinafores, ruffles, and bows, loosely inspired by nineteenth-century French dolls, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), and Victorian mourning dress. Despite the style’s reference to Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel, the young women who adopt it do not necessarily identify with the heightened sexuality these garments might broadcast to others; the name has been taken out of context and transformed–in this case with its own complex vocabulary and various iterations that include gothic and punk Lolita (which tend to embrace the creepy along with the cute).
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild