When Mari Nakamura, the head designer at classic lolita fashion house Juliette et Justine, sat down for her panel at PMX in Pasadena, CA in November, it was more like sitting down with a circle of friends, rather than a prestigious business woman meeting her fans. She made you feel like she cared about each and every person in the room. Although she seemed to understand some English and many of the girls dressed in their Lolita best knew Japanese she spoke through a translator when answering questions.
What started your interest into in Lolita fashion?
Back in the 90s there was a very very famous Lolita. She was who first started my interest in Lolita fashion.
How long does it typically take to get from Design to the Store to purchase?
It takes maybe 2 months total from design process to shop. I design very quickly, so after creating the sample and taking photos it must go to the printing process which takes about a month and then on to the advertisement which takes a little while.
How would you describe your personal aesthetic and how does that inspire your designs for everyone else?
I want everyone to look gorgeous, as you do right now! I understand how hard it is and how powerful it is to look this gorgeous. So I focus on that and very much consider that, and try and take that in to the design of my dresses.
How has your style evolved over the years and where do you see it going in the future?
So as you know initially the history of this brand there was no patterns, just solid color dresses and I was focusing more on how to put gathers in it and how to make it into a unique style. Now it’s more about the print. I would like to continue making solid colors again and try to make a special piece dress that all girls can feel that they are precious in this world (while wearing it).
Can you give us a hint of your next collection?
Maybe might be a dragon piece.
Would you ever consider custom dress requests such as wedding dresses?
It is possible to do special requests and custom requests for wedding dresses since that is a once in a lifetime event. But it would take some time to do and go over the pattern and style you would like. I have done it in the past.
Who has been your biggest supporter throughout your entire career.
All of you! I am inspired by seeing what you are wearing. And Secretly when I see a Lolita I will sometimes design a dress for her.
How are Lolita different in different countries?
Compared to other countries there are lots of colors in the US and I see a lot of headdresses and head accessories that I haven’t seen before. It’s very noticeable that many Lolita hand make their head accessories and that is very inspiring to find new styles of dress.
What is your process when working with your illustrator
My illustrator always asks me to make a story. What are my characters doing or thinking and then she would use her imagination to work from that.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Either vegetable soup or chocolate.
In other words what does the body want and what does the heart want?
Is there an age limit to wearing Lolita Fashion?
There are a lot of customers in my shop where the age difference is quite large. The youngest customer I have is 16 and the eldest is 65. So I would like to think that there is no age limit to Lolita and that it will go on forever. Do not think about age, wear what you want.
How did you end up choosing the name of your brand?
Do you know Kamikaze Girls? The author of that novel gave me the name. (Novala Takemoto)
What would you like to do next?
A furniture shop. I love interiors.