Dolly Kei is all about vintage and antique clothing and styles. The style is closely linked with designer Hitomi Nomura who helped popularise the fashion and coined the term. Hitomi Nomura is the owner of the vintage clothing store Grimoire which is based in Tokyo, Grimoire is the pioneering store behind Dolly Kei style. The store started out with specially sourced antique and vintage items that fitted Hitomi’s idea of a fairytale world but has now grown in to a brand with Hitomi designing various clothing, accessories and wonderful tights to compliment the Dolly Kei style which are extremely popular with overseas J-fashion fans.
You can find a wonderful article on the store here (it has lots of lovely photos too):
This is the Grimoire online store:
A lot of the inspiration for the Dolly Kei style came from Eastern Europe. If you had to characterise the type of styles incorporated in to Dolly Kei then bohemian, gypsy, traditional eastern European costume, folk and fairly tales are the key words. Colours tend to be quite dark but rich and often feature embroidery detail or bold prints. Popular colours seem to be dark wine/burgundy reds, brown, orange, gold and black. Fabrics tend to be quite thick and heavy and again like with a lot of the Japanese street styles it’s all about covering up. Layering is also fairly popular as is the use of animal motifs/prints, antique dolls, tassels and fur. It doesn’t have strict rules about what is or isn’t Dolly Kei so it means that wearers can embrace the fashion in their own way and put an individual spin on it.
This tumblr page is dedicated to Dolly Kei fashion and has all sorts of lovely inspirational images: http://dolly-kei.tumblr.com/
Hitomi Nomura came over to the UK as a guest at Frock On this year and it seems she had a great time as she will be coming back to the UK next April so if you missed out on meeting her before then you now get a second chance.