One of the most fascinating features of Japanese fashion is you think you know it all and there is just no way another trend will rise after that one insanely unique style but, surprise! There goes another one, a new fashion trend, walking down the street. And then that cycle continues, and one after another, it just keeps on going.
You might think that some Japanese fashion subcultures look and feel the same as the others but there are actually always distinct characteristics in all of them. The one we are going to talk about today has that similar look and feel like all its other sister trends but is actually uniquely different.
Now, have you ever tried using your nightwear as a fashion piece? Do you have one of those pretty, frilly, and lacey nighttime outfits you think is a shame that you can’t wear outside because.. Well, they are made not to be worn other than for nighttime?
I’ve actually seen a few of those types of pretty nightwear and think it is a shame that it is normalized to not wear them outside. But, not in Japan where everything, no matter how uncanny and bizarre it may be, is wholesomely embraced and appreciated. Even though they are pretty well-known to be conservative and traditional, it is within their culture to be welcoming of surreal changes.
That’s why, with all the uncanny fashion subculture this blog has discussed so far, it won’t be as new anymore to have yet another one. Let me introduce to you another addition to the Japanese fashion subculture, Cult Party Kei.
What is Cult Party Kei?
This particular Japanese fashion subculture didn’t emerged into streets until the mid-2010’s, which is considered pretty late if you look back to the famed Harajuku fashion that has been around since the 1980’s. But despite being late into the Japanese street fashion scene, it doesn’t mean that Cult Party Kei wasn’t welcomed as the others.
The term Cult Party Kei was said to have come from a resale boutique in Harajuku named Cult Party, which was later renamed to Virgin Mary, and since then has become a famous and well-known shop. The overall concept of Cult Party Kei was believed to have revolved around the aesthetics of the said shop.
This fashion style is famous for its religious imagery, as this is the key feature and the unique detail that sets it apart from the other trends. It is often confused with Dolly Kei and Mori Kei (Forest Style) because of its evident similarities, such as the use of vintage clothes, heavy layering and the choices of accessories, to the other two fashion style. However, as I’ve mentioned, they look and feel the same but each and every one of Japanese street fashion style actually differs from one another. And you’ll know more about it as we discuss this further.
Three words to simply describe this fashion style is that it is girly, pale and whimsical.
Cult Party Kei Basics: What to Wear
One important thing to take note of in the Cult Party Kei is that it is often confused with Dolly Kei and Mori Kei for one reason and that is because cloth layering plays a very big part to ultimately achieving the look. However, one unique characteristic this fashion has against the other two is that instead of hovering over old-fashioned or vintage styles, it leans towards more cutesy and pop-style.
The Cult Party Kei is believed to have very loose guidelines, rules and regulations regarding the clothes and also have very common and usual themes.
The most common color schemes that you would see in this fashion trend are mainly white, large amount of whites, and pastel colors. Stronger colors like bright red and darker pinks are also a common occurrence to this style, especially accessories and popping details.
A subgenre of Cult Party Kei called Dark Cult Party Kei focuses more on darker colors, mainly blacks and dark hues of blues, and rejects pastel color.
Fabrics and materials such as lace, sheer and gingham are the most prevalent in this fashion style. Also one of the commonly seen items that adds to the whole look are peignoirs, a very light and flowing dressing gown, lingerie and other types of nightwear. These pieces are considered the most fundamental and important in Cult Party Kei as they are the most commonly worn. However, to take note of these items, they are not in any way used in a seductive and alluring manner, but instead, are used for layering which is essential to the natural silhouette of this style.
Cult Party Kei also consists of numerous tiny details that eventually made up the outfit. Accessories such as embroidery, tassels, pom-poms, patches and different types of textured cloth can be seen hanging about with the outfit.
Hair and Makeup
Cult Party makeup and hair can be two things, it can be as overwhelming or as subtle as you like.
The main colors that are used for makeup are pinks, reds and peachy tones, with a natural base makeup or sheer foundation. However, if you want to go overwhelming, you can always exaggerated your natural face. Your natural rosy cheeks can be overemphasized by applying a more pigmented red blush, pale skin can be made fairer, and freckles darken. The eyeshadow is more often kept natural, or in neutral and pastel tones. An eyeliner and lashes is either kept dark and black or muted, like browns and greys.
For the hair, to matched the nightwear effect, it is acceptable to go as messy as the hair can be to get that just woke up look. If you are feeling a bit fancier than that, you can style the hair as a double buns, twin tails, plaits, braids or simply loose and messy curls.
To decorate the hair, flower crowns in a variety of pale colors can be used, the best thing? You can do this yourself and customize the flower crown however you want. Other than this, you can also use natural flowers and seashells as well.
True to its name, religious elements are also commonly seen in this fashion. The most obvious are red crosses, which is strikingly bold against the white pieces.
However, if you are not comfortable in wearing religious elements as a fashion trend, it is totally acceptable to forgo this and go with the other features of the style that you are comfortable with.