Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Out to Tea - Central Park Hanami

Last weekend I had the pleasure of going to a hanami picnic in Central Park. It was a decently sized gathering of wonderful company paired with a myriad of excellent potluck foods. We spent the afternoon lazing beneath the gorgeous cherry blossoms gorging ourselves, basking in the sun, and chattering away like squirrels. The weather was absolutely phenomenal and even though we had experienced a cold snap only a few days before, we had just the perfect temperature for an all-day meet - breezy but sunny.

Just a fraction of our delicious spread!
What I loved about this meet was the relaxed atmosphere. Normally meets are a bit more of a to-do - especially in and around New York where so often you have to make reservations ages in advance. Even then, oftentimes parties are held in private parlors, but with a two or three hour maximum which leaves many of us feeling rushed at the end of our otherwise lovely get-together. Though by attending a picnic we opened ourselves up to the constant clicking of cameras and the occasional nosy passerby, at the end of the day we could still spend as much time as we liked admiring the beautiful sakura and soaking up the excellent weather.

Everyone brought their own place settings to accompany their potluck food which was not only eco-friendly, but made for a very cute set of mismatched dishware. We had a patchwork quilt of everyone's different blankets and our little picnic party grew with each passing hour as more guests arrived. It was quite a lovely change of pace from the formality that I so often associate with meets. Instead it was far more like an intimate gathering of kindred spirits. I hope to be able to attend more meets like this in the future which allow for longer periods of conversation and companionship.

Photo (c) Xin Lolita Photography
In the spirit of hanami I opted to go for a wa lolita coord by pairing one of my Innocent World JSKs with one of my yukata I bought in Japan when I lived there in 2013. Though it took a bit of finagling to keep the coord together all the way from my apartment in Connecticut to Central Park, I got a decent number of shots which I was really happy with. Though the tightly cinched style of the JSK was not particularly happy to be paired with the yukata, and the detachable overbust portion had a tendency to get a bit floppy, I was overall very happy with the result. This was a coord I had been planning out in my head for a long time and I really liked how well the colors worked together. I got to have some really fabulous conversations with some of the other picnickers about my time living in Japan and subsequently about my interest in wa lolita. It was nice to get down to the details of lolita and building an outfit while using other people with incredible taste as brainstorming machines.  

Photo (c) Xin Lolita Photography
Overall I went for relative simplicity with this particular coord. I used my real hair instead of a wig due to my relatively long commute and did it up in a simple twist with my favorite light purple kanzashi. I attached an amazingly intricate floral pin I bought when I was in Okinawa last year that utilizes special local textile techniques; the piece is very detailed and has a nice pop of different contrast colors and patterns for that extra bit of flair. To my waist I added my burgundy Chantilly bow that I got from RuffleCon last year. My tights and shoes were both offbrand, but I kept them relatively unadorned and simplistic. 

Photo (c) Xin Lolita Photography
I had a fabulous time at hanami this year and felt very blessed that I had the opportunity to spend an amazing day outside under the most spectacular cherry blossom trees in excellent company. My second wa lolita experiment went quite well and I felt quite cool and comfortable all day with my light fabrics and roomy sleeves. I'm excited to try out this style again and find new ways to incorporate my yukata and kimono into my classic lolita style. Here's to another year and another hanami come and gone!

Until next time, stay strong and beautiful, my lovelies,

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