Thursday, 2 January 2014

Dark mori, Dolly kei and music.

Oh, and happy new year! I'd kinda forgotten about that.
Hope y'all had a good Christmas as well.

It was over Christmas that I've rediscovered my love of all things Harajuku. That is, the street style/fashion cultures often associated with Harajuku, Japan.
Because srsly, they have the prettiest damn clothes.

There are many, many, MANY different styles in Japan and around Harajuku, but I have narrowed my favourites down to a few.

Gothic Lolita
I mean, that's kind of obvious for me. I shan't be writing about Loligoth though, as there are already many comprehensive articles all over the internet about it. Also, I just really want to write about all the other things.
However, I do recommend visiting these lovely folks if it is something you wish learn more about/look at purty things.

Mori girl (and Dark Mori)
Mori means 'forest' (I think, or something along those lines...). It involves looking like you live in/come from/love forests, funnily enough. The usual palette is beige, off-whites, creams and pale browns, and like with many Japanese styles, requires LOTS of layers, and has a very floaty/flow-y silhouette.

A Mori girl in Tokyo. All photo credits go to

While Mori girl is very pretty, it isn't really my cup of tea. I much prefer Mori girl's slightly evil lesser known twin: Dark Mori. I mean, it does what it says on the label. Mori, but darker. Also known as Black Forest Mori, and Strega Mori (referring to the witchy feel of the style).
It Mori girl is an attempt to portray a lighthearted,  rural Summer woodland, then Dark Mori is a forest in Autumn and Winter, scattered with the bones of animals.
The silhouette is pretty much the same, using lots of floating layers, chunky knit cardigans/jumpers, and lace/crochet, but in charcoals, blacks and deep autumnal colours.
And the animal bones weren't an exaggeration either. Skull (particularly stag/bighorn sheep) print accessories, horned headbands and even jewellery made from animal bones complement Dark Mori outfits perfectly.

Go google it. Now.

The tumblr Strega's Forest is a great place for inspiration, as is Carnivale Salt and The Reliquatory.

I have to say, this is wear I'm heading with my personal style at the moment. Except the days when I want to look like a punk who passed out in a bush after watching Withnail and I, or like I've just rolled around in Halloween decorations.

Dolly kei
Dolly Kei has a little Mori, a little Dark Mori, a little Cult Party Kei (yet another street style. The clueless should read this) and a lot of retro. Again, many layers are needed, and there's a hell of a lot of 70s hippy/Gunne-sax influence. And you can never go amiss with velvet, lace and carpet bags.

Another photo from
70s prints, deep jewel tones mixed with pastels and LOTS of frills and tassels are definitely needed too.

For those wanting more Dolly Kei, this article, this tumblr and this post on the website are a must.
And now for the music. All of these are primarily styles that revolve around the fashion, and as far as I'm aware don't have any bands that are directly associated in the same was as Punk, Goth etc.

So I though I'd compile a list of songs/bands that I think suit the general feel of Mori and Dolly Kei.

First off, go read my Halloween post and the list of songs on there.
Because some of those might be on this too, and even those that aren't might be a pretty good place to start.

Not sure what to say about this one, except that it's really good... 
A pretty obvious one, but I'll add it anyway.

The Dead Weather - Hang you up from the Heavens
I've probably said this word too much already, but hey: Great song, very haunting. A damn creepy and a damn good album that is (Horehound.)

Jasmin Tabatabai - Let yourself go wild
Good song, good film (Blood and Chocolate). I heartily recommend both. 

Blackbeard's Tea Party - Cliffs of Moher/Slagathor's Death Roundabout
Blackbeard's Tea Party are a British, York based band. Imagine sea shanties mixed with dark folk and that's the closest you'll get. They're pretty damn good.

Könsförrädare - Raging River
Just plain damn good. 

Florence and the Machine - Howl
Their first album 'Lungs' at least (it's the only one I've heard all the way through) has some quite dark/creepy undertones that go quite well. Plus Florence Welch's fashion is pretty boho.

- All About Eve - What kind of Fool
All About Eve were (are? They might still be going) a band in the 80s/90s. They have slightly goth undertones in some songs/albums, and a definite boho/hippy/gypsy look in songs like 'Road to you soul' and 'What kind of fool'. I seriously recommend the videos for those two.

Tankus the Henge - Life is a Grimm Tale
It's a good song and it referencing the Grimm Brothers. What more can you want?

Loreena McKennitt - Stolen Child
Yet again, don't just listen to the one song, everything Mckennitt touches is worth gold. Pagan-y, folky, and dark. 

Creepy, dark and haunting. 

Longshot Nelson and the Disjoints - The Kelpie
Scottish Dark folk about about such creepy subjects as 'Sawney Bean' and 'Peg leg Jack'. Absolutely worth a listen.

- Karen Elson - The Truth is in the Dirt
Just watch the video and you'll understand

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Spellbound
I only picked 'Spellbound' 'cos it's my favourite song. Just about anything/everything by them is good.

Emily Jane White - Dark Undercoat
Again, just about everything by her is good. On her website she's described as 'goth americana', so I think that fits with Dark Mori: creepy, haunting and folky.

- The Goblin Market - At Last
They wrote an album about Rossetti's exhumation of his wife's body (Ghostland) and one about the Bronte's (Beneath Far Gondal's Foreign Skies) which seems pretty Dark Mori.

Yaël Naïm - Toxic
A wonderfully haunting cover of the Britney Spears song. Don't let that put you off, it is honestly great.

Swiss folk metal, heavy on the folk. They have a hurdy-gurdy. What more is there to say? 

- Sisters of Mercy - Temple of Love
Nothing wrong with a little bitta good ol' goth. 

- Rasputina - The Olde HeadBoard
Raspuntina are a big one for Dark Mori/Dolly kei. Just look at 'em. Just listen to 'em.

- Fiona Apple - O sailor
Her look isn't really very Mori/Dolly Kei (well, in this video she has a nice vintage-y feel) but damn that music is good. A bit quirky, a bit creepy in places, all awesome.

I realise this was a very long post. But I hope you found it interesting/intriguing at least.