Monday, January 4, 2016

Traveling Lolita : West Coast PMX 2015 and OTTea Party

I guess this is better late than never! Last fall I attended for the second year in a row, Pacific Media Expo.This year the convention was moved from Los Angeles to Pasadena California. Coincidentally there was a stand alone tea party going on the following weekend, The OTTea Party which was in San Francisco. It aligned perfectly and in such a way I was able to swing both. I hope you enjoy my coverage and experience of both of these events as much as I did and hope to do them again in following years!

I flew in to Los Angeles a bit early to spend time with friends and we all carpooled to Pasadena Friday morning. It was a bit unnerving since I had specifically got approval by the hotel for an early check in ( some of my roommates were staff while others were VIP and had time constraints ) and yet we didn't have access to our rooms until almost that evening. This year I went as a regular attendee and while it was only regular access this year, I felt it was still well worth the trip of going. So aside from not being able to get properly dressed for the majority of the first day ( which was not the conventions fault, but the hotels ) it was pretty good.

Lorrina Lidelll and Kira Imai were the guests this year and they were by far the most down to earth, polite people I had ever had the pleasure of hanging out with. Much like the first year of Rufflecon, it was a very intimate atmosphere and you could mingle freely with the guests all through out the convention. Kira Imai asked that we not post any photos of her, but I do own a Polaroid of her JoJo posing with me which is probably the next best thing to own Cats Tea Party to me.

The tea party was offsite this year and was at a tea house venue. It was a bit cramped and warm, but the food and service was extraordinary. The variety and decadence of all the teas  included with our sandwich and dessert fair were way past my expectations and resembled that of the years prior. Everyone got a gift bag with hair clips and other accessories from Lorrina Lidell and a few postcards signed by Kira Imai. It was during this time I got to meet some wonderful San Francisco jfashion enthusiasts, artist designers, and a wonderful gal from our table who ended up running around with me into the evening bonding over Hannibal.

For the most part, all Jfashion panels were on time and informative. The lolita 201 panel covered color theory, textures, and evolving into the lolita you want to be and more in depth interpretations of substyles. This, in all honesty was a breath of fresh air instead of watching folks drone on and on in the normal 101 panels that never seem to cover all their bases, or overload the poor newcomers with a lot of info and not a lot of hope.  And the swap meet was a fairly large success for all those involved. I do hope in the future there are a lot more jfashion panels or things do to as in the area after dark there was not much else and there were not night activities what so ever besides anime viewing rooms. 

I really wish I would have grabbed more photos from / during this con, but between the modeling ( I modeled for Haneuli in the photo above. 
The image above that is my coordinate from the tea party. )  and juggling of friends, I was too busy enjoying the convention to take more. While I feel this year probably had its lowest attendance yet due to the date conflicts with other surrounding conventions, I felt that this change was mandatory for the growth of their Jfashion department and for the con as a whole. I hope in future events the dates will be better, but I can not wait to see what guests this powerhouse team will produce in future years. For more information on PMX, I suggest following them on Facebook here or their fashion website here for the most up to date information regarding events, guests and plans for next year.

Photo by Ashley Marie

Shortly after PMX, I was jettisoning up from Los Angeles to northern California, San Fransisco. The event, OTTea Party was a stand alone event created by three young women. It was a limited seating event for 70 people at a cost of $70 per ticket. I had first heard about the event from a friend, but the event had already been sold out. But due to the overwhelming response some additional spots were added and I was able to procure a ticket.    

The event was in the French Parlor of the Palace Hotel in the downtown area of San Francisco. We don't have anything nearly this pretty around the parts I live in, so it was truly a sight to behold to attend a non brand tea party in such a lavish location. Everything in the area glittered with golden overlay and crystals. I even had problems finding a spot where there was bad lighting, the location was just so phenomenal. As we entered and checked in we were given a raffle ticket and a special goodie bag with trinkets from the tea party as well as a postcard with the banner illustration from the OTTea Party, a wonderful keepsake illustrated by the talented Ha-Anh Dinh.

Inspired by adventures, fairy tales, and romance, My Dear Charming premiered at the event and it was possible to purchase their first design at there. This line was inspired by the O-T-Tea theme, and I'm not terribly sure if these exact tights are still in production, but it was still really neat to see a new indie brand debut here.

The food was absolutely on par with the atmosphere and did not disappoint. We were told there were only to be 5 sandwiches a piece per person, but I feel that after the 4th set ( each table got three plates at a time ) of plate sandwiches laid at our table, that there were way more than that available, which is not a complaint by me. I do not believe the tea was as good as the PMX parties was, but that was held specifically at a tea house so you really can't beat that.

And of course... the coordinates. How could you not document the coordinates?! Everyone was dressed to impress and there were so many great themed outfits that I felt so inspired from everyone I met and talked to. It was also a fantastic touch by the event committee to provide professional portrait photos as a courtesy by, VK Photography and Niocle Keane.

Another great addition i wanted to touch on was that after the tea party a 21+ after party was announced; at Louie's, a bar just a few blocks down. There you could unwind in regular clothes and still catch up with people you may not have had time to during the tea. This was something I had really been interested in and got to bond with new faces and talk trash about my our fandoms, life, and about the next big event coming up, Rufflecon. It was the first time I had ever met a lot of these women so it was great to see everyone on both sides of a coin, in lolita and out. 

It was an event I felt very privileged and fortunate to attend and with the announcement of their new Fb page, OTT Comittee, I believe there might be another tea party in 2016. In the opening description the founders mentioned that the goal of our event is to provide a gorgeous setting worthy of truly dressing up for, and I feel they accomplished just that. I look forward to this years installment with baited breath. I think this and Moss Marchen's teaparty might be the biggest non brand events of 2016! Thank you for reading about these events and I hope they inspire you to start and attend more outlandish events of your own. 

1 comment:

  1. I went to this place in first time with my husband on Tuesday night after work. The inside of this Chicago event space was quit big and had enough seats to sit and nice bar area. We had a few things, along with drinks and it was all good!