Thursday, 9 July 2015

Apolia and Caramel Ribbon Photoshoot - Behind the scenes

Apolia and Caramel Ribbon are rising stars in terms of Japanese indie brands and are both inspired by Mahou shoujo designs, creating beautifully intricate pieces that are fit for a real magic girl. The owners of both brand are actually real life BFFs, and help each other at events around Japan. Both of them were extremely nice and cute and patient with my Japanese, as our meetings were conducted in Japanese. Mahou Kei is getting increasingly popular in Harajuku, especially same brands such as Nile Perch having multiple stores in Harajuku with their airy fairy pastel pieces. As much as I love Nile Perch, some of their designs seem a little lazy, while  Apolia and Caramel Ribbon are two of the most detailed brands I have ever seen; I will do a rundown of them now.


Apolia is a clothing range that truly brings magic to life. Their influences are drawn from Harajuku, magical girls, Pastel-Kei, and Visual Kei. Unlike Cult-party kei there is something both cute and sexy about their designs, as a lot of the pieces have a silhouette similar to negligees or night wear and use of extremely cute stockings and suspenders and corsets.
Apolia actually create everything - dresses, corsets, stockings, accessories, scarves and even eye patches! This is another thing that surprises me about Apolia, how versatile the designer is! She can make anything and piece together a full perfectly matching outfit, not a lot of designers can do that. Although the pieces seem elaborate when put together, they also work in casual outfits too!

Please check Apolia here;

Caramel Ribbon

Caramel ribbon is primarily an accessory brand, making earrings, bracelets, rings, necklaces and even nails. They are, much like Apolia, super intricate and detailed and bursting with mahou shoujo magic. Although the influences of Sailor Moon, Madoka and Precure are there, each piece is very unique in its own way. Everything I have seen from Caramel ribbon looks as if it has been plucked out of a magical girl anime. They come in a rainbow of colors and in person the crystals and jewels sparkle brightly and they are a necessary piece for any aspiring magical girl.

Please check out Caramel Ribbon here;

Instagram - caramelribbonvv
Blog -

The makeup artist was called Miyuki, she actually custom makes her the eyelashes she used for this shoot, you can buy her eyelashes in Dangerous Nude in Shinjuku ALTA!
Twitter; myk_jellyfish

Now you have an idea of the brand and makeup artist, I will talk about the photoshoot.

The photoshoot was broken i to four outfits, the concept was a normal girl who loves magical girl things, she falls asleep on a bed with her favorite things and has wonderful dreams of fantasy worlds and becoming different characters. These are some photos taken on my camera phone, I will create a new post when the final edited versions are finished.

Look 1

The first look was the natural look of a girl who loves magical girls. Natural makeup and hair was used, but the outfit itself was pretty decadent. It was a red and white night set complete with a giant head-eating bow and opulent jewelry. The outfit was super soft and made from delicate cotton, the details on everything were incredible, down to the last stitch, This outfit seemed somehow angelic, with the bodice having little angel wings and crosses sewn into it.
The set was a bed covered in the magical girls "favorite things" including plush animals, cosmetics, flowers and pieces of Caramel ribbon jewelry.

Look 2

This outfit was very magical girl inspired, everything about it was so dreamy!
It was a corset and pannier skirt two piece with an elaborate collar with two drooping stars. The skirt had two little pastel pink coils dangling from it, it kind of reminded me of Mami Tomoe's hair in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica! The headdress was kind of old-school Lolita style but intensely decorated with pastel goodness. This outfit used a rainbow of pastel colours but they somehow fit perfectly. The friend of the owner of Apolia made her a special Magical Girl wand just for the shoot made out of foam! It was still a little wet with paint at the time of the shoot, so I had to be really careful. Again, everything was made, even down to the shoes and the little rainbow nails.
The makeup artist was truly amazing, it is hard to see in the photographs but the eyelashes have little keys and padlocks on and flecks of gold. Small details like that made this shoot utter perfection.

Look 3

 This outfit called "Maria" was very interesting and different to anything I have done before. The atmosphere was so solemn and the concept was sleeping again, maybe even death. I will post up more pictures as I get them but the main part of this outfit was a beautifully embroidered top with crosses and stars, then a very long flowing skirt and white veil and pastel blue platts. This was a very unique take on the Virgin Mary perhaps, with crosses strewn around the set, which was super creepy looking!, The makeup was very white, blue, sparkly and icy.

Look 4

The last outfit, much like the other three is something completely different!
This character would be the most "evil" of the three, adorning dark colaors and kowa-kawaii makeup.
The dress itself, looks like it could be worn by the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, with a red and black color scheme, puffy sleeves and a white color and accompanied with a giant crown. Again, it was beautifully decorated with charms,gems, and lace. The crown was huge, but covered in hearts and stars and spidery black lace to add to the creepiness.
The hair and makeup of this character was my favorite - the lips were drawn as though they were sewn together, the eyes were smokey and an opulent eyepatch was added, adorned with little charms and even had little silver fish dangling from it! The wig was very short and black and red, it was my first time to wear something like that and it felt so different, which made this so fun for me.

We shot for about seven hours, with four different looks and four different sets. The designers, who also created the sets, where amazing, as were the photographer and makeup artist, this was the best and the most well-orchestrated shoot I have ever been a part of, I am so happy and excited to see the outcome!

Please support the designers.


  1. Wah those designs are to die for O.O Could you keep some of the clothes they shot you in ;)?

  2. Where can I find Caramel Ribbon in Tokyo? I wanna buy those Accessories. I only saw SWIMMER Brand accessories in Harajuku :(