Written by Valerie Fujita
We have read of Mori Girl fashion and yet the appreciation is changing from one to another. Dolly Kei is being confused with Mori Girl. Western Lolitas are already turning onto Mori Girl fashion. Not to lose our path in understanding Japanese fashion and stay close to what is being a Mori Girl, we thought that going back on simple rules and look again at some basic guidelines would help a little.
If the first line says that Mori Girl is a girl who looks like living in the forest, we could spend hours in debating about what a girl actually living in the forest would look like. It has to be said also that Japanese like to conceptualize fashion and trends, as they like to categorize people. We talk in Japanese fashion about “kei” 系which literally means group (natural kei, shibuya kei, dolly kei, yurakuji kei, lolita kei…). This tendency is everywhere, a way to recognize the people we look like, signs having a strong importance in Japan more than anywhere else. This had been said, probably fashion in Japan is a sign for socialization, another sign that follows its role to distinguish people belonging to this or that group, (as in another way uniform makes society flat and in order).
To be fully understood, Mori Girl fashion shouldn’t be simply quoted as “a girl who looks like being in a forest” but one’s should review all the points that this fashion is associating… Points, that fashion as a long list of, 60 rules to follow almost by the book. We could remind some here like the fact that one-piece have to be loose, that the general silhouette describes an A (Mori Girl fashion doesn’t show the line of the body), leather bags have their preference, they cultivate a natural look for make-up (almost no make-up, keeping only a fresh skin and big pink cheeks, short nails), practice pictures but only with film camera, moreover with toy cameras…
Mori Girl has a well defined archetype
Mori Girl has a well defined archetype
Mori Girl fictional archetype was declared as being the character of Hagu, the primal pretty art student in the manga Honey and Glover. The actual archetype of Mori Girl fashion is the actress Yuu Aoi (Best wishes for Tomorrow, All about Lily Chou Chou, Hana and Alice…) who, as a matter of fact, plaid the character of Hagu in the movie Honey and Glover (2006). The Mori Girl archetype is, on the contrary of the fashion, not so difficult to understand. It is a pretty and natural girl, with a soft and transparency mood. As she is some kind of dreamer, naturally she can spare her time without realizing it, in café or in furniture shops. She prefers the slow life of forests and fields to the stressful Tokyo.
And if Mori Girl fashion now appears to you that simple, something that would be cute and simply casual, it’s not yet the truth.
Natural… Not that simple
Although Mori Girl fashion could be defined as cute, we couldn’t resume Mori Girl style to this word (in Japan, girls have the habit to say cute to anything seeing the word more or less hackneyed, as in its original meaning of cute, the word kawaii was used to describe small and round things). Choco explains in her Mori Girl fashion and style book how to wear flower prints and laces, that flower prints should never be associated to too sweet colors (we are, here, quite far from Lolita Fashion).
The fashion is not natural although Mori Girl Fashion plays with the natural feeling using for example linen fabric. The fashion is not that simple either as even if at first glance a top would appear quite simple, actually, Mori Girl fashion looks for twisted and keener designs. If it’s true, as Dolly Kei, that Mori Girls like Folklore and ethnic prints (Marble Sud), it looks more like something they could have gathered during a trip. And above all, these items should be used in the limit of 1 only per silhouette, whether it is a bag, earmuffs, boots (we are here also quite far from the folklore look of Dolly Kei). When it comes to material and especially fur and wool, Mori Girl fashion has to search particularly for fluffy materials; fluffy fur, knit with a fluffy warm atmosphere. The fashion likes volume but not artificial volume maintained by pannier or petticoats. The volume is naturally created by layers and layers of clothes in the general silhouette, by layers and layers of fabric, sew and twisted in a savant way to create this natural volume that never fades (Fur Fur is famous for over using layered design clothes themselves associated in layers).
When Mori Girl fashion pays attention to antiques, the fashion is whether searching for real antiques or simply items with an atmosphere of antique. They are particularly accessories like brooches, earrings, or even stoles, something to put on, to attach to their clothes. If dark green, dark blue, Bordeaux, mustard, etc., have their heart, the patterns shouldn’t be mistaken with Dolly fashion patterns. Colors associated in the Mori Girl fashion patterns keep the look of colors that could be found and could dissolve in the forest. Mostly, these patterns are directly inspired by nature; flower prints shouldn’t be too big; we also saw some madras and dots prints but the look keeps playing on natural kei (SM2, Olive des Olives).