Tuesday, 13 February 2018

RinRin Doll High Tea in Sydney

On 21 January the Australian Lolita Community (that’s right, the whole country and not just Sydney!) held what will undoubtedly be the year’s biggest event: a High Tea with RinRin Doll. This post is a bit later than I'd like as I wanted to wait for the official photos before posting, and it's also long, so sit tight!

As soon as tickets for the event went on sale I leaped in and bought one, springing a little extra for a VIP ticket because that came with professional pictures with RinRin and additional goodies in your goodie bag. How could I resit either of those things? Two events were actually organised; Neo Tokyo on the Saturday night, which was a clubbing event with additional special guests designer and DJ Takuya Angel and his fashion model Miya-chan, and then the high tea on the Sunday. You could buy combo tickets for both events, and a lot of people at the high tea had gone to Neo Tokyo as well. After a while it was announced that Takuya Angel and Miya-chan would also be guests at the high tea, which I thought was awesome. I'm not a clubbing type of person but Neo Tokyo sounded like it was a lot of fun, so who knows, maybe I'll got to the next one.

After buying my ticket there came weeks and weeks of outfit planning and general nervousness. The week before the meet I tried on my intended outfit…and hated it. It just did not work in real life like it did in my head. So I ran with a tried and true blouse and JSK combo, and decided to fancy things up in the accessories department. By my standards I was very dressed up! I don’t have a picture but I even stuck a peachy flower on my black bag for added floral goodness. In the end I feel like this outfit ended up being a little bit hime-ish, though it’s probably not OTT enough to really qualify. In any case, I liked it!

Good opportunity to share my favourite of the professional shots I got with RinRin!

So I had an outfit plan and spent some time figuring out how best to travel to the venue. On the Wednesday prior to the high tea RinRin posted a tiny video in the Facebook event waving to us and saying she's looking forward to meeting us and oh my goodness she has the most adorable voice! I hadn't heard her speak before and I kind of died of cuteness a little bit. After that I also stalked her Instagram stories and started to get really excited!

On to the day itself! In the morning I thought I had allowed more than enough time to get ready in  but found myself having to rush, which is never a good start to the day in my world (though the sleep in and boyfriend cuddles prior to the rushing was great!). But James got me to the station in good time, I didn’t forget anything, and I had a nice relaxing train trip down where I tried to take a nice selfie and made a good start on reading Artemis by Andy Weir. Before too long I’d gotten to Circular Quay station and managed to find my way out and on to the venue, the Sir Stamford Hotel. Once inside a collection of petticoats on couches told me I was in the right place and I took a seat below the dramatic chandelier and near the adorable plush wombats!

I didn’t know anyone who was there but managed to get more and more comfortable chatting with nice girls as we waited to go into the tea party room, so when one of the organisers came out and announced that there was a seating plan I was disappointed! But the disappointment didn’t last for long because after our table was called in we made our introductions and got to chatting and so I got to meet even more new people because of this!

I had actually been to this hotel and this exact function room for a promotional lunch meeting for work once, so I knew how beautiful it was going to be. But still, it was beautiful. Old fashioned and elegant, lots of gold and cream and dusty reds. Just inside the door to the function room two tables were set up, one with Takuya Angel merchandise and one with RinRin’s. I wish I had gotten a photo of Takuya Angel’s stuff, it was all epic cyber/rave style accessories but I didn’t think too at the time and didn’t have enough cash on me to buy anything. Opposite the door was the photo corner, and the rest of the room was set up with six tables facing the head table set up across some big, bright windows.

Have a little look inside the tea party room!

I think I was the fifth person to buy a VIP ticket for this event, as others on my table were discussing they had bought theirs early, and our seats were numbered. And lucky me, seats four and five were in the middle of the middle front table so I had a clear view to the head table where the special guests and organisers sat. Thankfully, I avoided making creepy eye contact with RinRin! My social skills didn’t fail me terribly, which is always a good thing ^__^ After all the tables were seated the organisers called our attention and announced the arrival of first Takuya Angel and his model Miya-chan, and then RinRin Doll!

Oh my goodness, RinRin is super adorable in real life. She was wearing a gorgeously elegant outfit, complete with lace gloves and a fancy canotier headdress. And the print she was wearing was one of the as-yet unreleased Angelic Pretty ones, Heavenly Banquet. It felt pretty special that she was wearing something like that, I’ll admit ^__^ And I’ll mention now that she was lovely and friendly and smiley and sweet all throughout the day. Even if you want to be cynical and say it's her job to be nice it still doesn't change the fact that she was!

After we applauded it was announced that some of the VIPs would have their photos taken with RinRin now and some after high tea was consumed. There was some confusion as first and we headed to the photo corner, only to be told we would be called up in groups of three. So back to the tables we went where we were each served a chocolate dipped strawberry with a flair of gold and had our tea or coffee orders taken; I had a rose and vanilla tea to start. I was called up for my photo very early, we took three shots and a short video waving to the camera. I also know the guy who was manning the video camera so had a little bit of a chat before he had to hit record on the next person’s waving video.

Then it was back to my seat and very soon out came the high tea, and what a high tea it was. Here’s the menu, because I think it deserves to be shared.

I immediately discovered one of the wonderful things about a lolita high tea. Everyone wants to take photos of the food, so you’re not the odd one out trying to get an aesthetic angle while everyone else just starts eating. Nope, we all whipped out our phones and had a good little food photo session. Here’s a shot of a three-person tower of deliciousness.

And here are a couple of close up pictures of my goodies. First the savouries…

…then the sweets!

Everything was really nice, but in particular the weird orange roll thing was amazing (it was the chicken and shallot in tomato bread pinwheel, had to check the menu after!) and the peach dome and verrine were definitely the best deserts I’ve had all year (hahaha)! The scones were very nice too, but no pictures, because a scone is a scone.

While we were all eating RinRin was going from table to table, spending a little time with us all. When she got to our table I think we were all a little awestruck but she was utterly lovely, very friendly, and we had the chance to ask her a few questions and several people gave her gifts, which she was thrilled about. She also took selfies and some videos with those people. I also saw later that a lot of people took selfies with her throughout the day, but I was too shy to ask. I rather regret not getting a more casual picture with her as well as the VIP ones (because I do not like how I looked in those!) but oh well. I’ll do better next time, and I hope there is a next time! But at least I have my VIP photos and our table group shot.

My table! Delicia, Regina, RinRin, Michelle, Serra then Esther, me, Sam and Alisha 
(probably spelled half those wrong but I think I remembered them all right!)

Things got a bit more casual after the food was eaten and RinRin had done her rounds. People started moving around, and I grabbed Sam and Esther to take photos in an aesthetic corner. I took photos of people, for people, and asked Sam to grab some shots of me as well, which turned out rather nicely.

Thanks Sam ^__^

What was really epic to see what the sheer range of epic outfits. I was definitely one of the most “casual” people there, so that should give you an idea of the scope of fashion that was on display. Here are a few collages of some of my favourite outfits where I actually got up the courage to ask for photos. A lot of these shots were taken in the foyer after the tea party ended and my phone did not like the dim light there so excuse the quality and admire what you can see of the outfits!

I loved the wing veil thing...apparently it was from Taobao and I kind of want one! My table mate Esther was wearing a super pretty BTSSB dress and the girl on the right handmade her whole outfit!

Alisha from my table was super cute and really fun too. The two outfits in the middle were super amazing with handmade pieces and so much more amazing in real life than in photos! Michelle, another from my table, had the best hair...I really want to try this kind of style out sometime.

The girl on the right came out from New Zealand along with Esther (I don't think I mentioned that yet, we had internationals visitors as well as people from interstate!) and she got excited when I complimented her dress and said "Empress Sisi, right?". Nikarra in the middle caught my eye right from the moment she walked into the foyer...and her hat was used for the raffle draw later on! Delicia's outfit was crazy awesome, particularly her hair and makeup but my photo does not do it justice.

During my wanderings I took a look at the merchandise tables. As I mentioned at the start, Takuya Angel's items were rather amazing but out of my price range. However, RinRin had postcard sets for sale for five dollars, so I bought one of those. Here's the cards that were included!

After a little while one of the organisers called us to attention and it was time for the Q&A with RinRin. Each table nominated a spokesperson to ask and agreed upon question (Sam was ours) and I jotted down some notes so I could share her answers here. Not entirely verbatim, of course, but I hope you find it interesting!

How many lolita dresses do you own?
Only about five! She only keeps the ones that have particular sentimental value for her. As a note, I assume that for events like this Angelic Pretty provides her wardrobe, since she was wearing an unreleased print.

Do you have any tips for travelling with lolita?
Vacuum bags, Febreze and underarm guards were her tips.

Will you ever stop wearing lolita and branch out into other styles, or are you a lolita for life?
“Lolita for life!” was the first thing she said, which was met with a cheer from all of us. She went on to explain that she already models quite a few different styles (as evidenced by the previous night’s fashion show at Neo Tokyo) but that she intended to continue to model lolita clothes until either she no longer wanted to or the brands no longer hired her.

RinRin at Neo Tokyo.

Who is your favourite person to work with at Angelic Pretty?
Asuka, because she is the one who tends to organise and direct the shoots and events that RinRin is involved in.

Who is your fashion icon, lolita or otherwise?
Maki, the Angelic Pretty designer, is someone who RinRin has looked up to and is now happy to be close friend with. Maki inspires her to be a better person (cue the loud aww from the assembled lolitas).

How did you hear about and start wearing lolita?
RinRin’s story here was incredibly relatable. A friend in high school brought her a GLB as a souvenir for Japan, and she fell a bit in love with the darker gothic looks (since at the time she wore punky, emo style “like you do when you’re an angsty teen”). She stumbled into sweet lolita specifically when she was scouted to model for Angelic Pretty when they were in LA . When she was dressed up in frilly pink she felt cute and adorable, and the rest is history.

Next was the raffle draw! There were three dresses, an apron skirt, and a pair of socks up for grabs, and first drawn got first choice and so on. I had only bought two tickets as I was trying to be sensible with my monies, but as it turned out I could have just bought one because the first ticket I bought was the fifth ticket drawn! Being the last drawn, I got the OTKS which were predictably the last item left, but that suited me fine! I was super chuffed to have won something ^__^

The funniest thing about the raffle though is that we collectively showed how Aussie we were – the response from the first girl drawn was a very loud “oh shit!” and the second girl did the same! It was funny though.

Speaking of being terribly, terribly Australian, when we took the group picture (which I think happened after the raffle, but it may have been the other way around) RinRin also wanted us to take a brief video saying “Hello from Australia” and waving to the camera. But that quickly morphed into “G’day from Australia, mate” which was…something. It was definitely something. I’m not complaining, I think it’s hilarious, but I love how utterly un-kawaii it was. If the video ever ends up online I'll share a link! And we also took a silly picture, of course.

After the group picture the best dressed chosen by RinRin was announced. She started by saying that we all looked amazing and that in the end her choice came down to her own personal preference for angel themes and she announced the winner, a cute girl called Ashley, who was overjoyed! I liked her outfit, it was very simple in sax and white and gold with a Taobao OP and cute little angel wings. It was so cute when she walked up to get a hug and a prize from RinRin because she had busted one of the side seams on her dress and was holding her arm to her side, but she was smiling from ear to ear. So cute!

And then it was time for us to leave. The organisers sent us out table by table so we could collect our gift bags and a little something from RinRin on the way out. My table was second (same as the order of entry) so we filed out. On the way out we all received a gift bag and also a postcard from RinRin herself, which provided a great opportunity to thank her again for coming out to Australia.

Despite leaving the tea party room no-one actually left immediately and instead we gathered in the foyer to examine our goodies and take more photos.

We Aussies are all class ^__^ We're the best fun too!

I also took a brief look at my loot in the foyer, as I saw other girls pulling out velvet bows and trading colours, but lucky me got an ivory set, which is a colour I actually needed! I did, however, trade my Australian Lolita Community ibis badge with Esther from New Zealand for one of the ones with an illustration of RinRin, because the Kiwi had to get the ibis. Had to. No choice.

The badges ^__^

But after a little while of taking photos and chatting it was time to head home, so I said a few farewells and headed back to the station. I had a silly moment where the flower got dislodged from my bag and I chased it across a (thankfully quiet) road, but let's not dwell on that. I had some bad luck with trains but I eventually made it back home to throw off my pretty outfit in favour of pyjamas! I also took some photos of my gift bag loot.

All in all this was a really great event. It was wonderful to attend a "proper" lolita event and meeting RinRin was really nice. I'm glad I got to experience this and spend more time with the Sydney community, and hope that something like this will be organised again in the not-to-distant future.

Also, as a random end note I wanted to mention that once again I experienced only positive (or at least neutral) reactions from members of the public. An older woman walking past me to exit the train I was one said she loved what I was wearing, while in the hotel foyer I answered a lady who asked us if we were dressed up for a production or party (right on the second one!), and another lolita posted in the Facebook event later that apparently a lady in the hotel bathroom wanted her to tell us all that we looked lovely. I just really like the fact that I have not yet had a negative experience in this fashion. I’m sure it’ll happen one day, but that’s always why I want to point out the good times even if they’re just little comments, so I can try and not let the bad outshine the far more frequent good.

Have you ever had the chance to meet RinRin Doll or any other lolita models or designers?


  1. That tea party sounds amazing, very well organised and really fun! I won't lie, when the first photos from the high tea started coming through, I was massively jealous (but then told myself that it's insanely hot in Autralia by my starndards and that I'd suffer if I were there, which helped a little :P). I never met RinRin, but she does seem like a total sweetheart and genuinely one of us, a Lolita, and not just someone who models the fashion sometimes. That makes a massive difference when interacting with them as a guest. And it's so great that everyone stayed true to their Aussie self, despite looking uber fancy - my local comm is exactly like that (one person genuinely said "Mother f*cker" out loud at a massive event when the ticket she was holding for someone else was called out, although she thought she only said that in her head :P) and I love that. It's making people seem more real and gets everyone relaxed when you can don your fanciest frills AND still do some Most Embarrassing Behaviour. :P

    1. It was really great! I'm really hoping it was a success from an organisational standpoint, because I'd love to attend something like this more often.

      Oh yes, it was hot, but we all just complained and went on with it...

      Haha yes, most embarrassing behaviour indeed! But it totally does make it feel so much more comfortable ^__^