Growing up – forget it. Looking sexy- never. And appearing as though you might have a pulse? Better to glow blue like porcelain. Or to dress like a china doll.Check out any place where young women hang out in Tokyo, and you are likely to find Lolitas. In fact, it’s hard to miss them.

The look is little girl, tea party cute, starting with black hair ribbons or tiny bonnets and moving to frilly dresses and thick platform boots or Mary Jane flats, often augmented with a lace umbrella to protect the as-milky-as-possible complexion on sunny days.

And it has swelled into a full-fledged subculture, one established enough to have spawned several sub-sub-cultures, each with its own very precise nomenclature, starting off with the classic Gothic Lolita _ pale with dark lips in heavy makeup – and progressing through Elegant Lolita, Sweet Lolita – a poofy, doll-like look – Punk, Country and Black Lolita, wearing almost exclusively black from head to foot.

Gothic and Lolita got its start in the early to mid-1990’s among Japanese schoolgirls inspired by the band Malice Mizer and in particular by Mana, the band’s effeminate guitarist, who wore black and white ruffled dresses, elaborate bows, false eyelashes and heavy white makeup.

This is not cos-play, or costume play, where teens make their own costumes of favourite anime characters and gather over the weekend. This is real-life and girls walk the streets dressed like life- sized dolls.

Here’s a peek at the weird and wonderful world of Lolita’s…

Mian -Lolita at Flickr

Mooshuu at Flickr

Mooshuu at Flickr

Stereometric at Flickr

San Hwu at Flickr

San Hwu at Flickr

San Hwu at Flickr

Matt Watts at Flickr

 Matt Watts at Flickr

San Hwu at Flickr

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