Classical Paintings Challenge

This month a number of Australian lolitas took part in a challenge to recreate scenes in art or sculpture, while wearing lolita. Half the challenge was to guess the piece of art depicted, but this proved fairly easy — not because all the pieces were particularly well-known, but in fact more of a testament to the quality of the emulation! There were no strict rules so we just did our best.

I hunted for something I could a) do together with my partner, and b) put together mostly from pieces we already owned, so settled on a favourite Thomas Gainsborough painting. We had quite a limited window to take a photo so did our best – it was early evening, a hot day, the dog needed to stay still (though she behaved admirably), I had to communicate what I wanted to our friend with the camera, and keep things like feathers and ribbons in check. It was also going to be impossible to find somewhere with a similar background (probably an invention of the artist, as studies suggest the figures were painted indoors), so I just scouted around for 20 minutes and felt that this section of path had a similar feel to a lot of backgrounds in rococo paintings.


I am wearing my little chemise a la reine. I bought a red-shot green silk dupion to create the bows from, as I thought it would catch the light in a way similar to what is suggested in the painting, and stiffened the brim of a felt hat. I forwent the stays because of heat and discomfort (though it would’ve provided a nicer shape), then added a belt and some silvery-blue chiffon for a shawl. Adam’s waistcoat and shirt are also from Vanyanis.


The original

There were a few other pictures taken that day that I thought were okay, but were not used in the challenge:

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  1. I can’t think of many other subcultures that would have members coming up with such a cultured challenge! One of the things I love about Lolita is all the Lolitas who take the historical inspiration in earnest 🙂 I also think that your outfits are beautiful in themselves, and do well to replicate the painting. Brilliant 😀

    • Amy
      Amy Reply

      Thank you! I think historical fashion will always be my #1 motivator in lolita fashion, and I actually feel like the time and care (and … money) invested in lolita has helped improve my style and eye for details in general, which I can carry over to a lot of things (e.g. being pickier with lace quality, running out of ideas & time and getting creative to make things from scratch).
      I wasn’t going to enter the challenge at first because of the time I knew it would take for me to be happy with the entry – in the end it did take two or three days to buy fabric and make the trimmings I was missing (I don’t have a sewing machine), a day to get ready and take the photos, and a few days to choose and edit the final to the best of my ability. In the end, I decided it was more important to evoke the mood of the painting and get the key points right, rather than stress about finding somewhere that mirrored the background. We also forgot to bring a hat with us… ugh. 😛

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