Of Grave Elegance

This Halloween I had the chance to wear this outfit delightfully inspired by the undead!

I shared a work-in-progress post on this dress, which I would like to label as "mummy doll", or perhaps even mummy Lolita. I have always wanted to incorporate a bit of my interest in archeology with the elegant styling of the said fashion. It took a bit of time, and some last minute addition in terms of accessories, but I think it all came together rather well!

I decided to plan a photoshoot in my room. This meant I had to get a good backdrop and a few props. The night before I even sewed some ruffles onto the backdrop since it was not as long as I needed. On Halloween itself, I included my calaca, Carlitos, in my set. I bought him in 2013, when I was invited to guest at Expo TNT in Mexico. It was during the Dia de los Muertos, so he is pretty special!

As for the coordinate itself, I wanted to incorporate archeology since it is the field of anthropology that studies mummies. Back in grade school, I was deeply inspired by Howard Carter, and his discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. In college, I transferred to UP Diliman's Department of Anthropology, in the hopes that I would one day be an archeologist. And then I moved to California, where I decided to focus on my fashion instead.

And this is why I took care to get as detailed as possible in making my mummy dress! It was born from my imagination, and yet at the same time, it was inspired by the things that I value most. In case you are wondering how I achieved the old tattered effect of the bodice and the sleeves, I wrote down my process here. As for the lace up back, I owed it to California's heat wave in the middle of October. I knew I would need to properly wear this with petticoats, boots, and Gothic Lolita Rhapsody wig, so I had to come up with a way to be comfortable in it. Fortunately it has been feeling more like fall lately, and the photoshoot wasn't as strenuous as I expected it to be.

Aside from the bonnet, I enjoyed making the scarab beetle choker. It was a last minute detail but I knew I had to incorporate it since it stood for a more specific study, Egyptology. I found a scarab beetle charm online and ordered it, hoping that it would make it just in time for Halloween. When it did arrive, I found it much smaller than expected. But thankfully I have my stash of jewelry findings! I repeated the tattered wrappings effect on the photo frame itself, and then attached my scarab beetle charm.

In ancient Egypt, the scarab beetle was closely associated with the sun, and symbolized rebirth. If you have seen Brendan Fraser's The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, you would remember that Rick, Evie, and the gang feared a flesh-eating variant! That said, the scarab beetle choker is also a tribute to my favorite movies of all time.

Archeology does not only reflect my interest in mummies. It also stands for my wish to travel to the distant past, to watch the rise and fall of civilizations, if I might be honest. Of course, most of it is revealed in material culture (studied in archeology), but sometimes I just find myself wondering if it could, one day, be possible to travel through time. Perhaps a girl can hope?

On a serious note, I feel particularly connected to this piece. It has been such a long time since I truly poured my heart out into something that I made. It reminds me of my younger self, when I made things for the sheer satisfaction of it. Once again, I feel free.

A post shared by Kawaii.i (@kawaiiiofficial) on

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