Saturday, May 28, 2016

Under the Sea – Main Event


Under the Sea has come and gone and I am suffering from severe post-event depression. I wasn’t really planning to do so at first, but I decided to write blogposts about this event anyway to hang onto the magic for a bit longer. I made videos but didn’t take any pictures, but I hope the beautiful photographer pictures will do too. ^^ Here we go~!

The week before the event had been a really busy one, with goodie-bag-filling meetings, national holidays and me spending about five days glueing all the VIP badges together while watching Jason Bourne movies and RuPaul’s Drag Race. I was really hoping the Friday before the event would be a bit more relaxing; I would go to the airport to meet some of the Japanese guests together with translator August and Katie and then travel on to Amsterdam to get some last things done and meet friends. Unfortunately, the day didn’t go as planned at all and turned out to be super stressful. Of course, looking back at it now makes everything look a bit better: I got to talk a lot with August, who is an absolutely lovely person and despite some troubles, I got to meet guests Akira and Yu Kimura early. I can immediately start off by saying both of them are so incredibly sweet! ♥ I honestly love them both so much more (if that were even possible). Sitting in the same car as them driving from the airport to their hotel was such a highlight of my day. We taught them some Dutch words (they loved how close the English ‘hello’ was to the Dutch ‘hallo’) and I got to ask Yu why she prefers to travel in Lolita (since she was wearing a beautiful pink Royal Princess Alice dress). The fact that she prefers it because it keeps her warm while she gets cold easily was such a cute surprise. I was very sad when I had to leave to get some last things done. But luckily, we had two more days to go!

Saturday May 7th I woke up at the ridiculous time of 5 am to take a shower, put make up on, do my hair and dress into Lolita. Although I had deliberately chosen a light, simple outfit I still needed time. I woke up feeling stressed again, but it was then that I took a deep breath and said to myself: ‘You are going to have fun today. No matter what happens, you will enjoy this day.’ And I did. ^^ ♥
Before we go on, I will show you my outfit to get it out of the way. Despite being simple, I quite liked it. I hope you do too. ♥ Pictures (of course) taken during the day.

Under the Sea Outfit
Picture by C0re2 Photography.
✧ Under the Sea outfit ✧
My outfit rundown:
Pompoms: Paris Kid’s
Blouse: offbrand
Jsk: Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Millefeuille jsk
Tights: Hema
Socks: Doll Kiss
Shoes: An*Tai*Na
Bracelets: Paris Kid’s and offbrand
Watch: Swimmer
Bag (not pictures): Swimmer

Let’s proceed~! My incredibly sweet mom, dad and brother woke up at 6 am for me to load all the boxes I had to take with me into the car so I didn’t have to stress about that and just after 6:30 am my dad and I left for Amsterdam.

Boxes
Our car was filled to the roof with boxes!

Usually, this drive doesn’t take longer than 30 minutes, but since some roads were blocked thanks to constructions we had to take a big detour and to make sure we would be on time we left early. Luckily, traffic wasn’t bad at all and around 7:30 am we had arrived at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed in yet, so we waited until 8 am, after which the doors opened.

Royal Tropical Institute
The Royal Tropical Institute by day.
Picture once taken randomly off the internet.

I quickly greeted my friends and fellow organisers and together with my dad we dragged all the boxes of goodie bags and remote vending items inside and onto the tables. We had exactly two hours to set everything up and there was lots to do. I made sure all the lists I had printed were taken to the right people, I pointed out where some of the boxes had to go and tried to make myself useful wherever possible. Despite everything being hectic, I felt at ease and so excited!

Royal Tropical Institute Inside
The beautiful Royal Tropical Institute, still empty before the event.
Pictures by C0re2 Photography.

A bit after 8:30 am I went up to the Grand Hall where the model rehearsal took place. Since I would be doing the music for the three fashion shows I had to help out there. I met up with the technician, who I had met a couple of days before already, and we set up the lighting and tested the music we had changed last minute for one of the shows. After a while, I spotted Yu and Akira coming in too.
The fashion show rehearsal was honestly super relaxing for me. The balcony I was at was well air conditioned (which was nice, it was going to be a hot day) and since I didn’t have to run around, I could easily sit down and press some buttons.

My Fashion Show View
This would be my view during the three fashion shows of the day: my laptop and the stage at the back of the hall.

After the model rehearsal, I tried to make myself useful wherever I could again and soon there were only 10 minutes left to VIP hour: 10 am. I went to check whether the Japanese guests were all doing ok. Yu Kimura and Ayumi from RoseMarie Seoir were adding the last items to their stall and the Juliette et Justine ladies were ready to go.

Yu Kimura Stall
Yu Kimura adding the last items to her stall.
Picture by C0re2 Photography.

I went upstairs to the special vendor floor (that looked down on the main hall) and walked around for a bit to see whether someone needed help, to take a look at the goods being sold and to socialize for a bit. I wish I had done this later again at the event, but in all the bustle of organising I… forgot. -_- Anyway, I got to talk with some people I already knew, like lovely Katie, Sandra, Tro-Tro and Lou. ♥ And I also got to meet new people, like the amazing Jordana of Mossbadger. In the short conversation we had, she told me she reads my blog and watches my videos! I didn’t really know what to say other than ‘thank you’ and blush like an idiot, because it made me so incredibly happy. ;___; ♥ And then, out of the blue, she gave me a lovely pink, sparkly shell ring from her stall. Just like that! Coincidentally, I had broken my own shell ring I had planned to wear that very morning. It made me double happy! Thank you so much Jordana, you have no idea how happy you made me! ♥ I absolutely loved meeting you. ^^

Vendors
Detail shots of some of the amazing items made by the vendors.
Pictures by C0re2 Photography.

There was only a little bit of time left, so I went downstairs. It was almost time to open! There were (of course) a lot of people already waiting by the door. I spotted some friends and a lot of beautiful outfits!

Waiting to Enter
Guests waiting to enter the venue!
Pictures by C0re2 Photography.

Then it was show time~! ☆
The organisers and volunteers for the ticket check let in the first people and the event had officially started! Everyone at the ticket desk worked so hard! They not only had to find the right names, but also gave everyone a goodie bag as fast as they could. ^^

Ticket Check
Marie and Liselotte working at the ticket desk and Miriam and her friend with
their goodie bags.
Pictures by C0re2 Photography.

Since I had purchased a VIP ticket myself, I decided to make use of my only “official” free hour and buy the things I really wanted from the stalls. I almost ran up to the RoseMarie Seoir stall. This time, I was finally smart enough to check their stall really well and actually purchase something instead of just staring at everything in awe. I bought a gorgeous gold necklace with an arrow and a pearl heart on it. I love it so much! <3

RoseMarie Seoir
The amazing RoseMarie Seoir stall. ♥
Pictures by C0re2 Photography.

By the way, a cute-yet-hard-to-explain side note: while I was browsing the RoseMarie Seoir stall I noticed there were several pieces of paper on the table showing how much the items cost. Only… the descriptions on the papers were clearly put into Google Translate from Japanese into Dutch, which resulted into some hilarious texts! It’s a little hard to explain, but for example a ‘pierce earring’ was literally translated into the verb ‘pierced through’ and a ‘one piece dress’ had been translated into ‘a piece’. It was better in Dutch, trust me. XD
Next up I hurried up the stairs to the vendors floor to obtain a beautiful gold Voodooodolly crown. When she announced on her social media she would be bringing lots of crown, I almost lost it! I had been wanting to add a royal gold crown to my closet for ages! The Voodooodolly stall was immensely popular, but there were lots of crowns so I could take my time.
Voodooodolly
The Voodooodolly stall and its owner Mallory.
Pictures by C0re2 Photography.

I picked a beautiful crown, put in on my friend Josine’s head to see how it would look (haha) and purchased it. ^^ I was very happy to have a short conversation with the Voodooodolly owner about how much I love her work, but didn’t bother her for too long.
When I got downstairs, I just spotted my friend Eveline at Akira’s table. She is a huge Akira fan so of course I wanted to witness their meeting (hehe). She was just writing down her name for Akira when I said hi to her, when she started crying from happiness. It was so cute. x) I took a picture of her and Akira for her. ♥
The rest of the VIP hour I spent running around to help people in need, chatting, hugging people, asking what badge they got in their goodie bag and eating delicious apple pie.

Apple Pie
The apple pie served to the VIP guests and my cute Marin enjoying a piece. ♥
Pictures by C0re2 Photography.

That pie… it was so good! To think I was almost too late to try it… Argh!
Soon it was time for the General Admission people to come in and not long after it was time for the official welcome on the stage. One member of Street Fashion Europe of every country welcomed the guests in their own language. Not sure why I was on stage too again, I didn’t say anything. XD But I liked it. ^^

Welcome!
Oxana welcoming the guests in Russian.
Picture by C0re2 Photography.

Then the Japanese guests were introduced. Mariko Suzuki, Mamechiyo, Ayumi, Mari Nakamura, Koitsukihime, Akira and Yu walked onto the stage and took a bow. Everyone applauded loudly to welcome them. It was great!

Q&A
The special guests on stage.
Pictures by C0re2 Photography.

Then, most of the SFE members left the stage, because a special Q&A with the guests followed. I decided however to leave the hall and walk around for a bit. I was glad to talk for a bit with people and I even received some Russian candy from Spiro and French candy from Mila! ;_; ♥
Also, I want to mention it once during this post and not repeat myself anymore: it was hot during the event. It was about 25 degrees Celsius outside and despite the cool marble and air conditioning it was also hot inside. I had too much fun to get really bothered by it, but yeah… it was hot. x) Ok, last thing I will say about it (I hope). I wanted to mention it anyway for when I reread this in the future and think ‘Hm maybe it wasn’t that hot after all if I don’t even mention it?’ Well it was. XD But like I said: too much fun to be really bothered. ^^
I also took a good look at everyone’s outfits. Literally everyone had made such an effort for their outfits. It was truly magical to see! ♥ Some had very clear themes such as ‘pirate’ or ‘mermaid’, others had subtle accessories. It was truly an adventure to just look around.

Outfits Part One
Part 1 of a selection of the amazing outfits seen at Under the Sea.
Pictures by C0re2 Photography.

At 12.30 pm it was lunch break. Many people left the venue and it was time for my first set job of the day: making sure the special guests received their lunch. This seemed to turn into a bit of a challenge, since the head of the kitchen had gone to fetch the specially ordered lunch boxes and no one seemed to know where he was! While looking for him, I tried to assemble the guests somehow in very broken Japanese, but some seemed to have disappeared completely! too Finally, I found them in one of the fancier side rooms. Officially, this room wasn’t assigned to us, but at that moment I didn’t care: I was happy I had somehow gathered all the guests. XD Soon I also found the head of kitchen too. He and an assistant were loaded with paper bags containing lunches. When we got them to the guests and they were opened, both the guests and I were very happy to see what a wonderful lunch the bags contained. I wholeheartedly thanked the chef and left the guests to eat in peace.

Lunch
Lunch time~!

At 1:30 pm it was time for the first scheduled event of the day: the designers fashion show. Just a bit before 1:30 pm I went up to the dressing rooms to inquire whether everyone was ready (my friend Anne immediately nearly jumped me and proudly announced that her dying wish had come true: she was wearing a boat on top of her head. XD). We started a few minutes too late, but nothing too serious. I went up to the balcony at the back of the hall where I met the technician again. I was a bit nervous. For this fashion show the music wasn’t very challenging. We had made a long, classical mix in advance that contained enough music for two fashion shows (just to be safe). However, since this show contained many models wearing outfits from different brands, someone had to announce the brands in between. And that person was me. I was really afraid of making mistakes, like announcing a brand too early or too late. Plus, a last minute change had been made to the order of the brands. So yeah, I was a little nervous. x) Plus: the models would not only walk and pose on the stage, but would also walk down some small stairs and into the hall. I was praying no one would trip!
I spotted the ‘We’re ready’-sign from the person in charge at the dressing room and I announced the beginning of the fashion show. Everyone went silent and I started the music.
Despite the distance between me and the models on stage, I was really enjoying the fashion show. The outfits were stunning and the models did an amazing job at posing and not falling down the stairs (one model almost tripped, but no one fell thank God)! I also really liked seeing Akira modelling in a dress(!) for Violet Fane. I wonder how many people realised it was her? ^^

Fashion Show Part One
Some of the outfits that were modelled. Do you recognize Akira?
Pictures by Félix Yan.

Announcing the brands through the microphone went really well luckily. I am still surprised I managed to film, count models and announce all at the same time (you can see the result in the video at the end of this post)!

Fashion Show Part Two
More beautiful outfits.
Pictures by Félix Yan.

The show was honestly so great! ;_;
Finally, the fashion show was over and I left the balcony. I was a little relieved, but there were two more shows to come of course, so no resting just yet.
I walked around, chatted, took pictures and in the meantime helped where I could.
Ugh I swear, there were not only models on the stage. I am repeating myself, but everyone had made such an effort with their outfits! The photographers worked really hard to capture all this beauty, so I wanted to show you a small collage of some of the beautiful close up pictures photographer Miradel made.

Close Ups
Aren’t these close ups beautiful? Like paintings…
Pictures by Miradel.

I am not sure at what moment it was during the day, maybe at this moment or earlier or later, but at a certain moment someone of the staff asked me to accompany Akira to the toilet. Now I know this is a really normal and stupid thing, but since I hadn’t really had any interaction with Akira that day I was so happy I could be of use to her. I showed her the toilets, friendly kept some people from asking her for pictures (it was almost as if I accompanied a Disney face character, haha) and held onto her bottle for a moment. I know this was such a small thing, but you know… She smiled at me while I walked with her, our hands touched when exchanging the bottle (twice)… It was great okay, let me have my moment. x) ♥
In the meantime, I spotted more great outfits so here: have another beautiful outfits picture!

Under the Sea Group
Doesn’t this little group of people look gorgeous together!? ☆
Picture by C0re2 Photography.

At 2:30 pm it was time for the Yu Kimura fashion show and performance. Or rather, just fashion show, because unfortunately Yu wasn’t able to sing due to a cold. :( I and many people with me were quite sad about it, but well… what can you do? ^^
The fashion show itself was lovely. The models all wore KOKOKim items or dresses from the Royal Princess Alice x Yu Kimura collaboration. The models looked very cute and Yu herself was adorable of course.

Yu Kimura Fashion Show
The adorable second fashion show models. ♥
Pictures by Félix Yan.

For this show I only had to switch a slide for the projector and turn the music on, so I didn’t have to do much. I enjoyed the show tremendously. ^^ ♥ The music was also very fun: poppy mixed with Vocaloid.

Yu Kimura Fashion Show Group
This group picture is just so cute! ♥
Picture by Félix Yan.

I was really happy that despite my almost constant running around I also had time to catch up with friends old and new. I was incredibly happy to see Roxane, Marina and Anastassia again. I had missed them so much and they looked so cute and we hugged a lot. It was great. ♥
I took some lovely outfit videos of people and I got to talk a lot with Charlie! ♥ Charlie, aka Princess Fancypants, is basically my YouTube idol. *_* Her videos are amazing and set an example for me whenever I am in doubt. Even though we had never talked in real life before (only through chat on Facebook) talking with her was so natural! Maybe it’s because I watched her videos so much, but I didn’t feel shy at all. It was as if we had met countless times before already! Also did I mention she looked glorious? ^^
While we were talking, two adorable girls came up to us and told us they enjoy watching our videos. It made both Charlie and me so happy. ;_; ♥ It still makes me happy while writing it actually!

Outfits Part Two
Part 2 of a selection of the amazing outfits seen at Under the Sea.
Pictures by C0re2 Photography.

Somewhere in between I had purchased Yu’s lovely and pastelly style book and I was hoping to get it signed. Finally I spotted Yu, so we gathered around her booth and I took pictures for people who wanted to take a picture with her. I also got my own book signed and we took some pictures together as well. ^^ Yu is honestly so adorable and kind! She takes lots of time for her fans and she is just so cute all the time! ♥

With Yu
I am so, so happy with this picture of me and Yu! I love it to death! ♥

At 3:30 pm the lecture on Lolita fashion by Mariko Suzuki had started, but since the only technical assistance that was needed was a microphone I wasn’t really needed there. Despite it sounding very interesting, I decided to socialize a bit more and hopefully read the transcript after the event.

Lolita Fashion History Lecture
The lecture on Lolita fashion history by Mariko Suzuki.
Pictures by C0re2 Photography.

At 4 pm the Mamechiyo kimono fashion show should have started, but unfortunately the Lolita lecture went overtime for quite a long time! I hope people enjoyed it nonetheless! ^^
I was the most nervous for the Mamechiyo fashion show. There were only three models, but I had to change the music separately for each of them and try to make a nice transition between the songs. The first model entered, accompanied by a light and airy Mozart piece. The model looked beautiful and walked gracefully on the stage, elegantly opening her umbrella. When she left the stage and walked down the stairs, the second model entered. The transition to her heavy baroque piece by Lully wasn’t very well done, but I hoped no one noticed too much. The model, dressed in black, walked around and then too left the stage, after I switched to a romantic Elgar violin piece for the final model in bridal outfit. The transitions had all (fairly) succeeded!

Kimono Fashion Show
The beautiful outfits and models of the Mamechiyo fashion show.
Pictures by Félix Yan.

What happened next was a little happy yet stressful coincidence no one but me was aware of, so I am letting you in on a little secret here. ;) I didn’t have a finale piece for the kimono fashion show, so while all three models walked around the hall the romantic violin piece that had started for the bridal kimono model was still playing. Suddenly I noticed the piece would soon come to an end and the models hadn’t left the hall yet! I was slightly panicking, not knowing for sure what to do when the music was finished, when I remembered this model routine was different from the other shows: the models didn’t leave the hall, but walked back up the stairs and onto the stage, where they final-posed on the left, right and middle spots. While the bridal model approached the stage and the stairs, I kept looking at the music that was nearly at its end! The model walked up the stage, turned, posed… and the music perfectly finished there! It was the best possible moment to end the music and I sighed in relief! The show couldn’t have ended more perfectly! Pfew…
The designer, Mamechiyo, entered the stage and told the audience about the outfits and the inspiration she had had for them. It was quite interesting!

Mamechiyo Talking
Mamechiyo-san talking about her designs.
Picture by C0re2 Photography.

I left the balcony and joined my friend Josine behind the scenes. We were both pretty tired, so we sat down for a while to have a little bit of rest. It was nice to talk for a bit in the quiet staff room. ♥
I didn’t rest for too long though, because at 5 pm it was time for the raffle! I helped a bit with setting up the table on the stage and quickly spreading all the prizes on top of it. The hall was filled with people, eagerly waiting for the next event to start, which it soon did. We were joined by Akira and Yu Kimura who both donated prizes for the raffle. Both stayed on stage to hand out prizes with us.
The raffle started. Carmilla read out the numbers she drew from the box and then gave them to me, after which I crumpled them and put them on the table (I am so useful, can you tell? XD). However, when Akira or Yu handed out a prize they collected the winner’s number and gave the little piece of paper to me as well, so I touched hands with Akira multiple times! *o* Yeah, the raffle was a lot of fangirling on my part. Brace yourself.

Under the Sea Raffle
The raffle is always an exciting part of any event!
Pictures by C0re2 Photography.

A lot of amazing prizes had been donated. Many people squealed in awe when we presented an amazing iridescent shell bag or drop dead gorgeous mermaid crown by Voodooodolly. Unfortunately, it was sometimes hard to spot the winner in the hall. Most of the people didn’t yell out when they won something. Next time just scream people! Makes it easier for us! *o*
When we got to the prizes donated by Yu and Akira, winners were asked on stage to take a picture with them. Yu gave them a hug, but the people who won an Akira prize, she invited them on stage by holding out her hand and practically kissing the winner’s hand (and basically killing me. Three times! ♥)

Lucky Winners
Some VERY lucky winners! *o*
Pictures by C0re2 Photography.

After the raffle, we invited all the winners on stage for a picture. Everyone held up their prizes and smiled for the camera. It looked quite lovely. ♥

Raffle Winners
All the raffle winners together! ☆
Picture by C0re2 Photography.

Then, Yu and Akira decided to dive in as well to pose with all the winners. It was so cute, I cannot not post a picture of that too!

Yu and Akira
Be still, my heart… ♥
Picture by C0re2 Photography.

The event was almost coming to an end sadly. Once the winners had left the stage, the organizers took the microphone again and thanked the guests for coming. Someone shoved a microphone into my hands as well so I thanked everyone for coming too. ♥
We tried to take a group picture, which is always a big adventure. -_- We were with so many people and difficult light! We even opened the blinds to create more light. So much work. x) I know it can be tiring as a guest, but if you like good group pictures please bear with the staff! ♥ Luckily, the group picture came out really nice. Can you spot me?

Group Picture
The final group picture of the Under the Sea main event.
Picture by C0re2 Photography.

Finally, the event really had come to an end. It was time to slowly get people out of the venue while cleaning up as fast as we could. I hugged people where I could and somehow managed to take some time with Josine to film a small interview with Mila for Kawaii International. I can’t wait to see the final result (even if we get cut out, which is always a possibility of course)!
When (most of) the guests had left, everything had turned so quiet again! No echoing voices, no hordes of people. I was almost strange! But… no time for dreaming, since we encountered a problem regarding some boxes, but thanks to the amazing security guy Pippa and I managed to fix it (I make it sound simple, but it was quite stressful actually. XD). Pippa and I thanked the chef, security guy and technician wholeheartedly and then finally left the venue too. And just like that, the main event was over…
Outside we met up with Michiko and Connie and we decided to walk on to the restaurant where I had managed to have our organizers’ dinner in an hour. Since everyone had completely disappeared while Pippa and I had been carrying boxes somewhere else, I called some people to make sure everyone was still coming. But there had been no reason to worry: everyone showed up in the end! It was nice to calmly chat for a bit with these girls. ♥
Around 8 pm, everyone slowly showed up and the restaurant kitchen started preparing our food. I sat next to Connie and Pippa and across from Akira, Yu and August.
Organizers Dinner
Our organizers’ dinner was very relaxed and fun. ^^

I had a really nice time and the food was really good! We had a main course of delicious satay, prawn crackers and cucumber relish and for dessert we had ‘spekkoek’, ice cream and fruit. So good!

Dinner
Our delicious after event food!

I was almost sad when I had to leave because my dad had come to pick me up. But I was also really tired and infinitely grateful I could sit in a comfortable, air-conditioned car. And I would see everyone the next day again! ♥
The drive home was great and I was happy to be able to get out of my clothes, into my pyjamas and into my bed. It had been an incredibly, unforgettable day!

This was my post about the main event of Under the Sea. I hope you enjoyed it! Here is the video I made of the day. Please check it out if you have time!


If you want to see more amazing pictures of the Under the Sea main event, please check out the Street Fashion Europe Flicks album. ♥
Thank you for reading! ~☆