The Virgin Mary store in Harajuku – Cult Party Kei

Thursday a month ago was a verrry busy day! Valerie from Tokyo Fashion & Art Factory and I met up to wander Shibuya and Harajuku, visit a few Dolly Kei stores, and later visit Kikirara Shoten and interview her.

First stop of the day was Tarock, which I mentioned in an earlier post, as they were one of the retailers involved in Merry Go Land. 

But what I was most excited to visit was The Virgin Mary, which is the new store that supercedes the infamous Cult Party from Koenji.

Indeed, Ari and Kyana and other Virgin Mary staff like to refer to the style as “Cult Party Kei” and not “Dolly Kei”. They are friends with the Grimoire staff so there’s no enmity; they just prefer their own term for their style.  At the front of the store is a mannequin showing some of that Cult Party Kei style, and as you round the corner to the doorway, you see the unmistakeable Virgin Mary crucifix. (Click on any of the images to see them larger and in more detail).

Above the counter is a shelf that also champions the motifs and mascots of the genre: unicorns and merry-go-round horses, victorian dollies and sweet kitties, and the ever-present crucifix.

Like Grimoire, Cabaret and other stores, the Virgin Mary is stuffed with artefacts from yesteryear; bunnies and dollheads chief amongst them.

There are also other toys and teddy bears thrown into the mix, with old prams, antique chairs and ubiquitous tassels.

Overall the store has a lighter, brighter feel than the others, with floors and shelves painted a milky white for a shabby chic finish.

But it’s the clothing you want to know about, right? There are lots of romantic floral prints, and more fun whimsical prints too such as spots and cherries and even gingham. Tutus and ballgowns hang beside cotton day dresses.

In amongst them are sublime velvet and lace creations, and I picked up a beautiful old blood-red (almost black) velvet stole or cape embellished with black venise lace and bugle beads. It works beautifully with my gothic outfits, and would also do so with aristocratic type dolly kei outfits.

Pleased with my purchase, I posed with Kyana, with all the delicate finery around us.

I really recommend this place for dolly kei or Cult Party kei vintage clothing, or just to drop in at marvel at the decor!

We rounded off the afternoon with a visit to Grimoire (see my earlier Grimoire blog post here). The girls Hitomi and Heri looked immaculate, and were sporting floral headbands. I purchased a floral brooch a few days later from their stand at Merry Go Land, so now I have my own headband! I bought a skirt that day from Grimoire – black with orange & red paisley designs with sequins – you’ll just have to wait to see it.

It was then time to bid farewell to Grimoire, and catch the train to Kikirara Shoten’s atelier for the interview – which was a saga in itself! More on that to come.

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  2. Wow! GREAT blog! I stumbled upon your blog when I was searching for “The Virgin Mary” in Shibuya. I also went to this store this summer. I am also very inspired by Tokyo street fashion, and even though Cult Party Kei is not my particular style (Have you seen very much men’s style like this? Some shops I think of are ‘Amen’, and the designer ‘Kanata’), I am still very inspired by it.
    Anyway, you may like my blog. I do illustrations based on kind of underground Tokyo street fashion. I was actually searching for a good pic of Ari-san, as I’m wanting to illustrate her. Thanks!

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