Curi Valentine, 26, is a student in DePaul’s Japanese studies program. She sings and plays keyboards in the “gothic Lolita industrial jazz” duo Curiosity Valentine.
Tell me about what you’re wearing.
I’m wearing my favorite dress by Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, which is a Japanese label, which I got at their store in Tokyo. My headpiece is by Angelic Pretty; I got it in Japan, too. The Harajuku mall has a couple stores that just cater to this style.
How would you describe your style?
Gothic Lolita. I found out about Lolita from the Japanese street fashion magazine Fruits. It’s a style that incorporates Victorian children’s clothing and also rococo France. It’s meant to look innocent and beautiful without being revealing. It’s characterized by collars up to the neck, skirts that cover the knee, bloomers with a petticoat, opaque stockings. It’s very strict–it even covers hairstyle. It’s all for modesty. I did it because I think it’s just the most beautiful fashion and I want to wear it every day. I’m translating a book right now, a collection of essays about being a Lolita, from Japanese, and publishing them on the Internet. It’s a big partof my life. There’s a group of Chicago Lolitas I am part of, and my best friend is the organizer.
So you dress like this every day?
Yes. I have been dressing Lolita, daily, for about a year, but on and off for the last five.
Does anyone ever give you a hard time?
No one does. But people ask me if I’m in a play or where do I work.
How did you dress before this?
I was very gothic, very Western gothic. One of the things that appealed about Lolita is that it’s a minimum of makeup, unlike Western gothic, which is makeup heavy. I can look goth without having to look so . . . brazen.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Curi Valentine photo/Carlos J. Ortiz.