This topic popped up again some days ago at the larme-kei Facebook group and I thought I’d like to write my own thoughts about it. If you haven’t read about it, this “debate” is about if Swankiss should be considered as a larme-kei brand or not. Some people argue that it’s a substyle of larme-kei, a more ott version of the style and others say that larme-kei doesn’t have substyles and Swankiss isn’t a larme brand even if some of their items are featured in the magazine and fit the style.
When I started getting into the style and got my first Larme magazines I was a bit lost and didn’t really have an idea of how to describe the style. I feel like many of the people who are into larme outside Japan often describe larme-kei the same way Risa Nakamura describes her style. Mature but cute, cute with a pinch of darkness. Even when I agree that Risa’s style is definitely larme-kei I don’t think all outfits you see in Larme magazine are Risa’s style. If that makes any sense haha! So Risas style is larme, but larme is not only Risas style. I thought about the definition of larme-kei when I watched the Kawaii International episode which was about Larme (and which someone kindly has uploaded to Youtube). The editor in chief, Haruna Nakagori, helps the stylist to choose some outfits for a photoshoot for the magazine at one part of the video. The narrator says something like “What are the criteria of putting together the outfits?” and the stylist answers: “I don’t pick clothes that Haruna says aren’t right for the readers even if the clothes appear cute on the outside.”. From this line I kind of get the impression that the style we see in the Larme magazine, which is larme-kei, is basically what the editor in chief and stylist think suit the style of the magazine.
Also when I go through the magazines I have myself I feel that the style is so.. versatile it’s almost impossible to describe. The only things that I think really define larme-kei and ties all the looks in the magazines together are the general mature feeling in them and the kind of melancholic, a bit sad or dark, mood. I think those are the most important things that define larme-kei because the clothes can be so different.
I’m quite heavily basing these thoughts on the Kawaii international interview though so I’m not sure if this is totally right and if I should have checked some other sources as well.
Swankiss style on the other hand, in my opinion, doesn’t really have the same dark edge larme-kei has. If I remember correctly I read on tumblr (which means it might not be entirely true heh) that Saaya Hayashida, the producer of Swankiss, wanted her brand to be it’s own style and created it with such intention. I think she has succeeded in it. It’s somewhere in the middle of gyaru and larme I guess but it doesn’t perfectly fit either of those. Swankiss looks often don’t have the sad/dark feeling to it which larme looks do and they often don’t look too mature either. I think Swankiss style is a very happy and dreamy style and the general feeling compared to larme is so very different. Therefore, I’m one of those people who do not think of Swankiss as a larme brand even when I agree that some pieces from the brand fit larme-kei as well. I personally want to think about Swankiss as it’s own style and on this blog and on my tumblr blog I use the tag “swankiss-kei” to tag the posts that I think suit Swankiss style.
But as I said before, the way I define larme-kei is based on the impression I got from the interview so I’m not 100% sure if it’s correct. I still can’t read japanese very well so my sources are sadly a bit limited.
If you have some thoughts of the topic please share them in the comments! And I’m sorry if the post was not interesting to you, I just never really wrote my thoughts of the topic before so I wanted to finally share them! It would be great to hear other people’s points of view of this.
Have a nice week!! ♡