Understanding Liz Lisa aesthetic. Brand evolution 1999-2009

14 de abril de 2021

Hi, Gals! Welcome to another blog post. Today I want to talk about something really interesting I had in mind for a long time and I finally get to put together thanks to the Liz Lisa 10th anniversary mook where they do a compilation of their trends & collections of their first 10 years. I found that mind blowing because most of us have or had the misconception that Liz Lisa always was inherently Himekaji and it's not actually like that. However it’s true the brand was a huge driver for the style to grow and be what it’s now. So here I'll do my best to explain and translate the main Liz Lisa miletones since their birth. Let’s start! 

How Liz Lisa was born and which is their concept? 

Liz Lisa is a brand that was born in 1999 and started under a more generic yet trendy aesthetic for the gals of the era. Since then until now we can see colors like: White, pastel, pink, denim and plaid. But of course, with a super different styling. We could say their first years were for gals more into banba. During Tsu-chan's era the tans were more intense and the looks more tropical and sexy, and it wasn't until 2010 that they were all for the Himekaji looks.

However even if they have had so many changes on their trends, they still work under the concept of Retro Girlish. According to their website, Liz Lisa is a brand that mixes retro fashion and trends trying to keep the feminity on their items. They also say a Liz Lisa girl is one that enjoys the current trends, she has a cute and fluffly atmosphere and that allows her to enjoy fashion. And that also allowed the brand to reinvent themselves during the years.

Evolution of Liz Lisa 

2000 and 2001 were years cleary towars gals into banba, with lighter tans, full denim. However they never went over the top as other substyles. They were still into platforms, bright colors, early 2000s makeup (full glitter and light blue eyeshadows), and some textures. Most of their looks were pretty dark though, but that's something that changed on the next years because their audience went younger too. Around this time, Liz Lisa's audience was graduated kogals.

Other big influences for Liz Lisa were Ayumi Hamasaki because all gals wanted to look like her on fashion, makeup and nails. But Morning Musume was a trend setter as well. They say around this year they decided to add floral patterns to their items and the "retro style" became prominent.

2002 was the year that shapped a little bit more the brand. We can see the fuwa fuwa coats, ruffles on the tops, more flowy skirts and denim jeans were still a must on the era. Neutral fashion was trending around this year but folklore / ethnic items were popular as well because of the big influencer of international fashion. 2002 FIFA World Cup Final was organized in Japan and that cultural exchange inspired the brand. I personally like how they started to introduce their cowgirl elements since such an early year. Plus since then, they had this occidental feeling on their looks.

Scans from Liz Lisa Doll

2003 and 2004 were the years when we start seeing merchandising for the brand and that's super good. Merch means that the brand has a broader audience so they don't only buy stuff because the clothes are trendy but because they love the brand and they would use other items on their lifestyle. This is also a super good way to market a brand more towards a lifestyle, more than a fashion one. 

Liz Lisa also had a incredibly cute white winter collection with skirts and coats we could see even now. Of course they weren't Himekaji yet, but it's super exciting to see their Himekaji roots during these years. The main influence for the brand during this two years were: Britney Spears and the korean drama "Winter Sonata" that was a huge boom all over the country.

According to Liz Lisa, 2005 was the year of the otaku boom, maid cafes, emoticons and the special production of the Japanese drama "Gokusen". This year they had some spring-summer collections with a tropical resort feel looking concept. And they celebrated their 6th anniversary as well with special merch like pillows and keychains.

Meanwhile their autumn concept was a romantic holiday to Paris. This was the first time Liz Lisa went abroad to make a full lenght catalogue. Around this year, the victorian style was a boom with even more fuwa fuwa coats that became a must for the brand. 

And they closed the year having an special fashion show for customers only. (I'm super jelly of them. Lol)

Something really funny they said is that around 2006 the keyword "erokawaii" was like the trending topic of the era thanks to Ebichu (if you haven't watched that anime, it's hilarous with a kawaii but erotic humor about a hamster named Ebichu). But the "Handkerchief Prince" Yuki Saito was it as well. He was so popular, that everyone cheered him even more than Jpop idols. He was a fashion icon and the most well-known athlete of the year. 

This year Liz Lisa also released their first fukubukuro in a Boston bag and some of the most popular items were their British tweed jacket and the black and white party dresses. 

Meanwhile on 2007, ℃-ute was a big reference for fashion and men and women were their fans, just like the governor of Miyazaki Prefecture among highschool girls. Crazy right? I'm still surprised all the context Liz Lisa gives for their productions.

Some must items during 2007 were the lace and cotton one pieces, the resort like tops with an open back. It was this year that Tsu-chan was one of the main models of Liz Lisa and had a super popular runway for the Girls Collection Fashion Show. However her modeling for Liz Lisa didn't last long because this year she also got married and decided to take a break to have her baby.

The 2008 arrived and just like the previous years had their own trending topics, now was the beginning of the celebrity lives with the boom of blogs. Meanwhile what was trending in fashion were the natural looks. Those ones that make you look connected with the nature. 

Bohemian style was popular during summer and they also had a lucky bag for the season more merch items like fans, towels, scrunchies, all of them in plastic bags. Ready to go to the beach! 

Liz Lisa also had this autumn collection with more flowy dreses in browns and camels. They wanted to make more mature looks but with a folk look and feel. But to be honest, my favorite combos were the white x beige ones. Those faux fur coats were everything.

And that's how Liz Lisa lived for 10 year and they included their main trends in 2009: Ehtnic, bohemian and resort style. And decided to go even further with them.

2009 trends

The previous year Liz Lisa decided to include blue on their outfits, but it was this year when they made actual full blue looks on their spring collecion "Happy Mexican Girly". Then in June they had the "Romantic Cow Girl" collection with more boots, hats and cotton dresses and the retro rose prints became prominant for them. 

Liz Lisa also had a speciall event during the openning of their store in Shibuya109 with Tsubasa. For that event the concept was classy European look we can see all around this 10th Anniversary catalogue that got some phoshoots on the Eiffel tower (with their collection Victorian Retro) and the Tokyo tower (with their collection Victorian Rock). And they broght back the iconic 2007 photo of Yui Kano, Tsubasa Masuwaka, Kana Hoshino and Yuu Fukunaga in those gorgeous white dresses. 

And finally they closed the year having Yui Kano as their main model with cuter trends and looks. It was around this time that Liz Lisa took the path of putting toghether princessy looks with her. And they also put more attention to students as their audience. 

I hope you enjoyed this super long blog post. It was hard trying to translate as much as I can while I was trying to understand the context and checking up all the people and events the brand was talking about to be sure I'm not understanding wrong. 

I also found Liz Lisa Archives has the whole catalogue scanned if you want to give it a check: Liz Lisa 10th Anniversaty Catalogue

Woud you like me to do a second part with the evolution of Liz Lisa from 2010 to 2020 to analyse all their Himekaji to Otome evolution? Let me know in the comments.



6 comentarios

  1. Ahhhh I need this issue more than ever now ;^; Thank you for this! I did a similar thing to this on one of my older blogs. I also found in one of my magazines that there was a Liz Lisa CRU? Did you see anything about that? I can't find any info on it and it's driving me crazy XD
    Also yes, even though I am not a fan of their newer stuff, I did like up till 2014 collections~

    1. Yess, it's really good and they even have some makeup tutorials. But I didn't see anything about CRU. I know it's a LL sister brand more into amekaji if I'm not wrong, but never really put that much interest in that haha. Sorry ;^; The only thing I saw are items on second-hand market places.

  2. Wow! it's super interesting to see how a brand evolves over the years, continue with the second part please! <3

    1. Waiting for the next mooks already! Can't wait for them to arrive. (つ≧▽≦)つ

  3. who are the creators of lizlisa

    1. No idea, but you can find the brand info here: https://lizlisa.co.jp/company.html :)