Japanese pop cellist and chanteuse Kanon Wakeshima's instore appearance at Amoeba San Francisco was anything but typical. Performing a short set that included a few moments in which she explained her interests in preciously accented English and a dance prelude where she impersonated a mechanical doll come to life, Wakeshima graced the stage, flanked by a enraptured frenzy of devoted admirers, clad in an ensemble that suggested, or rather enhanced, the overall vibe of her music: a black kimono with puffed sleeves (the likes of which Anne "of Green Gables" Shirley would have frothed jealously over) topped with a raised, Elizabethan-esque ruffled collar, detailed at the hem with a volcanic red pattern-play à la Nipponisme. From beneath this romantic, east-meets-west hybrid of a cloak spilled a crimson confection of a cinched waist giving way to flowing skirts trimmed in endless ruffles and princess frills. One could see among the many avid onlooker's faces varied swooning expressions of delight, esteem and joy for miss Wakeshima as she danced, coaxed song after song from her cello-friend and sang enthusiastically from her frame of burnt caramel-colored ringlet curls. It was, in a word, very Disney in feeling, albeit Disney after dark.
Judging by the inspired fashion choices showcased by many of her fans at her instore show, Wakeshima, and her maker --- mysterious and reclusive musician/producer/fashion-designer/rockstar Mana, are lending a rather substantial hand in popularizing the Gothic Lolita fashion movement, a phenomenon that is said to have been started by Mana here in the states. (In fact, last week one of Japan's most famous houses of GothLoli fashions, "Baby, the Stars Shine Bright," opened a flagship store here in San Francisco's Japantown ~sugoi!) Add to that the current trend of Vampire-centric fantasy fictions and the long-standing popularity of anime, in this case a very popular with the ladies anime series entitled Vampire Knight, which features Wakeshima's single "Still Doll" as the closing theme, and voila! You've got yourself a pop culture force to be reckoned with.