Paradiso 2018: A Model's Perspective **Lengthy Post**

I know, I know -- I'm ssssuuuuppperr late. I'm sorry, y'all. When I say I have been busy~! Actually "busy" can barely describe what's been going on in my life for the last couple of weeks. Maybe "hectic" is a better fit.

Anyways, I'm finally here with my review of Paradiso! For those who don't know, Paradiso is a 2-day Japanese fashion event in Kansas City. This year's Paradiso was a year full of firsts for me: Goth Bae and I got to participate in the fashion show, and I finally got to go to the tea party!

Paradiso banner, I do not own!
Since I have a lot to say, I just want to get right into my breakdown of the weekend. I'll try to highlight as many points as I can, so please bear with me, dear readers: this one is gonna be pretty lengthy.

If you'd like to read my previous post on Paradiso before starting this one, you can read about Paradiso 2017 here.

Pre-Party: Meet, Greet, and Swap
People with their goods to swap and sell!
The Pre-Party Meet, Greet, and Swap was held the day before the actual event, on the second floor of the event space. I was so pleased to see that instead of having a consignment shop at Paradiso, they created a "Day 0" type of event, which made it much easier for attendees to swap or sell their stuff.

I thoroughly enjoyed this short event, as it gave me a chance to see my fellow attendees in their "civilian" clothes, and say hey to everyone in a more casual atmosphere. 

The swap event was free for all attendees with a Paradiso badge, or $10 for those that didn't have a badge, but still wanted to attend the swap. I didn't hear of anyone that paid the extra $10, but given that we were in such a contained space, I'm sure it would have been easy to tell who didn't belong.

However, not once did I worry about randoms appearing out of nowhere with no idea what was happening, which was a minor issue at the hotel last year.

I had a fairly successful swap too -- I managed to trade a skirt that I never wore for a gorgeous second-hand blouse!

Table full of swap goods!
The swap also gave us the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the Athenaeum a bit. I was able to find out where the bathrooms were located throughout the space, the exit doors, and the general location of all the events taking place on Saturday. 

The Athenaeum, I do not own this image!
All and all, I loved the Pre-Party! I really hope Paradiso continues to have additional events like this one to make their weekend celebration a more well-rounded experience.

Day One: Fashion Show
My AirBnB!
On Day One, Goth Bae and I had to report to the venue by 8:30 am for model prep and rehearsal. We stayed at an AirBnB that was a mere fifteen minutes from the venue so to give ourselves a bit of time, we woke up at about 7 am. We got all our modeling gear together, ate a little bit, and did our base makeup before heading back over tothe Athenaeum to start off our busy day.

As a side-note: I love AirBnB! I've been using it to book rooms for every con and event I've gone to since last year. Book a room (or house!) for your next trip and get $40 off with my referral link!

Like I mentioned earlier, this was my first time modeling in a J-Fashion Show, even though I've hosted two of my own shows previously. To be on the model's side of things was an eye-opening experience, and one that I'm extremely thankful for. 

Goth Bae and I modeled for the awesome J-Fashion Indie brand, Puvithel, though sadly, our designer wasn't able to attend Paradiso. For more information about Puvthiel's brand, and to check out her fantastic pieces, visit her Etsy shop here.

Puvithel brand logo, I do not own!
I definitely wasn't expecting to be accepted to model for Puvithel, but once I found out, I was really excited to push my style limits by modeling her clothing. 

Once we arrived to the Athenaeum, we were gathered up by brand, and given instructions on the schedule by the Fashion Show coordinator. From there, we had our fashion show rehearsal on the stage downstairs, and then sent back upstairs to do our hair and makeup.

Models and MUAs prepping for the fashion show.
After doing our hair and makeup, we were given some time to shop at the booths before attendees arrived to officially begin the event. I will say that it seemed like we were given a little more time than was necessary to get dressed and ready for the fashion show, but at the same time, I know that having extra time is better than not having enough time. 

Eventually, showtime rolled around and the models were all lined up by brand order. I was grouped with the rest of the Puvithel models, and in case y'all are reading this -- All of y'all are absolutely incredible! Thanks for chatting with me and letting me run my mouth about random topics to get rid of my nervousness and jitters.

Group shot with my fellow Puvithel models!
Photo credit: Fatimah Roberts
Goth Bae and I were spooky sisters, wearing Puvithel's Slaughterhouse 413 print. I was assigned the JSK to wear, and Lorelai was paired with the high waisted skirt. Here are our fashion show coords!

My fashion show coord!
Coord Breakdown-
JSK: Puvithel Slaughterhouse 413 JSK
Blouse: Ebay
Everything Else: Offbrand or Taobao
Photo credit: Shintaro Maeda. 

Goth Bae's coord! I love those shoes and her dramatic eye makeup!
Photo credit: Shintaro Maeda.
After the fashion show, we were asked to return the fashion show pieces to our Brand Coordinator, and change into our normal coords. It was at this time that we were able to shop a little more, and eat.

Day One: Shopping
Lolita Collective Room.
One thing that I always look forward to at Paradiso is the shopping experience! This year, Paradiso offered an extensive selection of J-Fashion brands to shop from. The set-up was pretty nice as well: the Lolita Collective (who had the most merch) got an entire room to themselves, and then the other brands that had a table or two worth of goods were given space in the Main Event room.

Remote vending.
There was also a slew of shops that were vending remotely; AKA Paradiso staff was shipped their goods, and selling them on-site for them. I appreciate Paradiso for offering this opportunity for brands across the world to sell their goods, but I have to say that the Wunderwelt selection was a bit underwhelming. 

Wunderwelt table.
However, I know something like that is entirely out of Paradiso's control, so hey, at least they were able to offer some of Wunderwelt's secondhand goods at the event! Look at that silver lining, ^_^

Ouji Accessory Auction stand
In the Remote Vending Room, there was also a table selling Paradiso specific goodies, and this stand, for the Ouji Accessory Silent Auction. I think the auction was a cute idea, especially since the proceeds went towards helping the event, but I'm not exactly sure how I felt about it.

Mostly, I wondered how staff would handle having two of their main staff members attached at the hip to an attendee for the majority of Sunday's tea party, but I'll talk more about that later, XP

Dreamholic booth.
In the Main Room, there was a good amount to keep people occupied, like shopping (as mentioned previously), eating small appetizers, taking pictures the unique photo booths, or just socializing in general. 

Personally, I felt like the food during Day One was SO GOOD! After modeling all morning, I was starving, and the selection of foods and sweets was exactly what I needed to regain my energy! Since I had already gone shopping before the fashion show, I only spent a little more time around the booths, taking a break to get my bearings and chill out before the Ouji-Sama Pageant. I wasn't the only person either, haha.

We live in a digital world.
An announcement was made at the front stage when the Ouji-Sama Pageant was about to begin, so I stayed in my seat and just waited for the show to start.

Day One: Ouji-Sama Pageant
Ouji-sama contestants.
If you recall in my review from last year, I admitted my skepticism about the pageant. After seeing it successfully completed without being super cringe-y last year, I had an idea of what to expect for this year. 

There were some new and returning contestants to this year's pageant, and I personally think everyone did a good job. I really liked the creativity of the coords presented, and even though I wasn't in attendance for the entire event, what I did see was fun! I especially liked the section where each Ouji had to court his Princess.

A Woodland Prince courting his Princess.
And those Princesses, wow!! Their coords were impeccable! Just like last year, the pageant was really cute and, though you could tell some of Princes were just playing a character, it went over pretty well. During the pageant judging, there was a raffle, and I won a prize! YAY!

After the pageant ended, people were able to take a few more pictures and shop a bit more, and then it was time to leave. I was happy to go to my temporary home, and get out of my coord (but mostly my dang contacts), so Goth Bae and I went back and took some coord picture, before we changed.

Here's my coord for Day One!

Coord Breakdown-
Rectangle Headdress: Soufflesong
JSK: Angelic Pretty Romantic Rose Letter Special Set 2018
Blouse: Ebay
Tights: Target
Shoes: Taobao

Day Two: Tea Party, Art in Bloom Museum Tour
Welcome sign at the Tea Party!
Day Two was the Paradiso Tea Party! I was excited to attend since I had missed out on the tea party last year. The tea party was hosted in the historic Webster House, which I'll fully admit I was worried about. 

Those that know me, know I don't do well in historic venues. For some reason, the dust and cobwebs that are typically found in historic homes, vintage tea houses, and the like are just really unappealing to me. It's a weird personality quirk that I've had for as long as I can remember, but I digress.

The Webster House is niiiiiceee. It's not some old, ancient building that's crumbling to pieces -- it's a really nice venue with amazing decor and service. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the venue to see just how pretty and well kept it was. 

Everyone was dressed in their finest, so I can only hope that we fit in with the rest of the attendees. I'll let you be the judge, XP

Me and Lorelai, <3
We arrived at the tea party, took a selfie (LOL), and immediately walked a few steps from the check-in directly to the food line. The tea party menu was served buffet style, with tea cups, water glasses, and napkins already set on the table. 

Tables at the tea party
Now, I know that many people aren't too fond of buffet style for Lolita tea parties, but I'm not opposed to it as long as there's enough food to go around. The staff at the Webster House were really good about bringing out trays of food as items got low. 

I will say that as a meat eater, I was a little disappointed to see that there wasn't any actual meat related items on the menu, but I understand that everyone is different, so it's best to offer a diverse menu that everyone can enjoy. I really liked that the menu catered to so many different palates even if it didn't meet mine. Luckily, I'm not a picky eater, and I enjoy veggies too!

Buffet table!
Earlier, I voiced my concern about the staff members that would have to serve as an Ouji Accessory during the tea party for the lucky attendees that won the silent auctions. Thankfully, it seemed like each staff member was able to cater to their assigned Lolita, and still do whatever they needed to do. Shout-out to them for managing so many things at once while still looking flawlessly put together!

Tea party attendees.
During the tea party, the guest of honor, Lovely Lor, gave a Q&A and picked the winner of the coord contest. This was a little unusual to me, as the space wasn't really designed to have this type of presentation. The dining room was split into two separate rooms with the large buffet table right in the center. When the crowd gathered around Lor, I found a seat off to the side, and though I could hear Lor speaking plus attendees asking her questions, I couldn't see anything because I'm short, and I also didn't want to stand near so many people when I was already warm in my coord.

Lor was super cute and sweet! She chose the coord contest winner based on someone that actively follows her Youtube channel, which made sense to me. I would have like to see the other guests choose coord contest winners too, and hear from them as well, but I know that one of them was busy working as an Ouji Accessory. In my opinion, it would have helped to incorporate the guests in the event a bit more, especially since they only served as judges the day before, during the pageant. 

The biggest complaint I had for the tea party was how short it was. After waking up at around 10 am to put together a full coord with makeup and circle lenses, the last thing I want to do, after all that work, is attend an event that lasts for less time than it took me to get ready. 

To be fair, if I had to guess, that's most likely a time constraint set by the venue. Thankfully, there was ample time to get group photos and individual shots for as long as we wanted. I had a blast taking pictures in the venue too! Here's my coord picture for the tea party.

Starry coord for the Woodland Arcadia!
After the tea party ended, there were two events -- a VIP event at another venue, and a free, guided tour at The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Since my feet were killing me, and I'm not a VIP this year, we went home to change clothes, and then headed over to the museum.

The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art.
I really enjoyed the art museum once I changed shoes (lol), and it was a nice way to do some sight-seeing in the city before heading home on Monday.

Final Thoughts
Modeling selfie!
After last year, I didn't think Paradiso could get any better, but it did! I had so much fun, and I feel like this year, I was fully immersed in the entire experience. Though both venues were definitely warmer than I (and many others) would have liked, that's to be expected with this fashion.

I feel like the Paradiso staff listened to everyone's concerns, and made their best efforts to improve the event based on that. 

Last year, I addressed several issues and left some comments, so I feel like it wouldn't be a thorough review if I completely ignored my own words from last year.

Security - I felt a lot more secure at Paradiso this year, given the location of the event on Day One. Because we had the entire venue for the event, we didn't have to worry about people being there that shouldn't have been there. I know that some people voiced concerns due to the location of Day One, but I personally didn't have an issue with it.

I will say that as a model, there was a bit of an issue -- we were instructed not to leave the second floor area once we were in our modeling clothes to avoid exposure, but then normal attendees somehow were able to make their way up the stairs, and see a lot of us models before the show. I'm not sure how or why, and I know that the issue was resolved fairly quickly, but it took a few of us telling lost attendees that they weren't supposed to be in the area for them to realize they needed to go back downstairs.

Staff Identification/Signage - Again, this was a lot better this year. I was given a Press badge, in addition to my normal attendee badge, and I loved that everyone's badges were wooden pieces that we'll all be able to have as a keepsake. Beautiful idea, and very well executed.

Events - Paradiso staff knocked it right out of the park with all the additional events planned for the weekend. It gave attendees not only a chance to socialize with one another in multiple settings, but it also allowed us to sight-see in Kansas City, something that I truly regret not really doing when I went to Paradiso last year.

Please keep having additional events besides your main event. I loved the curated experience of KC through the eyes of people who actually live there.

Consignment Shop/Vendors - I applaud Paradiso's staff for truly listening to the attendees, and getting rid of the consignment shop format altogether. 

Hosting a Swap instead served two purposes -- attendees were able to attend an additional event, as a Day 0 experience, and it was a lot easier to get my stuff in the hands of the people that wanted them instead of trying to pay attention to the Main Events while also checking my phone to see if someone wanted to buy/swap my stuff. 

A swap is waaayyy better, and I had a lot of fun during the Friday event. Please keep doing this!

Panels - Last year, I mentioned that there weren't any panels, though if I remember correctly, someone, somewhere called Lovely Lor's Q&A during the tea party a "panel".

If that's the case, I have to say that I'm not a fan of having a Q&A in the middle of the tea party, especially in such a small, cramped space. Since I could hardly see Lor during her Q&A, I just mostly just listened to her speak, sort of like a podcast, lol.

Actually, I think the Q&A would have been better served as the "half-time" event during the Ouji-Sama pageant, and attendees could submit questions for all three guests to answer while the VIPs focus on filling out their ballots.... Or something to that effect.

Mostly, I feel like having guests at the event are great, and I'd like to see more of them, outside of the pageant.

Last year, I was offered a discounted badge to Paradiso as Press, but this year, I paid full price for both days. I would absolutely pay full price again, and attend this event for as long as it runs, it's just really hard for me to do that with my other obligations.

Still, I love that the Midwestern Lolita communities have gotten together to create something magical, and I applaud them for all their hard work. Like I've said before, this event has so much potential and it continues to grow, so I can only hope that next year, they'll be back, bigger and better than ever.

Thank you so much for taking this journey with me. Every day, I'm astounded by this community I stumbled upon, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Events like Paradiso are proof that J-Fashion is alive and well in the United States, and I can only hope that the Paradiso staff will continue to persevere.

I'm waiting on a few orders to come in plus I've got some sponsored goodies (w00t!!), so expect some more reviews coming your way! I'll be back before you know it, <3

Stay beautiful, stay true,



  1. Thank you for posting such a thorough review of the event. It was so fun to read! After reading your report from last year's I already wanted to go and this year, from your post and many others, Paradiso seems like such a great event that the desire to attend is really growing on me. The ideas the organisers have and incorporated (the pageant, the ouji-accessory auction, the 'Day 0' swap meet, the sightseeing after the tea party etc.) sound really great, fun and original, it's not something that every event does. And whilst it looks busy, at the same time it seems that Paradiso is still an intimate enough event that you could socialise with others and make new friends if you arrived on your own. Maybe one day, once I figure out a way to travel to Kansas City, I will actually be able to make my way there...

    1. P.S. I was meant to ask and forgot - you said that you'd happily pay full price again to attend. Do you mind me asking, how much were the tickets for both days, please?

    2. Thanks for always reading my blog! <3 <3

      Tickets were about $60 USD with taxes and fees for a two day pass, and I believe VIP badges were something in the range of $80!

    3. That's actually really reasonable, for getting all of this! Might not manage Paradiso 2019, but if it lasts until 2020... Seriously considering this!

  2. Recently stumbled across your blog via Cupcake Kamisama and I'm enjoying reading through it so far ^_^

    It was very interesting to read your write up of this event having only attended events in the UK before! I love the idea of separating the swap meet from the main event itself. At lolita events I've been to previously, there has been a "bring and buy" incorporated into the main event and looking back, that format caused quite a lot of chaos on top of an already packed day's event scheduling.

    I couldn't help finding your disdain for old buildings quite funny! Most of the pretty venues we have over here tend to be Victorian or older XD I really like the character of old buildings and enjoy the details such as spiral staircases and stained glass windows. They don't tend be dusty or anything, and are just used and maintained like any other building ^_^ My issue with them arises in the summer months because it's rare they have air conditioning and when they do I literally jump for joy, haha.

    I think large scale tea parties are difficult to organise in general due to, like you said, the restrictions imposed by the venue. I'm glad you had a great experience overall though, and your fashion show look was killer! The white wig looks very striking on you <3

    1. Oh my goodness, thanks for reading! Cupcake Kamisama comes by all the time to read and leaves such delightful comments -- I'm glad you read both of our blogs!

      Lol, I don't know why I have such an issue with old buildings, because I love architecture and the overall appearance of the buildings. In places that are well maintained (as the ones that you've mentioned), I'm usually fine; it's when the space is really dusty and just generally unkept that I start to freak out, lol.

      I've planned both small and large scale tea parties, and like you said, it's just a matter of planning around the things you're allowed to do as a host, and those that you aren't. Sometimes, the venues make it easy and other times... not so much.

      Thanks again for reading and thank you so much for your kind words! ^_^ I hope you'll stop by again in the future!


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