OUTLANDISH pannier skirts with layers of frilly lace; teenage girls with larger-than-life make-up; a dash of sexuality and lashings of Victoriana are the order of the day for Japan's Lolita girls.
What began as a street fashion two decades ago as youngsters aped the doll-like European styles of baroque and rococo has morphed into a near mainstream movement, with dozens of offshoots.
Popular Lolita models such as Misako Aoki were big hits at this autumn's Japan Fashion Week, showing off white parasols and pastel pink puff sleeves with high-laced boots, tiny top hats and huge ribbons.
"This is definitely one of the latest trends in Japan's fashion world," said Akiko Shinoda, a director for the Japan Fashion Week Organisation, adding Lolitas appeared for the first time last year at the twice-a-year show.
"I think it will survive as one distinct category in Japan."
Taking its name from the title of Vladimir Nabokov's novel about a middle-aged man's sexual obsession with a 12-year-old girl, Lolita style embodies the childhood world of fairytales and comic-book fantasy.
Over the last 20 years, it has developed and splintered into a broad range of subdivisions, taking on elements of the Gothic - from black roses and coffin jewellery - to the pseudo-holy, with some girls sporting crucifixes.