TikTok's Coquette Aesthetic Is A Tumblr Girl’s Dream

But is that a good thing? We’re not so sure.

Lana Del Rey performing on stage in 2012
Getty/Michael Kovac/Stringer

If TikTok loves anything at the moment, it’s an aesthetic. From the wholesome, homespun vibe of ‘cottage core’ to grunge-minded e-girls and the return of indie sleaze, trend dissections are all over the video platform, and the latest look under the magnifying glass is a style users have branded the “coquette” aesthetic.

Characterised by soft pastel, frills, lace, and strings of pearls, the style is closely linked with playful hyper-femininity – and adopters of the look are all about rose-print fabrics, lipstick prints, expensive luxury perfumes, designer fashion, and Mary Jane shoes with white socks. Often, the coquette aesthetic name-checks the likes of Lana Del Rey’s debut album Born to Die and Sofia Coppola’s frill-laden film Marie Antoinette. Meanwhile, Dior, Gucci, Chanel are all staple brands.

Though it’s a slightly ambiguous style to pin down, overlapping a fair bit with the literary nature of dark academia and the pink-drenched angelcore, it crosses over more heavily with the more troubling “nymphet” movement that started on blogging platform Tumblr in the 2010s.

The word nymphet was previously coined by the paedophile narrator of Vladimir Nabokov’s highly controversial 1955 novel Lolita, Humbert Humbert, to justify his predatory actions towards his young victim Dolores Haze — and “coquette” is sometimes used interchangeably with “nymphet” and “Lolitacore” on TikTok. Many of the visual hallmarks of Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of the novel, including a red palette and heart-shaped sunglasses, have found their way into the trend.

Admittedly, most TikTokers posting about the coquette aesthetic don’t often make reference to the damaging connotations within Lolita, and the word coquette itself, meanwhile, refers to a “flirtatious woman.”