Tuesday, December 4, 2007

P. Keet & Y. Manabe's "The Tokyo Look Book"

Philomena Keet is a British anthropologist whose PhD is on Tokyo Street fashion. Yuri Manabe is a Tokyo-based photographer whose distinctive portraits have appeared in a variety of prestigious music and fashion magazines, including Marie Claire, GQ, Rockin' on, Coyote and Switch.

Keet applied the "Page 99 Test" to their new book, The Tokyo Look Book: Stylish to Spectacular, Goth to Gyaru, Sidewalk to Catwalk, and reported the following:
The Tokyo Look Book presents a wide range of fashions, not in any narrative or chronological structure, but through various stylistic groupings. In a sense, therefore, what is on p.99 can give little or no idea of the looks to be found throughout the rest of the book which include everything from gothic lolita gear to business suits. Having said that, the designer interview which starts on p.99 is a particularly apt encapsulation of some of book’s thematic undercurrents. The designer of Takuya Angel laments the lack of traditionally Japanese clothing modes in Tokyo today, as well as expressing anxiety about the state of society in general. He sees his spectacular designs, combining traditional shapes and patterns with futuristic club gear, as connected with such concerns. Not everyone pictured in the book may feel the same way, but looking through it, there are certainly some extreme styles that may represent a certain unease present in Tokyo youth culture.

P.99 happens to have quite a lot of text on it, since it contains an interview with a designer, of which there are 13 throughout the book. Chapter introductions are also text heavy, but otherwise most pages have more space devoted to photos than text. Each photo has a caption to it that describes the clothes in the picture as well as the person wearing them. I knew the designer Takuya before I started the book and his clothes are one of the reasons I became interested in Tokyo street fashion in the first place, so I’m glad he was on p.99! He’s as good an introduction to the book as any.
Learn more about the book and its creators at The Tokyo Look Book website, blog, and MySpace page.

--Marshal Zeringue