Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Tokyo Look Book: Book Review by ChristineMM

Title: The Tokyo Look Book
Author: Philomena Keet
Photographer: Yuri Manabe
ISBN 13: 978-4770030610
Publication Date: September 2007

5 stars

Why I Read This Book
I requested this book through the Amazon Vine program and finished reading it yesterday. Although I am not a fashion junkie, I am interested in ways that people express themselves and I’m interested in other cultures. I admire people who can work with fiber and sew their own fashions. I love seeing people take something old or out of fashion and recreating it into something new and fresh. I also was curious to learn of a fashion scene that is not just copying American fashion in another country.

I really loved it.

In The Tokyo Look Book, anthropologist Philomena Keet writes of the full spectrum of Tokyo's street fashion scene. This is the first book to cover all the types of fashion, to cover everything from Goth to high fashion. The text explains of each subculture and gives a bit of information on the people in the photographs, both about their clothing and a little about their lives. There are also spotlight features on specific designers that go into more detail about how they began in the fashion design business.

The photographs are great, showing the true personality of those pictured as well as capturing their clothing and accessories.

The book has a great aesthetic and is interesting to flip through. The paper is thick and glossy and it has a paperback cover.

I read the entire book cover to cover and found it very interesting. This is not just a book of fashion photos. I found Keet's explanation of the subcultures and of how and why they choose to wear these clothes so interesting. Keet received her doctorate degree in Tokyo's street fashion scene. My only complaint is that I would have liked just a little more information on each sub-culture and a chapter at the end to wrap everything up. It seems that Keet is so knowledgeable about 'the scene' that maybe she assumes the reader knows a bit more than they actually do. Keet states this is the only book to cover ALL the sub-cultures rather than focusing on single sub-culture's or a couple of certain ones (as Fruits magazine and the Fruits books do).

This is so different than the fashion scene with American teens and 20-something's. The idea that they dress to synchronize in small groups and cliques and try not to stand out as an individual too much was fascinating. And the idea that they dress up and hang out on a specific bridge so that spectators, photographers and tourists can see them is just something I didn't even know people did for fun! I found learning about and seeing these fashions fun. I enjoyed seeing the creativity of the people featured in the book.

I imagine that anyone working in fashion and curious about the fashion scene in Tokyo would of course be interested in this book. "Project Runway" junkies may like this book too. Those who love Japanese culture would enjoy it as well. Fiber artists and those who like to design their own clothing or those who re-use vintage garments and turn them into something new will also find the visual stimulation and creativity of the people inspiring. People watchers and those curious of other cultures also will enjoy this book as well.

This is a fun and interesting read! This may be interesting as a coffee table book as one reviewer stated but if all you do is flip through the photos you will miss out on the interesting parts that are in the text!

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