W. David Marx — who has contributed several pieces on Japanese Ivy for Ivy-Style.com — has hit the bullseye with his new book “Ametora” (that’s Japanese for “American Trad”). It’s a pioneering piece of research and a deftly handled narrative that traces the ups and downs, misunderstandings and mania for the Ivy League Look that swept Japan in the 1960s. The book also delves into the broader importing (and re-exporting) of American style in general, and finishes with a summary of “Take Ivy” as it reappeared from obscurity on the Internet in 2008.
David is in Boston today for a book party, and last night was in New York for little shindig held at Warby Parker. And he’s one other place as well, namely the pages of this week’s New Yorker, which has a modified excerpt from “Ametora.” The piece is entitled “Stalking The Madras Wearers Of The Ivy League” and recounts what led up to the expensive and wholly improvised trip to America to film and photograph students in their native habitat for “Take Ivy.”
Here’s a teaser:
Whether at Brown, Columbia, or Yale, however, Kurosu notes, “Most students acted like they were completely disinterested in fashion, even if they looked like they cared. They didn’t seem proud of being stylish. They would just say to us dismissively, ‘I just came here to study. I don’t care what I wear.’ ” When Kurosu saw a Yale student with high-water cotton pants, he inquired, “Are really short pants in style?,” only to be told defensively, “I’ve never thought about it. They just shrunk when I washed them.” The production wrapped up at Princeton, where they arrived to find an intramural softball tournament and a wild party hosted at Nassau Hall. And, with that, the VAN team returned home to Japan to figure out how exactly they would turn this footage of dressed-down American students into a promotion for the virtues of Ivy League style.
Head over to the New Yorker for the full story, and make sure “Ametora” is on your Christmas list. — CC