Friends, you know I don't follow fashion. I couldn't tell a Don Loper from a Vogue sloper.
I am but a style cipher -- a blank screen onto which my readers project their ideas -- some might say fantasies -- of how a short, middle-aged man should dress. True, I have a passing interest in Lana Turner's Jean Louis wardrobes from Fifties-era Ross Hunter movies but that is it.
BUT I do know when something is wrong. And friends, what is going on in Japan today is very, very wrong.
Please don't misunderstand: I have nothing -- nothing -- against the Japanese; to the contrary, it is a culture I admire greatly. And Lord knows I am open minded to a fault.
But WHAT kind of crazy-ass looks are they putting together over there these days?!!
When I think "cute" I think Miley Cyrus. When the Japanese think cute ("kawaii") it looks like this:
The following look is called "Gothic Lolita."
Now I've read Lolita and we all love Gothic, but Gothic Lolita? Why not Etruscan Jane Eyre? It's weird, readers, weird.
BTW, you can put together your own Gothic Lolita look by shopping here.
And then there's THIS: This look is called "Ganguru," and it takes its inspiration from Southern California surfer girls. I get it.
But it still gives me nightmares.
I have now been to the new FIT exhibit, "Japan Fashion Now" twice, and I must say, it is an eye-opener -- fantastic, in the literal sense of the word. I loved it.
Am I contradicting myself?
"Japan Fashion Now" is one of the most exciting -- and freaky -- costume exhibits I've ever seen. You'll see a ton of looks like those above, but in addition to wild street fashion, there are classic Eighties styles by Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garcons, Matsuda, and others (the so-called "first wave"). Gorgeous and inspiring.
"Japan Fashion Now" runs through January 8th, and it is FREE. Check the FIT museum website for hours.
In closing, friends around the globe, I ask you seriously: where does this wacky Japanese style thing come from in your opinion? Too much isolation? Too much anime and manga?
Do you think these fashion violations warrant an international intervention? Can outsiders successfully impose a Jean Louis aesthetic upon others or must it emerge organically from within?
If so, I fear all is lost.
What should we do?
Wait -- maybe you like these looks. Do you? Anything here you might wear? Thoughts, please!