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Japan Fashion Fetishism

Little Bo-Peep Chic

— August 25, 2007 — Fashion
Japan is known for its wild fashions, the daring women who are willing to try any trend -- no matter how extreme. Some looks they nail right away, and start a surge that carries over into the rest of the world. Other looks are just too over-the-top and never catch on, with no other culture able to pull them off other than Japan's most eccentric trend setters.

"Fashion has always been in love with fetishism," reports Tim Blanks of Flare Magazine. "In Tokyo, that affair is so passionate, it's disturbing." On a recent trip to Tokyo, Blanks check out the clubbing scene where hundreds of young Japanese women where dressed in overly cute, little girl costumes, like Little Bo-Peep and Strawberry Shortcake.

"This street-style phenomenon is the subject of endless magazines in Tokyo (images from one of the best, Fruits, have been anthologized by Phaidon), but it's fast-moving enough that the newest wrinkles may already have come and gone by the time you read about them. For instance, in Laforet, the legendary fashion hypermarket that is the epicentre of Harajuku, there's a stand called Alice and the Pirates, whose look is supposed to be the Next Big Thing. Girls—and boys!—are wearing an Edwardian silhouette (corseted black jacket, skirts to the ground), froths of lace at throat and wrist, a ton of costume jewelry, long blond wigs, dead-white skin—and searing-blue contact lenses."