Fruits Paperback – Jan 6 2001
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If you ever wondered where the catwalk got its claws, then the portraits gathered in photographer Shoichi Aoki's book Fruits, from the streets of Harajuku in Tokyo, point the way to an extraordinarily imaginative and invariably stunning glut of mongrel fashion heists. A best-of collection from the fanzine of the same name, and published for the first time outside Japan, Fruits keeps its style clean: front-on, razor-sharp images, ranging from the deadpan to the manic, of the sharpest collages of sartorial influence that, usually, little money can buy. From off the peg to off the wall, kitsch to bitch, each person bears a combination and philosophy as distinctive as DNA. All shades of aesthetic are raided, with exquisite, scrupulous attention to detail. Punk is a favorite, as is, appropriately, Vivienne Westwood, alongside Milk and Jean-Paul Gaultier, and the occasional Comme des Garçons. Many of the outfits, though, are second-hand or self-assembly, such as a skirt drooping petals of men's silk ties, Wa-mono, when tradition Japanese clothes are topped with, say, an authentic bowler hat, EGL (elegant gothic Lolita), and a swathe of tartans, pinks, and turquoises. The most malleable feature, unsurprisingly, is hair, with dreadlocks, mohicans, back-combing, and crops dyed an irradiated spectrum. While the eye is drawn, obediently, to the mannequins, the background is often worth a look, either for the vending machines against which a number are shot, or the ubiquitous Gap store and bags, a constant reminder of the global mass market.
One enterprising man wears a genuine British paperboy's delivery bag, and, to pick but one profile, Princess, 18, is trying to be a doll and is currently preoccupied with body organs. Mmm. All the subjects are asked the source of their clothes, as well as their "point of fashion" and "current obsession." The scope for sociopsychological discussion is vast, particularly with the preponderance of infantilization, through dolls, bonnets, pop socks, and Barbie, but this is a joyous documentation of the innovative, celebrating the inspirational polytheism of street fashion, captured with provocative, political zeal. Best let the street cats prowl. --David Vincent
"... a funny, funky look at Tokyo's street fashion ... Guaranteed to give you that happy-all-over feeling." Elle " ... fascinating ... inventive" i-D " ... will delight all dedicated followers of fashion." Glamour 'teen styles ... which have to be seen to be believed.' Daily Telegraph 'frivolous and fun. ...street photography at its finest. Compelling, addictive and original.' Far Easter Economic ReviewSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
I love the colors and textures and looks they combine. What makes me happiest about this book is the couples. I like to think of them planing their funky wardrobe, calling, texting, sifiting through stores and closets and the original FRUiTS zines and meeting each other and smiling as they check out what their friend has put together and visa versa. SO many jeans and t-shirts on the street today, comfortable yeah but its safe. All the pretty details from hair ribbons to hats and all the velvets and cottons and tweeds in between are wonderful to pour over. Its also artistically pleasing when you want to see colors collide and patterns mix. All those combos make you smile for different reasons. And even if you want to stay safe in un-eye popping outfits you get a real escape looking at these happy people. Its also nice that these really look like fun OUTFITS not costumes- you know this isn't some Halloween parade somewhere. Some of them are very comfortable looking some look painful! But they are never uninteresting. Combine this book with TOKYO A Certain Style and you feel like you have a great view on these people's lives- where they come from where they live, how they express themselves in fashion that looks like something everyone can have if they can stand the stares :) What a great book- even if you aren't into fashion its a great human view- we are walking this planet and have our bodies to give something to the view of others and these people want to give a lot more than just another person walking by- and since we'd be arrested walking around naked.... You want to say THANKS for the fun :)
Being in public is performance art and nobody is better at it than Japanese. I've seen recent photographs (2002)of kids around 14 who sneak out and make each other up like some of their favorite cartoons or mythical and historical characters. This book only shows one segment of teenagers mostly in one place who wanted to be photographed. I've see others who are as beautifully crafted as geishas or Noh players, some even perfect ceramic dolls. Many say their parents don't approve so they meet and make a performance out of transforming into their characters with make up and costume. Many like to be "on camera" and it is astounding to watch people who are traditionally shy, completely become someone else in public. At almost every level these kids are really good at this. It isn't a freak show like it is in some places in the US. It is an extension of a centuries old Japanese tradition, even if they don't see it that way. I used to see the same stuff in Tokyo in the 80s. There is symbolism and social commentary in much of what they do, probably lost on the average foreign observer.
If you like this book, just remember it is only one thin slice of one obvious group viewed by one person. Go to Japan and from time to time you'll be stopped in your tracks by someone who is so exquisite and unique that you'll never forget the experience. Unlike many of their counterparts in the US and UK whom I've photographed for the past 35 years, these kids usually radiate goodwill and sometimes make you laugh.
Now that i've read through the book at least 25 times I pay attention to more of the background detail, which in itself is quite intriguing: banks of vending machines, the writing on people's bags, buttons and patches, a cup of ramen and box of candy next to a photo subject. These small details make the people even more interesting -- they are surrounded by the everyday so they stand out even more.
I will say that there seem to be a few editing issues. The same picture of a blond girl in a "radioactive" tshirt appears twice and with two different names and captions; so which one's right? makes me wonder how accurate the other match-ups are...
also, a few people seem to appear multiple times; the one i'm thinking of particularly is a girl named Eiko, who in both pics is wearing the same green Zucca jacket, purse and tiedyed skirt, but with a different scarf and hat. I wish one of these photos would have been dropped so that we could have another picture of someone else's different and creative ensemble.
I understand that the "Fruits" style of dress has largely fallen by the wayside at this point, which is saddening. I liked to think of those kids in Japan as a few less khaki-wearers in a GAP-clad world.
Even so, I am absolutely in love with this book. I don't buy into that "dare to be different and question the establishment" BS. Those are excuses used by teenagers with personality issues. Simply put, these Japanese teens are using outfits to practice their creativity. It allows them to deal with the confusion, frustration, and feelings of omnipotence associated with the teenage years of development and expend all that energy. This is what's so engrossing about this book: youthful energy and creativity in every outfit. It is easy to draw humor from the oddity of this book and shake ones head in disbelief. But that would be missing the point of the exercise. Although some outfits are sure to draw ridicule, others are mesmerizing beautiful. Against the shimmering backdrop of busy Japanese city streets, each picture offers layers of depth that a reader can truely spend some time exploring.
I am not changing my dressing habbits anytime soon. They will find a cure for Jerry's Kids before I wear platform shoes. In the meantime this book has been allotted a semi-permanent spot on my coffee table where it will draw the attention of anyone who dares to sits down on my beige sofa.
Most recent customer reviews
Fruits purports to be photos of people picked at random from the streets based on their unusual outfits. In my opinion, all the subjects are models, dressed by a designer. Read morePublished on April 20 2004 by R. Porter
This book rocks the crazy street styles. Great source for design for anime or comic book characters.Published on March 22 2004
This book is really great. These Japanese folks have the most interesting and eccentric sense of style, and I'm so glad that someone thought to capture it and make a book of... Read morePublished on Jan. 28 2004 by Zoe Kingson-Gray
Ah to be young and colourful again!
This book is absolutely delicious! No unnecessary commentary, just pages after pages of full-length colourful pictures of the fashion... Read more
What else can I say but every time I look at this book I see something new. The outfits are crazy, beautiful, colorful, amazing. It's a great coffee table book. Read morePublished on Nov. 7 2003 by Sherry Koyama
I carry this book with me all the time. I love looking at the photos whenever I feel like it. The clothing and people themselves are so colorful and creative. Read morePublished on June 30 2003 by Eryn
this is one of the few books i own that i would call a treasure. it's filled with original fashion that is definately a far cry from what you see walking on the streets, of say,... Read morePublished on June 25 2003 by claire_quilty
I am in the same age category as the people who are photographed here (16-22) and I find myself so impressed with their daring and creative imagination, so mature at so young an... Read morePublished on March 16 2003 by Jeanine
Inspiring, Hypnotic, Beautiful, Hyper, Physco, Loveable, Radiating, Ever~changing, Japanese fashionPublished on March 3 2003 by Moko-chan
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