Take Ivy Hardcover – Aug 31 2010
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“We at GQ have found endless inspiration in these pages, and designers have too."
“Time has done little to dim the allure of “Take Ivy,” with its guileless snapshots of handsome, fit and presumably bright young lugs disporting themselves in dining halls, on the College Green at Dartmouth, along Nassau Street in Princeton and in Harvard Yard.”
New York Times
“A fun addition to your shelf of sailing manuals and Kennedy biographies.”
About the Author
Teruyoshi Hayashida was born in the fashionable Aoyama District of Tokyo, where he also grew up. He began shooting cover images for Men’s Club magazine after the title’s launch. Very sophisticated in style and a connoisseur of gourmet food, he is known for his homemade, soy-sauce-marinated Japanese pepper (sansho), and his love of gunnel tempura and Riesling wine.
Shosuke Ishizu is the representative director of Ishizu Office. Originally born in Okayama Prefecture, after graduating from Kuwasawa Design School he worked in the editorial division at Men’s Club until 1960 when he joined VAN Jacket Inc. He established Ishizu Office in 1983, and now produces several brands including Niblick.
Toshiyuki Kurosu was raised in Tokyo. He joined VAN Jacket Inc. in 1961, where he was responsible for the development of merchandise and sales promotion. He left the company in 1970 and started his own business, Cross and Simon. After the dissolution of his brand, he began appearing on the legendary variety show Asayan on TV Tokyo as a regular and soon gained popularity. He is also an active writer and intellectual.
Hajime (Paul) Hasegawa is from Hyogo Prefecture. After studying in the U.S., Hasegawa returned to Japan in 1963 to join VAN Jacket Inc. At VAN, he was responsible for advertising and PR. For the production of Take Ivy, Hasegawa was the main coordinator and interpreter on the ground. He has since held several managerial positions in Japan and abroad and currently serves as executive director for Cosmo Public Relations Corporation.
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A small hardcover with glossy pages, the volume clocks in at around half an inch. Underneath the dust jacket is a gorgeous orange cloth-covered book embossed with seals of the eight Ivy League institutions. The preface introduces the modern edition (in English, of course) and references the original Japanese volume. In an effort to maintain authenticity, "The translation of the original text for this English-language edition has not been edited for the purpose of updating or revising facts, names, or other matters." (This note seems irrelevant until we get to discussions about student body size and other time-sensitive statistics.)
The book's pictures are of young men in varying degrees of prep -- lots of anoraks, varsity jackets, boat shoes, khakis, polos, slim ties, plaid shorts, etc. (There are maybe four women in the entire book.) Almost all of them are trim in physique and their clothing trim in cut. Given our society's Mad Men obsession and fashion's general return to 'Americana,' the book's reemergence is a reflection of cultural zeitgeist.
The one flaw is the captions, which seem to over-explain. For instance, we have on p. 68, "A student is taking a stroll on a rainy campus wearing a sweatshirt which, of course, is in the school color. Ivy Leaguers are known for displaying their loyalty and pride in their alma mater on a daily basis." These words are accompanied by a picture of a young man walking in the rain while wearing a Brown sweatshirt. I suppose they make much more sense in light of the original publication in Japan.
My favorite section is entitled "Take Ivy" (it follows "College Life," "College Fashion," and "Elements of 'Ivy'"). Here the authors discuss each of the eight universities and give a few facts about each. It then goes on to explore the presumed psyche of Ivy Leaguers with sub-headings like "Study hard..." and "Play hard..." and "Sound body" and "Sound mind." Placed on equal footing is a section devoted to JFK, who in 1965 must have embodied the Ivy League for the rest of the world.
I'm running out of summarizing steam, but there are more pages devoted to vehicles (classic cars, sports cars, bikes, and old bikes), boyfriends and girlfriends, professors and madras checks. There is another on "barefoot and its rationality," in which the Japanese author is perplexed that a young man had cut off his sweatshirt sleeves with a pair of scissors.
All in all, a great dose of nostalgia. Pleased that there isn't a single pair of flip flops in the entire book.
I notice that a couple of the reviews here commented negatively on the quality of the book's images, so let me clarify a very important point. powerHouse Books didn't simply reprint Take Ivy, they recreated Take Ivy. As they explained to me, apart from the English translation, it a replica of the 1965 edition right down to the paper, binding, flip jacket, and image quality.
The images are not as crisp and clear as we would expect today because they are from the 1965 book - the exact images that you would see in a vintage copy. Would I like to have seen shots from the original negatives, if they are even available? I suppose so; but the goal if this book was to bring fans the original Take Ivy in every way possible.
So, in a nutshell, what you are getting with this book is the most exacting reproduction possible, translated into English, of one of the most famous time capsules of American East Coast preppy.
To me, it's perfect.
1. Photo quality: As one reviewer said, the present book is a recreation of the original. This means the publisher deliberately left everything as the original, except the language (English translation of the Japanese). So ... how could we expect 2010 quality for photos taken in 1965?????
2. Captions: These were the reactions of 4 Japanese men who were being introduced to a culture (and fashion) entierly different from their's. One remark (page 132) tells all, and I quote: "As a Japanese man, I struggle to conceive of "campus wear" or 'college fashion.' ... we Japanese have been put under the spell of having to wear school uniform ...", end of quote!!!
3. Old, bringing nothings new: who said anything about new things? It is a reacreation of a book published in 1965, about Ivy fasion, of 1965!!!!!!!!!!!
I think the mistake is that the publisher did not explain clearly enough to the reader that everything in the origianl 1965 edition was kept as is (except the language), and therefor the quality of photos, context of captions, etc. should be seen under this light.
Having said this I would like to comment on the content of the ORIGINAL photos, captions, etc.:
1. As one reviewer commented, the book does not represent equally the 8 universities, for unexplained reasons.
2. The photographer seems a bit lazy!!! Having examined the photos, it is obvious that he would post himself in one corner, and just shoots passers-by; or he would go the restaurant of Darmouth and takes five or 6 shots; or he would follow 3 guys around and shoot them from the side, the front, and the back!!!!! It is also obvious that the editing did not try to avoid this when selecting the photos to be published (unless there was nothing else!!!)
4. While obviously the focus was on the photos, the captions should have been longer and better.
5. As for the fashion, I love it!! Just compare those gorgeous guys to today's college students ... what taste ... what class ... so natural ... so at ease ... so nostalgic !!!
It is no wonder that the current fascination with ivy, prep, etc. (with a new book "The ivy Look", being released in May 2011), comes after decades of ugly college styles!!!
Vive le Ivy!!!
If you are interested in fashion or nostalgia (or both!!) ... buy the book!! At $14 it is a bargain!!
So I have to admit a bit of disappointment that I wasn't entirely blown away by "Take Ivy." The photos are interesting, if often a bit grainy, but certainly illustrative of the "Ivy League" style of dress in 1965. I particularly enjoyed the text, written as it was by a Japanese author for a Japanese audience eager to know more about the trendy Ivy style. "As a Japanese man," he writes at one point, "I struggle to conceive of `campus wear' or `college fashion.' It is because we Japanese have been put under the spell of having to wear school uniforms. Japanese students are confined to wearing a stand-up collar jacket, day in and day out for many years. Having come from such a background, even scratching the surface of the general campus wear and college fashion is, undeniably, a daunting task" (p. 122).
Undeniably. If there isn't much earth-shattering about "Take Ivy," it is still a useful reference to its particular time and place, and an entertaining time capsule for those of us who prefer a classic approach to men's style. A commenter on one of the styleblogs I mentioned above pointed out that nowhere in these photos is anyone wearing either Sperry Top Siders or LL Bean's Maine Hunting Boots, the supposed be-all and end-all of prep style. And while that is (undeniably, as our author would say) true, "Take Ivy" dates from 1965 while The Official Preppy Handbook, the satire that took on a life of its own as a lifestyle handbook, dates from 1980. Even in the overlapping but not identical worlds of Ivy, preppy, and American Trad style, things can change over 45 or even 15 years. "Take Ivy" is a useful indicator of how much has changed on campus and, in a certain corner of men's style, how blessedly little has changed.
I had every intention of re-selling the book and making some bucks but the more I looked at it the more I saw. This is an outsider's very romantic view. Not only of the Ivy League but of America. If you lived in Tokyo in 1965, you might see a book like this as an escape from the close quarters and cramped life of the rush and grind. It has become a meditative experience for me.
The translated text is charming but the power for is in the images and in the way they're presented. Like a lot of rewarding things in life -- Take Ivy works when you understand the culture behind the creation of it and not the U.S. consumption of it. You either get it or you don't. And if you don't get it - look on the bright side - you paid a lot less than I did.
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