Gothic and Lolita and Advanced Style

Masayuki Yoshinaga and Katsuhiko Ishikawa
Ari Seth Cohen

Like Fruits and Fresh Fruits, Gothic and Lolita and Advanced Style are photo collections of street fashion – people wearing their own style as they go about their day. The gothic and lolita styles, photographed in Japan, follow relatively rigid lines. Goths wear the black leather, pale face make-up, heavy eye-liner (and guy-liner), lots of lace and high boots. Lolitas wear an idealized Victorian child’s or doll’s costume – replete with pantaloons, lacy bonnets, granny boots, and flowing, ruffled dresses. While the often over-the-top theatrical clothes are stunning for the first few pages, the short blurb each subject provides soon becomes as fascinating as the clothing.  A surprising number of the goths indicate the some or all of their clothing was sewn by them (both male and female). The lolitas, though almost all female, mostly buy their clothes from major chains like Jane Marple*. The short answers also include their current “obsession.”  Here these outrageous and showy people suddenly become real people. One lolitas current obsession is “pickled onions.” Others talk about boyfriends, favorite bands, pets and best friends.  Suddenly, the hard-faced goth looks a lot more baby-ish and a little silly.  The frilly lolita looks less sweet and innocent and more the 27-year-old she is.

Cohen’s book Advanced Style is  a collection of street fashion from his blog Unlike the goths and lolitas who stick to a strict uniform, the older women in these photos are wildly unique and immensely stylish, each in their own way.  From mid-60s to 100 and up, these women have developed their own fashion sense and have spent decades building their wardrobe.  Every detail is personalized and lovely – from vintage suits and enormous pearls to wildly colored smocks and costume jewelry. These are not women quietly fading away; these are women tenaciously living every moment and loving it. Grand stuff!

“You don’t want to look crazy.  The object is to look as chic as you can – but your average person in the street would never wear this.” Alice Carey

* One wonders if anyone them are even aware who Jane Marple is.