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“We at GQ have found endless inspiration in these pages, and designers have too." GQ
“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.” Daily Candy
This book came in through Amazon Prime just this morning, and it's everything that style blogs have hyped it up to be. It was first popularized by M. Williams of A Continuous Lean, and when he scanned photos from his original 1965 edition, the books were going on eBay for as high as $500. At $14, it's a steal.
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.Read more ›
I run the menswear blog Off the Cuff ([...]) and have been following this reprinting of Take Ivy since it was first announced.
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.
I only came to know about this book from a recent article in the New York Times. Being a fashion deseigner who dies for nostalgia, I bought the book, not knowing exactly what to expect, and I liked it ... a lot. Before writing my review, I went through all 10 reviews already filed. Almost all the negative remarks are correct ... but out of context (see later why). Let me go through the main ones: 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!!!Read more ›
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When I purchased my 1973 edition two years ago I was underwhelmed by what came in the mail. A small package. The images in my edition are not much better than the US release. I see a slight shift in color but other than that the re-issue is true to the original.
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.