Japan's Latest Fashion Has Women Playing Princess for a Day
Part Marie Antoinette and Part Paris Hilton, The Style Affords Pricey Stress
The Wall Street Journal
TOKYO -- When Mayumi Yamamoto goes out for coffee or window shopping, she likes to look as though she's going to a formal garden party. One day recently, she was decked out in a frilly, rose-patterned dress, matching pink heels with a ribbon and a huge pink bow atop her long hair, dyed brown and in pre-Raphaelite curls.
Ms. Yamamoto is a hime gyaru, or princess girl, a growing new tribe of Japanese women who aim to look like sugarcoated, 21st-century versions of old-style European royalty. They idolize Marie Antoinette and Paris Hilton, for her baby-doll looks and princess lifestyle. They speak in soft, chirpy voices and flock to specialized boutiques with names like Jesus Diamante, which looks like a bedroom in a European chateau. There, some hime girls spend more than $1,000 for an outfit including a satin dress, parasol and rhinestone-studded handbag....
What in Amaterasu's name would make a curl "pre-Raphaelite"? Or are we being treated to such nonsense because of the Millais exhibition that was at the Bunkamura?
How many these stylized, hyper-feminine, budget-blasting fashion waves are going to be featured in non-Japanese newspapers before the papers realize they are being played by the boutiques selling these goods?
And what is this article doing in The Wall Street Journal?
Which is not to say that princess fantasy is not fascinating. One of the truly astonishing free street spectacles (on par with the hip hoppers who practice around the Sonpo Japan Building in Nishi Shinjuku at night or around Nakano Zero on Saturdays and Sundays) is the Friday night hairdressing scramble visible through the giant windows of the salon D-COLOR on the southeast side of the Ichinohashi intersection in Azabu Jūban. Watching the stylists transform young women into hostess-bar-ready confections is terrific, if somewhat terrifying, free theater.
Later - Do follow the link in the title to the full article. The featured photo is half the