View current page
...more recent posts
“Take Ivy” has always been extremely rare in the United States, a treasure of fashion insiders that can fetch more than $1,000 on eBay and in vintage-book stores. But scanned images from the book have been turning up online in recent months. Ricocheting around the network of sartorially obsessed Web sites and blogs (like acontinuouslean.com and thetrad .blogspot.com), it has aroused renewed interest for its apparent prescience of preppy style. (In the United States, the word preppy came into popular use only in 1970, thanks to the best-selling book and top-grossing movie “Love Story”; and the full flowering of preppy style would not arrive until 1980 with the best-selling “Official Preppy Handbook.”)
But “Take Ivy” was not prescient; it was totally timely, having been commissioned by Kensuke Ishizu, who was the founder of Van Jacket, an Ivy Leagueobsessed clothing line that was a sensation among Japanese teenagers and young men in the early 1960s. Mr. Ishizu was a kind of Ralph Lauren avant la lettre.
“You could have called it a Van look,” recalled Daiki Suzuki, the designer and founder of Engineered Garments (channeling vintage workwear) and the designer of the revamped Woolrich Woolen Mills line (channeling 1950s New England). He remembers “Take Ivy” from his childhood in Japan and how the Ivy look, as it is generally called there, became basic in the ’70s and ’80s, as the craze for American things like Levi’s and Red Wing boots accelerated. In 1989, Mr. Suzuki moved to the United States to work for a large Japanese store scouting for new American designers and obscure brands to import, like White’s Boots from Washington, Russell Moccasin from Wisconsin and Duluth Pack backpacks from Minnesota.