The Classicist: 'Take Ivy' - The Original Preppy Handbook
Take Ivy, with photos by Japan's T. Hayashida, is truly the original preppy handbook, first published way back in 1965 – in Japanese. In the early 1960s Kensuke Ishizu, the founder of an Ivy League-inspired clothing line called Van Jacket, commissioned Hayashida and three other Japanese disciples of clean-cut American style to go on a "fact-finding mission" to all of the States' eight Ivy League colleges – Havard, Yale, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown and Cornell – chronicling every element of the students' style along the way. Hayashida took tens of thousands of photos at the colleges, then went on to document the stores the students patronized, the cars they drove and even Ivy League grads working on Madison Avenue. When first published in Japan the book sparked a huge trend for Ivy League fashion among Japanese youths who frequented Tokyo's hip Ginza shopping district.
In subsequent decades the book developed a huge cult following among sartorial connoisseurs, with rare original editions selling for thousands of dollars on eBay. The New York Times called it "a treasure of fashion insiders" and cited its influence on a number of men's fashion designers in an article last year, noting photocopied versions were being passed around design studios helping to spark a whole new trend. Now powerHouse Books is re-issuing the book this month, with a long-awaited English translation; J.Crew has also printed 300 limited edition copies in a special case in celebration to be sold in select J.Crew mens shops, the perfect accompaniment to the Ivy-inspired clothing on its shelves; J. Crew men's designer Frank Muytjens says he was "obsessed" by the book and it's timeless appeal.
Gallery: Take Ivy
While The Official Preppy Handbook, which came out 15 years later, is rather tongue-in-cheek, Take Ivy's approach to the subject is downright scholarly. The implications of 'Ivy Style' "go beyond the group of eight prestigious universities that belong to the Ivy League, American football, or the vine itself that covers the buildings of Ivy League schools," the authors note. "It is also not simply about Madison Avenue, Brooks Brothers, modern jazz and folk songs. They do play a part in defining 'Ivy' as a whole, but each of them is only a peripheral component.... In order to understand the spirit of 'Ivy', you must appreciate and master all aspects of American East Coast culture." Thus the back of the book features instructions on building the perfect Ivy League wardrobe including how to wear key items along with a whole compendium of the Ivy League ethos.