Phaidon | 272 pages | $29.95
If I was ever in the position to buy Avril Lavigne a holiday present, it would be Gothic & Lolita: the tiny pop punker could use some fashion inspiration that doesn’t refer back to Dickies pants or Hot Topic T-shirts. Masayuki Yoshinaga’s brilliant street-style photographs of Japanese teenagers and twentysomethings document a fantastic subculture in rare form. The coy, baby-doll Lolitas pose in starched, frilled Little House on the Prairie dresses, white knee socks, and mary-janes. The Goths stare down the camera — colored contacts turning their glare red or ice-blue — with fishnets, high-heeled boots, and corsets tightly enveloping their bodies. They model for the artist with style-twins, boyfriends, and alone, on quiet streets and bustling urban centers. Yoshinaga even managed to worm his way into some of the kids’ homes, where he shoots them in their rooms: one young lady spread out her dress collection on the bed, along with a pink Chanel purse, pearls, a little top-hat, and a well-groomed puppy, as if to prove: yes, this is who I am. Club-kids, demure maidens, surreal occult worshippers — they’re all here. Yoshinaga found and followed a country-wide masquerade where the masks never, ever come off. Self-expression is a beautiful thing.
, Avril Lavigne