The Tokyo Look Book: Stylish To Spectacular, Goth To Gyaru, Sidewalk To Catwalk by Philomena Keet, photographs by Yuri Manabe. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2007, 224 pp., profusely illustrated, ¥3,000 (paper).

It was the philosopher George Santayana who penned these wise words: "Fashion is something barbarous, for it produces innovation without reason and imitation without benefit." This is as true now as it was then, and if you do not believe me, go and wander the streets of Shibuya.

This is what Philomena Keet and her photographer did, though they were not looking for the apparent barbarism. Rather, they were in pursuit of something they eventually discovered or invented — herein called "the Tokyo look."

Just as decade mongering (the roaring '20s, the rebellious '60s) is used to create some illusion of stability in our troubled times, so the various "looks" (new Japanese interior design, sushi chic, Zen motifs in recent architecture) seek to anchor time and place and give some meaning to all the commercial overflow.