You can see Elena's Harajuku roots in her love for the complexities of “anything goes” dressing. Her bubblegum pink embellished satin Miu Miu wedges worn with sparkly socks are made aristocratic by Elena's vintage pale silk '20s lingerie and classic floral tights. Her (unsurprisingly) least favorite thing about fashion is leaving her dress-up fantasy world and finding out that beyond her universe, Elena's daydreams are met with less than positive reception. It seems that the homogenous mainstream culture, whose realm of awareness seems to revolve around Paris Hilton and the Jersey Shore, is uncomfortable with someone like Elena, who is passionate about expressing her extraordinary wealth of historic references in her style. Just as an oversized '40s bow on Elena's head makes her happy, it makes me ecstatic to be inspired by someone else's imagination and courage to stand alone, no matter how different they are from me. I think the saying goes, "The more you know, the more you want to know," and the less you know, the less you can see beyond your orange tanning cream. Queen Anne dolls, Victorian mourning jewelry, fairy tales and mythology, Jean Harlow, Marlene Dietrich, religious iconography, traditional folk dress and unicorn tapestries are among Elena's interests – what do you think Snooki's list would be? Elena's multifarious heritage of Amish missionary grandparents, who relocated to Tokyo after WWII, where she grew up, has helped inform her eclectic sensibility. She was educated wearing strict school uniforms, "navy blazers, white shirts with white button-up Peter Pan collars... everyone had a number sewn on... and your socks couldn't be wrinkled." It was on the one day off from the classroom that Elena would go to Harajuku and feel the magic in the freedom of dressing with abandon. Within the rigid structure of Japanese society, Elena ironically found a place where she felt free from oppression, Victorian bloomers, glittery socks, tassel necklaces, fuzzy rhinestone slippers and all. “There was a place for everything and everyone... it was very freeing for a kid, like myself... there was no judgment."
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