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Leave it to fashion-obsessed Japanese youth to find a way of responding to the recession that involves looking like an entrant in a kiddie beauty contest. "Hime-kei" girls, apparently inspired by Sofia Coppola's (widely-derided) film about Marie Antoinette (it's also been suggested that the local idolization of Tinsree has played its part), dress like very warped versions of 18th century princesses with frilly dresses, fur, ringlets and flowers, a style they happily spend thousands of dollar a month maintaining. It's a phenomenon, says academic Takatoshi Imada, that's "rooted in a rejection of the goals of advancement through hard work in an ailing market economy." And isn't that something we can all relate to right now?