the vibrant line

Top: April 13, 1929, Eduardo Garcia Benito; January 2007; 2nd row: March 1, 1949, Marcel Vertes; October 1, 1941, Carl Erickson; December 15, 1936, Jean Pages; 3rd row: December 15, 1932 Erickson; October 1, 1935, Benito; July 15, 1939, Erickson; Bottom: December 1, 1938, Benito
I stumbled on a limited but truly enthralling collection of Vogue covers in the Condé Nast Store. Images available are heavy on the 1920s and 30s, with nothing past the late 1950s, but the offerings are well worth a detour over.

I was quite familiar with the (beautiful) covers of the Twenties. I had studied fashion for a bit, interned briefly at the Met's Costume Institute, and I still have a few books of fashion art. However, nothing prepared me for the brilliant, daring, effortlessly vibrant art of the 30s and 40s covers. The covers in the second row above, especially, are amazingly risky: The strange spiky bird for "Spring," autumnal passing legs--shod in non-descript day wear no less!, and what looks like a pre-saging of Pearl Harbor but is in fact meant to evoke a cruise ship steaming its way toward glamorous shores for the "Resort Issue."
Unusual vantage points, edgy color choices (brown! with fluorescent pink!) and not a celebrity in the bunch. How dull and and flaccid that Angelina Jolie cover is--merely a vehicle for the headline text and a wrapper for the ads. A predictable end product of demographic surveys, publicity campaigning, and marketing pronouncements.

I virtually never buy "women's" magazines anymore and I probably haven't picked up Vogue since the nineties. I do remember illustrators having quite a high profile in the eighties: Mats, Stavrinos, Antonio, Viramontes. What is happening today? And the oddly alienating and irrelevant drawings used in newspaper advertising for stores like Macy's and Lord & Taylor until, what 10 years ago? are they still being used? That was like the dry husk of fashion illustration.
What I wonder is: Did true fashion illustration die without my noticing?


Highlights from the Collection (part 3)

Another in the sporadic series of posts that both showcase some of my "collections" and offer the easy way out when concentration fails. Here for review: ticket stubs, mostly parking. Note fins on left-hand car diagram; this was found in the mid-nineties.


I think I need help

I've begun to think that this blog is getting a too scattered. I've just been writing about things that I think about. period. Perhaps I'm "recording" too many "fancies"?

People looking for letterpress and discussions about onionskin paper
(and you wouldn't believe how many people out there are searching for onionskin--what were they THINKING stopping production on that) come by and see posts about found photography. Ephemera collectors find the site and then run away from the (overwrought) philosophical noodling. Then there are the rants about "peaches" or bad architecture...and those abstruse German terms!

Those German terms probably send everyone running.

And to top it off, since I am a graphic designer after all, some friends refer to this as a 'design blog', when of course I haven't written once about graphic design...

I'd most likely do everyone a favor if I concentrated on some graspable topic (and preferably a topic I know something about). Perhaps something prescriptive-- like:

"I am a graphic designer and I've found this cool French site
of "incongruités typographique", where, if you choose your links carefully, you can get free fonts!"

Then I'd have
several nice pictures of foreign- looking and idiosyncratic French hand-painted signs.

Is that what I need to do? Is that what I need to do in order to keep readers after I get great mentions on ephemera, or things? In order to get some discussion going? I really need advice.
Hello? Is this thing on?


what if Domino magazine...

used this image for one of their "Can you make this outfit into a ROOM" stories? Inane? Yes! But fun...
I was lightly inspired by a recent conversation on finds and fixations with an interiors and design-savvy friend (brand new to the blog world), Mister Particular. Something about that Domino feature fascinates me, silly yet compelling: translating color, line, silhouette into furniture and mood.

I love this painting. I saw it 4 or 5 years ago at an exhibit in London's National Gallery and I was just dumbfounded –the hairdo, the articulated parasol, those shoes! That nose! It is the Portrait of Frau Wilhelmina von Cotta, of 1802, by Christian Gottleib Schick. She's like the Antimatter Universe Madame Recamier and I think she's just captivating.

It's unlikely they'll tackle this one, SO, here's my take:

I know-- the little red cabinet is not quite right (those legs, hmmm). I should have diaphanous muslin drapery, maybe a red cashmere floor pillow... But hey, this isn't an interior design blog|| Most of the items here are from Oly Studio, Mecox Gardens, Stella Christie Lighting, and Benjamin Storck. A wonderful array of Karl Blossfeldt images here, and stunning reproductions of Ernst Haeckel here. The adorable, albeit not-quite-right, curvy red cabinet can be found at anthropologie.


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