Monday, June 30, 2014

Modern Print Monday: Terence Conran

Checkers by Terence Conran, 1951,

Sir Terence Conran (1931- )

Conran is a designer across a range of products
from textiles to restaurants and a range of decades.

Measuring Tape, 2013

In a recent move consistent with his principle of good design at an inexpensive price, Conran has a new collection with J.C. Penney.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Color Fashion: Avacado and Harvest Gold

In the late 1960s, about the time I went to housekeeping (as the Amish say),
 the color trend was avocado green and harvest gold.

Russel Wright clock

A look back at the time will inspire cringes or admiration
depending on your age and memories.

The look was a form of an earth tone palette, linked to the younger

and a flower-power graphic.

Motorhome and mini-plush shag

The pervasive palette was probably second only to Richard Nixon in inspiring a generation of young people to say, "I can't live like this!" and drop out, as we used to say.

Update: Here's Jeanne's top. See the comments.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Modern Print Monday: Ruth Reeves

Ruth Reeves, Overlooking Kingston

Ruth Marie Reeves (1892-1966), New York
From the Index of American Design.
Reeves is touching up a silk screen, which may be her Circus-themed
tapestry for Radio City Music Hall

Ruth Reeves, Still Life with Violins carpet for foyer in Radio City Music Hall, 1932

About six months ago I attributed the above carpet pattern to Radio City's architect Donald Deskey, but in reading about Ruth Reeves I see the design was hers.

Ruth Reeves, Figures with Still Life, textile

Reeves was born in Redlands, California, and studied at the Art Institute in San Francisco and Pratt Institute in New York. In the 1920s she lived in Paris, taking classes at the Académie Moderne with Fernard Léger whose cubist vision had a lifelong influence on her work.

Fernand Leger, Three Women with Flowers, 1920

Reeves was more of a fine-artist than a commercial artist, producing hand-printed textiles and only occasionally working with a fabric company to design a commercial collection (apparently never very commercial.)

Ruth Reeves, Electric, block-printed coverlet in the collection of Yale University, 1930.

Ruth Reeves, Homage to Emily Dickinson

Ruth Reeves, Green Pasture

Reeves was particularly interested in folk arts and studied the arts of the Americas and India. With Romana Javitts she founded the Index of American Design, the documentary arm of the Federal Art Project during the Great Depression. In 1956 she moved to India where she spent her last decade.

This screen is attributed to Reeves due to the resemblance
to the Radio City carpet.

See my post on Radio City Music Hall here:

Ruth Reeves, The Circus for Morley, Fletcher,
collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

See another Reeves design at their blog here:

And here's a small Flickr collection:

Read an online essay by Whitney Blausen:

The Cooper-Hewitt Museum attributes this repeat
print to Reeves.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Color Fashion: Pink & Charcoal Gray

Pink and Charcoal pre-cut bias stripes. I'd guess around

The year Elvis had a cadillac painted pink for his mother.

1957 film Funny Face about the fashion industry, 
Kay Thompson in charcoal suit


Fashion fabric and feedsacks

Where did the fad come from?
One important consideration is that dyes giving cotton a range of gray shades
were fairly new---you could call it a post-War technological advance.

And Elsa Schiaparelli was the ultimate in French fashion, which was working
on a post-War revival.

Schiaparelli's Shocking pink perfume had a label in the color that
had been her signature for decades

Schiaparelli wallpaper?

Charcoal and gray defined the fifties from high fashion to low.

Too many "Before" pictures...

have inspired grassroots action:
Save The Pink Bathrooms.

It's probably cheaper to save pink dishes.