Tag Archive | Eye on Design

Eye On Design: Baby Ruth Paper Dress By Waste Basket Boutique

Baby Ruth Paper Dress
Photos By Gail

Garments such as this A-line Baby Ruth Paper Dress (circa 1968) by Mars of Ashville (marketed under the name Wastebasket Boutique) became popular marketing tools for brands during the 1960s. The work of Pop artists like Andy Warhol was similarly turning everyday products into works of art. “Paper is the clue to the future,” declared Women’s Wear Daily in 1966.

Baby Ruth Paper Dress
Installation View with Michael Mott Target Minidress (1968)

See more examples of paper dresses from the sixties Here and Here!

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Minimalism/Maximalism, On View at the Museum at FIT Through November 16th, 2019.

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Eye On Design: Serving Table and Arm Chair By Kem Weber

Serving Table and Arm Chair By Kem Weber
All Photos By Gail

German emigre Kem Weber (18891963) designed original and colorful furniture and interiors devoid of overt historical references and evocative of modern times.

Kem Weber Chair

Produced as part of a nine-piece dining-room suite manufactured by Grand Rapids Chair Company, this Serving Table and Arm Chair (circa 192829) feature finishes of painted wood, walnut, and silver leaf with original leather upholstery.

Kem Weber Serving Table

The zigzag pattern in both the walnut veneer of the table and the striking green surfaces of both table and chair attest to Weber’s knowledge of French Art Moderne, while their smooth contours anticipate the sleek look of American streamlined design that would become popular in the 1930s.

Photographed in the Art Institute Chicago

Ken Weber Table and Chair

Eye On Design: Moschino Vintage Steam Iron-Shaped Handbag

Moschino Steam Iron Handbag
Photos By Gail

It has been said that an ‘it bag’ is only an ‘it bag’ if you’re unlikely to ever own one. Characterised by exclusivity, celebrity and exorbitant price tags, ‘it bags’ were first introduced in the mid 1980s, and by the early 1990s small bags emblazoned with corporate designer logos were the accessories in fashion-conscious circles. Glossy advertising campaigns, glamorous brand ambassadors and celebrity style icons, including Lady Diana, encouraged power-dressing executives with high disposable incomes to snap up these luxury wares.

In critique of this phenomenon, Italian designer Franco Moschino produced a series of handbags that parodied the trend for conspicuous consumption. Among them were witty works such as the Steam Iron Handbag (Ferro da Stiro), using white lacquered and metallic silvered leather.  Marrying humour and irreverence, Moschino’s surreal visual puns satirised the fashion industry, couture conventions and consumerism. Yet they also drew attention to the social politics of the period, critiquing the stereotypical female clotheshorse and articulating the less glamorous reality that, despite their careers, women remain enslaved to the domestic realm in ways that men do not.  Combining luxury with eccentricity, this handbag is an extraordinary example of Moschino’s wit and talent.

Moschino Steam Iron Handbag

Photographed as part of The Exhibit Camp: Notes on Fashion, on View Through September 8th, 2019 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup Can Paper Dress

The Souper Paper Dress
Photos By Gail

From Weng Contemporary:

The Souper Dress, inspired by the iconic Campbell Soup Cans series by Andy Warhol, was imagined and produced by the Campbell Soup Company as a mail order offer and as an effective advertising campaign when paper dresses were all the rage in the 1960s. Two labels from any different variety of Campbell’s Vegetable Soups and $1.00 got you the dress.

The Souper Paper Dress Installation View

The Souper Dress is a classic example where fashion, art and industry intersect into one image. The paper dress captures to perfection the vibrant, youthful, optimistic and consumerist zeitgeist of America in the 1960s .
This, then, disposable A-line dress made of screen-printed tissue, wood pulp and rayon mesh with binding tape, is printed with the Campbell’s Soup red, black and white labels. At the back of the neckline is attached the original label that reads: “The Souper Dress/No Cleaning/ No Washing/ It’s carefree fire resistant unless washed or cleaned/To refreshen, press lightly with warm iron/80% Cellulose, 20% Cotton.” Examples of The  Souper Dress is excellent condition can sell for as msuch as  $8,000 at auction.

Photographed as part of The Exhibit Camp: Notes on Fashion, on View Through September 8th, 2019 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Best Products Showroom Exterior Panels

Panel from Best Products Showroom
Photo By Gail

These porcelain-enameled steel panels once clad the exterior of  Best Products catalogue showroom in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Featuring a cheery floral pattern, they evoke both mass-market chintz textiles and Pop artist Andy Warhol’s silkscreened canvases. The building’s billboard-scale graphics and signage made it highly visible from the roadway — an improbable meadow springing from a suburban parking lot. During the 1970s, Best Products‘ founders commissioned firms like Venturi and Roach, and SITE (Sculpture in the Environment) to design architecturally novel, often whimsical showrooms that set the chain apart from its competitors.

Best Products Showroom
Installation View: Best Products Showroom Exterior

The ornamental big-box store exemplifies the postmodern architectural concept of the “decorated shed,” introduced by Venturi and Scott BrownRobert Venturi’s firm with his wife, Denise Scott Brown — (with co-author Steven Izenour) in Learning from Las Vegas, their influential 1972 text on the built environment. The decorated shed describes any generic structure that relies on applied ornament and signs to convey its purpose.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Multidimensional Graffiti Ensemble by Rei Kawakubo for Comme de Garçons

Multidimensional Graffit
All Photos By Gail

Exaggerated proportions and visual intricacy define this maximalist ensemble by Comme des Garçons. The elaborate coat and bodysuit, in various fabrics  including cotton, wool, nylon, polyester and linen — and in assorted shades of pink, red and white, are part of the Spring 2018 Multidimensional Graffiti collection, which appropriated the works 10 artists ranging from the 16th century to today.

Multidimensional Graffit
Shown Here in Contrast to a Minimalist Design By Narciso Rodriguez (Left)

According to Women’s Wear Daily, the result was a mash-up of prints and textures that allied to “the possibilities inherent when wildly unlike visual perspective coexist.”

Multidimensional Graffiti

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Minimalism / Maximalism at the Museum at FIT in Manhattan Through November 16, 2019.

Multidimensional Graffit

Eye On Design: Nkondi Chair By Francis Assadi Design Studio

Nkondi Chair
Photos By Gail

The word Nkondi means “hunter,” and it’s also the name of an idol (made by the Kongo people in the Congo region in central Africa) that contains an aggressive spirit meant to hunt down and punish wrongdoers.

The Nkondi Chair, which consists of a No 16 Bentwood Chair by Michael Thonet and hundreds of single-use plastic straws, embodies both the spirit and the act of wrongdoing. In the US, 500 million plastic straws are used and thrown away every single day, and with its artful combinations of colorful plastic straws on the legs, backrest and seat, the Nkondi chair brings attention to the massive plastic pollution on our planet. It also references the artwork created with recycled materials in many countries throughout Africa.

Nkondi Chair Detail

Nkondi is part of the the Metamorphosis Series, where designer Francis Assadi takes the Thonet No. 16 chair and transforms it into a new and vibrant work of art and design.

Nkondi Chair

All of the Metamorphosis series chair are one-of-a-kind/collector’s pieces, handcrafted in New York. Find out more about the unique furniture of Francis Assadi Design Studio at This Link!​

Photographed at the ICFF 2019 in NYC!