Time Tested; Victory Approved
Few images, views, stuctrures, photographers, furnishings... are more iconic than Julius Schulman shot of the Stahl house from 1960. Pierre Koenig's Case Study House No. 22
Good product design poseses a timeless quality that can never be bested by newer versions boasting modern materials or technology: Leather tufted couches, stainless steel cocktail shakers, glass-walled homes, the wash & wear wrap-dress and, as I was reminded in a recent feel-good sporting story from the NYTimes, wooden sailing ships...
The 1936 spruce-masted winner of the 2,225 mile LA to Honolulu Transpac yachting race, the 52-foot Dorade, repeated her victory earlier this month when she glided for 12+ days past a field of carbon-fibered state-of-the-art opponents, and beat her original time by a full day. And, more importantly, the 1929 beauty took the victory in great style—her crew slept on richly cushioned below-deck bunks, not present on today's Spartan models, and her America's Cup veteran navigator used celestial charts to stay on course. An 84-year old vessel taking first place using the powers of the North Star and a good night's sleep—no one is improving upon that!
Another 84-year old design icon... Jackie Kennedy... Would have celebrated her birthday this week. Still the trendsetter du jour when it comes effortless American elegance, we love to see only the beauty that surrounds her, pretending her 2-pack-a-day smoking habit wasn't how she kept fit... and Camelot was a place of bliss and not extra-marital nightmares, and she remains a mortal goddess.
Thank goodness that as the years fade the picture perfectness, her daughter Caroline remains an unsullied sliver of the idyllic family portrait. Surely Jackie would have beamed with pride over daughter Caroline Kennedy's new posting as Ambassador to Japan. Just think of the embroidered silks and hand-painted cottons her daughter will be presented with. Undoubtedly, if Mother were around, we would be entering an era of Kimono chic and Geisha Girl demureness. Nixon opening China would have nothing on what Jackie would surely have done to open the doors to the secrets of East exquisitness...
Continuing on our 'memory-billia' trip down '60s lane. A new book by journalist Lisa Koppel is claiming that the early mid-century astronauts' wives are the original reality stars. TV cameras on the lawn, magazine cover stories, legions of groupies called "Cookies" chasing their husbands... Nevermind that most of their couplings ended in divorce, a country's hope for glory rested in the beehive hairdos of these modest military wives. And disappoint they did not. While their men flew to the moon, these pioneering women slapped on smiles and kept the home fires burning while America watched their husbands in awe. As we're inundated with primetime programming that is built upon the willingness of those who feel compelled to share their every secret, it's important to note that oftentimes those not stealing the limelight provide the more compelling story...
Two men currently commanding the attention of the press in the original home of the paparazzi are Dolce & Gabbana, purveyors of the bold, bright, & unapologetic 30-year-old fashion brand. After being convicted of tax evasion by the Italian government, the fashion designers closed the doors of their Milan boutiques in protest, and took out newspaper ads proclaiming their innocence. Leading to the public trials were accusations that the sale of their brand to a holding company based in Luxembourg, where corporate taxes are a mere 4% compared to 37% in their home country, created a tax shelter.
One court case ruling has them serving 20 months in jail and paying upwards of 500,000 in fines. In another financial court-based case their penalty is nearly 400 million Euros, a payment they say will put their $200 billion company out of business. Appeals are pending and there is a strong expectation they will never see jail, just like their recently convicted countryman and former President Silvio Berlusconi. Meanwhile, D&G's menswear show continued as scheduled and their other stores around the world remain open. As they're put through the wringer, we'll see if the duo has the endurance of their designs.
- Roxie Mae Lackman