The Design Observer Twenty

Véronique Vienne | Case Studies

Dispatch from the Pastiche Police

Am I disingenuous when I proclaim that the more you know about design history, the richer will be your appreciation of things? As it turns out, it sometimes spoils the fun.

Most recently, in the iPad version of The New York Times, I was nagged by a Louis Vuitton advertisement for a $2,790 bag by Rei Kawakubo. What got me riled was not the frivolous item, but the fact that the photograph was a “reference” to the famous Surrealist self-portrait of Herbert Bayer.

Comparing the Bayer montage with the Vuitton ad (photographed by Jennifer Livingston) only increased my frustration: all the intensity of the original had been drained out of the sanitized image.

I only wish the photo credits read “Homage to H.B.”

Jobs | April 01