Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design


California (Design) Dreamin'

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

I never appreciated what California had to offer until I moved away from it. (Isn't that always the case?) A brief stint in the East Coast opened my eyes to the many ways the West Coast rocks. Of course, each side of the country has its merits, but I must admit California's sunshine and unique history has a special pull on my heartstrings.

I've been trying to figure out the reasons why this state draws me and it's still a continuing mystery. But one that's been illuminated just a bit by a trip to LACMA's newly opened "California Design" exhibition. I got a chance to curator Wendy Kaplan and she and I both share the same sentiment. "How can an aesthetic that so changed the way we view design not have a major exhibition until now?"

I've only been able to share a few treasures from the exhibition opening at the awesome new site "Los Angeles, I'm Yours,"so I'm posting a series of eye candies here for my entertainment (and to aid my sometimes very faulty memory!)

Here's the first!

It's been about a week since I first stepped into the California Design exhibition but I still vividly recall Gilbert Adrian's two-piece dress.

It was touted at all and it stands discreetly around items inspired by the aerospace boom in California, but its beautiful swags and gorgeous silhouette captivated me. If I had the figure to wear this dress, I would. Sadly, I'm not a movie star (like many Adrian dressed in 1930s and 40s MGM files).

Still, after 60+ years, this dress continues to have the wow factor. If I remember right, the design was supposedly influenced by the starburst shape so prevalent in the Googie period. Or did I just make that up? In any case, the textile that weaves in a out of this dress draws my eyes up, down and everywhere. Though it lacks a bright pop of color, somehow it still draws many a fetching gaze.


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