Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

10.08.2009

The First Cover

Subtlety isn't big right now. The public seems to crave celebrity, so books tend to be marketed with personalities on the cover and it's less common to go into Barnes & Noble and see a display like the one above. At least not in any section that relates to fashion or current affairs.

When The World in Vogue was first published in 1963, the book jacket design was graphic and eye-catching but none of the many historic 20th-century figures discussed within the pages were featured on the cover. Instead there were bold multi-colored letters with a shaded, slightly ombre-like quality. It's interesting to compare the design with that of the second edition scheduled to be released next month.


I have the mid-century volume, which spans the first seven decades of Vogue including World Wars I and II. The jacket reads: "Seven momentous decades of the names, the faces, and the writing that have held the public eye in the arts, society, literature, theatre, fashion, sports and world affairs." And those seven categories are also highlighted in colorful typeface. In 1963 the jacket must have looked very fresh and modern. To me, it stands the test of time but I'd love to hear what all the graphic designers (and design enthusiasts) out there think of it.

12 comments:

ArchitectDesign™ said...

so lucky to have a copy of this book!!

little augury said...

You are so right! The quality of the first cover is-well-quality. I have this copy too-and have had to remove the dustj-but it is tucked away-though worn it has to be kept. They did slightly better with the Houses book by selecting the more subtle background.la

Passementerie said...

I love it because it's so period-neutral. The new edition cover will be completely obsolete in the blink of an eye as the rather unmemorable characters on the cover fade from the public mind. The 1963 edition is confident and cleverly avoided dating itself in that way, even if the shading might be a bit out of style now.

Karena said...

Lucky girl indeed! Of course I have just cleaned out my bookshelves, although I would happily add this to my collection!

Style Court said...

I do feel lucky to have found a copy at a reasonable price. It has very little in terms of interiors but in terms of art, world events and literature, it is like having an interesting history book with iconic photography.

P -- Great point about not dating a cover with one particular public figure. I think it's hard to pick one person or couple who really embodies multiple decades. No matter how talented, stylish or popular they might be -- just hard to choose one to represent a half-century or century.

highglossblue.blogspot said...

As beautiful as Giselle and Tom Brady looked that night, I still prefer the first cover. New bumper sticker-Bring back subtlety
Regardless of the cover, man-would I love to pure over the inside of either edition! What a fabulous idea for a Christmas present for women (and some men) of all ages. Thanks for the heads up.

Style Court said...

Claire -- I love that idea for a bumper sticker!

Bring Back Subtlety

Pigtown-Design said...

I am still waiting to find it at Book Thing!

pve design said...

It is on my list.
Love it!
pve

Paris Hotel Boutique said...

Courtney, thanks so much for the mention. What a lovely thing to wake up too!

I love the display from Barnes & Noble. You know how I feel about vintage. They just don't make it like they used to! XX Lynn

Ivy Lane said...

Would be great to find a copy of the book! Sounds uber interesting!

I too like the bumper sticker idea!! :)

Lisa R.S. said...

I too have the original book, though my cover shows it's age. I don't mind because what is inside is fascinating. It is a time capsule of our culture. "Her Diary: Leaves culled from the journal of a lady of fashion" is really funny to read. It seems even around 1900 young ladies with no other redeaming quality than parental wealth were celebrated by the fashion media(hello Olivia de Palermo- you're not an original).

I'm worried by the new book's title and cover photograph. The emphasis on "Parties" and celebs seems less serious than the previous edition. Maybe Vogue is just too different from what it originally was, or (a harder truth to face) maybe our culture has less depth and Vogue is reflecting that sad fact.

I don't think it's the latter. Vogue lost my interest a long time ago; it's too snobby and irrelevant. Case in point: I bought the latest issue off the news stand only for the Kelly Wearstler spread. Big waste of money. The article talked about features of the house that were not shown and left me wanting more. I read in the "life with andre" section the brief article on Rose Byrne "Coming up Rose".In the article Andre admits that he was unfamiliar with Roses early work (is 2005 really considered early in a 26 year career?)and she had to tell him that she had big roles in Troy and Marie Antoinette. How rude! Andre is so important that he doesn't even do reasearch on the people he interviews. In 2005 Vogue did a cover with Kirsten Dunst based on the film Marie Antoinette, how could he not know Ms. Byrne was in the film?

I spend a bulk of my fun money on design books, and often buy them sight unseen. I will wait to see what's inside this book to see if it's worth it to buy. They would have been better off with an older photograph, one of someone who has stood the test of time, or a cool graphic like the original 1963 cover. Too bad.