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Fifties Style: Then and Now Hardcover – October, 1985

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Horn, a journalist who writes about design and architecture, here presents the novel argument that 1950s stylein product, graphic and interior design, crafts, furniture, architecture and fashionhas in certain ways influenced that of the 1980s. Describing the fads and fashions of the '50s as if his audience had no knowledge of them, he points out similarities between the two decades (pump toothpaste as the packaging equivalent of roll-on deodorant) and the "fascination of today's under-30s with 1950s teen culture" (the film Grease, the current popularity of Mr. Potatohead toys). Several more expert writers (Tom Wolfe, From Bauhaus to our House; Thomas Hine, Populuxe) have covered the subjects touched upon in this book, which asserts that dressing like Ricky Nelson is nowadays considered "cool," and that '50s fabrics were imbued with a "wry humor." The design of the book is intrusive, the photography poor, and the few points made are incidental.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

With post-World War II Americans ready to spend, post-World War II designers and manufacturers did their best to provide stylish merchandise. Prompted by recent interest in Fifties-style collectibles and revivals, Horn aims to give us "some idea of the amazingly rich, varied, and often beautiful and highly original designs of those years." In individual chapters he focuses on furniture, architecture, fashion, crafts, and interior, graphic, and product design; he also looks at how Fifties design has influenced design of the Eighties. The witty and readable text fits the book's graphic design as well as its subject. Readers, especially collectors, will enjoy this nostalgic, picture-filled jaunt through another decade.Douglas G. Campbell, Warner Pacific Coll., Portland, Ore.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 175 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co (October 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688021913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688021917
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,112,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Just found an old copy of this at a church thrift store and have been having lots of fun reading it. While not quite as polished as "Populuxe" or other 1950s books which came out in the 80s, it is actually more fun to pick up and Mr. Horn has a lighthearted but surprisingly original (and opinionated) take on many aspects of the decade. For instance, instead of waxing endlessly poetic about the automobiles from the era, he calls them out as being highly impractical objects that said more about conspicuous consumption than true enjoyment. I do think the author erred on the side of being a bit too contrarian when dismissing much of the era's modern architecture as "arrogant"; it has always come across to me as very confident and optimistic about the future -- much of it derived by the groundbreaking work of Mies Van Der Rohe.

Overall, "Fifties Style" has been a real pleasure to read and I can recommend it to anyone who loves that decade...which I unfortunately never experienced but my mother tells me was every bit as cool as I fantasize.
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By Amy Torres on April 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was expecting something a bit more in depth. This book hits the highlights of many subjects but doesn't dive very deep once in them.
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