The NY Times Home section (March 24, 2011) featured a story on the appeal of 20th Century American objects – simple, durable and useful (at least at one time). A handful of stores around the city curate a revolving selection, with outposts in Williamsburg, Soho and the East Village. Why a feature piece now? The classic aesthetic may be an antidote to our mass produced and increasingly high-tech (as this web blog) objects and lifestyles. Or a reaffirmation that America was and still is, or can be, a place that reflects the values of the aesthetic, as the country works through economic and social crisis that tend to force questions about core values. Looking back is a ever present resource for a culture going forward. But the piece does not focus on these objects in modern spaces. It celebrates the carefully designed rustic setting, where modern life is reflected as an undercurrent in the subtle juxtapositions of different decades and interesting objects (a separate trend in itself) that have lost functions. Some may question whether nostalgia has it’s hazards beyond a certain point. But there’s no denying it’s place.
There’s also a strong nod to Ralph Lauren for cultivating this branch of fashion in the late 1960’s. The piece is written by Emily Weinstein and includes a beautiful gallery of photos, many with a vintage wood backdrop – the lumber version of American Rustic.