Fashion in Design
I’m a big fan of the art Nouveau school of design and, looking through a scan I found of a design textbook from the 1890′s got me to thinking, the maxim ‘what comes around goes around’ really does apply when it comes to fashions in design. A E V Lilley’s ‘Studies in Plant Form & Design was published in 1896 and contains many stunning examples of Art Nouveau designs based on the studies of various plants.
Plants – along with female figures seemed to lend themselves most suitably to the flowing, curvilinear design style of Art Nouveau.
Choosing some wallpaper for my living room recently, I was struck by how many of those available (and, notably, the more expensive ‘designer’ brands) featured designs echoing those of the late Victorian Art Nouveau / Deco period – lots of large, often bright, block designs featuring the same flowing designs I spoke about in Lilley’s book above. 10 years ago, people wouldn’t have even considered adorning their 3 bed semis with such ‘garish’ designs such was the penchant for the minimalist look of plain emulsioned walls.
Despite being over 100 years old, take a look at this example of wallpaper design from Lilley’s book.
You will see not dissimilar designs on the shelves at your local DIY store! A design classic never dies, as they say. Art Nouveau I guess, never truly went out of fashion – it just went away for a little while and always had a following of those championing the work of Mucha, Tiffany et al.
Design of all varieties and styles and as applied to all different kinds of media is a hugely popular niche market not only with design students but with thousands of amateur enthusiasts who are interested in the application of design for all kinds of craft interests and pastimes.
This is just one subject area which has vast potential for public domain product production – not only books on the subject but also products embellished with historical designs.
To see more example of vintage Art Nouveau design text books, please click here.