Monday, February 22, 2010

Cafetaria: book-related brain snacks

I've written before about incorporating books into my living space as decor. My point in discussing the positive aesthetic of books-as-interior-design was to celebrate the presentation of books not just for their appearance, but for their contents. I want to display my collection not for its colorful geometric assemblage, or its connotation of intelligence, but for the personal resonance of each title.

So what better way to highlight the conflux of old and new publishing than to compare this idea, of using authentic books as decorative material, with the idea of using the opposite- imitation books- as decorative fooder?

Kate Spade's fall 2010 preview included, literally, book bags.

Each clutch resembles a classic text, with cover art designed in-house. Creative Director Deborah Lloyd imagines women collecting the purses to display them throughout their living space. Lloyd said of her inspiration, "We wanted to pretend we had our own publishing house." They, and the rest of literary society. With the gradual dissolution of traditional publishing, the means by which readers can obtain books have spider-webbed. There is no longer a linear progression from manuscript to publisher to bookstore.

I also can't help but note the metaphor of the book as an empty shell, created as fashion rather than with true literary quality. But as a gimmick, the bags are cute- disregarding Lloyd's statement, I can appreciate the project.

Another option for faux-books-as-decor, contrasting with my notion of readers turning their finely-curated book collections into interior decor, is Anthropologie's book wallpaper. The screenprinted paper is billed as a display of "towers of titles", the corny alliteration enough to insinuate the phoniness. But, again, taking the piece at face value and assuming it's not aimed at squeezing out its real-life counterpart- a physical bookshelf- I can avoid taking my literary inclinations too seriously, and laugh.

I only hope my peers, rather than buying into cheapened products like these, are doing the same.

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