The Customs Of The Barbarous And Civilized

I planned on taking photos of the good and awful outfits at the AIGA Bright Lights event. But, then I was sidetracked by the sight of the bar. Clearly, my drinking is getting in the way of my fashion photo-journalism (is that an oxymoron?). What I need is another person who follows me around and takes photos while I'm busy spilling cocktails on someone.

This year, the event called for cocktail attire, as opposed to black tie. Personally, I prefer the black tie option. It's nice to show respect for the Medalists who are honored for a lifetime of work. This year, however, I was relieved to not wear the tuxedo. When I tried it on for another event, it was like putting on a child's suit. I must have been ten pounds lighter when I bought it. I guess those Sunny Von Bulow dinners of martinis and ice cream sundaes were a bad idea. I was confused about the "cocktail attire" idea. Was this what I wear at home at cocktail hour? Pajamas? Fortunately, Michael Vanderbyl, the best dressed man in design, gave me the low-down. The other guests ranged from elegant and gorgeous, like Pam Williams, to clownish. Sorry, I won't name those people. I still need to work in this profession. But look for the tell all book ten years down the line.


17 Again

Two years ago, Design Observer posted a very funny article, Fifteen Minutes of Fame. The point of the article was to imagine who would play whom if the graphic design industry were a movie. I was paired with Ryan Seacrest. I was hoping for George Clooney, but in all fairness, this is a pretty good match.

At a recent dinner, my good friend Pam Williams played a game where we went around the room and guessed what people were like in high school. This wasn’t about what they looked like, but was about their personality and which character they fit. For the past few weeks, I’ve been gathering suggestions from many of you, so here is the first batch. Apologies to anyone who feels that I’ve gotten it dead wrong, but it’s done with love. And you’ll notice I put myself in the spot that was suggested to me, not where I wanted to be (Jake in Sixteen Candles).

Now I’m going to risk offending my friends more than normal. I’ll start with people I know and can find a good match, and I’d be happy to hear any other suggestions. And remember, before calling me, stop, and calm down. Making angry calls never works.

John Maeda

Do you want a cheese doodle?

Sometimes, I just need to share something wonderful. This is a poster our good friend Chip Wass, from Wassco sent us. Chip always sends the best things. My favorite was the giant bin of fluorescent orange cheese doodles. Those lasted for months. Everyone had orange stained fingers. We are a high-end Beverly Hills firm. Right. Right up there with the Wassco cheese doodles are the beautiful and charming Pam Williams' Valentines malt balls. We are very healthy.

Designers in Black, part 1

Sean Adams and the wonderfully jewelled Madame President, Debbie Millman

Last Thursday, I attended the AIGA Design Legends Gala in New York. I was in Kona the week before, and it was a helluva flight from Hawaii to LA to New York, but the Gala is an evening that reminds me why I’m a designer. Of course, there are inspirational speeches and presentations. Debbie Millman gave an eloquent speech about the current economy and why designers are more important than ever. The Medalists, Carin Goldberg, Doyald Young, and Pablo Ferro were remarkable and seeing their work is exactly the shot in the arm I needed. But, many of you are probably asking, who looked good? Fortunately, I’m shallow and took my camera to find some of the best dressed. Now I admit I’m bad at this job. I started and then had a couple of Gin and Tonics, then the gorgeous Marian Bantjes sat on my lap, then I lost interest in the photography. Nevertheless, for your pleasure, here are some of the highlights I found before forgetting I needed to do this post.

Stefan Sagmeister with snappy tie and Marian Bantjes in a dress of her own fabric design

Petrula Vrontikis unbelievably gorgeous and dapper Armin Vit

Pam Williams outdoing Madame Pierre Gautreau by John Singer Sargent

This defines classic and glamorous, Michael Donovan and Nancye Green

This defines classic and glamorous, Michael Donovan and Nancye Green

Board heartthrob Brad Weed and beautiful wife Susan Pappalardo


Immaculately dressed Michael Vanderbyl and ever-charming Gaby Brink

Sean and Kenna Kay absolutely perfect