24 June 2010


Recently Thinking for a Living blog posted The Ultimate Toy for Boys, featuring 24 carat gold miniature soldier figurines by Partners & Spade in collaboration with Chandelier Creative (side note: Chandelier's use of video as background for their site is not something I see around very often, however the content, which opens with three models in jeans walking away from the camera, is incredibly cheesy). I'd heard of Partners & Spade but never looked into it, and in light of the ridiculous 24 carat soldiers (what kind of statement does this make?) I thought I'd better check out their website. Despite the logo looking like Prada's engraver's font, I could immediately see where the soldiers came from -- P&S have this Holden Caulfield aesthetic down pat and of course, in the 50s, soldiers had an entirely different meaning than they do today.

Most surprisingly, their blog, curated as an inspiration board, is actually quite good. Images they've found from top, include imagery from Socialite Inept, artist Hollis Brown Thronton, and photographer Phyllis Galembo. They also publish books of collections of everyday objects and observations (à la J & L books or Daniel Eatock) which I was happy to find, in that I imagined P&S had much more commercial aims given they are mainly a branding firm

I almost wish there were more of a separation between their conceptual and commercial work, but then again the combination is sort of what saves them. Even if it's well executed, the obsessive and ultra-stylized throwback gender aesthetic used in their commercial work (see also: Kate Spade) isn't interesting at all unless looked at as purely kitch, so mixing other works highlighting the mundane lends authenticity to their practice. It's as if they dissected a Wes Anderson movie, putting kitch on one side and authenticity on the other -- but it's all still very considered. Is the mundane by nature authentic in the first place? Below, images from their books published in-house and by Harper Collins

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