Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jantzen - Something to Remember

Why don't they make them like this anymore? Remember when bathing suits were fashionable? Typically my blog posts don't wander into the realm of clothing and fashion, but in that these ads have some fantastic illustrations and great colors, I'm posting about them today. Further, great design need not be limited to the fantastic and intangible realms of fantasy and animation. Great design should extend to all areas of life, including, as it were, the every day swimsuit.

A bit of a tangential remark here, I spent months searching desperately for an attractive, fashionable, vintage-esque one-piece bathing suit before the summer this year, with very little success. Evidently, skin is in, as it seems is the constant trend. In my opinion, the "less revealing" one piece Jantzen suits of the 1940's and 1950's are far more flattering and sexy than the barely there string bikinis that have deluged today's beach scene. But it may have a lot to do with the way these ads portray the product - the catchy colors and slogans (and maybe also the 18 inch waists of these bomshell models) - that makes them so appealing. Vintage ads have so much charm and the potential to lend valuable insight to graphic designers of today.

The above ad is credited to illustrator Pete Hawley. More information about this artist and his work abounds at Today's Inspiration blog. The pictures posted come from two fantastic sites that I'm just having a love affair with lately: AdClassix.com, a great website that sells original vintage magazine ads and Plan59.com, a company originating just a few miles away in Fairfax, Virginia, that also features mid-century ads and illustrations. Ads are copyright of the Jantzen clothing company.


megan said...

bring back the vintage bathing suits!

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right about design in fashion, Laney. The advertising of the forties and fifties, other than advertising more delicate and romantic clothing, appealed much more to imagination. Perhaps it has to do also with the fact that gender roles were more defined, women were or looked more feminine and man more masculine... whereas today everybody has a kind of uniformed body molded by the same frantic working out...(I like working out, so I should not criticize it, but it does make people kind of alike...)
Coincidentally I've just read in Steven Watts' book on Disney, the appeal to imagination in advertising first happening with Disney merchandising, when the brand, as it was, gave the product its value. But one can see that it wasn't just that. There was, really, romanticism and innocence. Very "a propos" on your part to post these ads. Keep on looking for the right bathing suit. I resorted to working out little shorts and tops that do look a bit like the forties swimming suits.