Tomorrow December 3rd sees the release of Patternalia new book by Jude Stewart. It’s a delightful, fully illustrated new volume on patterns, from polka dots to plaid: their histories, cultural resonances, and hidden meanings. Read an extract here.
We’re celebrating this new release by offering 5 lucky readers of Design Juices the chance to win a copy in time for Christmas!
How To Enter
All we’re asking to enter, is for you to comment below with the missing word from the title of the book.
Patternalia is ‘An Unconventional History of Polka Dots, _______, Plaid, Camouflage, & Other Graphic Patterns’
Winners will be picked on Monday the 14th of December, and entries will be taken until Saturday the 12th of December at midnight.
Order Patternalia over on Amazon today.
10 Fun Facts about Patterns
- “Polka dots” get their name from an 1840s European craze for polka-dancing. It was so popular, in fact, that marketers hawked everything they could as polka- themed, from polka curtains, polka hats, even polka pudding.
- Named for the Bikini Atoll where nuclear bombs were tested, bikinis roared onto the scene in 1946 with the super-revealing two-piece called l’Atome. The association between bikinis and polka dots was clinched with the 1960 hit song “The Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” by Brian Hyland.
- Prisoners wear striped uniforms to make escapees visible – but the pattern’s origins run much deeper. Medieval artists depicted disreputable types like prostitutes in stripes, to show they’re “barred” from polite society.
- June 21st is known as “Seersucker Thursday” among U.S. Senators, who donned seersucker that day and went on bipartisan ice cream socials together.
- Houndstooth started out as Scottish shepherds’ wear but earned its fashionplate status when the abdicated king Edward, Duke of Windsor wore it in formal suits in the city.
- Plaid was banned in England from 1746 to 1782 – which fueled the pattern’s rise in popularity. But nostalgia for the pattern also made its history fuzzy. Several confidence men faked finding ancient tartan guides, and most of the “family tartans” we know today are invented, with little basis in fact.
- Black-and-white checkerboard can suggest speed (in racing flags), law and order (in the “Sillitoe tartan”, a pattern on many police uniforms), and spiritual protection (the Balinese drape B&W-checked fabric called wastra poleng over valuables).
- Gingham is the wholesome cloth of picnics, Italian restaurants – and cheap plastic tote-bags carried by millions worldwide. Called totes Barbès, these bags are gingham in homage to the gingham logo of French department store Tati, who popularized the bags in North Africa.
- William Morris was the first designer to sell commercial wallpaper in a big way – yet this wax-mustachio’d hipster’s life was a mass of contradictions. A successful capitalist, he was also a rabid Socialist. An Icelandic translator, poet and fantasy writer, J.R.R. Tolkein named Gandalf after a Morris character.
- Camouflage rose to prominence in WWI to protect military equipment from aerial attack – but it expanded like crazy during WWII to all kinds of of visual sleight-of-hand. It’s a story of inflatable tanks; decoy heads, tanks and cities; magicians sporting colonel stripes; jazzy warships – it goes on and (weirdly) on.