Later this year Reel Art Press will release a lavish photographic coffee-table book full of rare images of Hollywood icons wearing Ivy garb. It will surely be a delight to behold. Reading it, however, may be another story.
One should never judge a book by its cover, but we’ve had an Ivy book by this author before, and it missed the mark by a mile. London-based Graham Marsh is also one of the co-authors of “The Ivy Look,” our review of which holds the record for most comments on a post not involving free sweaters.
In addition to the daffy notion that Porsches, midcentury furniture, French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo and Zippo lighters belong to a style genre called “Ivy,” and are therefore intimately related to Bass Weejuns and oxford-cloth buttondowns, the book’s inexplicable error in judgment was its inability to articulate the origins of the Ivy League Look, as if the style suddenly appeared on album covers, movie posters and cigarette ads out of nowhere.
Geographically and temporally removed from the epicenter of the Ivy League Look during the heyday (New Haven, according to our own Richard Press), and given the bohemian sensibilities of UK Ivy fans, it’s no wonder the authors were reluctant to credit the style to privileged students at elite universities.
With this new book, Marsh evidently turns his attention once again not to the source but the simulacrum, finding his Ivy mecca not in suburban Connecticut, but the film studios of Hollywood. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD