With this post Ivy-Style bring Preppy Week to a close. Click here to have the Dead Kennedys’ “Terminal Preppie” play in another browser window as you rejoice in the demise of Biff and Muffy.
Every trend carries within it the seed of its own negation. The hype and expectation over “Take Ivy” has made it fashionable to take a blasé attitude towards the book, complaining online how the photos aren’t in HD. The middle road, as usual, is the best: The tome is neither the Rosetta Stone of Ivydom, but nor does it warrant flippant dismissal. Likewise, perhaps the current Preppy-Ivy-Trad-Americana trend will give birth to a hippie revival in a few years, the very trend that followed the original heyday of the Ivy League Look.
In the early ’80s, the immense success of “The Official Preppy Handbook” saw an immediate backlash by would-be humorists looking to cash-in by lampooning the new popped-collar zeitgeist. Kate Reed’s “101 Uses for a Dead Preppie” came out in 1981, followed by “The Joy of Stuffed Preppies” by Randall C. Douglas III and Eric Fowler the next year.
If you want copies, better act fast. I picked mine up for a few bucks each several months ago — about the same price I paid a few years ago for the Preppy Handbook, which is now commanding a premium on eBay.
Here are a couple sartorial-themed samples from the books. First up, Kate Reed’s work, in which a poor prep is used as a scarecrow. Of course, for wearing a patch-madras jacket with emblematic trousers, I suppose he deserves it:
Next up, the cover of Douglas and Fowler’s book, in shades of Pastiche Pink and Jeering Green:
Here’s their best cartoon, in which stuffed preps are used as mannequins in a small retail store that seems modeled on The Andover Shop:
“The Joy of Stuffed Preppies” includes captions (by Douglas; Fowler did the drawings). For the above, Douglas writes:
Impish Stanton Fairfax persuaded a pair of freshmen to get their rears in gear and go mooning one starless night. Gripped by the desire to flash a buttock or two himself, Stanton, at the wheel, plowed the Country Squire into an Andover haberdashery. The less than clever lads were restyled as dummies and were rotated to face the window, leaving all aspects of their asinine behavior behind them.
Attempts to contact the authors of both books failed. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD