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Luca
May 9th, 2006, 09:25 AM
A useful construct to classify exposure to trends/changes in social mores and preferences is the six categories of cycle-stages. Their characteristics are shown in the table below

Cycle-stage / % of pop. / Source of inspiration / Preferences

Avant-garde / 0.1% / Creativity & Recycling retrogr / Unknown to general population and mainstream media

Connected / 4.9% / Imitation / Known or adopted by a restricted elite

Aspirational / 25% / Imitation / Adopted mostly by ‘edgy’ media and trend-conscious

Mainstream / 40% / Imitation / Mass-consumed but represented as desirable

Unfashionable / 25% / Imitation / Former mainstream no longer considered desirable

Retrograde / 5% / Tradition & int’zed rewards / Broadly considered archaic or obsolete

For any given choice/life value there may not be a single continuum or set of parallel tracks (separate continua by economic group/age) that conform perfectly to that schematization. That is especially true of more abstract value (as opposed to commercial choices). However, it is a useful construct for marketers and societal observers.
Some point of interest are:

Ø The mechanism by which a preference transitions from one group to another

Ø The permanence of a preference in ‘higher echelon’ stages even as it cascades down the stages

Ø The dual source of inspiration for preferences at the extremes of the stages (avant-garde and retrograde)

Ø The partial recycling of retrograde preferences into avant-garde ones

Ø The virtual unknowability of avant-garde preferences until, ex-post, they have filtered down to the ‘connected’

Ø The fact that, whereas the 'connected' are very often urban/urbane and professional, teha vant=-garde often is localized and economically marginal (though far from always)

As an example that might resonate with most people we would characterize two sets of choices along this continuum (for middle-class men)

Cycle-stage: Means of locomotion

Avant-garde: ???
Connected: Non-car / Hybrid car
Aspirational: Car-based SUV
Mainstream: SUV
Unfashionable: Toyota
Retrograde: ‘luxury’ sedan / non-car

Cycle-stage: Dress for a ‘formal’ evening out
Avant-garde: ???
Connected: Mix of designer grunge and retro-preppy touches
Aspirational: Designer grunge
Mainstream: Suit-jacket without a tie
Unfashionable: 'smart slacks’ and a blazer or sweater
Retrograde: A suit worn with a tie

Luca
May 10th, 2006, 02:45 AM
before anyone gets all disappointed as happened on another forum, I didn't filch this from somewhere. There is no 'source'. It's just a thought I had.

Ninjahedge
May 10th, 2006, 09:16 AM
Luca, do you live on the second floor?

I think I have seen you before.........

Luca
May 10th, 2006, 09:22 AM
:rolleyes:

Ninjahedge
May 10th, 2006, 10:43 AM
:rolleyes:

I'm sorry, I just heard something late at night.

You know, some kind of trouble, some kind of fight?

I am not asking you what it was or anything.... ;)

Luca
May 10th, 2006, 11:28 AM
whatever...if you're not interested in teh threead, surely you've got something interesting to do with your time


...hmm, maybe not

after all yer a Ninja...do you still have the 'throwing stars' you odered off the back of that comic book when you were 11?

:p

Ninjahedge
May 10th, 2006, 11:47 AM
whatever...if you're not interested in teh threead, surely you've got something interesting to do with your time


...hmm, maybe not

after all yer a Ninja...do you still have the 'throwing stars' you odered off the back of that comic book when you were 11?

:p


Nope, I used them to kill my sister's "Rainbow Bright" and "My Little Pony".

And as for the Ninja, they aren't ninja. Its a Hedge.

ablarc
May 12th, 2006, 08:14 PM
Where's Fabrizio on this one?

ablarc
May 21st, 2006, 11:19 PM
Luca, I’ve pondered your ruminations. I think you’re spot on with the phenomenon you analyzed, namely fashion.

I agree that most aesthetic objects go through all these stages in their lifecycles –avant-garde, connected, aspirational, mainstream, unfashionable and retrograde --and so does many a person’s taste in the normal course of a lifetime. At each of these stages you’ll find various-sized gaggles of folks, stuck for a time in their niches, though they usually migrate slowly over their lives from the avant-garde (when young) to the retrograde (when old).

Perceptive of you to chronicle all this, even put numbers to it, and recognize its inevitability –a little like the passage of the sun across the firmament. You’re truly the Heinrich Woelfflin of fashion: the chronicler of its inevitable arc through time. In your concentration on fashion, however, you overlooked a seventh stage.

The seventh stage is hors de categorie, like the soul after life. It’s immortal, it’s (finally!) free of fickle fashion’s cycle and the vagaries of time. In the afterlife it appeals to various percentages of the population (average: about 5-10%), but it’s recognized by the culture as a whole. The source of its inspiration is truth eternal, and its preferences are for the same. That’s why the select elite of objects that populate this seventh category are revered by knowledgeable people for the rest of time. This category is called the classic.

The classic is recognized as the best, will be seen as such until it’s inadvertently destroyed; and it will be seen to have been the best all along –while it lurched through your six stages of fashion—whether or not it was recognized as the best during its odyssey. In the end, a classic becomes inspiration for the next wave of avant-garde, and the cycle begins again.

Here’s the dictionary definition:

clas•sic (klas’ik)adj. [Fr. classique, from L. classicus of the highest class of Roman citizens, of the first rank, hence superior, from classis, a class.] 1:of the highest class or rank. 2: of recognized value; serving as a standard or model of excellence. 3: in fashion year after year; of enduring interest, quality or style. 4: characterized by simple lines. 5: balanced, formal, objective, austere, regular. 6: traditional, historically memorable; noted because of special associations. 7: characteristic of the ancient Greeks and Romans or their culture. 8: authentic, authoritative, typical. 9: in accordance with established principles of excellence in the arts and sciences.


* * *

In architecture, here’s a building everyone agrees fits every subset of the above definition of a classic:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/000.jpg
Palladio’s Villa Rotonda, oil painting by Carl Laubin.
Less is more: four sides and only one elevation. Everything is structure.

Here’s another:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/01.jpg
Strong Reason and Good Fancy, oil painting by Carl Laubin.
Trained in architecture, Carl Laubin (1947- ) paints classically and renders for Leon Krier.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/01a.jpg
Nicholas Hawksmoor: Christ Church, Spitalfields.
Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661-1736), an extremely classic architect.

Two buildings with more than a little in common, both classic:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/01b.jpg
Hawksmoor’s Mausoleum.Oil painting by Carl Laubin.
This building’s about death. It’s round; that makes it perfect as death itself.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/01bg.jpg
Hawksmoor: Mausoleum, Castle Howard.
Space the columns close, so it seems they have a lot to bear.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/01c.jpg
Mausoleum, Castle Howard.
A tragic building decays. After a while the stones don’t match; it’s becoming a ruin. 100% of this building is stressed structure. What you see is what you get.
One column/lintel condition and an interior. The interior is for dead people, who are stored in drawers.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/01d.jpg
Mausoleum, Castle Howard..
The Howards have been coming here for ages to their rest.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/01dg.jpg
Castle Howard.
They live just yonder in the big domed house by Hawksmoor and his friend, Vanbrugh.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/01dj.jpg
Mausoleum, Castle Howard.
Being on a little hill, they dominate the landscape for miles around, even from the grave.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/01dk.jpg
Mausoleum, Castle Howard. After many a summer...
Make it static. Death doesn’t move or change. Death is immortal.

.

ablarc
May 21st, 2006, 11:21 PM
The persistence of an idea. A train of thought through time, conveyed by classics.
Another classic based on the same ideas:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/03wa.jpg
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: Farnsworth House.
Less is more. Everything is structure.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/03wb.jpg
Mies van der Rohe: Farnsworth House.
The interior is for live people, who are encouraged to think they’re really outdoors, because as much as possible of the building’s not really there.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/03wc.jpg
Mies: Farnsworth House.
One column/lintel condition and an interior. The interstices are filled in with mullionless glass. Or they’re filled in with even less: nothing.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/03wd.jpg
Mies: Farnsworth House.
100% of this building is stressed structure or entirely transparent. What you see is what you get.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/03we.jpg
Space the columns wide; this building’s about life. Besides, we’ve discovered structural steel.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/03wf.jpg

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/03wg.jpg

A classic building: of the highest class or rank; of recognized value; serving as a standard or model of excellence; in fashion year after year; of enduring interest, quality or style; characterized by simple lines; balanced, formal, objective, austere, regular; traditional, historically memorable; noted because of special associations; characteristic of the ancient Greeks and Romans or their culture; authentic, authoritative, typical; in accordance with established principles of excellence in the arts and sciences.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/03wh.jpg

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/03wi.jpg

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/extremeclassics/03wj.jpg

A thing of beauty is a joy…





forever.

ablarc
May 22nd, 2006, 11:56 PM
Cycle-stage: Means of locomotion
Avant-garde: ???
Connected: Non-car / Hybrid car
Aspirational: Car-based SUV
Mainstream: SUV
Unfashionable: Toyota
Retrograde: ‘luxury’ sedan / non-car
Classic: Bugatti Atlantique



Cycle-stage: Dress for a ‘formal’ evening out
Avant-garde: ???
Connected: Mix of designer grunge and retro-preppy touches
Aspirational: Designer grunge
Mainstream: Suit-jacket without a tie
Unfashionable: 'smart slacks’ and a blazer or sweater
Retrograde: A suit worn with a tie
Classic: Tuxedo

.

stache
May 23rd, 2006, 03:47 AM
I took a fashion marketing class in college and the most money to be made on a trend is during the post peak period (Mainstream).

ablarc
May 23rd, 2006, 06:06 AM
I took a fashion marketing class in college and the most money to be made on a trend is during the post peak period (Mainstream).
Makes sense. Did they *astonishment* use a similar breakdown of stages to the one Luca came up with?

SilentPandaesq
May 23rd, 2006, 03:11 PM
Can't those factors be applied to almost anything????

I mean any particular item of manufacture that is not instantly invented goes through these stages. I think most people call that list "new to old". Using the example of computers here we go:

avant garde - Linux laptop
connected - 64-bit dual processor windows box
Aspirational - Mac Book Pro
Mainstream - Dell Notebook
Unfashionable - Dell desktop
Retro-grade - old school IBM computer (i.e. before Lenovo)

I don't know about "classic"

Given a few minutes of slacking off at work - I bet you we could come up with the same thing for Christianity :rolleyes: or Faith in general.

ablarc
May 23rd, 2006, 03:33 PM
Given a few minutes of slacking off at work - I bet you we could come up with the same thing for Christianity :rolleyes: or Faith in general.
Lol, go ahead and slack off; I'd love to get your take on this.

SilentPandaesq
May 23rd, 2006, 04:07 PM
Ok but don't be offended. Last thing i need are people telling me I am a bigot because their religon was listed as "unfashionable"

For Christianity (I will explain my choices in the Fashion motif)

Avant-garde -Chinese patriotic Catholic Association (very edgy)
Connected - United Church of Methodists (progressive, nice commercials)
Aspirational -Mormons (lots of press, HBO mini-series, potential president)
Mainstream - Evangelical (Well.... come on )
Unfashionable - Lutheran (kind of dull-- pasee', the Dockers form of christianity)
Retro-grade- Tele-vangelists (they are making a come-back baby)


Classic - Roman Catholic (solid basics, the jeans and tee shirt of religion, good architecture, 2000 solid years of history, still going strong, Ireland and Mexico completly covered)

Not sure I want to do Faith in general. :eek:

ablarc
May 23rd, 2006, 07:09 PM
Ok but don't be offended. Last thing i need are people telling me I am a bigot because their religon was listed as "unfashionable"
Not to worry. It's OK to bad-mouth Christianity.

All branches.

Luca
June 2nd, 2006, 12:01 PM
Nice pics in the posts, Ablarc. The Hawksmoor church I can see form my office :p

As for 'classic' that's what the 'retrograde' are likely to call their choices. I am referrign to current practices/chpoices, not apst ones.
Designing/building a truly classical/palladian building today is completely out of the norm; it is retrograde. In theory (hopefully) that could cycle back to mainstream, one day (I doubt it).

Note that I am not using retrograde in an isnulting or judgemental way, just as a functional label.

MidtownGuy
June 2nd, 2006, 12:41 PM
Ablarc, that photo string of the Farnsworth house took my breath away.
To be surrounded by the palette of the seasons and the changing daylight, and little else....the perfection of the structure perched on the landscape...what a joy it must be indeed, to live in such a space.

Back to my reality...

ablarc
June 2nd, 2006, 01:17 PM
As for 'classic' that's what the 'retrograde' are likely to call their choices.
Probably, but a true classic is the result of general agreement by the culture's cognoscenti. Classics are immortal and will always be revered, like a symphony by Beethoven. A classic is immune to fashion.


Designing/building a truly classical/palladian building today is completely out of the norm; it is retrograde.
That was partly my point in including the Farnsworth House, truly a classic though not stylistically classical. Amazingly similar architectural principles guided Mies and Hawksmoor.

As for doing overtly Palladian classical houses these days: Quinlan Terry does that.

ablarc
June 2nd, 2006, 01:22 PM
Ablarc, that photo string of the Farnsworth house took my breath away.
To be surrounded by the palette of the seasons and the changing daylight, and little else....the perfection of the structure perched on the landscape...what a joy it must be indeed, to live in such a space.

Sublime, eh? I actually lived for a month in a house with those characteristics. I'll see if I can find some pictures to post.

ablarc
June 13th, 2006, 11:16 PM
The Hawksmoor church I can see form my office :p
This church is so fine!

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/01.jpg

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/02.jpg

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/03.jpg.http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/04.jpg

Immune to fashion, it’s a classic.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/05.jpg.http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/06.jpg

This means it doesn’t matter if you like it or not. Just as it doesn’t matter if you like Bach.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/07.jpg

The culture has spoken, you see. And the virtues of this building are recognized for good.

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/08.jpg.http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/09.jpg
.

ablarc
June 13th, 2006, 11:19 PM
http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/10.jpg.http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/11.jpg

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/12.jpg

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/13.jpg

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/14.jpg

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/16.jpg

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/15.jpg.http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/17.jpg

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/hawksmoor/18.jpg

You have to tell us about the exotic dancers.

ablarc
June 26th, 2006, 11:24 PM
The Hawksmoor church I can see form my office :p
You still have to tell us about the exotic dancers.

Luca
June 27th, 2006, 02:55 AM
You still have to tell us about the exotic dancers.


I wouldn’t know anything about that, your honor!!!

That Church is in the middle of a very varied and rapidly changing area. Imagine, within a dozen (small) square blocks part of wall street, a historic, formerly slum area, the center of the Bangladeshi community and a hip ‘artisty’ and increasingly ‘hip touristy’ area.

BTW, are you coming to London this summer?

Luca
June 27th, 2006, 02:57 AM
Pevsner hated this church, but then again I think Oervsner is a crowning example of extreme erudition and exceedingly poor judgement, in my own amateur opinion.

ablarc
June 27th, 2006, 02:39 PM
BTW, are you coming to London this summer?
Maybe around Christmastime. Did that one year and found it delightful. Just the right amount of snow and good cheer.

ImaSwede
September 29th, 2008, 08:32 PM
I live by the Farnsworth House and was going to drive there this weekend to take some pictures with the fall colors. I logged onto the site to see when it would be open and found it is closed for the rest of the year!!! Check out the site to see the damage done to this amazing building.

http://www.farnsworthhouse.org/