Perhaps it's my personal obsession with nautical shirts, but when I think of stripes I think of my dangerous addiction to Petite Bateau and handmade espadrilles. Design editor Linda O'Keeffe, however, takes stripes to another level in her new book Stripes: Design Between The Lines. In it, O'Keeffe traces the history of stripes from cave paintings through the Middle Ages, when they were used to identify different social classes, and past their appearance as "dazzle camouflage" during WWI, proving that stripes really are "the simplest and most ancient of decorative markings."
Divided into eight chapters according to theme or mood—Jovial, Paradoxical, Tribal, Directional, Optical, Vertical, Horizontal, and Structural—O'Keeffe takes the reader from the Mojave Desert to the South Pole, visiting Elvis's "Jail House Rock," the paintings of Paul Klee and the evolution of circus culture along the way. Many of O'Keeffe's historical references are certainly interesting and will be new information to many readers, but her well intentioned text (cursory at best) simply can't compete with the page after page of stripy eye candy. Her books, however, like last year's Brilliant: White in Design, are easy flip-throughs, thematic romps, if you will, and aren't meant as anything more serious, so we certainly can't hold the fact that this is design light against her, especially when the pictures are so good.