Woman as Design
By Stephen Bayley
In "Woman as Design", Stephen Bayley discusses how the female body works as a sign, a symbol...as a designed object. Both provocative and beguiling, "Woman as Design" is an eclectic mix of design, cultural history, erotica, fashion, fetishism and observation. In Part One: Before, Behind, Between, Above and Below, Stephen Bayley takes us from Aphrodite to the Delta of Venus and then to the industrialisation of the breast (in bra form) and sexual identity. He questions what strange mixture of evolution, social competition, cultural modelling and (predominantly male) desire made the substance and the style of women. In Part Two he examines pin-ups, stereotypes, cosmetics, hemlines and heels and looks in detail at how design has appropriated the feminine form. He illustrates how we see, display, dress, decorate and distort women - including how shoes and clothes form our impression of womanly ideal and how different ages and different cultures developed different womanly ideals. Wonderfully designed and superbly illustrated, "Woman as Design" is a compulsively attractive book and a modern study of the continuous conflict between the real and the ideal...in its most familiar form.