I’ve always considered the 60’s and 70’s the greatest era in American design history. Funny enough, I never really find myself having to defend that opinion. A generation suffocated by the monotony of suburbia bucked the establishment through a sweeping movement that profoundly influenced fashion, film, music, and design. That influence still holds sway over our cultural psyche over 50 years later. A ten second riff, an armchair silhouette, the engine note of an air-cooled motor—pretty straightforward when compared with today’s complex technology, but that incidental simplicity shaped our nation.
Today’s purists can’t help but appreciate the inherent challenge in making an incredibly purposeful structure appear simple, effortless, almost as an afterthought. Behind that seemingly nonchalant perfection is a team that ate, slept and breathed that creation, a team that continually refined the design until it finally just, felt right.
That process is responsible for so many of the images that remain branded on our collective unconscious, images that have evolved through the decades, not from any real need for change but just that classic human desire for progress and innovation. We breathe a collective sigh of relief when new iterations of iconic designs stay true to their roots, knowing they were perfect as they were. We applaud the current generation for what seems to be a real respect for the style of my era, hoping they continue to cherish what we hold dear. Everything today is a nod to the past in some way—social media is rife with tribute this, retro that, faux patina or nostalgic special editions, all paying homage to some treasured piece of those bygone times. This decade has seen technological leaps that weren’t even dreamed of when I was a kid, but we still can’t beat the creative aesthetic birthed by the newly freed minds of the Love Generation.
As a product of that generation, I’ve always been drawn to the small, often unnoticed details that are so crucial to the big picture. The evening light reflecting off a side view mirror, a brake rotor peeking out from behind an alloy wheel, the subtlety of a gilt dial—things that often don’t get a second glance. But these things matter. That attitude served me well in business, and it continues to serve me today as a connoisseur of things worth collecting. From cars and watches, to interior design and photography, I’m always chasing the collector’s high of landing that perfect find after countless hours of research. Through those hours you learn the story, and its often the story that seals the deal.
P.R.Z. archives is a labor of love, my way to continue telling these stories that so many of us still love to enjoy.
What’s your story? We’d love to hear it.