We wake up in the morning and put on our striped socks and our plaid shirts, sit down to breakfast at a gingham tablecloth, perhaps eyeing the wallpaper with its fleur-de-lis. Patterns are everywhere—yet they can go unnoticed. In fact, every pattern is a story, a surprisingly deep trove of historical information and cultural associations.
Jude Stewart, author of ROY G. BIV: An Exceedingly Surprising Book About Color, brings her same sprightly sense of humor, sparkling personality, and roving curiosity to this cultural history of patterns. From camouflage to keffiyeh, plaid to paisley, slipping out of the Carmelites' scandalously striped mantle and into an itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny yellow polka-dot bikini, Patternalia plumbs the backstories of individual patterns, the surprising kinks in how each developed, the parallels between patterns natural and invented, and the curious personalities these patterns accrue over time. Boldly designed by Oliver Munday and cleverly cross-referenced, Patternalia is pure pattern pleasure: a beautiful object and a dazzling read that will appeal to anyone interested in design, fashion, and the cultural history buzzing all around us.