Peter York

York is an author, broadcaster, journalist, management consultant and cultural commentator. He was Style Editor of Harpers and Queen for ten years and he co-authored The Sloane Ranger Handbook in the 1980

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Peter York on Ads No 273: Canderel: They rob the Fifties in such sweet style

Advertisers have robbed the Fifties blind. The low Fifties, that is: primeval youth culture; the golden years of rock and roll; every kind of kitsch Americana and every kind of old newsreel from Mr Cholmondley- Warner's cod Public Education films to Deep South front porch life. But they haven't, until now, really tapped the Golden Age High Fifties, the world of American photographers and movie-makers who took the best of everything for their settings in the search for elegance. I'm thinking Richard Avedon, Suzi Parker, Babe Paley, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. And I'm thinking about the advertising that evoked that world for American glossy magazines. Those models, impossibly tall, hatted, gloved and pearled who presented new miracle fibres from Du Pont and new appliances from Westinghouse by twisting themselves into weird attenuated positions, one leg behind the other, one long-gloved arm outstretched in amazement like very posh magicians' assistants.

Peter York on ads: Not potty enough

NO 272: TANGO

The Critics-Peter York On Ads: Lost in Piccadilly with WPC Barking

NO 271: MERCEDES A-CLASS

PETER YORK ON ADS: Screaming all the way to the check-out: NO 269: LEVI'S DOCKERS

Spy cameras are so ubiquitous that they're the basis of a whole new genre of cheap television - very cheap television. The favourite form, of course, is crime programming. And what crime on video suggests is that that type of criminal is pretty idiotic and inclined to hysteria. But somehow those muddy, jerky images of hopeless - and therefore quite frightening - people doing chaotic things are so banal, cheap and sad that it was just a matter of time before a clever, smart advertiser used them for something fashiony.

Peter York on Ads: Trailer trash triumphs

NO 263: BAD IDEA JEANS

Television: Peter York on ads No 262: Adidas: Wrong track for trainers

The price of cool is eternal vigilance! Advertisers with a young audience play a difficult game, constantly having to update their advertising and demonstrate their knowledge of new people, new looks and new music, but still maintain a "consistent attitude".

Peter York On Ads No 261: Heat: Hot stuff, but is it in vain?

Spontaneous combustion is the sort of thing that happens to Americans in the emptier parts of California, like alien abduction. No one quite knows why housewives and handymen get reduced to a few blackened embers. Is it inner turbulence caused by Hoddle-style, reincarnated sin? Is it a side-effect of nuclear-power generation or New Age medicine? Whatever, it sounds wonderful and very filmic.
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