Sunday, July 22, 2018
Requiem for Mid Century Modern...it's OVER !
Mid Century Modern has been hyped by so called antique dealers for over a decade now. Dealers in it have done a good job of convincing the buying public (mostly Millennials) that , "Its only going up in value". But as I watch the purveyors of this , one by one, closing their doors, its clear to see that hype, and reality, rarely are the same.
The problem with hype and trends is that it gets copied, and the early market in "good MCM" and their was some made by well thought of designers of that era, did deserve its due as a collectible. The problem became the hype and before long 'so called "designer/dealers" (bored housewives with a husband looking for tax loss write-off), went far and wide to every second hand store, Goodwill and Salvation army buying any and everything including 1960's mass made junk furniture and put outrageous tags on it, reupholstered in it orange and lime green and it was the new 'hot thing'. 20 dollar thrift store blond dining room chest being tagged for thousands as "Designer mid century credenzas" and there was a willing market of Millennials and 'style unconscious people' thinking they were buying 'real antiques' that would go up in value and impress their friends.
If that wasn't bad enough the manufacturers got into it and Ikea, Target, Wayfare, Hayneedle and every low end furniture maker flooded the market with cheapo copies. Now years later, Millennial's, who now have real jobs and looking at this stuff with different eyes, and the fact all their friends have the exact same furniture are tossing it 'literally' to the curb. Like Black Chain beaten distressed farmhouse furniture in the 1990's and white cottage shabby furniture 2000's its all going on the bonfire of "bad taste" fueled with shiplap and pallets from HGTV. It's OVER, let it die, put it out of its misery.
So what is happening? People are buying real antiques again, even Millenial's, who serial watch re-runs of Downton Abbey and play video game set in mythical land with houses that look like Gothic castles and dress in steampunk cloths, have come to be intrigued in fine antiques again, even Victorian.
Millenials however don't decorate in it, they "design" with it, treating that Victorian Gothic chair as a piece of art to be displayed. Millennials travel too (vacations are their thing) and they are looking for that piece that reminds them of those travels. After all their phone is filled with photos and selfies but you can't display them in your home and unless we intend to bring back the old fashioned slide show where you endlessly bore your friends with photos of your travels, buying an antique that reminds you of your trip, appears to be the latest thing to do. That trip to England? Say a hand colored 19th century engraving or a Gothic chair. A fine marquetry side table that reminds you of France, or a antique Syrian inlayed table that reminds you of your trip to the Middle East. People are becoming interested in buying things that "remind".
So as we all watch the death rattle of MCM and the desperate hype of dealers exclaiming " No..this is a real investment". Go buy what you like, what strikes you...buy the things that remind.