“Ugliness doesn’t sell!” This is the title of a book by Raymond Loewy and it is also the leitmotiv of the work of this designer who was as elegant in his work as in his appearance. This is how Serge Bellu begins his portrait of one of the Twentieth century’s styling theoreticians. Here are one or two other passages from the article:
“Raymond Loewy had the profile of a Hollywood hero, and his physique reinforced the image (…). A dashing moustache, exquisite flannels, monochrome grey patterns and cravats. His life read like a novel.
A good son, good soldier, and a great seducer before becoming a doting husband, he had all the right attributes for the triumphant émigré and
was the very embodiment of the American dream”.
“At fifteen Raymond Loewy had already realised that ‘industrial design could mean big money while enjoying yourself’.
In Manhattan, things for Loewy changed. He embarked on a path of disenchantment, he knocked on doors that did not open: in spite of all his technical expertise, General Electric turned him down”.
“1929 marked a turning point in Loewy’s career. The Gestetner company asked him to redesign their mimeograph machine. The design revolution had begun. A whole generation of creative young minds, born in the late 1920s, was flourishing under the impetus of economic recession. Loewy drew the most attention of a group that included Walter Teague, Henry Dreyfuss, Norman
Bel Geddes and Harold Van Doren, rivals who esteemed each other and supported and helped each other(…).
“On 16 July 1988 the death of Raymond Loewy made the front pages of the main dailies. An exceptional event for a daily press that was not in the habit of bothering about the life and death of designers, except that this one’s stature was such that it went beyond the bounds of his own microcosm”.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 158