Living with a higher
regard for one's
An Elevated Approach
At the behest of Charles Eames, Alexander Girard was recruited by Herman Miller to develop a textile program that would meet the post-war need for modern textiles. He established the company's Textile Division in 1952, and served as its Director of Design until 1973.
With a resolute and reserved personality, Girard believed quality should speak for itself—and he did much to propagate the notion that life could be lived with a higher regard for one's surroundings. His first collection, introduced in 1952, reflected this philosophy and included a range of bold colors and versatile textures. To this foundation he began adding interrelated woven patterns and printed designs.
Pendleton has recreated one of Girard's many designs for Braniff—an exquisite throw. The plaid blanket—expressed in four colorways—hearkens to a time when travel was an occasion for elegance.
The design is just one example of Girard's unpatrolled body of work that stands wholly apart from his contemporaries. From his outpost in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he designed over 300 textiles in multitudes of colorways, multiple collections of wallpaper, decorative prints and wall hangings, an expansive group of furniture, and both decorative and useful objects—a body of work well ahead of its time.
The End of the Plain Plane
TIn 1965, the Jack Tinker Agency hired Girard to orchestrate what amounted to a complete overhaul of the Braniff International Airway's brand experience. From playing cards and matchbooks, to baggage tags and tickets, to the airport lounges and planes, Girard marshaled his talents into a comprehensive scheme that signaled "the end of the plain plane," ultimately making 17,543 design changes that included 56 textiles for use in the interiors of Braniff planes. These fabrics featured a range of geometric patterns and related to one another with a consistent mix of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.