Fernando Akasaka Asks: Are You a Cowboy Junkie?

Are my eyes deceiving me of late or do we seem to be in the early stages of a newfound longing for the artifacts of the 80s? I only pose the question because in the past two weeks, my wife and I have not only seen a put-together, career-ish twenty-something sauntering the streets of Savannah in silvery-metallic leggings, but also the likes of cultural icons Victoria Beckham and Michelle Obama enhancing their contours with shoulder pads!

Cowboy Junkie. Designed by Fernando Akasaka.

While others may feel differently, those who attended high school during those aesthetically-deficient ten years are apt to feel the twin pincers of revulsion and despair at the prospect of this revival. But once a cultural token takes on an aura of retro-hip, there’s no slowing its momentum. So what else to do but embrace the coming storm in all its incarnations? As, for instance, Fernando Akasaka’s Cowboy Junkies Stool, a thematic piece that brings together the urban-redneck vibe of an atmospheric early 90s pop group and an enduring icon of Americana.

Of course, Akasaka is Brazilian, which adds to the proceedings’ international flair, while lending them a touch of class to boot. His stool features one of his signature jumping saddles perched atop a stainless steel shaft and base. The material is French-imported conditioned leather; the colors include black, brown, hazelnut, and oak; the stirrups are steel; and the whole contraption is detachable for easy stowage (or perhaps to saddle up elsewhere).



While the ensemble is certainly attractive, the concept tends a touch towards high-kitsch, but that factor is tempered some by the post-modern feel of it all. Much as Obama and Beckham’s shoulder pads recognize the past while making certain accommodating alterations, so too does Akasaka’s Cowboy Junkie intend a certain re-invigoration. For me, the most palpable antecedent is Urban Cowboy, a cultish 80s film in which a skeletal John Travolta won the girl by riding mechanical bulls in a Houston honky-tonk. Akasaka’s stool relies on the film for its conception of the place of the cowboy in the modern city, but given that the namesake is American, the designer Brazilian, and the saddle actually English, ultimately “Cowboy Junkie” represents some genial fooling around in high-couture. It’s a testament to the many clever ways our cultural signposts can be invigorated with new life for a new era.

Via CoolHunting.

Posted February 9, 2010 by Joseph Starr

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