Kitsch (/ˈkɪtʃ/; loanword from German) is a low-brow style of mass-produced art or design using popular or cultural icons. Kitsch generally includes unsubstantial or gaudy works or decoration, or works that are calculated to have popular appeal.
I adore midcentury design for its sleek atomic lines and beautiful wood and structure. I appreciate the craftsmanship put into so many of the midcentury designer pieces that are now timeless, highly sought and still functional after 50 or 60 years or more. I have been on the midcentury home tours and ooohed and ahhed over the time capsule houses full of beautiful perfectly refinished, restored or never-touched-because-it-was-already-perfect mod Danish or Eames furniture and fixtures. But if I am honest, what really makes my heart sing- is KITSCH. Call it gaudy, call it tacky, call it garish…I don’t care! It’s nothing but complete fun; I adore it and will always seek it out in my vintage travels!
Not everyone sees the humor and fun in kitsch and many people toss it aside, lucky for me. These zany items are readily available at ReStores, just waiting to go home with you! Here are some favorite examples of the kitsch I personally adore:
Chalkware: fruit and veggies with faces, swimming mermaids, bathing fish, devil children (yes, you read that correctly).
|Chalkware takes all forms: fish, devil children, sexy fruit, redheaded mermaids, fawn|
All things ELVIS (see Below):
|Oh bust of E, are you ever begging to be a lamp!|
Velvet paintings of any kind- BONUS if they are Elvis:
|Can’t ever have too much Elvis…or mod velvet paintings.|
Mod tourist souvenirs from theme parks or beaches-especially if I’ve been there-BONUS if it is a vacation spot from my childhood:
|Wahoo, they are all from Myrtle Beach, South Cackalack, ya’ll!|
Anything with a Poodle-and BONUS if it’s pink or some other not-found-in-nature dog color:
|Poodles are irresistible to me- especially the pink ones!|
|The Green Lady|
Novelty barware with retro graphics and fonts. BONUS if they have faces or witty sayings.
|These tipsy martinis make me smile|
Anything with a saying on it that makes me laugh. Bonus if it’s somewhat sexist in nature- ’cause that just seems so Mad Men:
|Just in case you cannot read it, the rolling pin on the top left says “Husband Tamer”…|
I could go on, but you get general idea. I find it fun and uplifting to be surrounded by these sassy, clever and silly items!
Kitsch is just way too much fun to ignore. Let me encourage you to put aside the worry about choosing that ‘just right item’ and instead, go for that thing that makes you smile–it keeps giving back. Embrace the kitsch! And fab style and tastemaker Diana Vreeland said it best:
“A little bad taste is like a splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste…I think we could all use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.”
I’d really love to see and hear about your kitschy finds from the ReStore too…