The term ‘California styling’ refers to a certain aesthetic, and conjurs up iconic, hip images from the history of the golden state. Starting in the post-War boom of the affluent and secure 1950s it seems California developed it’s own distinctive style, part Hollywood part pioneer, perhaps in some way due to it’s own unique weather or geography, or it’s proud independent history. Advertisers were quick to realise the mere word ‘California’ had connotations of space, freedom, sunshine and modernity. Add to this the element of cool, the California of Big Sur Beats, West Coast Monterey Jazz, and The Beach Boys and you have era defining style.
Towns like Anaheim, Tracy, and Glendale are instantly imbued with a faraway Romanticism, American Graffiti and E.T. capture on celluloid some of it’s golden glow, and the folklore of Laurel canyon provides a soundtrack, a synthesis of music, style and sunshine that has created a Universal sun-kissed style still felt today, and seen in everything from Van Dorens, early Stussy and Dogtown and the Z Boys.
Words Simon/photos Nic Shonfeld