At a conceptual level, the parasol is an object of deeply serious intent. For a society paranoid about the sun's ageing effects, concerned about links between tanning and skin cancer and yet equally sceptical about the safety of chemical sunscreens, a device that naturally obstructs harmful rays is an invention of Nobel-prize-winning value. According to the logic of contemporary product design, such earnest scientific import is inextricably bound with an inflexible set of retrograde aesthetic values, situated in a stunted view of how modernity should look. In short, like any other technological object designed to create a better future–think iPod, the new limited edition Nokia 7200 or Nintendo's special edition Gameboys–you would think these cancer-averting sun shields would be minimal, Neo-Modernist and above all, white.
Not so the Eley Kishimoto parasol. This bolt of swirling, psychadelic 'Domino' print on spokes flies in the face of hackneyed Barbarella-esque restraint, creating a flirty, flouncey conversation piece. Let's face it, few of us carry parasols these days; to do so is a provocative gesture akin to wearing large hats or pince nez. Counter in all that eye covering and twirling of handles that parasols encourage (or is that just me?) and we get to the heart of what distinguishes them from other, ostensibly unisex, techie gadgets: this parasol is for exhibitionist girls.
And indeed, this girl applauds Eley Kishimotos' amazing ability to consistently source new surfaces to support the onward march of their glorious prints. Here, the combination of truculent black-on-yellow with the heaving, frilly trim is a clever, adult twist that keeps the girlish accessory on the right side of Mary Poppins spinsterdom. In view of such genuinely progressive design sense, the fact that the parasol 'support' is practical and scientifically-proven to guarantee good health seems like a mere added attraction. So, keep your white goods, boys. The Eley Kishimoto parasol is seduction on a stick.
Printed fabric parasol by Eley Kishimoto at Liberty London +4420 7734 1234