The thread running through this book celebrating twenty years of Alexander van Slobbe is a conversation, spread in thin slices throughout it, between van Slobbe and Guus Beumer. Together they talk through the history of van Slobbe’s fashion labels Orson & Bodil, So, and orson + bodil. This dialogue is accompanied by extensive pictorial documentation which focuses on processes rather than products.
Text and images are on paper with a rough surface that has been printed in an overall light brown tint; the text itself is in red. Every now and then there is a guest contribution in pictures and text, the pictures for the most part filling the page and on white paper which is sometimes rough, sometimes smooth. This way one’s attention doesn’t flag.
The typography is almost entirely a matter of one size fits all. The dust jacket, folded in the American style, is also red on rough light brown. Its strength derives from eight glossy colour pictures that have apparently been quasi-nonchalantly pasted onto it – whether by hand or some sort of randomizing technology it is difficult to say. The answer is immaterial.
Everything about this book exudes soberness and dedication, and that is in line with van Slobbe’s own attitude. There were those among the panel who came out of the closet with their objections to printing in red and crookedly placed illustrations. And who then proceeded to announce that while the book had reminded them of these objections, it had also simultaneously demolished them. Such is the power of an outstandingly well produced book.