Yesterday I received my first issue of Architectural Digest. Rob Lowe was peeking out over the other (junk) mail, inviting me into his newly designed home. And the cover noted that we would also be visiting a host of other well-known celebrities. Exciting! I had flipped through issues at the library before, but never truly read the magazine … what would I find inside?
Before even reaching the table of contents, it was already clear that I am not in their target market. The advertising was a dead giveaway. Cadillac, Breguet (appears to be a watch brand, though may also be a jewelry boutique that has their own brand of watch), Restoration Hardware (the new updated version that I completely don’t understand), Chanel #5, Clive Christian (furniture), David Yurman (watches), American Airlines, and GIA (Gemological Institute of America). Luxury brands, and not my usual fare.
So that’s kinda disappointing – not a good start for my new subscription. We like to try out new magazines periodically and know that there are going to be both hits and misses. And since they all come for free, well, using random airline points that will never add up to a free ticket, it’s really not a big deal when one fails. This one was not off to a good start.
Moving further into the magazine, the photography really stood out. We have a real appreciation for quality pictures of homes (as most buyers do too after looking through listings for any length of time), and the Architectural Digest pictures are exceptional. The photographers framed the shots well, properly lit the scenes, and paid attention to the details that can really help a picture. The homeowners also deserve some credit since the Editor-In-Chief noted that they don’t do any staging on the shoots – it’s just the photographer.
The articles were well written, but I struggled to stay engaged. They’re a mix of insight into the lives of people you may (or may not) know and discussion of the design process. I found myself skimming through the prose to get a sense of the subjects’ human side, while skipping over portions about their design aesthetic. In thinking about why, I decided that design is so personal that it’s really difficult to get me (and others?) interested in someone’s process. Even though I’ve only gone through a design exercise and project on a much smaller scale than these people, I feel like I understand how it works and am most interested in the result. Perhaps if I had not had an experience of my own I would have read the stories more closely in hopes of gleaning some insight.
The photos are definitely the highlight of the magazine for me. I’ll look forward to seeing the architecture and decorating ideas that arrive on my front porch in the coming year, even if it does mean flipping through page after page of luxury items that I don’t aspire to ever own. Well, maybe I could be convinced to invest in some Bang & Olufsen speakers one day … just don’t tell Amy.