Architectural Digest: A Century of Style
Admit it: most people love peeking into the lives of the rich and famous, don’t they? It’s an escape, and these days, a necessary guilty pleasure after being stuck inside our own homes for the past two years.
Well, we’re in luck. Month after month, bold names like tennis star Maria Sharapova open their doors for Architectural Digest.
Visiting Sharapova in Los Angeles, correspondent Serena Altschul said, “Your bowling alley really stood out.”
“I know. I think it affects me too!” she laughed.
“Are you a bowler? »
“It’s not like I’m a bowler or anything.”
Bowling aside, Sharapova’s home is a place she finds refuge after touring the world. “It’s a safe place to come home to.”
…a place she felt safe letting AD in for a glimpse.
“I think from an outside perspective, people only see what you give them, right?” said Sharapova. “But there’s also a human element to every athlete. And it was a really amazing opportunity to show that to the world.”
Interior design-obsessed rocker Lenny Kravitz agrees: “As a designer, being on the cover of AD is an honor, of course. It’s like being a musician and being on the cover of Rolling Stone. .”
This month’s cover features the annual AD 100 list – the top designers in the industry.
For a century now, Architectural Digest has been taking note of how and where we live. Just before the pandemic, the magazine celebrated its 100th anniversary with a book of its favorite houses and a stylish party.
Vogue Global’s editorial director, Anna Wintour, helps oversee advertising for parent company Condé Nast. “Being in Architectural Digest meant you had reached great heights and that was the final step in recognition,” she said.
In 2016, Wintour’s protege Amy Astley was hired to boost the brand. “I think she brought a new perspective, a younger perspective,” Wintour said. “And she brought charm and personality and intelligence to him, and it was maybe a little less rigid than before.”
“I wanted it to be lively, current, relevant, [for] people to talk about it,” Astley told Altschul. “Now people say to me, ‘I saw Maria Sharapova on the cover. I saw Lenny Kravitz on the cover.'”
Astley’s first cover as editor was fashion designer Marc Jacobs. “A lot of people asked in New York, and he said no. He was waiting for the right time. And Architectural Digest was the right time for Marc Jacobs.”
Now, even the most private A-List stars seem to be pulling back the curtain.
Altschul asked, “What is it in human nature that makes us so curious about each other’s homes? Is it fantasy? Is it voyeurism?”
“You want to see how other people live,” Astley said. “It’s a lasting interest in seeing beautiful homes, how other people live, what it might be like. Maybe it’s inspiring, or maybe you’re like, ‘Ugh, I hate this.’ I think it’s also just a sense of hope for people: One day I will have the house I really want.“
And boy, the way we live has changed since The Architectural Digest was founded in California in 1920.
Astley said, “The old ways people lived, very formal, very rigid? It’s over. It’s completely different now. You wouldn’t have an open kitchen back then.”
“Wouldn’t anyone want to live near the fridge and stove? said Altschul.
“Bathrooms? You wouldn’t show that back then. And now it’s a trophy room.”
Led for decades by the late editor Paige Rense, Architectural Digest both recorded and staged design styles.
“It’s really crazy to see the different decorating trends,” Astley said, showing Altschul a copy of the May 2001 issue. daylight, because tastes change and times change.”
And those moments are captured in a time capsule. “Sunday Morning” had a rare glimpse inside the cold room of Condé Nast’s archives. “It’s 40 degrees here!” Asley said. “It’s like a converted meat locker. It’s like stepping back in time.”
Original AD files and images, like Fred Astaire’s living room, are stored in perfect order alongside other legendary titles like Vogue and The New Yorker.
“How fun is it? Asley said. “Vanity Fair! That’s why we’re not allowed here! Because I’m snooping where I’m not supposed to be!
Altschul asked interior designers Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent, “I feel like your house looks something like this most of the time?”
“It is, 100% it is!” Berkus replied
There’s a pretty good reason for that: Berkus and Brent, and their two children, are familiar faces on Architectural Digest, along with their homes.
“My mom was an interior designer,” Berkus said, “so we had an AD membership growing up. And it was always on the coffee table until it got too high, and my mom would move the back issues elsewhere. But that was the magazine that we didn’t throw away, because it was really a documentation of the history of design.”
Even for star designers, it’s always a pleasure to say yes to Architectural Digest. Berkus said: “You have to be pretty much willing to open the doors as wide as you can to say, ‘This is our life, please welcome, we’d like to have this record from this period of our lives and this time, especially, in the lives of our children.'”
Brent added: “It’s also an emotional component. It’s really special.”
And that has always been AD’s secret: to arouse an emotion, a particular feeling, of belonging.
Astley said, “Architectural Digest has lasted 100 years because of the quality of the assignment, which we show you the best.”
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Story produced by Jon Carras. Publisher: Mike Levine.