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Rumor has it…

by habituallychic

08 . 16 . 09

I heard a rumor this morning that Paige Rense is retiring or being retired as the editor of Architectural Digest. I don’t normally like to post rumors but this one comes from a very reliable source. David Patrick Colombia of New York Social Diary posted this information on Facebook yesterday and said they want YOUNG! I’ve heard this rumor for a while so I hope it’s actually true this time. I’ve also heard many stories of how Ms. Rense would blackball any designer who appeared in another magazine. Just this past year, she took a designer’s name off a charity event invitation because he was published in House Beautiful. And this was a designer with whom she was good friends!

My dislike of AD is no secret. If you’ve ever seen a foreign edition of AD, then you know how exciting and fresh it can look and feel. As it stands now, the magazine and it’s photography seems flat and soulless. I am excited at the prospect of them reviving the magazine not just to reflect younger feeling but also so that it’s in tune with the times. People are still spending money on their homes but those homes are usually much smaller than the celebrity mansions the magazine usually published. It will be interesting to see if this rumor turns out to be reality and who they choose as the new editor in chief. I for one am waiting with bated breath!

Comments Closed

  1. Anonymous August 16, 2009 | 3:10 pm

    As an interior designer, I subscribe to many shelter mags.
    AD is the one I least look forward to reading. Perhaps a new editor will change my attitude.

  2. mb August 16, 2009 | 3:46 pm

    I could never understand why AD was still in the game. Who reads it?

  3. Trouvais August 16, 2009 | 4:06 pm

    They’ve been sending me AD since Domino died (I called to get a refund instead and they said” oh…you only have one more issue”). Hideous magazine. I’d rather read the latest Anthropologie catalog than a trumped up Real Estate magazine. Or your blog. Love your post on Jacques Grange.

  4. lecaro August 16, 2009 | 4:19 pm

    I’ve been sitting on my renewal invoice for two weeks because the last couple of issues were hopeless. I actually prefer my issues from the ’80s and ’90s to anything they’ve shown recently. So much is overblown or selected by rote, or both, like the interiors of one of her pets, Geoffrey Bradfield. Who lives that way? Well, like you, Heather, I’ll wait and see.

  5. Jamie August 16, 2009 | 5:54 pm

    I agree with what you, Heather, and every other commenter. Not to mention that fact that the Sept 09 issue, “Designers’ Own Homes,” features 10 designers with only one woman. COME ON!

  6. Reggie August 16, 2009 | 6:41 pm

    Have thought AD the most hideous, ossified, overblown rag forever and have never understood how the old dinosaur kept on going, figured Ms. Rense must have had some naughty goods on Si Newhouse. Main editorial point of view of AD always seemed to be “The Most That Money Can Buy” vs good design, and what’s with all the up-lighting? I just wish they had put the mag out of its (and our) misery and kept House & Garden alive instead. Clearly, there’s trouble a-brewin’ at the house of Conde Nast.

  7. Christina August 16, 2009 | 8:12 pm

    Agreed, the photographs are devoid of any warmth.

  8. Emily Evans Eerdmans August 16, 2009 | 8:27 pm

    I could go on and on about this, but one word says it all: “Hallelujah.”

  9. style odyssey August 16, 2009 | 8:43 pm

    I’ve never subscribed to AD but have perused a few copies from time to time. It’s not a mag that I’ve ever waste money on. Too glitzy, glossy, celeb for my taste. I still miss Domino!

  10. Blue August 16, 2009 | 8:51 pm

    And I thought I was the only one who didn’t like the magazine. I find AD repellently pretentious and don’t even bother opening it on the newsstands.

  11. little augury August 16, 2009 | 9:08 pm

    All in agreement hear. I do not subscribe anymore, would love to think they will embark on a better magazine. Elle Decor is my preference at this point. I do so miss HG. Tomorrow my post- BW. Do check in. LA

  12. GRAYSONFAVOUR August 16, 2009 | 10:01 pm

    Is it only the Old Guard who believe it is the Creme d’la Creme?
    Are there ever any beautiful photos like Veranda has? Is it ever FUN like House Beautiful? Does anyone wait to see AD for design ideas? Who cares about AD?

  13. home before dark August 16, 2009 | 10:15 pm

    Amen to all said. I, too, have wondered who reads this thing? How could the magazines we have mourned not survive and this one lives on? There is no justice, but perhaps, indeed, a New Sheriff in Town will breathe life into what appears to all of us a corpse on life supports.

  14. Anonymous August 16, 2009 | 10:53 pm

    I agree that AD can, at times, be a bit dreary – but not always. That aside, I am thinking about your comments, Heather, which seem in support of “YOUNG”. I suppose since you are young, young is what is appealing to you. I just want to speak for those of us who are a bit older – “Young” isn’t always the goal. Stylish, beautiful, livable, functional design…yes. But young? No. Give me a designer that has traveled the world, raised children, has had lasting relationships, and has made it through ups and downs, and has been there and done that. I want those years of experience, and the wisdom that comes with age behind the design decisions we will be making together.

    I just hope that there will be magazines out there for those who want to see a younger look, and also for those of us who are not so into that.

  15. A Gift Wrapped Life August 17, 2009 | 12:14 am

    I haven’t read AD for years and as a designer I bought every shelter magazine there was. It’s time for a change……maybe they should close AD and bring Domino back? Maybe that’s too obvious!

  16. Dobbygirl August 17, 2009 | 1:03 am

    I get AD free with unused airline miles and I usually go through each issue in about 2 minutes. You are right it’s very cold. I do find some interesting things in it sometimes, but those are few and far between (case in point I liked the spread of Campion Platt’s house in Sept’s issue).

    I just read the above comment and I think my beef with it is that it’s got no personality – “young” or “mature”. That’s the whole problem – no depth/soul/whatever you want to call it. And please explain why on Earth does a year cost $39.95? One thing we can all agree on, change is needed!

  17. Olivia August 17, 2009 | 1:20 am

    Maybe more than just YOUNG we all want AD to be more FRESH – a breath of life into a publication which has become quite staid and quite predictable. I think any demographic (young or old) would welcome that!

    Personally, I would love to see what the gals from Domino could do within this platform. Not so much Domino part 2 but rather Domino grown up, 10 or 15 years down the road.

    And finally, on a slight tangent, when the economy recovers more fully, do you think any of our dearly departed friends (House & Garden, Domino, Cottage Living, Southern Accents, etc.) will re-emerge? Or new ones will appear?

  18. Anonymous August 17, 2009 | 1:45 am

    …..did anyone give AD the heads up, perhaps it would be a good thing for the editorial staff to be reading all these – very good – comments?? Some companies actually pay a person to keep up with all the blog posts, tweets etc. I’m just saying…

    For the record; I would read ALL the old Domino mags bf I would pick up AD!!

  19. Style Redux 2 August 17, 2009 | 1:58 am

    One word-YES!!!!!

  20. Blushing hostess August 17, 2009 | 2:13 am

    Umm, I thought this was a mag old guys read in the waiting room. No? oops.

    Okay, well, things are looking up then. Que me when I should start flipping through it!

    Be well, HC!

  21. Suzy August 17, 2009 | 3:24 am

    Finally! It’s such a shame that the US edition of AD is so lame, because as you said pretty much all of the foreign editions are so inspiring. Yay!

  22. princedeligne August 17, 2009 | 1:04 pm

    Gosh, I though I was the only one that felt this way. We’ll thank god others are in agreement. The magazine is just stale. Not that some of the homes featured aren’t amazing but, overall it doesn’t speak. Change is good.

  23. erin Ferucci August 17, 2009 | 1:55 pm

    Hi Heather. Thanks for speaking out about AD.
    I could not agree with you more!!!!!!!!

  24. Toby Worthington August 17, 2009 | 2:19 pm

    Your words “flat and soulless” really struck a chord.
    There is a terrible sameness about the photography,
    the lighting is ghastly, and the rooms, however lovely, have a sort of embalmed look to them. The notable exception to this being anything photographed by Derry Moore, of course.

  25. Kelly Galvin Robson August 17, 2009 | 2:39 pm

    Embalmed. So well worded.

    I would love to see another shelter magazine that I actually look forward to receiving! Man, I miss my Domino.

  26. Ron ( the Netherlands) August 17, 2009 | 8:51 pm

    Living in Europe where most of the designs are cluttered or way to modern…to me AD is the
    ‘uptight, ritzy and clean’ version of all American magazines I buy ( the style of other mags I would describe as younger, achievable, more glam). I had ‘felt’ a definite negative vibe about AD reading many blogs before, but it was never really explained. Now you have and in your perspective you are right…. Granted; it is very clean looking, hand groomed for every shoot, almost too perfect, but….at times I like to see this look too. I take in what I like, I find inspiration from appealing images. The rest I discard.
    AD caters to a totally different group of people then lets day DOMINO or House Beautiful. You need to have deep deep pockets to have those designers do your home. Obviously for the not so young, but that is still a very important and interesting target. I did always wonder how it was always the same group of designers being featured! There had to be a very tight bond between the designers and the magazine and Heather you made that very clear in your post.
    What I am trying to say is, there is and should be room for all kinds of design magazines. I loved Domino and the likes, but I would not want all magazines to have the same look and feel. Diversity is important.
    Your big fan in Holland, Ron

  27. Gaj August 19, 2009 | 6:53 pm

    I also read that on NYSD and was overjoyed to hear it! Long way over do. My firm has had its share of coverage in AD over the years and always found Ms.Rense to be distasteful not to mention tasteless!
    Bring on the fresh perspective, finally. Have not even picked up a copy of AD for at least 8 years and I am sure I do not stand alone on that. (Euro version an exception.)
    Finally, this should have happened 20 years ago.

  28. Jessica@thelovelist.net August 24, 2009 | 6:25 am

    My pseduo mother in law gave me stacks of AD awhile back, along with back issues of Southern Accents and House Beautiful. I have combed every issue of HB and SA. AD remains collecting dust in my utility closet in the stuffiest part of my home – right where it belongs.