Architectural Digest Gone Wild!

Will you think less of me if I admit I'm a bit of a shelter mag virgin? Sure, I've been blogging art and interiors for going on three years now, but until recently I depended on the internet for my resources. Thanks to a generous holiday gift, I am now the proud owner of AD and Elle Decor subscriptions. I'm sure trees everywhere are throwing up their branches in disgust, but what can I say? I'm addicted to the glossies already. So I was pretty stoked to get AD. I mean, Margaret Russell at the helm = instant awesomeness, right? Well, my January issue arrived and I was bewildered. The February issue arrived and I was confounded. As it turns out, the current issue is the first with La Russell's indelible mark. So now the March issue has arrived and I've been full on flashed by naked drunken boobies -- metaphorically speaking, of course.

That's not a bad thing. I like boobies.

Heiress and tastemaker Daphne Guinness' New York apartment almost warrants two black bars to cover up the naughty bits. Guinness maintains her space combines, "the shine of Metropolis... with the lush flora of Suddenly, Last Summer... a sort of savage modernism." I have to say that I sort of scratched my head at her apartment until I read that sentence, and then everything just clicked into place for me. I won't post the rest of her home, but you can see it over at 2THEWALLS (a seriously fantastic blog).

Beyond the types of projects featured this month (a glorious home designed by Commune, among them), the biggest change that stands out to me is the photography. I swear, AD homes always looked like nothing so much as mausoleums, darkly photographed using only artificial light. Downright dead and dull.

With Thomas Loof on duty as principal photographer at Guinness' shoot, and the inimitable Francois Halard at the helm of Pierre Passebon's wild and wacky pad (designed in collaboration with Jacques Grange, no less), things are looking a lot brighter. Alive, even.

RIP, old AD. Boobies in your face.

Books I Want: Visite Privee by Francois Halard

Francois Halard is perhaps the interiors photographer of which I am most jealous. He's the guy who takes the pictures that make me go, damn! I wish I had made that. It's not just that he's a gifted seer of light (the most important aspect of any good photograph), but that he also has taste and style. He takes interesting projects in interesting places, and renders them with a unique painterly touch. I can almost always spot his work without knowing beforehand who took the picture. Check out my favorite home from his new book, Visite Privee:

Carlo Mollino was a mid century architect, a photographer, a novelist, a furniture designer, and apparently a decorator. He worked on his home in Turin over the course of eight years, but he never even lived there.

Filled with antiques, an avant garde collection of photography (featuring works by Man Ray, among others), and decorated with a contemporary spin on classic design, it could easily pass for the current work of a very eclectic and talented designer.

Hello Stejnar chandelier, Japanese lanterns, and Saarinen dining set -- plus there is a giant clam on the wall. What's not to love?

And is the leopard wallcovering not insane (in a good way)? Other details include:

A peeping butterfly in a portal between rooms.

Wallpaper reminiscent of offerings by Zuber et Cie.

A Mollino designed chair set atop Italian ceramic tiles.

I want this book. Chock full of amazing homes occupied by extraordinary people -- Cy Twombly, Julian Schnabel, and Robert Rauschenberg, just to name a few -- it has a respect for the handmade that I find very refreshing.

Let me get arty on you for just a second (sorry in advance): famed philosopher Walter Benjamin pointed out that photography's most important quality was its mechanized reproducibility, its sameness, its democracy, but Halard appears to employ antique photographic processes to create images as intimate and one of a kind as Twombly's paintings.

Of course the only way to access the images is through the internet or the book, which takes us back to the whole reproduction issue, but that's besides the point. Mostly.

Forget the lecture and buy the book. It's pretty.

Shoes, Glorious Shoes

I feel pretty confident in declaring that I own a vastly awesome shoe collection. It's not a status oriented kind of collection that screams, Look at me! I wear the latest Tory Burch by day and the newest Louboutins by night. Which is not to say that I don't appreciate fine, expensive shoes. I do have the odd pair of Marc Jacobs heels bought on deep (VERY deep) discount. It's just that mostly I'm far too poor (and cheap) to buy them. What I do own is a little piece of the 20th (working my way up to the 21st) century: black satin dancing shoes from the 30s, alligator pumps from the 40s, Delman spike heels and malachite green French Room snake skin platform pumps and some lucite heeled rhinestone studded beauties from the 50s, a swinging pair of Walter Steiger silver snakeskin t-straps and crazy spectator oxfords from the 60s, loads of wooden platforms from the 70s (both wedged and spiked), a killer pair of Charles Jourdan stilettos from the 80s, and I haven't even mentioned the boots -- 70s western, 80s Frye and Hanna Makler (the boot lady), 90s Italian, and a whole host of other players.

Despite the fact that my closet, Ben's closet, and even the office closet runneth over, I love each and every pair. My shoe loving grandmother would be proud, and naturally I own several pairs of her shoes, too.

The good thing about vintage shoes is that they're unique, and if you're crafty with the Ebay, they're often cheap. The bad thing about vintage shoes is the comfort -- or the lack thereof. You can get lucky and snag an uber plush pair, but more likely you just tough it out. And look hot.

Unless you have a toddler. And then you buy new shoes. Brand new, never worn shoes.

Enter my new Lucky Brand Lexi clog boots, bought with an internet coupon (duh) at Endless. Less expensive than those damn Swedish Hasbeens, and less orthopedic looking than those Jeffrey Campbell boots, they are comfortable, they fit well, and they go with everything. I plan to go dark and boho chic with them, all neutralish textures and patterns and crazy shiny shit galore. Like so:

Graham Atkins Hughes

Commune Design

Elle Decor

Not sure of the source, but I'm pretty sure that's a Vistosi chandelier. Mmmmm...

Francois Halard

Andrea Ferrari

Yeah, I like black. But I also like brown. Tune in for later episodes in my shoe shopping diaries, wherein I confess to both major and minor boot purchases...

I really hope Ben isn't reading this.