Friday, May 30, 2008

Domino vs AD

I began ranting about Domino magazine over in the comments at Ann's place. Then I realized, how rude (sorry, Ann!), I should do my ranting on my own blog.

I received a Free! subscription to Domino because, as far as I can tell, I bought too much crap on and they rightly concluded that I was ripe for cross-promotion. Now, every month,
prettily designed, bright pages add a splash of style to my mailbox. I always tear it open and gaze at the pages upon pages of stylish, "easy" living. Then I feel annoyance begin to creep in. Before I finish a given issue, I am incredibly pissed at the insincerity of Domino.

The glossy pages are full of beautiful, effortlessly glamorous women about my age, who have stylishly unique homes loaded with gorgeous "no fuss" Swedish furniture and/or Bulgarian pottery and/or eco-friendly whatevers. These women are all "creative types" whose careers likely do not bring in much moolah, but they helpfully list their must-have, chokingly expensive beauty products and clothing, which they sport in photo shoots in said eco-luscious homes. There are usually photos of the laughing lady with her ruggedly-handsome-but-sensitive beau, one or more purebred dogs, and maybe a couple of lovely, smiling children with golden ringlets.

Here's the problem. Domino is pretending that this is a lifestyle accessible to me!, Jane Average Gal, with savvy shopping tips for items I cannot afford and headlines like, "Refresh Your Home for Summer" and "Easy Outdoor Entertaining". As if there is nothing unusual about this effortlessly wealthy lifestyle.

By contrast with Domino, I am appreciating my Architectural Digest subscription even more. The homes are more lavish--compounds, really--but AD has the good grace not to pretend such opulence is something to which I can, or should, aspire. Recent covers stories included "A Private Visit with Ralph and Ricky Lauren" and "The Great Design Issue". OK, then. I am looking in on the superlative architecture of a lifestyle far removed from mine. It's like a vacation. I appreciate the honesty in that.


Narya said...

As I'm sure you can guess, these magazines would make me insane. I avoid them like the plague. As I noted over at Ann's, the notion that arranging some cheese on a plate and adding a handful of walnuts isn't really what I would call a "recipe." I realize that not everyone can (or wants to) make, say, croissants, or pithivier, or whatever, but those are what I call "recipes." Or "formulas," actually. (In school and at the bakery we called them that; I didn't point out that the plural was probably formulae.)

Larry Jones said...

My feelings on our materialistic society and how it is promoted by advertisers came burbling forth on my blog recently, and it pissed off at least one reader who is in the ad business, who criticized me under the heading "What if you made a great product and didn't tell anybody about it?" There is so much to be sick of, I can't focus on this one element.
I haven't seen Domino, but I'm guessing it must be a descendant of the movies during the Great Depression, in which everyone wore sable, rode in limousines, danced all night in fancy nightclubs to 50-piece orchestras and returned home to 50-room mansions staffed by servants.

Good for you, to maintain your righteous indignance at this reality disconnect.

kStyle said...

These magazines are so pretty, though.

Larry, I dig your indignation. For me, it's not the reality disconnect in and of itself that bothers me, or I wouldn't enjoy AD so. It's the reality-disconnect-pretending-it's-reality that gets my goat!

Ann said...

I don't mind the comment-rant at RFN at all; makes things interesting. :)

I certainly get where you're coming from. For me, the whole fantasy thing about Domino isn't really a problem. I'm not sure why, exactly; I guess I never believed it was anything more than highly-designed, or that there was any chance of discarding my cheap and messy life in favor of something unrealistic.

I do subscribe to Domino (on purpose, even!), and it makes me happy every time it arrives. I "read" it from the perspective of inspiration: How can I translate that insanely-expensive room's design to make my own living space look nicer? In the end, it's all about enjoying the pictures.

AD, on the other hand, has always kind of bored me. I think it's because I'm just not fond of the decor. Domino's much closer to the style I like.

To each her own, of course.

Ann said...

I do, however, agree with Larry's post. The way things are advertised at us is entirely insane, and I'm not convinced they even work anymore. But what do I know? Anyway, Domino is definitely guilty of catalog-as-magazine syndrome. Can't deny it.

At the same time, I'm totally fascinated by the idea of manipulating people through visual marketing. (I mean, that's kind of what web development is about.) Luckily, my brain is wobbly enough to entertain both beliefs simultaneously.

Another thought: Maybe I don't get irritated at Domino because I believe, deep down in my irrational heart, that one day I might be able to live like this. It's probably a crazy thought, but it's still there...

Ann said...

And, in case it wasn't clear, I totally agree that Domino is trying to pretend it's something it isn't. It's just one of those things that doesn't bother me very much, or maybe one of those things for which the benefits (happy eyes) outweigh the stupidity.

kStyle said...

Ann, I agree, Domino is totally attractive. I continue to open it every month and enjoy the photos. Perhaps if I avoided reading the text, I would feel less irritated...