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Archives: September 2007

When Celebrity Products Attack

Yet another fine report from Stephanie Murg.

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We couldn’t let this month slip away with a nod to a standout spread in the September issue of Radar. The magazine puts its own twist on those cloying In Style-style peeks into celebrity homes with “At Home with the Stars,” which features Andy Ryan‘s photos of a sweet suburban family whose every product, garment, and foodstuff is celebrity-branded. The spooky parents and their two children (also spooky) frolic about Michael Bednark‘s set, which is strewn with everything from Jaclyn Smith furnishings and Andy Warhol watches to plates designed by John Waters and Suzanne Somers‘s Somersize Lemon Pepper and Ginger Teriyaki Marinade. The accompanying article notes that swimsuit model Kathy Ireland‘s retail behemoth (encompassing swan candy dishes, fake trees, and laminate flooring) rakes in a staggering $1.4 billion in annual sales.

So tonight, when you return to your Martha Stewart home, change into your Sean John or L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stefani loungewear, and toss a few Donald Trump Steaks on the George Foreman Grill while nursing a snifter of Willie Nelson‘s Old Whiskey River bourbon, consider what life would be like without all of those things. A world without Dwight Yoakam‘s Chicken Lickin’s Chicken Fries? A planet bereft of Nelly‘s Pimp Juice energy drink? A universe where all of my intimate apparel isn’t designed by Elle Macpherson? It’s too frightening to imagine.

As for those celebrities that have yet to get in on this craze, we’ll light a candle for them. It will, of course, be a Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York scented candle. The scent? Dignity.

Stephanie Murg

Mediabistro Course

Create Your Own Website Using WordPress

Create Your Own Website Using WordPressStarting September 22, learn how to build a WordPress site with themes, plugins, and basic coding! Through lectures, assignments, and interactive online discussions, students will learn how to use the platform to publish pages, articles, and multimedia content, improve site navigation, and connect with the WordPress community. Register now!

Wanted: Stylish Designer Ready For Life-Long Commitment

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With any luck you’ll only have to experience the psychological trauma of planning a wedding once, but should you enjoy a challenge like matching the bride’s eye color in the perfect shade of blue ribbon, might we suggest you join Martha Stewart as a Senior Associate Style Editor, Weddings. The duties meander between art director, graphic designer and stylist, but at least you’re guaranteed the job will be somewhere between the happiest day of your life or the career of your dreams. Especially this part:

Develop, style and attend real weddings

Apply for this Senior Associate Style Editor, Martha Stewart Weddings position or view all the current mediabistro.com design jobs.

Navy-Nazi Scandal Raises Important Issues About Nothing

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We had thought we could avoid discussing the Navy-Nazi Architectural Scandal since everyone who knew how to use a computer back in 2005 already knew about this Google Earth discovery (apparently, all you had to do then was type “Hitler” into the search field). Here’s a pretty humorous take on the whole thing, which was written in 2005.

But now that every major news outlet is reporting it, as well as the fact that the Navy is going to spend $600,000 to de-Nazi it, we thought we’d bring up four things:

1) Don’t architects draw their plans from the same perspective as Google Earth satellites? Are you telling us that no one looked at this thing and said, you know, that shape looks kinda familiar…oh wait, it’s just an octagon, right?

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2) Soon everyone’s going to be finding buildings that offend them and going after the tenants demanding to change it. Case in point, this extremely distasteful smiley face found in the gardens of Versailles. Sacrebleu!

3) Why don’t they just pixelate it, like they do many other censored sites?

4) Honestly, the military can’t find anything better to do with that $600,000?

Personally, we’re more intrigued by the adventures of another building that’s on the move in Southern California, the house that was stranded in the middle of the 101 freeway, faithfully chronicled by our friends at Curbed LA.

Nike Announces New VP of Design and Possibly Worst Idea for a Shoe Ever

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In our inbox this morning was the announcement that Sandy Bodecker has been named to the newly-created position of VP of Nike’s Global Design. Which got us thinking…what kinds of revolutionary designing is Nike up to these days?…which led us to this little PR gem:

Nike today unveiled the Nike Air Native N7, a unique athletic performance shoe designed specifically for Native Americans.

Come again?

This first-of-a-kind performance shoe is built on a new and unique last created to address the specific fit and width requirements for the Native American foot. The result is a true Native fitting, performance product.

Okay, it’s all with good intentions–apparently Native Americans as a race have bigger, wider feet, and the aim of producing these shoes is to reduce obesity and give money back to the reservations. And maybe it’s kinda the same thing as making shoes especially for women, which Nike definitely pioneered back in the day. But just like we ladies don’t necessarily like our running shoes pink with hearts and bunnies on them, we’re not sure our Native friends will be running out to get these:

The design features several “heritage callouts” as one product manager described it, including sunrise to sunset to sunrise patterns on the tongue and heel of the shoe. Feather designs adorn the inside and stars are on the sole to represent the night sky.

Dude, our grandma has running shoes that look cooler than those. But as you’ll note, they’re limited edition, which means you’ll definitely be seeing them on the feet of some Silver Lake resident in the near future.

Taking Visionaire Private

Stopping by UnBeige again today is contributor Stephanie Murg.

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Visionaire, the triannual art-meets-fashion publication that has tackled themes ranging from power and desire to Cinderella and the color blue, is getting back to its limited-edition roots in November, when they’ll publish their 52nd issue: “Private,” a book of photographs by famed fashion snappers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott tucked inside a gold monogrammed case by Louis Vuitton. Pre-order yours today ($375 plus shipping).

Guest Editor (and Vuitton creative director) Marc Jacobs worked with Mert n’ Marcus on the series of “personal” (read: mostly nude) portraits of some of his fashionable friends, including Drew Barrymore, Selma Blair, and Lil’ Kim. “Private” is Visionaire‘s third collaboration with Vuitton. To celebrate, Visionaire will sell a few rare copies of the last collaboration, “Fashion Special” (issue 18), a highly coveted–and similarly LV-encased–issue that featured such memorable spreads as Craig McDean and M/M Paris‘s life-size foldout of a model clad in Comme des Garçons.

Founded in 1991 by Stephen Gan, James Kaliardos, and Cecilia Dean, Visionaire straddles the categories of fashion magazine, artist’s book, and design object. They also seem to function as a repository of art directorial and editorial dreams. One issue consisted entirely of memos sent by Diana Vreeland. Others included latex, embroidery, lenticular screens, flipbooks, flavor-infused plastic strips, and a swatch of the bedsheets of supermodel Gisele Bundchen.

Meanwhile, now on view at the Visionaire gallery in New York is issue 51, “Harmony,” a series of jigsaw puzzles designed by artists including Richard Misrach and Maurizio Cattelan. Vik Muniz goes for the mise en abyme, making a puzzle out of an image of puzzle pieces.

Stephanie Murg is a New York-based writer and art consultant.

STEP 100 Deadline Extended

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An emission from the mothership informs us you’ve got until October 15 to submit work for STEP Inside Design’s STEP 100, which they tell us is the only design competition that interviews all 100 winners. They’ll also put up all the finalists on the website and let people vote for the Readers’ Choice award, which last year went to six pieces you can see online.

So you can get a head start on mailing those care packages filled with pricey wine and rare cheeses, the judges are: Lemon fresh Kevin Grady, Grady & Metcalf, Chicago and Boston; Dancin’ fool Bill Grant, Grant Design Collaborative, Canton, Ga.; Nice Midwestern boy Jamie Koval, VSA Partners, Chicago; Petrula “Little Thunder” Vrontikis, Vrontikis Design Office, Los Angeles; and barn owner Ann Willoughby, Willoughby Design, Kansas City.

Everything else you need to know can be found right here.

Make Mine a Monthly! Wallpaper Goes to 12 Issues

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All of you in publishing can stop whining about the end of the world. Magazines are doing well, and if yours isn’t, maybe you should consider changing yours to a pretty one about design.

You remember back when Dwell announced they were adding two more issues this year. Last year’s Fast Company Masters of Design issue drew a “great response” from advertisers (even without those luscious Yves Behar abs). And now, Wallpaper announces that it’s adding a 12th issue next year, just after adding an 11th this year:

“Wallpaper is truly going from strength to strength, both editorially and commercially,” the publishing director, Andrew Black, said.

“Subscription levels are at their highest level and our advertising is up 42% on 2006, which itself was a record year. The move to 12 issues makes perfect sense.

Does that mean we get two guest-edited issues a year?

On Call to Answer Your Prayers During Your Darkest Design Hours

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Perhaps you’ll have the tendency to throw an Original Design Gangsta eye roll towards this specimen of designer humor, but the writing and production quality alone make us want to give this some major props (maybe even three stars worth).

May we present to you the Six Patron Saints of Graphic Design, as outlined by W. Lynn Garrett. You might want to turn off the over-the-top music (or float into a reverie of your choir boy days) but be sure to poke around. We gotta say the saints made us laugh.

Thanks to Brian Sack.

The Steve Glenn-Dane Cook Love Curse

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Okay, who out there saw the movie Good Luck Chuck over the weekend? Anyone? You? No, not Good Night, and Good Luck, nope. Well, anyway, those who did see it were treated to a special surprise that involves a certain super sustainable architecture fan. It turns out Steve Glenn has a cameo in one of the first scenes:

The scene Steve Glenn is in does come at the beginning of the movie. It’s the first wedding scene and the woman getting married toasts Chuck (Dane Cook) as being her good luck charm. It’s at that moment that Chuck meets Cam (Jessica Alba). The bride then throws her bouquet and through some hijinx it winds up falling into the hands of a woman/wedding guest that Steve Glenn/the wedding guest is kissing.

What in the world is the Star Wars toy collector doing in a Dane Cook movie? Well, friends, it turns out Glenn wrote the story the film is based on. OMG it’s totally true! He’s got the IMDB page to prove it!

Now, our only question is…how much of Glenn’s story is based on his own life?

In order to keep the woman of his dreams from falling for another guy, Charlie Logan has to break the curse that has made him wildly popular with single women: Sleep with Charlie once, and the next man you meet will be your true love.

We did notice Glenn was quite popular with the ladies.

Another New Pattern Company. Hurrah!

logo2.gif It’s all over the news that Simplicity will be partnering up with Project Runway for the next season’s crop of wanna-bee fashion designers. What’s not so well-known is the fact that companies that make tissue patterns for home sewers are struggling. Neue Mode is biting the dust. Burda has shifted its emphasis to open-source sewing, which basically means you can download instructions for free and print them out on your printer or at a local copy shop. Even Simplicity has shut down its Niles, Mich. facility, moving production to Wisconsin.

So we laud the launch of Go Patterns, which has exactly one pattern to sell right now. This writer plans to support this site even though the dress design available now is a tad bit pricey (when compared to the .99 cent sales on Butterick, McCalls and Simplicity patterns at Hancock’s or Jo-Ann Fabrics). We just need the likes of Tim Gunn and Martha Stewart to plug Go Patterns, and this new site should begin to take off.

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