Thursday, December 30, 2010

Of all the pretentious crap...

Sometimes design makes me angry. This is one of those times.

I came across this post at the very cool and lovely blog, escapade. A post about being inspired by some pics of Kevin Sharkey's housewarming party. I adore escapade and I adore Kevin's work too. And I can understand being inspired by a fun, casual, light-hearted party. But my happy scrolling screeched to a halt at this pic:

Not because the champagne is chilling in the bathtub (fun, I get it). Or because Alexis and Kevin are chilling on the bathroom floor (oh, look, they can be even more regular than non-rich regular people). No, I can let these slide. It is the pretentious, stupid, useless, ever-present pile of Hermes boxes. Now, whenever I see a pic including unnecessary Hermes boxes, I have an eye-roll moment. I'd like to think peeps are using the boxes for organized storage of lots of little things. Even storage of the actual original purchases (but, o, no...I need to find that one scarf, but it will take me an hour to open all these boxes)...Whatever, I'm down with pretty storage. But I doubt it. How would they know which box holds what? They're never labeled. They are just a very orange way of saying "I spend a lot of money." Anyway. Back to this particular photo.

The boxes are the shower. For real? Is this a permanent display, Kevin? Or is it a last-minute solution to cover up a cracked floor tile? I can't imagine either scenario really. "Hmmmm....what could make a champagne-in-the-bathtub-and-cute-partiers-on-the-floor-in-formal-wear-more-interesting? I KNOW! Very expensive empty boxes in that one foot of space behind Kevin's head!"

So I'm angry. I scroll back to look at the other shots of the party, and the more I look at them, the more they start to irritate me too.

Balloons in everyone's faces. Because this is how people like to party. Crowded in a hallway with no personal space and balloon strings in your eye.

Nothing is more appetizing and festive than a stack of dry store-bought cookies. But let's put some fireworks on top to be sure. And here's a good idea: drinking milk with champagne.

Okay. This...I can get behind. Ping pong? Fun. Writing on a mirror with lipstick? Really fun! Using your probably very nice dining table as a ping pong table? Well. I guess if tables are disposable to you, or you're going for a rustic, banged-up look. I guess.

But! These are the score-writing lipsticks selected.

Yep, that's right. Chanel. Which there had to be a styled photo of. That's about $180 worth of score-keeping crayons right there. Maybe more. How...creative. How...spontaneous.

So this party, with its cheap cookies and balloons, its humble bathroom home for the drinks, its devil-may-care, my-furniture-isn't-too precious vibe, still manages to reek of pretentiousness and overkill and wastefulness. For me.

I realize that all design is on that slippery slope of unnecessary materialism, and people have different ideas about where to draw the line. So what turns your stomach? Do you have aversions to design that seems showy? What qualifies as ridiculous and what is just divinely delicious and okay to long for?


  1. Hey there- I really do see where you're coming from. While it can be seen as fun and playful(I was going with the light heartedness), there is something a little unnerving about the notion of excess and frivolty and perhaps lack of mindfulness. Beautiful, luxurious goods are lovely to own and enjoy (assuming you can afford them), but there is something to be said about appreciating each thing (do you really appreciate 30 Hermes pieces as much as you would one or two?) and having grown up in a third world country myself, I'm always wary of how quickly we can slip away into materialism and forget about the things that truly are important and make us happy.
    As for my little party - there won't be ping pong (I have an oval shaped table and prefer dancing), no Hermes boxes in the shower, champagne will stay on the table, however, I may have to put balloons in a few people's faces because a)I'm terribly unphotogenic and figure this will double as a disguise, and b) hey - some people just have it coming! ;)

    Thanks for your comment + wishing you a happy, happy New Year


  2. I'm with you on this interpretation of the images of the obviously overly-styled-for-the-magazine "party". A fine line between pulling off this humour and just looking as if it were serious - and I don't think they quite got there on the satire.

  3. I think you need to get over yourself.

  4. Commenters! How thrilling! Thank you!

    Escapade, that is a good point about appreciating each thing. You have a great outlook and I so appreciate you coming over and commenting. Hope the party was smashing! No doubt the balloons were fabulous and I regret my crabbiness about the whole situation.

    Virginia Blue, you are right, of course. It was supposed to be satirical and I went and took it too seriously. I'm embarrassed.

    Anonymous, I'm sorry I offended in some way.

    Thanks again, all, for the comments!

  5. Whoa. New to your blog. This post alone is making me a new follower. I def don't take things too seriously and can enjoy both your post as well as escapade's. But i remember having the same thought about all those hermes boxes stacked in a shower.

  6. Yay! A new follower. The boxes in a shower thing is cracking me up at this point...I'm picturing cheeky bathroom ad campaigns and runway shows.