Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lonny's big news

Did you see the new issue of Lonny?

There was a bedroom in the contents that made me think, where have I seen that before?

Well, it was the Editor-in-Chief's own apartment.  Every time they feature Michele Adam's newest digs (by my count, this was at least the third feature in as many years), I gag.  Not because her work as a designer is bad--it's just fine.  But really?  Three major features on your homes in your own magazine?  (Not to mention the numerous spaces she designed that were featured--talk about conflict of interest.)  Is there a word for nepotism when favoring not a family member but yourself?

Maybe that's just me.  (Is it me?)  I have total respect for a couple of kids who saw a niche in the market and launched a new genre.  Total respect.  But this kind of ruins it for me.  And really, this NYTimes article didn't help, either.

Yet I was still surprised to see that big changes are afoot at the magazine.  Adams (and co-founder Patrick Cline) are stepping down, "to pursue other projects."  Adams will be replaced by a print veteran, and I am curious to see what she does.  Lonny has developed such a clear and specific aesthetic, and for better or worse, it's hard to imagine retaining it with a new team at the helm.

I know you are all readers of shelter pubs.  Are you interested in the people and politics behind them?  I'm curious what you think about all this.  Do tell!


  1. I only skimmed the article, so I can't really weigh in on the politics, but I did see come across Adams' updated bedroom pic on Pinterest this weekend and had the same "I've seen this before" thought as you. I assumed it was from some blog, showing how a room has evolved (I like it much better without the canopy). Publishing basically the same room in your own magazine does scream nepotism to me too. Surely there are lots of people who would love to have their work and rooms featured.

  2. I didn't see the article or pictures but just the idea of all that sounds self-promoting to say the least. I'd much rather see more real and unique stuff on the blogs.

  3. I blogged on this after her second feature in the magazine. I understand being proud of your own work and wanting to feature it when you run the magazine, but I think you should restrain yourself. Not only is it gross (nepotism or self-aggrandizement), but it seems like you can't get published anywhere else!

  4. Heather, you are a brave lady to share critical thoughts about Lonny with the world--and I'm not being sarcastic, I support it. I get the sense that some view Lonny has the be-all, end-all in the world of online shelter mags. Personally, its reputation was irrevocably tarnished after I read the NYTimes article about 2 years ago.

    But what bugs me most of all is that the mag itself doesn't feel akin to Domino anymore (I know that was the expectation we all had when it started) because, even though Domino was very high-end, there would always be accessible design elements mixed in. Lonny is about as high-end as it comes, and a lot of times that's just not appealing to me anymore. I mean, I can't relate to Michelle Adams's use of $300/yard fabric for her haphazard-looking foyer console. Sorry, I can't.

    It will be interesting to see what direction the mag takes with new leadership and editorial control.

    1. It's funny, I didn't think it was a big deal to write the post, but I paused for a minute before TWEETING the post. One thing to write it, another to broadcast it, I guess. But truthfully one of the things that bugs me about the blogosphere is that it is devoid of any kind of constructive criticism and often feels like there is not a lot of diversity in terms of point of view (this is slightly reductionist, but maybe you know what I mean.) It is not a place for critical dialogue--that might be putting it better.

      I find it interesting that of the whole isse, it is Adam's apartment that is being blogged. And I wonder if everyone is swooning because they actually love what she has done (I'm not because it's just not my thing), or if on some level it seems like a good move, politically speaking, to applaud the powerful person Adams has become.

      Food for thought!

  5. I have to read a lot of media outlets for my job, so Love Your Space is the only "shelter" pub I read. For fun, of course. I tried to read Lonny when it first came out, but I thought it was terribly edited (meaning there was no restraint and the photo shoots were way too gratuitous to bear) and had a hard time paging through it all. And so while I've never before seen her bedroom - and didn't actually look it up this time - I do know this: from the beginning she's looked at Lonny as a resume, not as an objective media outlet dedicated to design. She didn't say that, of course, but knowing what we know about the Millennial generation of enterprising entrepreneurs (and she definitely witnessed the success of Anna Wintour's assistant with Devil Wears Prada in the Conde building), she saw Lonny as her opportunity. She basically created a facsimile of Domino, and then set about to create a platform to turn herself into a designer brand name in the same way that Domino did for Celerie Kembel. Having written all of this, I don't deny her any praise either. Good for her. She did it. Sometimes I find myself becoming that Gen X curmudgeon when I deal with millennials, but the reality is - they are unabashedly in it for themselves. We were taught to work hard. They were raised to be celebrities. I think our kids are going to have to be some excellent combo of that :). I love your site. And I think it's important for you to have these WTF posts, too. In the spirit of Sheryl Sandberg and her "Lean In" movement, maybe it would be a fun exercise to act a little like Michelle Adams sometime and just make it all about you. You know, just to see what can come of it :)

    1. Jo, you know I love that you continue to read and follow along with me! This is a VERY interesting train of thought--totally relevant and spot on and not a way I had thought about it.

      I continue to look at Lonny because there are some inspirational homes featured, but I don't read it because of everything you said here. I don't feel like I learn from it the way I learned from Domino.

      I do hope the new editor pushes it--while there are plenty of good shelter mags out there, lots of them are expensive or inaccessible, and it's pretty amazing that lonny's content is free (though I bet that will change.)

      Thanks for participating in a dialogue here. I often decide I should say more in this WTF vein, and then shy away. But really, why not? So long as it is not snarky or ill-intentioned, some critical dialogue may be just what blog land needs!


Let me know what you think. I love hearing from you!


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