At a luncheon at Conde Nast headquarters this afternoon, Architectural Digest editor in chief Margaret Russell spoke about the brand and previewed the March issue as a supplement to the epic profile the Times ran this morning. Her overall aim, she explained, was to "add some light. It's not a private club—everyone should feel like they belong." Indeed, the March issue looks terrific. Here are Russell's other key talking points, in dribs, drabs, and zero particular order:
· The December 1981 issue of Arch Digest explored the White House rooms under President Ronald Reagan. That issue was a bestseller for a decade.
· Both Cher and the Duchess of Devonshire have been featured in the magazine seven times.
· The brand plans to unveil its AD: Amazing Kitchens app at the Architectural Digest Home Show in mid March.
· Soon to launch: Architectural Digest: China.
· When Russell took the helm and was given the go-ahead to hire her dream team by Conde Nast chairman Si Newhouse, she hired 30 new editors.
· The editorial offices still receive handwritten reader letters, which Russell finds "charming." Plus, "the cranky readers have been few and far between," she said.
· Expect the new Arch Digest to have more people in its pages. The March issue, for instance, features the new line of fabrics by Min Hogg, formerly the editor of World of Interiors. Hailing from an editorial background, Hogg insisted on directing her own shoot for AD.
· As we predicted in January, the front-of-book is getting a revamp. New sections include AD Celebrates, which will showcase elegantly designed parties and events, and Motoring, which in the March issue profiles the Porsche 911 Speedster.
· The feature well ranges from the home of fashion icon Daphne Guiness, who asked Russell on set, "Do I want a corridor or an experience?"; a young Los Angeles entrepreneur whose home is sheathed entirely in reclaimed oak; and a Michael Smith-decorated NYC apartment on Central Park. To shoot the bedroom of Smith's project, Russell explained, the photography team sandwiched three photos together—one exposed for the light, one for the view, and another for the artwork on the righthand wall. "It's how you see the room in person, but we've never been able to do this kind of technology before," she said.
· Expect the AD website to be revamped and tie in to the magazine in different ways. A feature story on famed antiques dealer Pierre Passebon corresponds to an online supplement showcasing some of the wares within Passebon's Paris store.
· Whereas there was previously only a directory of designers and architects featured, now there's shopping info in a new back-of-book section called Sources.
· Russell said she plans to "celebrate the DNA of the magazine," so longstanding issues such as the AD 100 and Designers Own Homes will be part of her editorial calendar, too—"after being tweaked," of course. Expect to see them in regular rotation starting in 2012.
· Vital Intel About the New Arch Digest and Editor Margaret Russell [Curbed National]
· The New Arch Digest: a Totally Nitpicky, Obsessive Review [Curbed National]