Wednesday, February 2, 2011


When Mr. Hunting Creek brings in the mail, there is a giant pile of catalogs. Every day, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, J. Crew and others try to tempt me to buy their stuff. Mr. Hunting Creek says, "Hey, here's the perfect desk for your sewing room!" I look. It says: Inspired by streamlined World War II fighter planes, our desk is a shining swoop of metal, its shape mimicking the bent wing of a plane. Poised as if for take-off, it features a polished aluminum patchwork exterior accented with steel screws, built around a solid hardwood frame. Three canvas-lined shelves offer ample storage.
"It's not a real airplane wing", I tell Mr, Hunting Creek. "It's just inspired by one." Intrigued against my will, I read the rest of the catalog. As a furniture catalog it's not that exciting, but as a work of fiction it is pretty compelling. It's like a romance novel, but for furniture! Everything is inspired by French Church clock towers, or aviator jackets from WWII, or sun swept beaches at Normandy...any minute I expected Diane Lane and Richard Gere to show up and give each other meaningful glances.
Question: does this stuff sell furniture? If yes, can we expect to see this technique in other areas of retail? When I go to Safeway to get groceries, is my hot chocolate going to remind me of the heroine of Like Water For Chocolate? Will the jam have signs saying, "Inspired by English Teatime"?
We'll know the world is in the End Times when they start marketing patterns like this. Inspired by Mr Darcy's riding jacket the pattern will say. It will sell millions. You read it here first.


gwensews said...

I don't know about that airplane wing table, but I LOVE the zipper flower a couple of posts back!

Anonymous said...

Yes, you will be seeing more and more of this technique. Remember the J Peterman catalog? It's everywhere now. I am just starting an Etsy shop. Etsy offers lots and lots of tutorials on how to set up your shop, take photos, write copy, etc. One theme that keeps coming up is that you need to define your brand's story. All of the product descriptions need to relate to the story. I guess your furniture catalog people drank the same Kool Aid.

badmomgoodmom said...

I'm married to a classic film fan who claims to hate decorating but is inexplicably drawn to the Restoration Hardware store next to the movie theater at the mall. Hmm. I never saw the connection before. Thanks for the explanation!

Nancy said...

You need to check out the blog written by actress/comedian Molly Erdman. She actually featured this desk on her Jan. 17 post. She posts about the people that live in your catalogs.

Michael Hanko said...

I came here looking for more info on the chicken & dumplings and the intriguingly named Mexican streusel brownies......I want to recreate these for myself. Alas, the mystery remains shrouded. Have a lovely weekend anyhow, and thanks for visiting my blog!