Design: Darling, how utterly Yang

E Jane Dickson marvels at the mysteries of lifestyle magazines

CHUCK OUT your chintz. Bin your Bonetti. And you know what you can do with your Sottsass. Le dernier cri in interior decorating, the cynosure of all sophisticates, is an arrangement of pigs' mandibles and fish-bones slung from your roof-pole.

It's true. I read it in nest , the US monthly almanac of style which has just hit British news-stands.

Alongside articles on Keith Haring's mural of "iconic dicks", the demented daubings of The Marquess of Bath (iconic breasts, mainly) and a painfully po-faced "appreciation" of Barbie's 1962 Dream House, the tree dwellings of the Asmat tribe of Indonesian New Guinea are described in breathless, estate-agent's prose: "The tree houses of Amarou and Mbinamzein," we are told, "are small but seemingly more spacious thanks to the splinters of light that radiate inward, not just through the thatched roof and bark walls but also from be1ow through the gaps in the floor . . ." but before you take a hatchet to your parquet, please be advised that nest is not intended as a yet another interiors magazine, but as "a magazine of interiors" and that nest wants to be read by anyone who wakes up in the morning or in the afternoon with a healthy curiosity about how others express themselves where they live."

Well strike me pink (the new black, don't you know). For someone who wakes up with a healthy curiosity as to where my shoes are in the deep litter that surrounds me, I can only look at home-style magazines - the fastest growing sector of print journalism - as a cow might gaze at the moon. Who are these people who can write in Elle Decoration that "the secret of modern living is in good cupboards" and mean it?

I am intrigued to learn from the same publication that black grass (pounds 7.95 a root) is the only grass to be seen with (what are they going to do with all the green stuff), scared by the revelation that storage guru Dawn Walters "styles" her house every night, and cheered by the return of stone- cladding. It's true! The favoured style statement of Jack and Vera Duckworth is back, but this time it's dead classy.

And why, when you think about it, shouldn't it be? Someone must have liked it the first time around, and, as the mushrooming style-mag market shows, we now aspire to change our sofas as often as our socks, with the Conran shop bringing out a twice-yearly "collection" of "must-have pieces". For it is style journalists who feed the beast, setting trends one month and stamping on them the next.

Not so, says Living etc. a newcomer to the middle market, lifestyle magazines might have made the buying public more aware of design in recent years, but at the end of the day, it is the consumer who chooses what to buy." Living etc. to be fair keeps one foot firmly on the ground, with its policy of photographing "rea1 people in real homes".

Conde Nast's World of Interiors, on the other hand is the Alan Clark of the style mags, not for people who buy their own sink units. The current issue contains a sprited defence of the Lord Chancellor's renovations and a guide to the latest ceramic garden stools. Inspiration and aspiration are the watchwords here, but even World of Interiors will make sure there is something for the little people in each issue.

Wallpaper, on the other hand, throws no sops to democracy. This is the magagine that would rather stay standing thank you, than sit on an IKEA bean bag. The nearest it comes to a practical suggestion this month (admittedy a dedicated travel issue) is the drawling observation that since "modern nomads" are never at home, it seems pointless to own one. Why not design a hotel room to your own specification and have it replicated in every city you visit? And please don't let yourself down by talking about the kind of bedspread or duvet you want, the only thing to have these days is - God help us - a bed-scarf).

Finally, once you've hung laminated rose petals at your window as a twist on the beaded curtain, and trundled to the skip with your perfumed candles, you'll be needing Feng Shui for Modern Living magazine to make sure that your carefully edited objects are auspiciously disposed about your home. One false move, apparently, and your ch'i flies straight out the window. Post-ironic retro-chic be damned. I predict that by the autumn, the compliment every hostess will crave will be "But darling, how utterly Yang!"

the taste dictators

words from the wise


"The naked light bulb swings again. We predict the

renaissance of our filamented friend"


"Carpets are unhygienic. More hotel rooms should have wooden floors"


"Beware the beige. Banish all that is sad and sombre from your



"Rows of horseheads sprouting vegetable headdresses hint at a bizarre union of natural kingdoms"


curtains in Yin hues of porcelain green..."

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Shenaz Treasurywala
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all