Tractor Love, Tom Ford, and Hermès Orange, Oh My!

"...this is the guy who had an orange tractor at his property in New Mexico spray-painted black because he couldn't stand the color,
okay?" -
New York Magazine , on Tom Ford.

One of my favorite little anecdotes. I feel ya Tom, I really do. If I were subjected to this unsightly horror on a daily basis, I would also feel compelled to crack out mass quantities of spray paint and put the construction crew to work doing something useful:

Sometimes, small (large) details make all the difference. Case in point: the '97 Martha incident (you remember, when Martha Stewart tried to run down her neighbor after he erected an 8 foot fence and put in shrubs that "suburbanized" the neighborhood?). I used to have one of these babies (see image below). No joke, I threw it out because the concentrated field of candy corn pumpkin orange was nauseating to me.

Are Tom and I alone in our phobia of this color? Certainly, my sentiment isn't shared by everyone. Take, for instance, the orange tractor fanatics ,who, for sheer viewing pleasure, upload photos of themselves merrily using their orange equipment. (The internet turns up all sorts of gems.)

Of course, you can dismiss our friends over at the orange tractor site as a truly isolated segment of the population, far removed from design concerns of any sort, but then what excuse can you make for people who decorate with Hermès boxes?

Is this a trend or something? Or have boxes replaced books in the world of props that are meant to attest to the cultivated tastes of their owners? If a book (used as a prop) is meant to convey diversity of taste and education, is a logoed box intended to convey taste through association with a brand, or else association with cost? That's almost as vomitous as this color orange.

Developing brand identity is not a replacement for developing taste, kids. And decorating with logo laden cardboard boxes= so not chic. An exception can be made for Andy Warhol's Brillo containers.

Here, I present you with a compulsion to brand oneself at its very worst (see below). Seriously, what's this woman stashing in all of her boxes!? She must have a collection of horse scarves to clothe an army. Either that, or she's bedecked in enough colliers de chien to approximate a couture version of Johnny Rotten. (I sincerely hope it's the latter, in which case, someone send me a picture. Stat.).

Above, Designer Sara Story's creations, originally published in Domino.

Admittedly, the effect isn't quite as bad when the box doesn't take center stage. It's passable as a pop of color. Questionable, but passable. :

Designer Schuyler Samperton's apartment, from Elle Decor

I wonder what Tom Ford would say.

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