A review of Anthropologie's new design studio during a panic attack

Chain boutique unveils new "display centers," helping clients visualize just how shabby their lives really are

By Drew Grant
Published March 14, 2011 6:42PM (EDT)
Why doesn't your home look this nice?
Why doesn't your home look this nice?

Anthropologie is like the GOOP of mall stores: It's full of very nice things you can't afford. $498 for a lamp? Actually, honey, let's just go to Cinnabon. Now, in an effort to draw in more customers to hate themselves, the store has created 12 "home design studios" across L.A., so you can see exactly what your shabby, one-room apartment would look like if you were a billionaire. The whole thing is liable to give you a panic attack. Luckily, I've scouted out the place for you and reviewed the new design studios so you don't have to!

Review of Anthropologie during a panic attack

If you're looking for a retail outlet that will make you question the direction your life is headed in while simultaneously answering the query "Can I get sick off the smell of diffusers?" Anthropologie can't be beat. Finally, a store that's truly designed to take your breath away while you blindly grope for a lavender-scented door handle to get out, only to realize there's an entire table of lavender-scented door handles. Why? Why would anyone need a whole table worth of door handles? Oh god.

This store is a little more adult than its sister outlet, Urban Outfitters, so don't go looking for coffee table books about farts or anyone, anyone at all, that looks vaguely like you just so you can have a familiar face to ground yourself in this sea of bourgeois necessities. Does Gwyneth Paltrow live here? You have to sit down a minute. How much for this quirky vintage Afghan Throw? $198?! OK, no, you're OK. Just ... what makes this vintage, exactly? Is it pre-owned? Is it old? Is this an antique store? Where are you? No, I'm not yelling. You keep your voice down.

Can you throw up over there? No? OK.

If you're in the mood for some light reading and the sensation that there is not enough air -- is anyone else sweating? -- head over to their book room, where you will find titles like "Etcetera: Creating Beautiful Interiors With Things You Love" next to the classic "A Perfectly Kept House Is a Sign of a Misspent Life." Feel the room spin as you try to grasp those two opposing concepts, and don't hesitate to knock into the bookshelf behind you, spilling over clothbound editions of Penguin Classics and copies of the children's picture-book "How to Behave and Why." Don't stop to clean up, it's time for your 15-minute detour into the women's dressing room with the Venetian blinds, where you will curl up in a tiny ball and sob quietly.

Drew Grant

Drew Grant is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @videodrew.

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