I don't know about you, but if I rolled my eyes every time I heard someone make a laughable assumption about what architects like, or are like, my baby-blues would surely have spun out of their sockets by now. But we suck it up. We learn get over it. We are tolerant. But once in awhile we really must take these misapprehendors to task, and there is no better place to start than with those who borrow the term "architect" for product marketing, particularly in the holiday season when architect-branded gifts proliferate.

And, why do they proliferate? Because when you need to brand something with a profession, "architect" just works! All architects are creative, sexy, and intellectual. Who doesn't want to be like us? Can you imagine anyone branding a mixer "the accountant"? The "lawyer"? The "dietician"? Well, okay maybe the "dietition."

Exhibit A: The "Architect" KitchenAid Mixer:

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"Architect" KichenAid mixer and the much cooler 1960s version.

The classic KitchenAid mixer comes in a variety of groovy colors, including my favorite, pink. But the "Architect" model is distinguished from all the others, not just because it is painted metallic gray like my mom's 1968 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser, but the beater, whisk and dough hook are chrome, baby, chrome, and you know what that means! Chrome makes merengue whip faster and lighter. Umm. Not really. But, what is it about painting gray a mixer that looks like nearly every other mixer in the line that makes this the "Architect"?

KitchenAid gave up styling their mixers except for paint color when they phased out the 1960s version of the mixer, which ought to be in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, in favor of the stripped-down industrial form that screams, batter up! Memo to KitchenAid design department: Retro is in. You could make a TON of money reintroducing it, with metallic gray highlights alone. Oops. Sorry, retro WAS in...about 10 years ago. Damn! You missed it.

Here's another product whose marketers were so desperate to succeed that, rather than chance relying on their own wits, they also siphoned from our profession's charisma (and who would notice, its reserves are so vast?): the Norelco Arcitec (no, I did not misspell it; things are hipper and sell better if you leave out a few consonants. Didn't you know that?) razor. I just about lost my mind the first time I saw one of these advertised on television. I mean this is pure genius! Isn't there just something about the word "architect" (er, or "arcitec") that just screams: If you make it metal-flake gray we will buy it no matter what it is because architects are into that color and we cannot resist metal-flake gray things!"?? I thought so, because  except for suits of armor and pewter beer mugs, you really cannot have too many metal-flake gray things.


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The Norelco Arcitec Razor
This razor even has a digital readout that tells how many minutes the razor has left before it runs out of juice. Why? Because architects are such busy people that they need to know exactly when their razor will need to be put back on the recharging stand otherwise, well, they might not be able to finish shaving when they need to. And everyone wants to be busy like us (and clean-shaven too), right?

The thing that I really love about the Arcitec razor is that it was so obviously influenced by John Lautner's Chemosphere House. You doubt? Take a look! Talk about retro! This is IT, baby!


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The Arcitec Razor, inspired by the Chemosphere House

But my favorite architect-inspired product? It's got to be Loreal's Lash Architect Carbon Gloss Mascara. Who could have inspired Lash Architect? I'm afraid I am going to have to go with Zaha Hadid on this one. What do you think, am I close? Her eyelashes are incredible! Umm, oops, here's an ethical question for the advice mavens at Cosmo, whom I happen to have on speed-dial: If a girl wants to reduce her carbon footprint, does she have to go easy on the carbon-gloss mascara too? What's that? Ohhh, sorry girls...I'm afraid you do!


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Lash Architect (left); architect with lashes (right).

A
h, but in this holiday season, in a year when so many things have gone wrong, Copenhagen, the Health Care Bill, TARP, and all the rest, I have to say that what really warms my heart is the way that architect-inspired products bring people together. I'm thinking of these two, especially: the models for Lash Architect and the Arcitec Razor (who was apparently not paying attention to the read-out on his Arcitec which would have told him he would run out of juice before he ran out of whiskers). They, like most architects are so hot.

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I'll betcha anything by now they've found each other on e-harmony.com, will be married soon, and designing tons of architect-branded, metal-flake gray products of their own, from a gray-metal studio in Soho.

We can't wait.