What The F Is Up With Instagrammers And Regency Architecture?

It’s actually more logical than you’d think

What The F Is Up With Instagrammers And Regency Architecture?

by Lucy Morris |
Published on

Question: what do Russian oligarchs and Instagram influencers have in common? Answer: an appreciation for West London’s Victorian and Regency architecture.

Instagram has changed many things, from how we communicate to how we document our lives, and now it's affecting how we think about our streets. For those that consider wardrobe documenting a sport, London’s grandest terraces have become their go-to backdrop.

Part of their very obvious appeal is what the buildings themselves signify. Like taking your wedding photos in a manor house, the pictures give off the air of wealth. The instantly recognisable white residences circling Regents Park, lining the streets of Chelsea and Notting Hill and Belgravia, with their stucco walls and ornate railings, have always been the abode of the rich. Tastes may change, but the appeal of these impressive palaces have always held the regard of the moneyed. Hence, why foreign investors have brought them up in droves.

Taking a photo while leaping off the door step of one or lazing against their walls has the Insta-effect of creaming off the untouchable status of those that live behind the famous facades.

It’s an acknowledged fact that social media has made people increasingly narcissistic and image obsessed. Go figure. And, key to this toxic culture is showing off about your life. Eliot Panek, a psychologist at University of Michigan, said social networks are a medium for narcissists to ‘construct and maintain a carefully considered self-image.’ Being snapped on the doorstep of a million-pound mansion is as good as owning one where Instagram is concerned. As long as it looks like you have the door key in your Gucci purse, does it matter if you don’t?

This romanticising of London’s wealthiest areas is exacerbated by the way that Britain’s Brutalist estates, like Trellick and Balforn tower, have become the backdrop for Grime music videos. Traditionally lamenting Britain’s wealth divide and focusing on a DIY culture, the music has been set to a visual backdrop of an urban space miles away from the cream coloured buildings of SW1. Gritty-looking estates, like that seen in Skepta’s Shutdown, which was shot in the Barbican may – ironically – be owned by some of the best paid in the capital, are visually a distant cry from those the white, spec-free buildings the ‘gramming community favour.

Instagrammer Daisy Keens of Pie and Fash Blog says she favours the West London buildings for their clean, cream colouring. ‘I think colours (and therefore outfits) pop more against an uncluttered background…so maybe that has something to do with the rise of Georgian building beings overrun with style savants?’ Keens explains.

But, she also admits, ‘my penchant for a creamy backdrop was born of practicality, really - I work in London, and every other building is a Georgian juggernaut. So, when I roped a pal into photographing my outfit at lunchtime it just so happened that my background consisted of a swanky building (with the occasional colourful front door thrown in for good measure, of course).’

This is also the case for editor and influencer Katherine Ormerod who rationalises, ‘from my perspective, it's just that I live in West London, so that's probably why! I take pictures every day so usually try and find a relatively clean backdrop so you can see the clothes as well as possible, but I love all kinds of architecture - though probably feature mostly what's close by to me!’

Though Ormerod is a self-made editor with years of magazine experience and entrepreneurial grafting under her belt, she touches on a point that remains unspoken within the Instagram community when she mentions her neighbourhood. Though few will talk to it, there are a high proportion of bloggers that can actually afford to live in London’s wealthy enclaves, and so their local streets are naturally lined with these stately properties. But, whether you can afford a palatial abode or not, these Instagrammers can testify, they make the perfect backdrop.

Still doubtful this trend is real? Let's look at the evidence.

Example One

Example Two

Example Three

Example Four

Example Five

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Follow Lucy on Instagram @lucyalicemorris

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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