Margaret Russell is a design journalist and consultant specializing in media, architecture, interiors, and culture.
She was formerly the editor in chief of "Architectural Digest," which she infused with new life and launched its digital and social-media platforms. Prior to joining AD, Russell was VP/Editor in Chief of "Elle Decor," a publication that she helped found in 1989. During her tenure, she created elledecor.com and published three books, "Designing Women: Interiors by Leading Style Makers," "So Chic: Glamorous Lives, Stylish Spaces," and "Style & Substance: The Best of Elle Decor." Most recently, she researched and wrote designer Michael S. Smith's "Designing History: The Art & Style of the Obama White House," published by Rizzoli in 2020.
Russell is an Emeritus Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center and a trustee of God's Love We Deliver, and she serves on the Design Advisory Team for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, as well the advisory council of the Philip Johnson Glass House. She speaks regularly on design topics, has appeared on numerous TV shows, and was featured in "Iris," the award-winning Iris Apfel documentary, and "Very Ralph," the HBO documentary on Ralph Lauren.
Russell served as the Honorary Dean of the School of Building Arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), where she received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree; she also received an honorary doctorate from the New York School of Interior Design. She earned her undergraduate degree from Brown University.
Designing History: The Extraordinary Art & Style of the Obama White House
"Designing History" documents Michael Smith's extraordinary collaboration with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on the decoration of the White House. Through extensive photography, behind-the-scenes stories, and rich archival material, the book places the Obama White House within the context of the building's storied past and its evolution over the past two centuries. The book documents the process of updating the country's most symbolic residence, revealing how the decoration, showcasing of art, and style of entertaining reflected the youthful spirit of the First Family and their vision of a more progressive, inclusive American society.