Interior Design 30·10·2020
Fashion is now dressing houses lifestyle
With home life gaining importance, some of the most popular brands in the luxury fashion industry have entered the world of interior design, showing that the way we dress and the way we decorate our homes are two forms of personal expression that are closer together than you might think.
It may be because we’re spending more time at home now than we could ever have imagined. Or perhaps it’s because brands in general and fashion designers in particular have finally come to the conclusion that consumers do not only enjoy expressing their personality and taste through their wardrobe, but also seek to express their identity through everything that surrounds them. Whatever the reason, the fashion sector has finally extended its range to enter the profitable and prolific universe of interior design. A phenomenon that, after years of timid attempts by pioneering and visionary brands, has come to a brilliant (and welcoming) climax.
What began a few decades ago with the promotion of a line of bed linen or the occasional launch of candles and air fresheners has evolved into a new business division for some of these fashion brands, one with as high a turnover and level of product development as their other departments, with very positive prospects for growth: according to the analysts in consultancy firm Technavio, 2020 has acted as a catalyst, boosting sales, and the sector is expected to grow by almost $80,000 million by 2024.
And many designers have seen their chance of getting a slice of the cake. Fashion, let’s not forget it, is much more than clothing: it’s a way of life. As the French philosopher and sociologist Gilles Lipovetsky explained, “fashion has not been limited to the field of clothing, far from it. In parallel, at different rates, other sectors – furniture and decorative objects, language and shapes, tastes and ideas, artists and cultural works – have been taken over by the processes of fashion with its whims and constant changes.” Coming out of the closet to try to conquer more prosperous territories has thus become a key point of the industry’s agenda. Just as consumers connect to the aesthetic values of a brand to wear its creations, they also gain great pleasure by enjoying the particular lifestyle that the firm transmits to everyday objects, especially in the home.
Gianni Versace was one of the first designers to embark on this adventure and open up the field. Having forged a style that is perfectly recognisable, even to less well informed spectators, this champion of the Baroque and exuberant Mediterranean maximalism launched his Home line in the early 1990s with the intention of “offering everyone the chance to live in the Versace world,” the creator said. Since his tragic death, more than two decades later, his successor, his sister Donatella, has maintained this approach with lines of furniture, bed linen, crockery and cutlery, all of which are presided over by the firm’s emblems, the Medusa head and the acanthus in gold leaf.
The Florentine spirit of the Aquazzura shoe brand has also decided to take a walk around the house and sit down at the table. A few months ago, they announced the creation of a household line, managed by British event designer Fiona Leahy, with her exceptional knowledge of entertaining guests. The first collection will focus on the art of laying the table and decorating it to create a setting where plates, glasses, cutlery, table linen and flowers come together to create a unique impression. Leahy is undoubtedly one of those magical minds that can transform a dining room into a fairy tale, so it is not surprising that Colombian Edgardo Osorio, Aquazzura’s Creative Director, has decided to entrust this new adventure to her.
Giving a touch of distinction to a dinner with friends is also the intention of the Transylvania Home Collection, the new line of crockery and table linen launched by La DoubleJ, the firm created by fashion journalist and street style icon JJ Martin. For the fifth time running, she is entering a world that has little to do with fashion design but, making use of the colours and drawings inspired by a trip through the Carpathian Mountains, the collection is as inspirational as her clothes.
The first impression is what counts. At Etro they are well aware of this, given that this Italian family business dating back more than half a century has laid the foundations of its success on paisley, the classic print on cashmere. The nomadic spirit that guides its creations on the Milanese catwalk is also to be seen in The Intimate Living, a decorative collection that ranges from the stunning Madras sofa, upholstered in elegant beige velvet, and hand-painted wall paper with scenes of oriental escapism to cushions and blankets on which the company’s Pegasus emblem is delicately embroidered.
Experts in making the art of living a true luxury, Cartier and Hermès embody this in their exclusive creations. Synonymous with exquisite French design, they both incorporate their aesthetic philosophy in objects that give any corner of the house a distinct personality. Whether it is a delicate porcelain vase or trinket dish, a key ring, a carved wooden box, or even a magnetic chess set in sycamore and solid mahogany, every product reflects their firm defence of the craftsman’s skills, whatever the discipline.
Launched in 2017, Gucci Décor has quickly joined the top division in this league. A project tailored to the creative talent of the Director of the Fashion Department, Alessandro Michelle, a millennial polymath with Baroque airs, who has succeeded in creating such a solid, unmistakable style that he has transferred his prêt-à-porter creations to interior design without losing any of their individuality. Decadence and bohemian style come together in a carefully assembled repertoire of cushions, chairs, screens, side tables, armchairs, porcelain and crockery, accessories and luxury aromatic candles which will fill the home with exotic fragrances.
However, in contrast to these traditional players, modern urban brands are also striving to make a place for themselves in our homes. This is the case of Off-White, perhaps one of the most prominent and disruptive brands on the scene, headed by Virgil Abloh, an aesthetic messiah of modernity, as well as being a leading member of the Kanye West entourage, recognised by Time magazine in 2018 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Abloh, currently Artistic Director of the Louis Vuitton men’s line, has previous experience of the world of decoration from working with Ikea and it seems that this whetted his appetite, because his new Home line ranges from woven alpaca blankets to porcelain tableware and doormats.
Less tangible than a Luis XV commode, but with the same presence, the aroma of a home has endless connotations and is the best welcome that it can give us. This is how they see it at Loewe, which has just launched a collection of fragrances for the home, conceived by Jonathan Anderson and interpreted by Nuria Cruelles, the house perfumer. It includes 11 aromas expressed in candles, wax candlesticks, home fragrances and scented sticks, evoking the pure delight of a garden full of plants. The design and feel of the items in this collection are also an essential part of its appeal, as the candles are presented in a terracotta holder. “There is intimacy and warmth, but also a celebration of the natural world, in these candles that seem ideal and timeless to me,” says Jonathan Anderson, Loewe’s Creative Director. “The selection of aromas follows a very personal trajectory. They are olfactory scenes that remind me of my childhood and the different trips I have made. Part Victorian botanical garden, part apothecary, the mix is both scientific and sentimental.” he concludes.