Fashion designers are now putting their creative stamp on decor, taking interiors to places never seen before
An innate affinity for form, colour and fabric makes fashion designers uniquely equipped to expand their creative talents into homeware. And many of them tap into this ability to dress rooms as well as people by dabbling in ranges for other brands, or even extending their brands to include homeware. This swings the other way too, with brands enlisting high-profile talents to capitalise on their style cachet via one-off collections or limited-edition ranges. By encapsulating each of their distinctive identities into homeware products, fashion brands have extended their empires as well as their devotees’ ability to express their point of view. Your living spaces are an extension of your personal style and these brands allow you to further express that.
Perhaps the most direct translation of fashion to furnishings lies in the fabrics. Both use textiles, but the art of incorporating them into a space rather than to adorn a human body requires an understanding of composition and balance. Eley Kishimoto – a British fashion duo made up of Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto – has designed for big names such as Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Alber Elbaz. They recently applied their mastery of pattern to a range of wallcoverings and fabrics for Kirkby Design, a collaboration that displays an understanding of considered colour combinations and bold but versatile patterns that won’t date. Timelessness is much more of a factor when it comes to decor. Decorative elements such as upholstery and wallpaper, unlike seasonal fashion accessories, are by nature more permanent and so their relevance ideally has to last more than a season.
“By encapsulating each of their distinctive identities into homeware products, fashion brands have extended their empires”
Decorative elements such as upholstery and wallpaper, unlike seasonal fashion accessories, are by nature more permanent and so their relevance ideally has to last more than a season.
BOLD VS CLASSIC
Never ones for practicality however, designers such as Matthew Williamson and Christian Lacroix take their calling cards of flamboyance and drama to surface design for Osborne & Little and Designers Guild respectively. Theirs is not a neutral statement, but rather a bold one – haute couture not ready-to-wear. Matthew Williamson’s exotic jewel-toned kaleidoscopic designs and infatuation with embellishment are inspired by global and artistic aesthetic while Christian Lacroix’s passion for his craft is evident in the almost theatrical patterns and joie de vivre of his wallpaper and fabric collections, which draw on gypsy and Provencal culture.
Conversely, Ralph Lauren became known for his classic silhouettes and fabrics, a commitment to timelessness over trendiness. As one of the first to diversify (Ralph Lauren Home label launched more than 30 years ago), his message converted seamlessly into the fashion house’s homeware line, which celebrates textures, layers and an underlying sense of elegance – whether the range is inspired by the Western frontier, African safari or laid-back Hamptons beach chic. The homeware was born out of personal need: “We couldn’t find the things we were dreaming of, not just the colours and textures, but the quality of things such as pure cotton sheets,” says Ralph. So he created them. The fact that his line is 30 years old is testament to his understanding of pieces that work for everyday life – that you can admire but also use.
*Paul Smith’s range for Anglepoise plays with scale in a light-hearted way. The giant, colourful versions of this iconic lamp offer a talking point in a space. For his Cubana range for fabric house Osborne & Little, designer Matthew Williamson has channelled his love of exotic motifs and jewel colours. This Tropicana fabric’s saturated tones are anything but understated
Matthew Williamson’s calling cards are bold colour, high-octane print and embellishment | Jasper Conran started delving into ceramics more than a decade ago with a range for Wedgwood
Paul Smith’s interpretation of the Anglepoise Type 75 range combines the unmistakable shape of the lamp and his famous mastery of colour | Fabrics form the foundation for Ralph Lauren Home – timeless prints, stripes, plains that work as a basis for almost any space | Before his death in 2010, Alexander McQueen produced a range for The Rug Company, an opulent expression of the designer’s signature edgy aesthetic
Exquisite craftsmanship is a hallmark of the Hermès brand – this carries through from their handbags to wallpaper to ceramics | It took three years to complete the Alexander McQueen collection for The Rug Company, which features intricate handwoven motifs of skulls, feathers and hummingbirds
A FINE ART
This understanding of the convergence of form and function is crucial. For his recent collaboration with Anglepoise, Paul Smith has designed a range incorporating his signature stripes, ingeniously interpreted in three dimensions. Available in oversized or small, the lamps are the embodiment of Paul Smith’s playful, modern and light-hearted style. Fashion designer, passionate performing arts aficionado and OBE Jasper Conran is also an early adopter of the crossover. He applied his design ethos of a reverence for craftsmanship to crystal ranges for Waterford and a classic crockery collection for quintessential British brand Wedgwood more than a decade ago. For its porcelain range, introduced in 1990, Hermès captured the spirit of the maison – its legacy of refinement and culture – with ranges inspired by objects d’art and international travel. All have major quality credibility and brand currency that elevate these useful items to something more luxurious.
Ralph Lauren’s Spring 2017 Mulholland Drive collection of richly textured fabrics combines classic Hollywood glamour with a more Mediterranean-inspired side to California | Known for his ethereal ultra-feminine creations, Elie Saab’s collection for The Rug Company channels his delicate detailing and love of lace and florals into two dimensions
JOIE DE VIVRE
A sense of joie de vivre and unabashed extravagance give Christian Lacroix’s fabrics for Designer’s Guild impact
A devotion to craftsmanship and the notion of craft as art is the foundation of The Rug Company, a British rug and design atelier whose pieces are all handmade with silk and wool. Having enlisted a veritable army of fashion stars as guest designers, the pieces can take anything from four to eight months to make. From Elie Saab to Paul Smith (again) to Vivienne Westwood, each designer has imparted their unique style on the company’s portfolio. The parallels between fashion and homeware are perfectly illustrated in a hand-carved design by menswear designer Thom Browne: a cable-knit pattern is painstakingly created by hand with scissors – a literal reference to tailoring. This sense of craft and lasting style is elevated from timeless to iconic when it comes to furniture. Genius at ascribing an almost cult-level status to its designs, Louis Vuitton’s annual Objets Nomades range is a homeware collection that bridges the divide between design object and functional furniture. The pieces range from stools and screens to sofas, and are a celebration of form, craftsmanship and material. Whether rugs or furniture, high-profile designers are making their mark on decor, creating timeless pieces to transform living spaces into works of art.
Credits: Photographs: Supplied, Text: Julia Freemantle