Fashion and interior’s inextricable relationship
Written by Bea Taylor
Whether it’s one influencing the other or designers leaping between both, the affinity and cross-pollination of these two creative pursuits is stronger than ever.
When you think about it, the leap from fashion to interiors isn’t, in fact, a big one at all. They’re both a form of self-expression and a marker of identity. Putting a room together is much like putting an outfit together; it requires the right base pieces, the right accessories, consideration of colour and balance. RUBY’s creative director, Deanna Didovich, sums it up perfectly; “I believe it is, because both areas are so tactile. A love of colour, shape, textile, details etc, are intrinsic in both interiors and fashion, so to love one is to love the other.”
In fact, when fashion designers try their hand at interior or homewares design, something magic often happens. Raf Simons’, former creative director at Dior and then Calvin Klein, collaboration with Scandinavian and Danish company Kvadrat, is a prime example of this (above). Simons said of his textile and homewares collection, “I was fascinated by how the colouration and weaving processes in fashion textiles didn’t have the same limitations as those of furnishing textiles.” Working with Kvadrat, he’s been translating the subtle colouration and texture that you’d find in a tweed or bouclé into textiles suitable for use in furniture.
Dolce & Gabbana’s iconic partnership with Smeg is another instantly recognisable and widely touted example. This partnership saw Dolce & Gabbana translate their powerful storytelling of Sicily from bold dresses to equally compelling flower-patterned kettles and hand-painted food mixers. Gucci’s latest foray into homewares, aptly named Gucci Décor, saw their archetypal eclectic and romantic aesthetic injected into the home with snakes, cats, flowers on velvet cushions, teacups and even incense holders. And who could forget Missoni? Whose geometric drawings and angular lines are now recognised just as much for their homewares collection as they are for their knit sweaters.
In fact, it would be hard to find an Italian fashion house that doesn’t have a connection to home furnishings — maybe it’s thanks to the deep roots of Italian culture, where the home and close family relationships are celebrated? Or, in part, related to the highly regarded Salon del Mobile hosted annually in Milan — arguably the biggest showcase of interior and furniture design in the world.
But, it’s just not Italian fashion houses that hold the torch for homewares and interior design. Let’s not forget Loewe’s highly covetable homewares and textile collection or Chanel’s ever-extending influence into home accessories. The cynics among us will claim these forays into homewares and decor are merely a means to extend the brand — which is not inconceivable. But, it also speaks to the growing change in the mindset of the consumer and the producer, about wellness. Home is where the heart is, after all.
“It’s all aesthetics, isn’t it, and they’re linked across all categories and mediums and triggered by the same thing — shifts in society’s mood, needs and values. Our job as designers, no matter what we’re designing, is to respond.” — Karen Walker.
Social media has had a huge pull in bringing the fashion-interior relationship closer than ever, primarily by raising interiors to the same status level as fashion. Have you noticed lately? Not only are there more and more beautifully curated accounts dedicated solely to interiors, but also shots of well-decorated homes peppered throughout fashion Instagrammers’ feeds. Interior pieces themselves — vases, tiles, a beautiful credenza — are garnering just as much hype, or becoming just as a status symbol, as a statement handbag.
Fashion trends have always had a tendency to influence interior trends. When the fashion industry was obsessed with metallics, the likes of brass, copper and bronze made its way into interiors. Fashion’s recent frolic with pastels has had a similar effect, and the resurgence of fringed and tasselled jackets and skirts has also coincided with interior’s turn back to maximalism.
But it also works the other way around too. Deanna says of designing new collections for RUBY; “I will often be looking at an era or a past time and, naturally, while researching I will become intrigued by interiors and architecture of the time. For my last collection, I was very much inspired by Danish interiors, furniture and ceramics.”
In fact, RUBY have begun to offer a smattering of homewares alongside their fashion collections. Deanna says, “we’re always looking at new avenues to move into and homewares was a natural trajectory for us. We have only ever offered a small selection of pieces; pillowcases, glassware, candle-holders, books and watering cans, for example. The pieces we select always have a link to our clothing collections and seasonal ideas.”
Pantone’s Colour of the Year is a true mark of this inextricable relationship. According to marketing research group NPD, Pantone has had a hand in determining the colour of roughly half of the garments sold in the US. Which, in itself, is interesting because fashion trends play a large role in helping to determine what the Pantone Colour of the Year will be.
Pantone’s Colour of the Year has a massive impact on the interior industry. Most notably seen in the incredible domination of millennial pink, which followed Pantone’s 2016 Colour of the Year, Rose Quartz.
This year’s Classic Blue — a bold cobalt — has been seen in a few recent runways; Balenciaga, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Nina Ricci Spring 2020 shows, for instance. The interior world has also begun to embrace cobalt — you might have noticed an increase in popularity of artist Henri Matisse’s famous Blue Nude, which has subsequently influenced a number of interior looks toward this cool hue.
Closer to home is Karen Walker and her partnership with Resene Paints. Thriving for more than 20 years, Karen says it’s easy to move between the two codes because they are both inspired and motivated by social change. “It’s all aesthetics, isn’t it, and they’re linked across all categories and mediums and triggered by the same thing — shifts in society’s mood, needs and values,” she says.
“Our job as designers, no matter what we’re designing, is to respond.”