Fashion designers turn homeware gurus
From Missoni and Ralph Lauren to Camilla and Karen Walker, fashion designers are turning their discerning eyes to our homes.
From fashionista to interiors designista: the aesthetic leap isn’t too big. And with more and more catwalk brands sashaying into products for the home, living with fashion has never been easier.
While it’s added value for devotees, it’s also a way for the designers to broaden their fan base.
Many of us have white bathrooms and a splash of colour makes us feel good in the morning
Red carpet designer Monique Lhuillier – who wowed with her spectacular tangerine creation for Ginnifer Goodwin at the Emmys - recently brought her sassy style to the table for luxe lifestyle brand Waterford, realised in a range of fine bone china dinnerware and crystal wine glasses.
She is not alone. Vera Wang, renowned for her romantically elegant bridal couture, has collaborated with Wedgwood to create a range of classic fine bone china dining-ware complemented by graceful crystal wine glasses and shapely stainless steel cutlery.
It’s a clever marketing add-on for the wedding gift registry.
Then there’s the very hip Kate Spade New York. Upmarket bag-lady Spade has designed a polka dot dinner-service paired with spotty wine glasses. There’s also crockery featuring a bold Florence Broadhurst floral motif.
One early adopter of the fashion-homewares fusion is famous Italian fashion house Missoni. Rosita Missoni’s Living Collection translates her clothing’s hypnotic zigzags and kaleidoscopic pinwheel stripes combined with exuberant huge flowers onto upholstery fabrics, towels, bedding, rugs, ottomans and, more recently, large spherical fabric -covered lamp shades.
According to Fiona Spence of local Missoni stockist, Spence & Lyda, the heavy-hitting brand was able to successfully cross over into homewares as “it has always been about colour and pattern. Missoni doesn’t rely solely on the cut [of the garment] like designers such as Armani. There’s no way you can make a cushion when it’s all about the cut.”
Boldly patterned towels are best-sellers. “Many of us have white bathrooms and a splash of colour makes us feel good in the morning,” Spence says.
Another fashion giant cutting loose in the homewares arena is Ralph Lauren Home. This month RLH will be launching an outpost within The Country Trader in Sydney’s Waterloo not far from Casa Luxury where eye-popping furniture from Kenzo, and also Fendi, is on offer.
Department store, Myer, has also begun selling homewares designed by a selection of its couturiers.
“This is an affordable way for people to style their homes in the signature looks of their [favourite designer’s] label,” says Myer Product Development Manager, John Hodgkiss.
“Designers can add a stylish touch even to products people may consider mundane and utilitarian.”
So, while the products range from the more predictable, albeit on-trend, table-ware, towels and bed-linen, there are glam surprises such as Jayson Brunsdon’s world globe – unexpectedly in black - and even a sleek black toilet brush holder which matches a bathroom vanity set.
“It’s pure urban chic and a perfect example of function with style,” Hodgkiss says.
For those preferring a more playful, quirky look, Myer has a new home range created by New Zealand’s Karen Walker, whose home range is inspired by her too-cute fashion prints.
Or, for a more sophisticated timeless look, Hodgkiss suggests checking out Jane Lamerton’s home range.
One leader in the collaborating-with-fashion identities trend is local company Designer Rugs who are about to release the Coromandel Collection: eight hand-made woollen rugs produced with fashion house, Easton Pearson.
Lydia Pearson and Pamela Easton’s joyful rugs – vibrantly colourful with over-sized flowers -- reference their travels and explorations of the cultures of India, Africa and Europe. “We focus on textile techniques and are inspired by the exotic style of chintz with its intricate hand-drawn details,” they explain.
The duo is also about to launch an online EP Manchester collection: white-on-white cotton sheets with textured trims and fine pure linen sheets; hand woven jacquard bath and hand towels with hand knotted tassels plus a range of linen tea towels with woven stripes or idiosyncratic, embroidered motifs.
Claudia Chan Shaw of Vivian Chan Shaw artisan knitwear label is another fashionista who is venturing into interiors, casting her gaze onto walls. Her photographic exhibition Poster Boy opens next Tuesday at NG Art Gallery, Chippendale.
“Every day a poster is pasted somewhere. It has a limited time to attract attention and convey its message before someone else’s message is plastered on top of it, leaving only a hint of what once was. It’s what is left and the patterns created that fascinate me,” Chan Shaw says.
The series was shot over the last five years in the streets of Sydney, Melbourne, Paris and Barcelona.
Chan Shaw’s book Collectomania, released in November, explores the world of collectors and their obsessions.
And let’s not forget soft furnishings. Kaftan designer Camilla Franks has recently added sumptuous double-sided silk cushions with hand-beading plus one-off vintage chairs to her repertoire.
From Megan Park, renowned for her mix of traditional Indian embroideries with jewel colours, come throws and tribal-gypsy cushions richly embellished with hand-embroidery, crewelwork and seed beads. For a modern take on nanna chic, she has hexagonal patchwork pillows.
Even make-up king Napoleon Perdis has got in on the act. Having taken over the old Woollahra, NSW, post office he’s offering a curated collection of art, Fitz & Floyd dinnerware, Greece’s Ionia premier dinner ware collection, and mid-century glassware…perfect for toasting fashion’s Next Big Thing.