Fashion and the lofty world of Design? Not obvious bedfellows - possibly because for many years, a fashion label’s foray into interiors was cursory at best, a clumsy branding exercise at worst - and with very little in between.
Not so this year. At last week’s Salone del Mobile in Milan, a platform for the world’s best in show for furniture and design, those fashion houses sat proudly. There was Fendi Casa’s standout tableaux of the plushest curved pink velvet sofas alongside highly covetable lighting inspired by men’s cufflinks and elsewhere, Gucci’s maximalist meadow of wallpapers or Loewe’s exquisite look at basketry which housed everything from ikebana arrangements to jugs of water.
That the worlds of fashion and interiors are finally colliding there is little doubt. And who can blame them: it’s an opportunity that has not been lost on fashion brands who are actively tapping into the luxury end of the furniture and homewares market, today worth an impressive $113 billion according to the Business of Fashion.
It’s something fashion e-tailer MatchesFashion.com, which launched a home offering last summer, has also recognised, teaming up with Rossana Orlandi, the Milanese doyenne known for nurturing rising talent, to host one of the most fun soirees of the week.
Isabelle Dubern, founder of the interior design etailer Invisible Collection, artistic advisor at Diptyque and former creative director of Dior Maison, reminds us that “Design opens a window to the soul in a way that an it- bag will never achieve.” It’s why Gucci’s Alessandro Michele considered quitting fashion to become an interior designer in 2014 and why Alexis Mabille, the Paris couture designer, takes on many an interior design project.
“Looking stylish isn’t enough these days,“ says Twig Hutchinson of the interior blog Minford Journal, “design savviness, as we are constantly reminded via a flurry of likes [on Instagram], extends to what our homes look like - signifiers of who we are and more importantly, who we want to be.”
The choice of a Peter Pilotto x Once Milano tablecloth teamed with a set of La Double J plates says as much about your predilection for colour and patterns as it does your appreciation of food writer Skye McAlpine’s bonhomie at the dining table.
It’s a chance for fashion brands to explore craftsmanship and creativity in a way that illustrates another side of the label’s house codes and transcends seasonal trends while simultaneously re-inventing desire. For the fashion interiors trends we will be lusting over next season, look no further.
A meadow of floral wallpaper
Always thought wallpaper looked better in someone else’s home - it dates, it gets grubby, you’re stuck with it for a very, very long time? Then get ready to be converted. Alessandro Michele showed a mash up of intoxicating patterns from spriggy monochromatic florals and hexagonal geometric prints and blousy country garden flowers. More was nearly always more, teaming it as he did with an exuberant display of clashing textiles and shimmering brocade cushions and quilts.
If you really can’t do print, take a leaf out of Martina Mondadori Sartogo’s (founder of Cabana magazine) book and use raffia wallpaper for something that is plain yet adds a pleasingly tactile surface texture to walls.
Wondering how to arrange that delivery of chic wildflowers? Or a new way to carry your gym bottle? The humble basket gets a makeover this year as Loewe propelled it to ever loftier heights by calling on weavers from around the world to create leather woven baskets which contained bonsai trees, groceries and in one case, a stone water pot. It could have looked really pretentious. It didn’t.
Who knows what inspired what first, but as an aside, those clever accessory designers at Loewe have come up trumps this season with its selection of raffia baskets and bags. Fashion folk may shun the concept of It-bag mania and yet Loewe’s bags, in many many permutations, could single handedly resurrect it.
Stealth wealth objects
If anyone hadn’t noticed, the Nineties is back to the power of 100. It’s why camel Maxmara style coats are still going strong and also perhaps why Hermes decided to produce everyday (stealth wealth) objects in understated yet assuredly luxe materials.
Next season we shall adorn our homes with the chicest bamboo platters, wicker picnic baskets and a curved leather centrepiece (which may or may not double up as a fruit bowl). Should there be any doubt, all of this comes in a hushed palette of 3 ply cashmere which screams luxury from a thousand paces.
You thought buckles were for belts, gladiator sandals and bags? Think again, because very soon you shall spy buckles on chairs, tables and even lampshades. The highlight last week was without a doubt Atelier Oi’s chair for Louis Vuitton’s “Objets Nomades”, a sleek, padded, tan leather and tubular frame seat which buckled up at the back.
Buckles it seemed were very much in the ether generally, most notably worn by the insanely stylish artist and designer Osanna Visconti di Modrone (more of whom later) on a Bottega Veneta utility dress at the MatchesFashion.com dinner.
A statement table cloth
I know, I know, the love we feel for table-scaping and the myriad ways we can match coloured Venetian glasses and patterned crockery remain undimmed - but what about the statement table cloth?
Peter Pilotto teamed up with linen brand Once Milano to create a design that combined the duo’s love of colour and striking symmetry. For something which packs an equally graphic visual punch – and which is no less colourful - look to Cabana’s eye-poppingly bright version filled with heraldic blooms.
Fendi Casa triumphed with a three piece suite that looked as exquisitely tasteful (what’s not to love about deep, plush pink velvet and brown stripes?) as it might be comfortable to actually recline into.
Curves and rounded edges were very much the order of everything last week from retractable side tables that concertinaed out in fans at both Fendi and Louis Vuitton to Salvatori’s circular basins and rounded edge bath tubs in solid marble, which were just as covetable.
Here come the Salone-istas:
Move over fashionistas and galleristas, here come the Salone–istas: a coterie of sublime looking Milanese women who, one might add, are not basking in their salad days but are multi-tasking powerhouses with decades of wisdom, design heft and who can still rock a good dress.
Taken from Osanna Visconti di Modrone's Instagram, @osannavisconti
Case in point was Osanna Visconti di Modrone, a bronze artist and designer who also hosted Diptyque’s launch of homewares and accessories in her sun-drenched Via Santa Marta apartment which managed the inimitable hattrick of being peppered with consummate good taste, idiosyncratic style and a relaxed, homely appeal to boot.
Uberta Zambeletti's Instagram, @Ubertazambeletti , is a treasure trove of printed pieces.
That’s one thing these Milanese women - which number Uberta Zambeletti, founder of the concept store Wait and See, and Martina Mondadori Sartogo, editor in chief of Cabana magazine - pull off by the bucket load and that’s style with a point of view, something that is rarely trend led and exudes an enduring elegance.
Cabana magazine editor-in-chief Martina Mondadori Sartogo on her Instagram, @Martinamondadori
With a name that sounds straight out of Dante’s Divine Comedy, you might expect Alberica Brivio Sforza, who works in private banking and who hosted the Peter Pilotto dinner, to know a thing or two about art. So chic and hidden was her house that even the taxi driver had never heard of her road.
And yes, while Lucio Fontana and Alighiero Boetti artworks adorned the walls of her home, here was a reminder that the most stylish houses are not those rammed with a check list of design classics or interior designed to within an inch of their lives, but filled with personal finds, books aplenty and those knick knacks which say something about you.