Alexander McQueen. Coco Chanel. Vivian Westwood. These names are so strong that you know exactly who they are, what they look like, and the quintessential style in which the clothes are designed. In fact, these three fashion designers are as iconic as the clothes they lend their name to and have come to be a phenomenon within our culture that we can’t help but be dazzled by. These brands are now moving their style into the home, and we are all the better for it.
Last week, Habitat launched a new venture in interiors hand-in-hand with Henry Holland of House of Holland. Together, they are bringing the glamour of 1970s Las Vegas to our front living rooms with high-impact sofas, rugs and accessories. This high street collaboration comes just at the right time as people are now starting to again embrace bold textiles in their homes (remember when we talked about that here and here before?). This collaboration has inspired some striking looks and artfully shows how the world of fashion truly brings so much life to interiors products. I personally loved many of the pieces and am sure this collaboration will be flying out of the shop, securing Habitat’s place back in the hearts of the savvy high street shopper.
House of Holland x Habitat by photographer Andrew Woffinden
Of course, Henry Holland isn’t the first fashion designer to make the transition from fashion to the interiors market. This revolutions has been a natural transition for big names like Ralph Lauren, Ted Baker and many other fantastic designers with iconic style that transcends clothes. But Debenhams was the first to bring us the cross-over with John Rocha, who dabbled in bedlinen and vases as well as jeans, jewellery, and more.
When I was first hitting the streets to source for projects as a brand new interior designer, I instantly gravitated towards the amazing interiors products available at Missoni Home. I loved the bright rugs, colourful upholstery, and funky lampshades. In addition to the larger statement pieces, they sold towels and bedlinens, which were more reasonably priced and allowed their brand to be accessible to a larger audience. But what made Missoni Home really stand out was their attention to detail. Every element of the home collection was created with the same stunning attention to detail as their famous knitwear and made each piece feel truly special. They have continued to maintain a strong brand in the interiors market and it’s wonderful to see them so thoughtfully grow both arms of the business.
During these more youthful days, Kenzo was also producing rugs, cushions, fabrics and lights through French fabric house Lelievre as Kenzo Maison. I loved their vibrant colour choices and their throws and cushions often found their way into my work (as well as into my own home) so it was a very sad day for me when Lelievre parted ways with Kenzo. Not all fashionable partnerships are forever.
To fill the void Kenzo left, Lelievre luckily remedied my pain by collaborating with both Sonia Rykiel and Jean Paul Gaultier. Jean Paul Gaultier is no stranger to stretching himself beyond the label of “fashion designer” (remember when he created the costume design for Fifth Element?) and it's no secret that his interiors collection stole my heart from the very first moment I saw the fabric from across the room. He has a fantastic eye for colour in his fashion designs and this, along with a cheeky sense of humour, is woven through his interiors work. There’s also an elegance in his pieces which is easily transferrable to much of my client work. Lucky for us, he has continued to expand his interiors production over the years and now has a collection of furniture at Roche Robois.
A Kenzo Maison throw (left) and a Jean Paul Gaultier cushion (right) featured in two beautiful Tunbridge Wells homes, both designed and styled by Smartstyle Interiors.
It isn’t just Lelievre and Roche Bobois who have been working with fashion glitterati. Fabric and wallpaper brand Osbourne and Little have brought much more punch to their offering by teaming up with Matthew Williamson back in 2013 and it isn’t difficult to see why when you look at Williamson’s zingy colours. From the moment I saw his butterflies and peacock feathers walk down the runway, I knew his designs were begging to be expanded into the home. Hats off to Osbourne and Little for making sure that happened! Together, this partnership has resulted in three collections, each one sexier than the last. This has also give Williamson a thirst for doing much more in the interiors market, including the courtyard design at Blakes Hotel. He’s also launched his own furniture range with Duresta, which is currently a Harrods exclusive. He’s made the seamless transition from being purely a fashion brand to now being a fashion and interiors brand, and both those worlds are better places because of it.
A stunning Matthew Williams design for the suite at Aynhoe Park Hotel, Oxfordshire
Photo by Holly Falconer.
These are just a handful of the names that now have a foot in both design camps. Other greats include Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Christian Lacroix. I love the spirit that the fashion world has brought to the home. There seems to be a bravery in the boldness of the designs that was very much needed and I’m so excited to see this cross-pollinate and grow.
Two questions now remain: Which fashion great will join these names next? And which great interior designer will take the reverse approach and branch out into the world of fashion? Tell me what you think in the comments!