02 Nov Interior Design and Haute Couture – A Love Affair
It’s no secret; we are in what historians call the “Digital Age”, characterized by access to and the control of digital information. The ability to share just about anything and immediately has greatly affected the fashion industry. Today, editorial magazines, fashion bloggers, fashion houses and designers are turning to social media to share their ‘latest and greatest’. Companies whose businesses are built on digitized information have become “valuable and powerful in a relatively short period of time” (Rouse, 2014). Brands recognize that in this digital age, consumers are heavily influenced by what they see, do and hear online. Seizing on this opportunity is fashion house Burberry who recently ‘live streamed’ its fashion show over the Internet. On some platforms, consumers can purchase garments just as soon as they hit the catwalk! Brands are making a conscious effort to engage with their social media audience, to monetize.
This momentum has greatly transformed the industry of Interior Design. After decades of determined separation, interior and fashion designers are playing nicely together—or at least sharing the same playground. There are design principles that both practices share when creating furnishings in a space or an ensemble of clothing: determining a focal point, creating the silhouette, balancing proportion and details. There is always a connection between materials and their story, there is a coherence of the world of beauty. Fashion, design, architecture, interiors all flow together as a singular state of being. They essentially all seek to shelter, self-expression and protection.
In the 18th century, decorative fabrics and fashion fabrics were very similar. Historically it was one field. While in recent years there was a 7-year lag from the runway to a furniture showroom, today the lag is less than one season long! Like wild fire, these two worlds are colliding again as creative minds use social media forces. Drivers behind top brands across the world are seeing and hearing the same things as their consumer. They are reading the same blogs, following the same people on Instagram. Brands are tracking trends and capitalizing on people with a substantial following to become an influencer.
So what does this mean for the contemporary world of Interior Design? The pattern, color, texture, and shape we see in the show of a major fashion house have inspired the upholstery fabric we see on a sofa, a window treatment and/or area rug. Dramatic prints on a blouse are now even featured in our décor pillows. Those same colors are used to paint an interior. Just as interior designers have been preaching, consumers are finally embracing the phrase; “Your home is a reflection of yourself.” Consumers are dressing their homes with the same personality they dress themselves. The great thing about democracy is that you can have choices. The self-expression you have in fashion can translate in your home. Today design is integral to the way people live their lives. The way buildings look in a city often mirrors how its people may dress.
Taking it one step forward, fashion designers are moving into Interior Design and putting their name to it (which is of course a reflection of how branded the world has become). From Armani, to Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta and even Hermes, each has moved into interior design. Consumers can now outfit their interior with their favorite fashion designer. “Interiors are their new runway” (Koket, 2015). In fact, the French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier was asked to come up with a collection to celebrate the 50th birthday of the French furniture house Roche-Bobois. And he sure did.
Interiors and fashion have always shared significant aspects of the prevailing culture: both are intrinsic to the way we perceive and express ourselves. The trend has received approval from Anna Wintour, editor of US Vogue, who wrote last year that, “I’ve long believed that the eye runs naturally from the catwalk to the kitchen.”