Fashion brands add homewares for Instagram generation who want the complete lifestyle experience
Gucci Décor is the latest fashion house to jump on the furniture and interiors bandwagon that first got rolling with Ralph Lauren and Armani Casa. With matchesfashion.com now doing homewares, it’s a trend that can only grow
For years luxury brands and designers have diversified into new categories to help attract new customers and drive sales. While perfume and cosmetics are still considered the biggest revenue drivers, the homewares segment is growing quickly thanks to demand from customers looking for a complete lifestyle experience.
“Style permeates all elements of your life and environment, enhanced by social media and the rise of Instagram,” says Damien Paul, matchesfashion.com head menswear buyer, who also oversees the online portal’s newly launched homewares category. “Brands and designers realise this and are continuing to develop an all-inclusive offer that caters to every aspect of their customers’ lifestyle. Homewares is a natural extension of this, as we recognised that interiors are an extension of personal style.”
The worlds of fashion and interior design have long been intertwined. Many well-known Italian brands, such as Etro and Missoni, were producing textiles long before ready-to-wear, and their signatures prints and designs lent themselves well to home furnishings.
The trend really took hold in the 1980s and 1990s when designers such as Ralph Lauren, Fendi and Versace launched furniture collections that showcased their signature look. By the time Armani Casa was launched in 2000, the designer homewares category was officially established.
“For many customers designer homeware is an affirmation of taste and quality,” says Laura Cheung, interior designer and founder of lifestyle boutique Lala Curio. “Fashion always creates the desire, the magic, the dream that is so heavily advertised across all spectrums, and which very few home furnishings and decor brands have managed to reach on a comparable scale.
“There is comfort in buying a name that you are familiar with and the desire to be associated to the brand that speaks to your dream.”
As with fashion, the offerings within the homewares category are diverse. Initially tableware proved immensely popular for brands such as Hermès and Versace – the latter collaborates with German manufacturer Rosenthal – and even younger brands such as Tory Burch.
Furniture was the logical next step. In 2012, Louis Vuitton launched Objets Nomades, inviting renowned interiors designers to create travel-inspired items. Over the years they have included sofas by the Campana brothers and a Ribbon Dance chair by Hong Kong architect Andre Fu.
In 2015, Loewe showcased its first ever interior “project” at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, the design world’s equivalent of fashion week.
Now in its fourth edition, the latest collection is inspired by designer Jonathan Anderson’s personal passion for arts and crafts, and includes blankets, tapestries and tote bags showcasing various craft techniques from around the world. Other designers, such as Marni and Dolce & Gabbana, now show their collections at the event.
The latest to jump on the bandwagon is Gucci Décor, which is designed by creative director Alessandro Michele.
Its most recent collection includes folding metal tables, armchairs, a vanity set and even wallpaper, all showcasing Michele’s fantastical prints and designs taken directly from the catwalk, including tigers, snakes, flora and other motifs.
Many of the pieces are handcrafted so they feel ultra-exclusive. And instead of selling them at dedicated outlets, they are integrated throughout the store, so you can bask in the complete Gucci lifestyle experience.
It’s not just the big names that are taking the spotlight. On matchesfashion.com, emerging talents have launched homeware. Menswear designer Luke Edward Hall has created a ceramic collection and travel fashion brand called Kilometre Paris.
Other highlights include Pendleton blankets by Calvin Klein 205W39NYC, maximalist cushions and objects by House of Hackney and an exclusive collection by Maison Margiela.
“I personally love Hermès, Missoni and Bottega Veneta because of their well-rounded offerings. Those that succeed have translated the brand spirit and language seamlessly into innovative and fashionable products whilst maintaining incredible quality,” says Cheung.
The relationship between fashion brands and homewares goes both ways. H&M just announced a capsule collection featuring archival prints by British wallpaper and textile house GP & J Baker.
Paul says: “Style isn’t just about what you wear, and it’s inevitable that if you are interested in fashion then you probably have a keen interest also in interiors – so we can see huge potential and longevity in this category.”