TROUVA: How Does the World of Fashion Influence the World of Interiors

Plato himself pondered this very question, but gave up and went on to write The Republic instead. I gave it my best shot for Trouva.

There’s a certain logic that dictates that an inevitable crossover between the clothes we live in, and the space we inhabit. When it comes to fashion we each have a personal style that we like to present to the world, rooted to a few guiding principles – grey suits us, we like the texture of cashmere, we find gentle pattern appealing – but our style is ever-evolving. The same is true of the environments we create for ourselves: they are governed by an aesthetic that is essentially immutable, but every now and then we introduce new and exciting elements to prevent stagnation and keep things fresh. Take millennial pink, 2016’s ubiquitous it-colour, that transcended beautifully from catwalk to kitchen.

L: Emilia Wickstead ready-to-wear AW17 | R: A millennial pink interior

The extent to which one world influences the other is difficult to determine, but it would be hard to argue that fashion’s reach isn’t greater. It may be a hopelessly simplistic and deeply unscientific metric, but in today’s world hash tags count for rather a lot; to that end there are just under 400 million posts that use the tag #fashion, whilst #interiors garners a comparatively feeble 8 million. In this race fashion is the hare and interiors the tortoise. The sheer speed at which fashion shows are disseminated is astonishing, and the volume of them is overwhelming, with only August, November and December fashion free. By a process of Insta-osmosis, fashion trends inevitably transmute to become interior trends.

But that’s ok, interior design schemes require staying power given it is easier and generally speaking more affordable to update our wardrobes than our kitchens. Even those blessed with the healthiest of bank balances are disinclined to redecorate more than is strictly necessary. Fashion is fast, irreverent, and faddish. Some trends last, but there are many that don’t. Will we still be wearing Christopher Kane’s jewel encrusted Crocs in ten years’ time? Probably not. Will we still be using our marble bathrooms? We’ll have to, they’re harder (but not impossible) to flog on eBay.

L: Christopher Kane SS17 | R: A marble bathroom

For fashion designers who have developed homeware collections, creating a symbiosis between their fashion and interiors output makes good business sense. Editorial and advertorial shoots seek to emulate the mood as a whole, not just the clothes or the furniture, so the notion of a 360-degree aspirational lifestyle that can be bought into is an attractive one for consumers too. Even the most banal of culinary equipment, the coffee machine, gets the designer touch for Dolce & Gabbana’s recent collaboration with Smeg, inspired by their Sicilian roots. Designers also take inspiration from the past by taking a peak into their brand heritage collections, take Johnny Coca of Mulberry with his AW17 collection inspired by wallpaper florals from the brand’s homeware archive.

L: Dolce e Gabbana & Smeg coffee machine, POA | R: Mulberry ready-to-wear AW17

Occasionally, however, the seed of a trend is planted by tastemakers in the interior design world. A collaboration between Eporta, one of the largest global interior trade networks and WGSN, the world-leading trend service, revealed that the key theme of interior buying trends in 2016 was ‘biomimicry’, that is, ‘the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modelled on biological entities and processes’. There then followed an announcement last December by the colour matching and consultancy giant Pantone that its colour of the year for 2017 was ‘Greenery’. It wasn’t until May of this year that British Vogue cottoned on and pronounced the colour we’ll all be wearing in Spring 2018 is green.

L: Joseph, Resort 2018 | R: House plants

The craze for green stems–if you’ll pardon the pun–from a wider preoccupation with authentic materials and a desire to absorb eco-friendly practices into every aspect of our lives. This can largely be attributed to the cultural and political climate whereby natural objects provide an antidote to our over-connected, technology-driven existence. If further evidence were needed that green is all systems go, one need only look to Instagram to see that the mania for plant porn is growing apace with accounts such as The JungalowUrban Jungle Blog, and Plants On Pink.

L: Style maven Veronika Heilbrunner | R: Tine K Home extra large Moroccan basket

The fashion world’s most beloved natural material of late, straw, shows no signs of dwindling in popularity as evidenced in recent trend reports from Harper’s Bazaar, Refinery29and British Vogue. Straw bags have been hard to miss, hanging off the arms of influencers such as Veronika Heilbrunner, Lucy Williams and Alexa Chung. Other woven natural fibres like jute, raffia, and seagrass have also been prevalent in the form of espadrilles, hats and baskets. Interiors have not been immune to this influx of Old MacDonald’s humble by-product, and this has been reflected in a surge in popularity for decorative items such as plant baskets, storage boxes and lampshades. In fact, the line between handbag and plant basket has run so thin as to become undetectable.

From left: Sacred Spring, Sweet Dreams (Nave nave moe) 1894 by Paul Gauguin | Caroline Farneman in Husk #11 AW 2013 by Thomas Lohr |A New Orleans interior

The influence exerted by fashion and interiors upon one another is symbiotic in nature; a co-dependent relationship that can be traced all the way back through the history of art and architecture. Despite his questionable moral rectitude, Gauguin’s mind-bendingly sublime use of colour and print evoke a sense of exoticism and mystique that fashion and interiors constantly strive to imitate, whilst Rothko’s influential fusions of complementary colours continue to provide inspiration to designers of both disciplines.

From left: Untitled (Red, Blue, Orange), 1955, Mark Rothko | Victoria Beckham in Paris, January 2017 | An orange and blue interior

Behind all this, a blend of mathematics, synaesthesia, colour psychology and sensory perception come together to ensure that some trends will always be in vogue: monochrome gives a sense of order and geometry, orange makes us feel warm, blue stops it feeling too hot, prints engage us, wool projects softness, and raw materials connect us to living things. Ultimately, that which continues to dictate and surpass all fashion and interior trends is the beauty of the natural world that we live in.

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