There’s a certain logic behind the idea of there being a crossover between the clothes we live in, and the space we inhabit. When it comes to fashion we each have a personal aesthetic that we like to present to the world, rooted to a few guiding principles – grey suits most, we like the texture of cashmere, we find gentle pattern appealing – but our style is gently ever-evolving. The same is true of the environments we create for ourselves at home: 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 smoothly from catwalk to kitchen.
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 metric, but in today’s world hash tags count for a lot; to that end there are 388,946,143 posts that use the tag #fashion, whilst #interiors garners 7,822,604 comparatively. In this race fashion is the hare and interiors are 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 being fashion show 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 decorated bathrooms? We’ll have to, they’re harder (but not impossible) to flog on eBay.
For fashion designers who have developed homeware collections, creating a symbiosis between their fashion and interiors output makes good business sense. When we look at editorial and advertorial shoots, we 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 kitchen appliances, like the coffee machine, get the designer touch with 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.
Occasionally, however, the seed of a trend is planted by tastemakers in the interior design world. A collaboration between our friends at Eporta and WGSN, the world-leading trend service, revealed that the key theme of interior buying trends in 2016 was ‘biomimicry’, the definition of which 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.
The craze for green stems (pardon the pun) from a wider preoccupation with authentic materials and a desire to absorb eco-friendly practices into every aspect of our life. 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 Jungalow, Urban Jungle Blog, Haarkon and Plants On Pink.
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, Refinery29, and British Vogue. Straw bags have been hard to miss, hanging off the arms of influencers such as Veronika Heilbrunner (see below), 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 hand bag and plant basket has run so thin it’s become undetectable.
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 in both disciplines.
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, 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.