Milling around this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan it was clear to see that the fashion labels have firmly rooted themselves within the home-ware, furniture sector. Fendi, Armani, Louis Vuitton, Loewe, Versace & Hermes to name but a few were all present.
So what does this all mean?
Gone are the hedonistic days of the 80’s where designers slapped there logo on anything that they thought would generate brand awareness for them plus add a few bucks to their already budging accounts along the way. Today fashion houses think long term it’s about an investment into a unique world because, in launching a home-ware collection brands can spin an aesthetic universe around their fashion line capturing the imagination of their followers, after all could you image a slashed and safety pinned Elizabeth Hurley reclining on a DFS corduroy cushioned sofa? The answer is no, but you can envisage her stretched cat-like across a leather strapped Versace bench.
So perhaps this is the answer to the success of the fashion-cum-furniture fusions: It is not fuelled simply because someone buys a single piece, after all there will always be deep-pocketed takers for things that are ludicrously luxurious and sometime ostentatious, but because the home-ware pieces marry convincingly with the designer’s aesthetic, and therefore the followers will buy into this perception, after all surrendering your entire home to a clothes label may seem like the ultimate act of devotion – or the utmost of fashion victimhood, but these extreme examples of so-called “designer lifestyle” have become extremely popular.
It’s simple - fashion designer names resonate with a far wider audience than those of architects, product
designers or general home brands. Fashion is loud, it’s sexy, it’s glamorous and it has a huge celebrity following.
Design on the other hand is little more understated and lower key. It’s also a stamp not just of quality, but of taste & status, you know what you’re getting with a Versace or Armani chair as too does the person sitting in it because it’s motif is visible for all to see and that is why the fashion designer has
been able to capture the home-ware sector so efficiently.
Today we are all designer snobs we want our neighbours to know we can afford to surround ourselves in luxury (even if we cannot) and we are prepared to pay for the privilege, it is no longer a matter of just keeping up with the Jones, but of projecting a life of the A’lister.