This week I’ll explore the 'catwalk home’ - where high fashion and interior design meet.
Your wardrobe is stuffed to the gills with high fashion picks. Your beloved designer handbags and shoes take pride of place, carefully stored in their high end boxes and dustbags. Catwalk couture is never far from your mind and fashion week all consuming. Sound familiar? We all know the traits of a true fashionista but regardless of budget, stylish women don't compromise when it comes to looking great. So, why stop at your Jimmy Choo collection? There are lots of easy ways to incorporate a love of the catwalk throughout your living space, to make your home look as fabulous as your designer wardrobe.
Let's start with the basics- coffee table books. We've all seen glossy images of perfect homes, surfaces adorned with high fashion hardbacks. There's a good reason why this decor idea is an interior design mainstay. Firstly, affordability. Books are available at a range of price points and while it's true that some can be very expensive, with huge marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, the chances of getting your hands on a glossy fashion bible well below retail are pretty high. Secondly, books have a very obvious dual purpose- they look great and you can read them over an over till your heart’s content. Thirdly, many of the classic fashion biographies and lookbooks are coveted and in good clean condition, retain much of their value on the second hand re-sale market. Not that you will want to let go!
Here's a quick rundown of my top 5 must have fashion based coffee table books:
Tom Ford: Ten Years- Hello gorgeous. With it's sleek monochrome look (what else for Mr. Ford) this book is bold, instantly recognisable and works with any colour scheme. This sensational book is an absolute essential for any fan of Tom Ford’s work - if you can only justify one hardback make it this one. Quite simply, a classic.
Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty (Metropolitan Museum of Art)- This is a glorious book with a holographic cover graduating from Lee McQueen's face to a haunting skeleton design. Made all the more poignant since McQueen's death, this is a truly collectable work with stunning pictures of the fashion house’s avant garde designs.
Chanel: Collections and Creations- (as pictured on coffee table image above). Here Chanel opens it's private archives, documenting the journey of the iconic Chanel brand from 1920's onwards, with an interesting chapter focussing on the symbolism of the classic Camelia flower and it's use in Chanel designs. Brilliantly affordable, it's currently less than £17 on Amazon.
Fashion: 150 Years of Couturiers, Designers, Labels- A fashion bible for the serious fashionista. A departure from the average tons-of-pictures-but-no-real-content coffee table book, this encyclopaedic hardback contains a wealth of interesting, informative and well considered text in addition to hundreds of beautiful images. The author, Charlotte Seeling previously worked as a freelance journalist before becoming editor in chief of top fashion mags such as ‘Cosmopolitan', ‘Vogue', and 'Marie Claire’. This book is expensive but the woman knows her stuff- a great investment for those with an interest in fashion.
The Sartorialist: Closer- Scott Schuman's blog 'The Sartorialist' is pretty much the daddy of fashion photography blogs. Following the success of his first book by the same name, recently published 'Closer' explores human style with epic real life fashion photographs from around the world. Sometimes we just want to look at fabulous outfits and quirky style- this book delivers. For a coffee table read or bedside reference, this is the cool girl choice.
A Touch of Luxe
Of course bringing some fashion house flair into the home doesn't just extend to books. If money is no object fashion powerhouses such as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Hermès produce luxury homewares, extending their style from catwalk to cushions. However, there are lots of ways to introduce high end branding into your interior on a budget without the result looking cheap or tacky. When creating vignettes or displays, I think it's nice to add some spare luxury packaging into the mix. Used sparingly and discreetly, left over boxes look chic, adding colour into the scheme.
The obvious choice is Hermès- this distinctive pop of orange is instantly recognisable and a great colour for interiors. It’s probably the most widely used designer brand for interior styling but with good reason. If you aren't afraid to go all out, then two or three boxes stacked or lined up together make a bold statement. However, I personally love this mantlepiece display with a tiny Hermes orange box crowning the top. It's cheeky, fun and doesn't force the 'designer' aspect.
How about using a vintage Louis Vuitton Trunk as a coffee table as seen in the 'Better Decorating Bible'? There is also an Hermès lamp in this room which picks out the other orange toned textiles and doubles up on designer brand impact but whilst the interior is bold, eclectic and probably not to everyones taste, these designer additions don't detract from the overall look or overwhelm the space- the key to any successful scheme. For a more toned down look, trunks can be purchased without the obvious logo branding and used as a coffee or side table.
My style crush at the moment is this gorgeous Hermès tray identical to that seen in style icon Oliva Palermo's New York apartment. I understand these trays were authentic items produced by Hermès but to lay your hands on the real deal will cost a thousands- if you can find one. Even replicas can fetch hundreds (but please don’t buy fakes)! Why not take matters into your own hands to copy the look on a budget using this tutorial as a starting point. Unlike replica items, which infringe label copyright, DIY projects are fine as the items are for personal use rather than for re-sale.
Similarly, this simply amazing 'Chanel' oil drum bedside table located in São Paulo, Brazil was in fact a DIY effort using stick on stencils! You can find out more about the method used here. Many companies in the UK make decal stickers to order by copying any image you provide- ideal for trying out the oil drum and tray ideas mentioned.
Thinking about different ways to use beautiful designer packaging, I love this idea to frame designer shopping bags in IKEA frames, creating a smart wardrobe feature. It’s so affordable and a great way to recycle treasured designer wrapping, evoking lasting memories of exciting purchases. In this case, confining the look to the dressing area makes sense- it defines the space and adds a fun twist to the otherwise monochromatic palette. Elsewhere in the home, all these designer logos grouped together may be a little much but in the case of a dressing room, it's really effective.
Finally, consider framing vintage designer campaign posters or buying a reproduction print like this Andy Warhol Chanel image (available in a range of colourways). This bold quirky artwork is a statement piece and provides a focal point and indeed talking point for when guests come over. Just be sure to remind them, once your conversation turns to pop art over cocktails that, much like art, fashion is a serious business!
Images courtesy of AM Dolce Vita, French By Design, Better Decorating Bible, Habitually Chic, A Touch Of Luxe, Moth Design