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Couture Interiors: Living With Fashion

Published under the title Couture Interiors, it wouldn’t be far from the truth if it were christened the other way round. Author Marnie Fogg opens more than just windows into the esoteric inner workings in the unimaginably stratospheric universe of crucial co-conspirators— product designers, textile designers, print designers, forecasters, colorists, stylists, decorators—who make things tick between fashion and interiors.

Title: : Couture Interiors: Living With Fashion
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Author: Marnie Fogg

Blame it on globalization.

The gap between interiors and fashion has become displaced: idea propagation widens, production speed accelerates, and the consumer grows more visually literate and stylishly savvy.

“Although the color palette for interiors change less quickly than that of fashion, the desire for change is accelerating,” observed international colorist Heti Gervis.

Touted as “the only book on the crossover between fashion and interiors” by publisher Chronicle Books, Couture Interiors seems to be built on the heels of the recent wallpaper revival, though the impetus for fashion designers to move into interiors and homeware is not entirely new. Elsa Schiaparelli had already sold ready-made fashion accessories back in 1935, and Pucci made its foray into the homeware market in 1972.

On the other hand, it is relatively recent that the concept of the couture hotel bridged fashion architecture.

But even that is another milestone in a perennial relationship that links the catwalk. Architecture is actually the site where a number of fashion designers began their training, notable ones being Italians Gianfranco Ferre and Romeo Gigli.

Austrian architect and critic Adolf Loos pulled down the fences in his 1899 essay, “The Principle of Clothing”, which describes the importance of dress as a shelter.

Fashion expert and media consultant Fogg has also pins down its psychological significance: “The way we distribute the clothes around our bodies and the artifacts around our home is intrinsic to our sense of who we are.”

There is no sibling rivalry. Interior design is no shrinking violet that is lost in the long shadow its flamboyant sister casts; Couture Interiors isn’t about fashion making space to accommodate interior design, as the title might ostensibly imply. The home has opened its doors to fashion. Stafford Cliff observed: “Most of us live in homes that evolve and grow as we do, and changing as our life changes rather than as fashions do. But we should not underestimate the effect that fashion and trends and technology have on our lives.”

Fogg addresses the reactions towards both design disciplines. Her chronicles maintain a comprehensive, updated balance while deftly swinging back and forth, establishing an unbreakable, effervescent relationship that lavishes the curious eye and the inquisitive mind this lush compendium of 224 multi-sensory pages generously with 300 color images.

She discusses the latest progressions in haute couture such as Mantero design studio’s new felt product “Resilk”, created for haute couture with environmental integrity. On the other hand, surface design broke new ground by integrating textile technologies into the production of building projects with Girli Concrete™, conceptualized to “challenge the perception of textiles as only the ‘dressing’ to structure and instead integrates textile technologies into the actual building products.”

Fashion labels are approaching industrial designers and architects such as Thomas Heatherwick and Andree Putman to contribute their spatial training and engineering skills to the design of accessories, while furniture construction is being shaped by dressmaking techniques, such as Patricia Urquiola’s smocked chair for Morosa SpA, as well as Marcel Wanders’ knotted rope chair for Cappellini.

In another one of the many paradoxes illustrated in the book, such employment of traditional textile techniques, resonant of Japanese designers’ work, has made Japanese technology the most advanced in the world.

Fogg’s introduction begins with a remark from Christian Dior, “Haute couture is one of the last repositories of the marvelous.”

Certainly, there is no better way to send an invitation to live with fashion than to start from the ground rule. Her first chapter houses the seeds of idea, Inspiration. As she traces the evolutions within the amalgamation, the spaces where the seductive vision of superstar designers like the late Gianni Versace, Christian Lacroix and Eley Kishimoto reside takes living in fashion up a whole new level.

In an ironical twist, the cover of Couture Interiors concludes the book, one that is holistically reflective of the brand identity rooted in the total look of the couturier’s vision, the spectacular symbol of Missoni’s success story—from personal to public space with the expansion of the label into a chain of hotels—is the perfect archetype for Fogg’s story.

In a world where “one day you’re in, the next day you’re out”, what lives on in this confluent ephemeron is probably the dexterity of designers and other unsung heroes as they seek to extend their flourishing influence beyond the static confines of Couture Interiors.

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