Luxury Society presents a round up of luxury fashion brands that have launched homewares collections, including Versace, Fendi & Ralph Lauren
‘Luxury lifestyle’ is becoming a much called-upon catch phrase to theorise extensions by luxury brands, outside their known expertise. It is not uncommon for luxury goods brands to branch out into sporting equipment (Chanel, Bugatti, Louis Vuitton), branded hotels (Bulgari, Versace), hotel suite design (Jaguar Cars, Bottega Veneta) and even branded Gold bullions (Jean-Paul Gaultier).
But one of the oldest extensions – and dare I say most logical – is the entry of luxury fashion brands into the design and manufacture of premium homewares. I say logical because fashion and home décor share two critical core competencies in textiles and design, and therefore in terms of category extension – for fashion brands – pose relatively low levels of risk.
“ Fashion and home décor share two critical core competencies in textiles and design ”
The extension has become chic once again, further propelled by the rise of the luxury branded hotel. In 2011 Hermès launched a full collection of homewares; including furniture, wall coverings, textiles and ceramics, drawing on the houses signature expertise in leather and textiles. Diane Von Furstenberg launched a collection of bedding and tableware, preceeded by the launch of the DVF suite at Claridge’s hotel in London.
Then of course there was the launch of the second Armani hotel in Milan, conceptualised and furnished by Armani Casa’s team of architects and interior designers. Fendi was enlisted by fellow LVMH brand Princess, to design and furnish the interiors of its superyachts. Finally, Missoni launched its signature hotel in Beirut, a functional dedication to the brands long-standing collection of fine home textiles.
Armani/Casa was founded in the year 2000 providing a platform for Giorgio Armani to set out his vision of the living space: intimate, special, comfortable and sophisticated. The collection includes furniture, accessories, fabrics, ornaments and lighting, as well as a modular bathroom arrangement and a complete kitchen system.
Armani/Casa has a network of single brand stores and shop-in-shops in all major cities throughout the world, covering 35 countries and growing continuously. Further expansion of this division is on course with the creation of the hotel chain, Armani Hotels & Resorts, now open in Dubai and Milan, in conjunction with Emaar Properties.
Created in response to clients’ demands for complete projects conceived according to the Armani style and philosophy, Armani/Casa also offers an interior design service where architects and interior designers based in Milan, Paris, London and New York City is dedicated to the design development of private residences, commercial real estate projects, private yachts, holiday villas and residential complexes.
“To me, the bedroom and the bath are our inner sanctums, the places where you get to truly be yourself. And just like your clothes, every piece should be multidimensional, expressive and a gift to give yourself,” believes Donna Karan. Donna herself is known for her love of interior design and architecture, frequently being featured in design magazines alongside her lavish properties in New York City, the Hamptons and the British West Indies amongst others.
In the spring of 2001, her eponymous brand launched Donna Karan Home and DKNY – two distinctive bedding and bath collections for the home. More recently, PureDKNY was launched: an eco-friendly home collection made from 100% organic cotton. The brand has also collaborated with Lenox – a U.S. market leader in quality table top, giftware and collectibles – to produce a collection of home décor and tableware’s.
In 2011 Diane Von Furstenberg launched her first venture into the home decor industry, debuting a home collection encompassing tablewares, bedding and rugs. The collection is a joint venture with Springs Global US, retailed currently through department store Bloomingdale’s.
Animal prints, batiks and floral graphics make up the printed linens. The collection draws from the bold colours and intrepid patterns long associated with Von Furstenberg’s famed wrap dresses. At the time of launch, the collection included over 150 table top pieces, featuring mugs, dinner plates, and place settings, serving dishes, bowls and placeholders.
“There’s an incredible energy in what Diane does. The industry needs brands like this to bring excitement back into it, to re-engage the consumer and touch their emotions,” states Joe Granger, president of Springs Global.
A bath line is expected to debut in the near future, followed by a collection of furniture.
Fendi was one of the first Italian luxury fashion brands to enter the homewares space, launching the Fendi Casa Home Collection back in 1989. The collection was launched in collaboration with Club House Italia, an Italian firm established in the 1970’s, specialising in the production of upholstered furniture and related raw materials.
Fendi Casa is now widespread and appreciated in 60 countries worldwide, from western Europe to the countries of the former Soviet Union, from Canada to the United States, all the way to South-America, India, China, Singapore, Russia, the Middle East, and some African countries.
The concept behind Fendi Casa is to “dress up” rooms in a similar way that of the houses signature fur and leather coats “dress up” its fashion clients. Resultantly, Fendi Casa products often feature fox, mink, sheepskin and zibeline, alongside its famed "double-F” logo. Most recently the brand has been involved in the design of superyacht interiors for fellow LVMH brand Princess Yachts.
Hermès launched its La Maison collection at Milan’s Salone del Mobile in 2011. Creative director Pierre-Alexis Dumas called on architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines – designers of the Centre Pompidou in Metz – to design the Hermès Pavilion.
The Milan exhibition space was made from cardboard tubes woven with paper, aimed at creating a set of a nomadic modular structures. Yatzer described the elaborate pavilion as “designed to make the viewers see themselves with the Hermès lifestyle.”
On display was Hermès’ first complete homewares collection, designed by Enzo Mari, Antonio Citterio and RDAI Studio, which included textiles, wallpapers, ceramics and furniture. Enzo Mari designed a desk, a chair and a small storage coffer, combining high quality materials such as Canaletto walnut and Hermès’ signature leather.
The Missoni Home collection debuted in 1983, reflecting an interest in a new style of functional home-living, developed with the highest quality material. Leading Italian home-textiles producer T&J; Vestor, established in Varese in 1921, was enlisted by Missoni to produce the high-end furnishing and accessories collection.
The Missoni Home brand now has showrooms in Milan, Brazil and Sydney, alongside six stand-alone boutiques in Saudi Arabia, Los Angeles and New York. Missoni Home is also sold in select Missoni boutiques, department stores and independent multi-brand homewares retailers around the globe.
Missoni has also leveraged its Home brand to enter the luxury branded hotel game. In partnership with Rezidor Hotel Group, Missoni has opened hotels in Edinburgh and Kuwait, with properties announced for Oman, Turkey, Brazil and most recently, Mauritius – all welcoming guests by 2014.
Ralph Lauren is widely credited with introducing the ‘lifestyle’ approach to luxury fashion retail and advertising. Therefore it is of little surprise that his eponymous brand was the first American brand to enter the realm of homewares. The iconic Rhinelander mansion, on New York’s Madison Avenue, was somewhat ahead of its time in 1983, when Lauren himself commissioned its restoration, to house collections amongst ornate furniture, opulent textiles and neoclassical detailing.
Today, Ralph Lauren Home manufactures and retails furniture, lighting, fabric, wall covering, floor covering, bedding, tableware and even paints. And as in the case with Donna Karan, the man himself is well renowned for his interest in architecture, interiors and home décor, with celebrated properties in New York City, Jamaica, Colorado and Bedford.
Ralph Lauren has also become known for its digital prowess, and it certainly offers the most engaging experience when it comes to showcasing its home collection. Online visitors are able to browse current and historical collections, view individual products, learn about the craftsmanship behind each category, create a personal online portfolio and even watch video design tutorials about using colour and lighting to best effect in ones home.
Vera Wang opened doors on her first ‘lifestyle’ retail destination back in 2006, for the first time combining her ready-to-wear, accessories, fine jewellery and fragrances, with tableware and textiles. Today the brand focuses on bedding, fine papers and table top categories within its homeware products.
The strong association with weddings carries over from the fashion business, into the brands lifestyle extensions, generally through licensing. Vera Wang has partnered with England’s Wedgewood to produce a collection of sophisticated dinnerware, barware, votives, frames and vases, in both porcelain and Wedgewood’s signature crystal.
The brand has also partnered with fine stationary producer William Arthur, to produce a range of invitations, save the date cards, place cards and notepapers. There is also the Vera Wang Flowers extension – a partnership with America-wide florist FTD – and premium bedding produced under license by Sferra Bros, in sophisticated shades of white and cream.
Versace launched its home collection in 1992, initially as a collection of textiles for the home, in the form of sheets, duvets, pillows and cushions. A range of porcelain dinner services and sets soon followed, echoing the neo-classical sentiments of its fashion textiles, produced in collaboration with Germany’s Rosenthal porcelain specialist.
Versace’s Home collection led to the brands partnership with the Sunland Group, which saw the launch of first resort bearing the signature of a luxury brand in September 2000. “Palazzo Versace” opened on Australia’s Gold Coast, followed by a property in Dubai close to a decade later.
Versace has also collaborated with the TAG Group to create interiors for private gets, as well as Agusta Westland, in the planning and creation of exclusive and prestigious interiors for private helicopters. In 2006, the group also presented a limited edition of the Lamborghini Murciélago LP640, with its interior totally conceived and produced by Versace Design.
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