Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fashion Sense: Design lessons from New York Fashion Week 2010

 "I'm going to Atlanta for that three hundred dollars and I've got to go looking like a queen!" 

Blame it on Scarlett O' Hara. Who could forget the Portieres Dress--that dress of moss green velvet fashioned out of the sun-faded drapes of Tara? It was a symbol of Scarlett's will to survive (and her astute fashion sense), proof that there's a fine line between fashion design and interior design that can in fact sometimes be crossed. There still are prints out there that should only belong on a chintz sofa, but now and then there appear some hybrids or crossovers, if you will, that are just genius.

In 2006, Brizo, Delta's high-end brand that makes faucets look like fine art, took this idea to another level. A collaboration with hot young designer Jason Wu (he designed Michelle Obama's inaugural gown) now brings us faucets and dresses that influence each other. During the recent New York Fashion Week Fall 2010 show, Wu presented creations inspired by Brizo faucets. They also came up with ads featuring Wu's frothy, diaphanous dresses also inspired by the faucets.

Other trends worth noting from the show are the fabrics that are touchable, the bold and artful colors and the emphasis on texture. For our purposes here, we can learn something from fashion in that if there is one thing you can change in a room for maximum impact, focus on color, texture and adding dimension.
One of the most inexpensive ways to instantly change the mood of a room is to paint. Sometimes one wall is all it takes. Take a wall that you would like to emphasize and paint it a bold, statement-making color.

No pastels here. Saturated colors predominate these collections by Cynthia Rowley (left) and Jason Wu (below). Used sparingly, they are bold enough to make a statement without overpowering a room. Photo credit:

Note the transformation in the room below. The gutsy purple on the accent wall complements the yellow base in the neutral color on the ceiling and on the opposite wall.          

Below, right: Paint by Sherwin-Williams: Majestic Purple (no. 6545) left wall, Latte (no. 6108) right wall, Yellow Beam (no. 7123) ceiling and Java (no. 6090) trim.
Texture is the way to go when you want to create interest without commiting to a pattern. Choosing a pattern is trickier, more personal and more involved. While the wrong pattern can be a disaster, some textures that read as pattern is a safer way to go. The genius of texture is that engages our eyes first, and then invites us to touch.

Proceed with caution: Clearly this is not one of the best in Oscar de la Renta's (yes, Fall 2010) collection, but think of that top reincarnated into a pillow, or a lamp that makes a dramatic modern statement Below, right: Woven Pendant Lamp, $199 West Elm.
Photo credit:

Lastly, do as fashion does and add some things that are unexpected. Three-dimensional wall art add  punctuation to an otherwise bare wall, or an otherwise bland arrangement of wall frames.

Below, left:  Spiral Wall Art, $49 West Elm.

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