At Gucci’s resort show in London last year, guests arrived at their seats to find a custom-made embroidered pillow awaiting them. While Instagram was abuzz with the latest designs from the runway show, photos of the cushions were ubiquitous, as were rumors that the brand may expand into home goods.
Just over a year later, the speculation proved true; on Tuesday, Gucci announced it will launch a line of decor this fall. The Gucci Decor collection will include an array of items, including throw pillows similar to those seen at the 2016 show, wooden chairs, scented candles and other knickknacks designed in creative director Alessandro Michele’s signature style. Many of the items share historical imagery used by the brand, including emblems of cats, tigers, bees and snakes, as well as traditional floral patterns.
In addition to Gucci, a slew of luxury brands have started wading into decor, and furnishings are increasingly creeping into runway show presentations. During New York Fashion Week in September, Badgley Mischka held a pre-show where runway models posed on a series of couches and chairs, part of the brand’s debut collection of furniture and decor, before holding its traditional runway show.
A major catalyst to the rise of designer-made home goods is the larger cultural obsession with lifestyle brands, largely propagated by social media, according to Leila Belmahi, consultant at Vivaldi.
“Social media has turned private spaces, like a consumer’s bedroom, into public extensions of their personal style,” Belmahi said. “Given that social media, in part, has driven demand for home decor, it’s imperative for [brands] to consider how consumers will want to use their products in the short and long term, and what story the brand is trying to tell in the context of people’s home. Because in the world of social media, walls do talk.”
Models pose atop Badgley Mischka furniture during NYFW in September 2016
While fashion brands have long forayed into home furnishings, Gucci’s line is emblematic of how these collections have transcended just “sticking your name on sheets,” said Jane Keltner de Valle, style director at Architectural Digest.
“This world is so saturated with [home goods], if you don’t have something unique to say and it doesn’t translate authentically from the fashion house, it won’t be successful,” she said. “The most important thing is that it comes from an authentic place. Gucci is a really strong example of that. Alessandro has created a really rich magpie world there that really lends itself to interiors and homes.”
Like their apparel lines, designers’ home decor often bears lofty price tags. For example, a Fendi chair will set you back more than $3,000, while Alexander Wang’s 2015 bean bag chair retailed for $8,800.
Gucci has yet to release the price range of its home collection, which will be available in September.
A look at the #GucciDécor Chiavari chair, a Ligurian design crafted from wood with a lacquered red finish. Created by #AlessandroMichele, the velvet upholstery is embroidered with a cat head, and clusters of flowers. The intricate motifs are embroidered and then hand-applied, a process that takes approximately 10 hours to complete. Gucci Décor will be launching in September on gucci.com and in select Gucci and specialty stores. Illustration by @alexmerryart.
In essence, moving into decor allows brands like Gucci to fully immerse consumers in their world, a tactic brands like Ralph Lauren have long employed, said Ryan Berger, senior partner at HYPR. “When you love a brand, it’s great to be able to dress both yourself and your home in it. It’s a also an opportunity for brands to become department stores of sorts.”
Keltner de Valle said the popularity of unique and custom home items has also nudged smaller designers, like Virgil Abloh of Off-White, to create collections of their own. Last November, Abloh debuted a decor collection at Art Basel in Miami. After his show, Sarah Andelman, co-owner of Colette, called and requested 20 of his cube seats. The buzz also led to Abloh’s forthcoming collaboration with IKEA on a millennial-focused furniture collection.