All that glitters has its shining moment
If it feels like an age since you packed away your Christmas decorations, rejoice: you can embrace all things that shimmer again. Metallics can add sparkle to your home far beyond the festive season. “Architecture, interior decoration and fashion are all being heavily influenced by the Sixties and Seventies at the moment,” says Alberto Pezzato, design director at the Rubelli Design Studio. “Metallics were used a lot at that time, and are now having a revival.”
As part of the 2018 Rubelli Venezia collection, the luxury Italian textile house has launched Aurum, a fabric created from weaves of pure gold on silk and inspired by the tradition of the Venetian “tiraoro”, artisans who made gold yarn for the manufacture of textiles, clothing and jewellery.
A number of new fabric collections include gold and silver elements, and not in the weighty, lavish way you might assume. Lelièvre’s Riviera collection, inspired by summer days in the south of France, includes Maquis, a vibrant botanical print enriched with gold embroidery; Olea, a soft cotton satin with olive leaf details and gold, silver or copper metal appliqués; and Madrague, a linen mesh interwoven with golden thread and inspired by traditional fishing nets – undoubtedly the chicest net curtains you will ever see.
These luxurious materials are now possible due to new techniques in textile production. This has allowed for metals such as pure gold yarn to be woven into more traditional fabrics, as well as the application of special finishes through modern printing methods. Last year, Italian textile maker Dedar released Cosmic Confetti, a linen dotted with silver and gold splodges, cleverly applied through 3D printing techniques.
Pezzato says that these innovations have also resulted in a subtler, less gaudy approach to using golds and silvers. “We have developed a special recipe: by mixing metallics with matt yarns we can modulate the shine and recreate an oxidised look that is much softer on the eye,” he says.
Leathers have also been given a lustrous new look. Perhaps the boldest of these comes from Studioart, which has created metallic versions of its signature Leatherwall wall panels. These now come in a striking silver or gold (Vector designed by Elaine Yan Ling Ng) and a rich bronze (designed by Massimo Brancati). They are definitely a statement choice, but one that must still be approached with caution, according to interior designer Natalia Miyar.
“Metallic leather is beautiful but can be a step too far,” she says. “Subtlety is key. Small accents can go a long way, whether it’s a detail in the fabric, on furniture or an objet d’art. Matt or brushed metals are preferable too – high gloss can be a bit twee.”
Interior designer Katharine Pooley agrees. “The simplest way to introduce metallics to a scheme is through accessories and finishing touches, such as vases and piping to cushions,” she says. If starting entirely from scratch, however, Pooley does like to incorporate metallic elements into bespoke furniture. “In recent schemes, we have added subtle finishes such as gold gilding within the shadow gaps of wardrobes and book cases.”
We shouldn’t be fearful of mixing metallics either, adds Miyar. “Copper and bronze can look beautiful together, and really lift a scheme.” The general consensus is that these two shades work well with darker, stronger hues, while silver and gold go better with soft tones such as pale blue and cream. Pezzato favours gold and bronze with deep reds, reminiscent of the Italian renaissance, but such a sumptuous look may not be for everyone.
If upholstery, curtains and wall leathers feel like too much of a commitment, there are plenty of metallic pieces on the high street to add a touch of the trend to your home, such as geometric silver cushions from Zara Home and Anthropologie’s copper and bronze wall hangings.
“The key is to use metallics as highlights to a scheme,” says Pooley. “These colours add a touch of luxury, but should do so in a way that whispers, not shouts.” So keep the tinsel in storage. For the rest of the year, gold, silver and bronze should be subtle and sophisticated, but by no means out of sight.
Vector wall tiles, main, by Elaine Yan Ling Ng for Studioart, from €1,000 (£883); Natalia Miyar used a Kitoko mirror by Marc De Berny, left