Before my career took a turn towards interiors and design, I was a fashion editor on a glossy men’s magazine. Each season I would head to Paris and Milan to discern the latest tailoring and sports luxe style trends. It was a biannual whirlwind, a merrygo-round of shows, designers and cities. I thought I had left the madness behind me when I moved into the seemingly calmer world of design. How wrong I was. I still pack up my bags and leave Dubai for design weeks in London, Milan and Paris several times a year, and I still know what’s trending — only now it’s sofa silhouettes, wall finishes and the latest smart home technology.
Fashion brands have long used awe-inspiring interiors to dazzle their customers, from the grand couturier salons of 1920s Paris to the evocative lifestyle photography of Nineties print adverts from the likes of Ralph Lauren. High fashion houses like Armani, Versace, Fendi and Missoni have maximised on their sartorial style credentials to create fully-fledged homeware ranges, and as high street fast fashion brands like Zara and H&M get in on the act, the prospects for other established designers to add interior items to their offering has become more attractive and more achievable.
Much like fashion, the design world has been disrupted by online retailers, and is similarly skewed through an Instagram lens. Our homes are now a backdrop to numerous portraits of our lives, and there has been a corresponding movement by fashion brands to take advantage of this. If the average person doesn’t spend as much on conspicuous fashion anymore, then luxury brands are proliferating their alternative offerings — most notably homewares.
In this, our fashion issue, we revel in the new world of fashion-led interior design and products. Gucci has created modern masterpieces under the stewardship of Alessandro Michele, whose home decor range is every bit as sumptuously decorative as the clothes he sends down the runway. Read Stephen Doig’s report on the Guccification of the world in our new Style section, which also features a portfolio of this season’s most directional womenswear looks, shot against the backdrop of Dubai’s most fashionable new interior.
In contrast, our Portfolio pages are brimming with examples of enduring style, from the Château de La Colle Noire, Christian Dior’s beloved home in Southern France, to Angela Missoni’s quirkily colourful home, which acts as a gathering place for four generations of the fashion dynasty. Then there is the timeless rusticity of Helena Christensen’s weekend retreat in the Catskill Mountains, where our cover star escapes to unwind. Christensen has sustained a career as a model and an accomplished photographer for over three decades, which undoubtedly has as much to do with her outlook on life as her talent and ethereal beauty. She graciously welcomed the AD Middle East team into her home and proffered some inspiring advice on how to achieve a work-life balance in our unceasingly digital age. Read my candid interview with her on p. 103. The abridged version? Fashions fade, style is eternal.
ON THE COVER SUPERMODEL HELENA CHRISTENSEN IN HER UPSTATE NEW YORK ABODE. PHOTOGRAPH BY MARK C. O’FLAHERTY
1. Helena Christensen's idyllic home in the Catskill Mountains (p.103) 2. The supermodel in a 1990 Chanel campaign photographed by Karl Lagerfeld (p.52) 3. Interviewing Christensen 4. Halima Aden modelling modest fashions for a landmark exhibition (p.48) 5. Boucheron Lierre de Paris necklace (p.61)
5. Christian Dior's former home the Château de La Colle Noire (p.112) 6. VP Globe by Verner Panton (p.40) 7. Holika ring by Cartier (p.60) 8. Peacock lounge chair by Verner Panton