The dining room at Turville Grange is lined with Sicilian scarves. A country manor in south east England, it was the home of the late Princess Lee Radziwill, an interior decorator and Jacqueline Kennedy’s younger sister. The gossamer silk, covered in hand-painted pastel flowers, is delicate enough to wrap around the most regal of necks, yet it’s affixed to the walls like the world’s dreamiest wallpaper.
“Lee was pretty special,” says Colette van den Thillart, a Toronto-based interior designer and an acquaintance of Radziwill before she died in 2019. “She had amazing taste. I see [Turville Grange] posted on Instagram almost weekly.” Radziwill bought the property in 1966 and renovated it with the help of Italian architect Lorenzo Mongiardino. Over 50 years later, images of her home, often snapped by legendary photographer Horst P. Horst, still resonate because of their arresting sense of escape.
These days, when people have so few opportunities to dress up and go out, let alone experience new interiors beyond their own quarantine quarters, few things seem more whimsical, more diversionary than a space that is equal parts fashion statement and decor innovation. It’s never been more timely to outfit a room in a way that replicates the joy of being swathed in fine clothing and accessories.
High fashion and sumptuous interiors have a long, intertwined history. For 130 years, Maison Lesage, a Parisian embroidery atelier, has beaded couture garments for Chanel, Dior and other top design houses, while also embellishing luxurious drapery and upholstery for Europe’s most aristocratic salons and parlours. Likewise, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Gucci all focus on fashion but dabble in furniture and decor. “During Art Nouveau, architect interior designer Henry van de Velde created dresses so his clients could match their rooms,” says Dr. Cameron Macdonell, assistant professor at Ryerson University’s School of Interior Design. “There are similar examples of interiors and fashion influencing one another in the Arts & Crafts movement and art deco.”
Infusing fashion into your homes like Radziwill did isn’t always as effortless as it should look. “I think it’s complicated, but I wouldn’t rule it out," says van den Thillart. “Perhaps not your beige sweater. And antique kimonos have been framed and hung to the point of cliché. But many fashion items are, to me, nothing short of wearable art.” She points to designers such as Philip Colbert and Schiaparelli, whose pieces – Andy Warhol-inspired dresses, hats shaped like shoes – can be showcased in a living area like any canvas or sculpture.
Before investing thousands into a vintage surrealist accessory, the most logical, risk-free place to start experimenting with fashion-cum-decor might be a dressing room or walk-in wardrobe. “At home this summer, so hungry was I for travel and joy that I hung my entire closet with summer kaftans, dresses and kimonos,” says van den Thillart. “It created the feeling of a tented room, which was ever so cheering given all that we are facing right now.”
Fanning out into the rest of the home, there are no real limits beyond our own imaginations and how well the piece fits into its surroundings. “Even a toothbrush can look good sitting out on a counter, if it’s a nice, well-designed toothbrush,” says Clea Shearer, co-host of the Netflix show Get Organized with the Home Edit. “When you’re shopping, why not be selective and go for objects that you actually like to look at? When you have a product with a beautiful form, no matter its function, there’s no reason you can’t display it in your home.”
Benedetta Bruzziches clutch, available at WDLT117.
Rosantica globe bag, available at The Room at Hudson’s Bay.
Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection bangles, available through caroletanenbaum.com. Scarf, available at Hermès.
Jewels by Alan Anderson insect brooches, available through jewelsbyalananderson.com.
From left to right: Kara mini bag, available at The Room at Hudson’s Bay. Strathberry mini bag, Burberry mini bag, both available at Nordstrom. Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection purse, available through caroletanenbaum.com.
Clockwise from top left: Indress feather brooch, available at Gaspard. Oscar de la Renta bangle and necklace, both available at Nordstrom. Ora-C rings and comb, all available through ora-c.com. Aesa candleholder (top right), available at Ewanika.
Bag, available at Fendi.
Spoon, ring (around chopsticks), scarf and bangle, all available at Hermès. Sterling silver “tin” can and necklace, both available at Tiffany & Co. Faris Earrings (top left), available at Fawn Boutique.
Michelle Ross necklace (on picture frame), available through mnross.com. Mirit Weinstock earrings (on console, left), available at Ewanika. Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection bag (on console, centre), available through caroletanenbaum.com. Quarry cuff (on console, right) available at Fawn. Baba Tree fan (on console shelf), available through goodeeworld.com. Blanket, available at Hermès.
Ora-C earrings, available through ora-c.com.
Photography by Riley Stewart; fashion styling by Georgia Groom; prop styling by James Reiger. Photographed at The Wartime Bunker in Toronto (@thewartimebunker on Instagram).