Of all the reasons why a fashion label might extend their brand into home decor, especially given the sector’s popularity in the last two years, lack of imagination is not one of them. It’s more likely you’ll find that many new collections are rooted in longstanding concepts and deeper sentiments that predate the pandemic by a long shot. However, it took closing shop for these brands to finally get the bandwidth and emotional space required to pivot and restructure.
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Bessie Afnaim Corral and Oliver Corral, the married duo behind soft-luxe label Arjé, agree their vision was never just about designing clothes, despite their nearly decade-long shared history of working as designers for Donna Karan’s Urban Zen collection. Launching Arjé in 2017, the Corrals sold the line without a permanent brick-and-mortar location. Instead, they lured customers to pop-ups they referred to as homes (Summer Home, Winter Home, and so on). Those ephemeral stands went all-in on sensory immersion, drawing people in with music, scent, and interiors that mirrored the season and mood of the clothing inside. Collections often began with a vision of “where the clothes would live,” rather than with the clothes themselves.
“We designed the display rack first, that was the start [of the label],” Bessie says. “It had room for 19 pieces, color coordinated, in height order, and we built the clothing around that.” The emotional attachment to a complete environment made for a fluid transition into Arjé Home, which launched this October. Much of its furniture, ceramics, glassware, and artworks are designed in-house or collaboratively, and they reflect the inviting earth-and-sky palette of an Arjé wardrobe. Designing an interior space for the very people that wear its clothes is foundational to Arjé’s immersive concept—and practically speaking, there are many parallels between the lines.