By Angela Casco
If there’s anything designer fashion brands create, it’s clothes and accessories, not furniture and home accessories. It’s 2020, though, and there’s no stopping possibilities anymore. Even creatives dedicated to dressing people fashionably can now implement their design vision outside the runway and inside homes.
Fashion and furniture, after all, are not as different as they seem.
“It’s a lot like how they create clothes,” Ferdie Ong, founder of one of the country’s home furnishing thought leaders, Living Innovations, tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “It’s this whole philosophy of creating not because of the need to earn money but because of the need to continue a vision, and they can do that through furniture.”
The intention is the same for Armani Casa, Fendi Casa, and Bottega Veneta Home, all of which are now available in the Philippines at Sovrano, Ong’s new addition to Living Innovations and the latest of the many luxurious options he has brought to the country including indoor and outdoor furniture brands Minotti and Dedon, kitchen systems and appliances from Gaggenau and Bulthaup, to name a few.
All three celebrated iconic Italian fashion houses, even in furniture and home accessories, possess distinct looks that fit certain individuals Ong had in mind while curating for Sovrano—Armani’s clean, straight lines, and texture are for couples, Fendi’s often bold and colorful yet elegant quality is for the fashionista, and Bottega Veneta, which creates subtle luxury with its leather craftsmanship, is for the businessman.
It’s a lot like how they create clothes. It’s this whole philosophy of creating not because of the need to earn money but because of the need to continue a vision, and they can do that through furniture.
Venturing into home furnishing may not be a new concept among fashion brands (the likes of Versace, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Hermes have all released their take on items for the home), but access to such options has not always been easy as these brands often design, manufacture, and ship from Europe and do not have physical stores in the country.
It’s a demand Sovrano—the Italian word for sovereign—hopes to address. The store is the first to bring fashion furniture in the country.
“Filipinos have a sense of individuality on how luxury is perceived in their eyes and these brands are another choice for them,” he says. “We wanted to show that we are different from everyone else and that we are a brand that wants to bring something new.”
This touch of fashion in furniture separates fashion furniture into a class of its own, too. Ong says that while a normal furniture company would create one piece once a year, fashion furniture brands would create two or more.
“Their advantage is in their wide library of fabrics and patterns,” he says. “What they see as the next big thing in, say, color, they can already implement in their furniture line.”
This “wide library’ also includes finishing options and the capability to translate the look and feel of clothes into furniture.
“They just have a wide variety to choose from. Fendi, for instance, has 25 different types of velvet in different colors and patterns,” Ong says. “If you like to continue the lifestyle you experience by wearing a brand, you can do it, too, because they have the synergy to do that.”
For clients keen on adding fashion furniture into their own home, they can simply come and visit the showroom to see it for themselves. At Sovrano, the customers are always right—at least when they want a particular piece in a different color or finish.
“It can be a long process if they don’t know what they want, but we’ll guide them through it,” he says. “Ordering and delivery, however, will take around six months—longer if you want something custom. If they want something off the floor, we can deliver straight away, too. It all depends on the client. We can also work with any designer or architect.”
As fashion furniture is still new to the country, Ong says “you haven’t seen the start of it yet.”
“Everybody will bring it to the local market, too,” he says. “This year, we aim to push the brand further as well as educate others on what fashion furniture is. You’ll see us more on social media, but also in experiential immersions with the brands.”