Q&A With Kirsten Korhani

I attended my first Korhani Home runway presentation at World MasterCard Fashion Week on Wednesday night — what a fun show! Catch my coverage of the new collection here. Before things got started, I was lucky enough to squeeze in an interview with the company’s lovely creative director, Kirsten Korhani.

With a background in fashion, Kirsten has become famous in the industry for translating cutting-edge fashion trends into stylish home furnishings. I chatted with her about what inspired the F/W ’13 collection, this year’s hottest trends and what she thinks the biggest style faux-pas is:

Kirsten Korhani after the Korhani Home runway show Wednesday night.

You started out in fashion — how did you make the transition into interior design?

In Germany, where I’m from, I had my own fashion agency. Then I got married and moved to Toronto and my husband owned the Korhani Home company. I thought, home and fashion are melding together, so if you dress very fashionably in everyday life why don’t you make your home the same way? You change your clothes by season, why not change your carpets and accessories by season as well?

How does apparel influence your home furnishings design? Can you explain that process?

I would say fashion inspires me to be a little more edgy, taking chances and trying different colours out together that maybe you wouldn’t see in a typical home. Like in one of our [new] collections we have black and white combined with neon colours. That’s not very normal for home decor.

If you had to describe the Korhani Home aesthetic in three words, what would they be?

I would say it’s sophisticated, elegant, but at the same time, fun.

What inspired the collection we’re going to see tonight?

We have three trends. The first is Nocturnal. It’s the year of the moon this year so it’s a very dark palette. Very grey, pale moonlight and burgundy shades. Since in winter you’re cocooning anyway, why not bring the midnight and darkness into your home? That’s one of my favourite themes.

The second theme is Allure. It’s about Marlene Dietrich and the German film stars in the older days. We showed in Berlin, so that was inspired from my travelling. It’s all very elegant, dusty rose, rose gold and beiges. What I like a lot is that there’s still an Art Deco influence. We did Gatsby for summer and I think that’s a trend that’s here to stay for a long time, especially in the home.

The last one is Celebricity/VIP Only that takes us to the nightclubs around the world. You have the black and whites combined with the new neons. That’s a very fun, young theme.

What do you think is hot for 2013 in home decor and design?

For fall, especially for home, I think it’s the neon accents. It’s something very new. Black and white with neon was never seen before in homes so I think that’s probably the most fashion-forward collection that we’re presenting.

How do you make trends timeless in the home?

Certain trends do not always go away right away — they stay. It’s a timeless thing but with every season, with a little bit of a change, you can make it new again. It’s about reinterpreting things. A trend is not suddenly there and then vanishes, you can build up on things like that. Like our Gatsby summer collection was an Art Deco-inspired theme. Keep that and just take something new from the new collection and combine it.

There are certain classic pieces that stand the test of time in fashion and interiors. What would be the home decor equivalent of the little black dress?

I would say a grey and black carpet. You can throw a couple new pillows with that and it looks really fresh. So that’s a major piece that you can’t go wrong with.

Is there any major design faux-pas that you see in people’s homes?

They just choose a brown or beige carpet (laughs). Because area rugs I find are the new art. Mix and match. Don’t be afraid to put something colourful under your couch. Just don’t be too safe.

What is the best piece of design advice you’ve ever been given?

Believe in yourself. Do what you think the trend is, not what others tell you. Just believe in your own self and doing what you need to do, even if someone else says it’s crazy.

Kirsten and I backstage. She commented that I was ahead of the trend with my neon belt!

Photo credits:
1. George Pimentel
2. Stefani Ralph, Korhani Home

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