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Modern Heirlooms

Fashion has always been braided into the world of interiors - and vice versa - creating a cyclical wave of trends that lends its ideas back and forth. We find inspiration in color, material and application that can translate into many different forms of art. While this exists among a plethora of examples, I am choosing to find correlation in the most recent Bode fashion show where she presented her Fall 2023 Mens and newly launched Womenswear collection in Paris. Emily Bode has always looked to the past for inspiration and has garnered a reputation known for utilizing artisanal techniques that are almost lost in the modern world where everything is mass-manufactured. From hand-embroidered silk ensembles to autobiographical corduroy suits, each item she produces is rooted in memorabilia and filled with ephemera of memories past that opens up a new definition of the word Heritage.

Heritage is a word that's been thrown around in the trend world for over a decade - where lifestyles are leaning more towards homemade, tactile objects. You can see how this has permeated how we shop, how we eat, how we live our daily lives. And while the modern world continues to survive and evolve around us, we are continually grasping at ways to make our lives a little more steady and measured. We begin to take the time to buy products where we know the origin and the maker, find out where our food comes from, are our clothes made from organic cotton? It's not just about the environment, although it is a strong consideration, but about surrounding ourselves with well-made garments and food without chemicals. This permeates into how we buy furniture as well. We look to vintage and antique items that not only help us create a more unique home but don't feed into the endless supply of products that are poorly made with no lasting style or character. And as trends come and go, we gravitate towards creating a home with warmth and meaning. A place that reminds us of our youth and of our parents youth. Something based on our own heritage.

The recent Bode collection, entitled 'The Crane Estate', is inspired by her family and memories of home. She melds womenswear and menswear together where they can be treated as one but not necessarily labeled as 'unisex'. The origins of the details found in her clothing can be traced back to her family's past through multiple generations including design details of yesteryear. She mixes modern and vintage in a way that looks both fresh and mature all in one. She borrows ornate embroidery from the 19th century with silhouettes from the early 20th century. Nothing is particularly new yet it also doesn't feel dated which I think lends to another idea that there just may not be anything new to discover. Everything has been done before. I don't mean to downplay her talent, to me it's quite phenomenal how she views design, but I believe the way forward as designers is how we choose to combine our influences.

The same can be said of Interiors. When we look at the state of Interiors today we see an amalgamation of "modern" design which to me just means anything you can find in any catalog in the mail. It's nothing prolific but it looks fine. The world is one big social media landscape that homogenizes design. To be unique, it's in the way you pick from different eras and mix them together. It's mixing ornate embroidery from the 19th century with silhouettes from the early 20th century. It's finding an antique cabinet from the 1920's and pairing it with a 1970's coffee table under a mid-century Swedish rug. It's doing a thorough research job when conceiving the design concept. It's about sourcing materials and color palettes that are unique and intriguing and creating custom cabinetry inspired by an architectural element you saw on a trip last year. It's about creating your own modern heirloom.


Here are my favorite pieces from the Bode runway show (or at least my choices from the photos that were available online!). There are lots of takeaways from this stunning collection that work beautifully in the Interiors world as well. A few standouts:

  • A continuation of the folk art influence through decor and print

  • Unexpected pairings of color

  • Neutral stripes

  • Light contrast piping on bright colors, dark contrast piping on neutral colors

  • Multiple layers of fringe as trim

  • Squiggles and hand painted line details

  • Tone-on-tone appliqué


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