Sydney’s Runway-Inspired Interiors

fashion interiors

Over the past decade, fashion and fragrance designers have begun sharing the spotlight with celebrities. Now the fashion pack is joining forces with the interior design industry to explore opportunities in the hospitality market.

Hotels, restaurants and cafes around the world are being decorated through an interior/fashion designer collaboration, or with specially-designed furniture and accessories from leading fashion houses.

From Ralph Lauren’s soft furnishing to Oscar de la Renta’s recently debuted homewares collection, the interiors industry is welcoming a fashion eye.

While the design process for interiors is similar to that of fashion, fashion designers crossing over are challenged to design for longevity. A number of Sydney restaurants have joined the growing trend and are now celebrating their fashionable interiors.

1. Arras Restaurant

restaurant arras

Restaurant Arras

Interior designer Liz Boyd was given one brief by the owners of Arras Restaurant in Sydney – white. To complement that, Boyd experimented with pink, white and green colour combinations on a colourful graffiti wall mural intensified by deep navy blue flooring.

While the restaurant is a mostly understated space due to its clean, white elements, colour is celebrated through the comfortable Paul Smith upholstered chairs and Ralph Lauren window furnishings which resemble shirt fabric. Due to Paul Smith’s “striped print” being so recognisable, Boyd finds it amusing when clients turn up to meetings in Paul Smith t-shirts and toting Paul Smith bags.

“You realise something is going on,” she said.

2. Dom Perignon Lounge

Collette Dinnigan

Collette Dinnigan

In her first interiors project, renowned fashion designer Collette Dinnigan was selected to design the exclusive Dom Perignon lounge at on the Hemmesphere level of Sydney’s Establishment Hotel.

The lounge continues to be a celebrated venue and is only the fourth of its kind in the world. Dinnigan was the third designer to work on a Dom Perignon lounge, joining the illustrious Marc Newson and Karl Lagerfield.

Dinnigan’s signature fashion style is evident through the luxurious interior and selective embellished pieces among lilac and grey tones. Delightful bespoke lighting illuminates the geometric shapes and curves throughout the lounge space.

“You have to consider the space itself, not something to wear in a space,” Dinnigan said at the time. “It needs longevity – it’s not just to be worn for one season – and it also needs to be very practical and the budget was very difficult to keep in check because the sky’s the limit when it comes to my clothes.”

3. The Paddington Inn

paddington inn

Paddington Inn

Fellow Australian fashion designer Nina Maya has only recently extended her services to include interiors, and her portfolio includes the beloved Paddington Inn on Oxford Street.

Briefed to transform the pub into an “urban oasis”, Maya has successfully kept the comfort the Inn feeling like a local institution but designed a fresh and contemporary space with interiors inspired by the Middle East.

As with her fashion, Maya has explored colour, print and texture to reinvigorate the space while bringing in a “green” element through the use of recycled timber panels and plants located throughout the Inn.

“It is a natural progression for me,” Maya says of her interior services. “Over the last six years of
 creating clothing, my designs have come to life with distinctive prints and
 colours. I have been longing to apply this to a much bigger canvas.”

4. Dunbar House



Sydney’s historic Dunbar House was made over in 2011 and featured fabrics from Italian fashion powerhouse Missoni and English fabric and wallpaper designer William Morris.

The heritage building, built in the 1830s, underwent a major refurbishment to reinvigorate the traditional restaurant without damaging the elegance of the space. Missoni designed vibrant, custom-made fabrics for Dunbar House and upholstered furniture with prints that echo their signature stripe and zigzag patterns.

Morris was responsible for reviving the walls through luxury wallpaper that set an understated foundation in which to hang large, gold mirrors for glamourous and timeless appeal.

By Angela Fedele
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