clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Supermodels Aren't Quite Super Models of Interior/Furniture Design

New, 15 comments

Welcome to Moonlighting, a new Curbed column in which the talented Raina Cox of If the Lamp Shade Fits takes a look at design players whose first job may not have been design. Some triumph, some flop, and some should never, ever give up their day job.

Three once impossibly chic creatures who stalked the runways of the world's fashion capitals now find themselves creating home fashion for Jill and Joe Suburb. Supermodels Iman, Cindy Crawford, and Kathy Ireland all have decor lines carefully crafted to appeal to people who watch Two and a Half Men and believe Sandra Lee to be a master chef.

Iman, who fancies herself "a very chic hoarder," considers textiles the foundation of any good interior. "I'm old school when it comes to home decor. I start with fabrics. Fabrics will inform everything," she has said. For last year's pablum ethnic IMAN Home collection for Calico Corners, the Somali-born model drew inspiration from "Moorish art and architecture, zebra hides from Africa, a tribal robe from Uzbekistan. What I bring home from my travels is the DNA of my home collection." Thankfully, that tour of the Garden State never materialized.

During last fall's Fashion Week, Iman went buck wild doing up the VIP Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge. She swathed every surface of the space with a riot of clashing patterns. The effect was more Helen Keller does the Casbah than it was global chic.

Cindy Crawford, the all-American beauty famously discovered detasseling corn, has never met an endorsement deal she didn't sign. Most recently, the Super of Supers penned licensing agreements with H.M. Richards for a mass-market furniture collection, Cindy Crawford HOME, and JC Penney for a more extensive lifestyle line, Cindy Crawford Style. The 1984 DeKalb High School valedictorian elucidated her philosophy of personal contentment through decorating: "The one person you should try to please in your home—or if you're married, the two people —is yourself....Eighty percent of the time, you're in your house by yourself, and I just think it's really important for it to be the place that when you walk in the door you can...say, 'Yes. I live here. I'm happy I live here.'"

While Crawford may not be the Dostoevsky of decor, she is a dedicated shill. She went so far as to rework a corner of her Michael Smith-decorated Malibu living room with JC Penney pieces for a story in Redbook. The classic, casual line includes bedding, window treatments, home decor, tabletop and accent furniture.

Kathy Ireland—not to be confused with the noted British interior designer Kathryn Ireland—has cornered the Middle America market with a vast decorating empire that makes Pottery Barn look hip and edgy. Leaving no sage-colored or floral-patterned stone unturned, Ireland has placed her smiley stamp on upholstery, casegoods, patio furniture, wallpaper, carpet, area rugs, hardwood flooring, window coverings, candles, lighting, ceiling fans, bed linens, mattresses, silk flower arrangements, fresh floral deliveries, cookware, crystal stemware, air purifiers, and porcelain figurines.

Ireland, a religious and political conservative, has positioned herself as a lifestyle sherpa for the flyover states. Never mind that she is married to a prominent ER physician, lives in an enormous house in Santa Barbara, Calif., and spent the better part of her teens and 20s frolicking on tropical beaches the world over in microscopic swimwear—Ireland is Every Woman. As long as that woman votes red, of course! Her line for Standard Furniture is even described in code: "The Kathy Ireland Home by Standard collection shies away from contemporary designs that are better seen in art galleries [No liberals here!]. You also are not likely to see heavily ornate French Renaissance styles [Freedom Fries!]." Her McMansion-aspirational look picks up where The Bombay Company left off, with shiny dark woods, vaguely historical European silhouettes, and a color palette heavy on muted jewel tones. And late last night, Ireland announced a partnership with Raymour & Flanigan that has just recently become available. According to the release, the "new association will expand Kathy Ireland Home's upholstered furniture product area, and Ireland will become a contributor to the Raymour & Flanigan design magazine, offering ideas on keeping homes fresh, exciting and new with affordable furniture and ideas."

For all three women, the greatest payoff for a life of chic style is the paycheck of a decidedly unfashionable lifestyle. Here's the pictorial proof:

· All Sandra Lee coverage [Curbed National]
· Iman's worldly style comes home [Chicago Tribune]
· IMAN Home Fabrics [Calico Corners]
· Cindy Crawford HOME [Rooms To Go]
· Cindy Crawford Style [JCPenney]
· Cindy Crawford: Coming to Tampa, dishing on home design [St. Petersburg Times]
· Steal Cindy Crawford's Chic Style [Redbook]
· ELLE Decor's LookBook [Elle Decor]
· Cindy Crawford Will Likely Be in an Upcoming House Beautiful [Curbed National]
· Kathy Ireland Home by Standard Furniture [Coleman]
· Raymour & Flanigan announces collaborative partnership with Kathy Ireland Home [Home Accents Today]
· If the Lamp Shade Fits [official site]