This Film Is a Must-See for Fashion and Interior Design Fans Alike

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Interior Motives, 2019 (Film still)

Natalie Shirinian’s new documentary Interior Motives explores the increasingly intimate relationship between fashion and interior design

“I wanted to offer a portal view into this otherwise very exclusive world through my point of view,” says Natalie Shirinian, director of Interior Motives, a new documentary exploring how fashion and interior design intersect. “Almost like the viewer is Alice falling into Wonderland.”

Interior Motives is the first film to explore the relationship between between the clothes we wear and the spaces we inhabit. Shirinian – a filmmaker and journalist, whose work has featured in Vogue, alongside founding NES communications agency and NESESSITY magazine – observed that many fashion designers were launching homeware lines, and became curious if it worked the other way around too. She began to investigate how the process differed from designer to designer, and if they took certain characteristics from their signature collections into their new ranges, “whether it be in textiles, different forms in their products, and so on,” Shirinian continues. “From that, the light bulb moment of making this into a documentary was formed.”

Watching the film feels like entering another world; one filled with rich fabrics and beautifully curated living spaces. Throughout the documentary, various figures from the worlds of fashion and interiors emphasise how the crossover between clothes and the home has existed since the 1980s, when designers first began creating interior diffusion lines. After Tommy Hilfiger launched his eponymous line of American sportswear, interiors were the next organic progression – “I wanted to build a total lifestyle brand,” he says in the film, “I wanted to decorate the home.” 

The timing of the film seems apt: in recent years, the accessibility of home decor has often made it more attainable than purchasing a piece of designer clothing by fashion’s prestigious houses. More and more people are emphasising their home as their sanctuary – a place to retreat from the world and unwind after work tailored to every individual – and are spending money on interiors accordingly. If we dress according to our personality, why shouldn’t our living environments do the same?

“A person’s self-expression is important to me,” says Shirinian. “When you walk into someone’s home you want it to reflect who they are, what they love, where they’ve been, the energy they reside in, and what they want to live amongst. Interiors offer you a sense of artistic expression but also a feeling. You’re entering a world and if you want someone to feel something when they enter your world – interiors are incredibly important.”

The project was five years in the making, helmed by an all-female production team, which included her partner Elizabeth Baudouin who served as executive producer and music supervisor. As the latter, Baudouin commissioned an original music score by LA-based composer White Sea (Morgan Kibby). Thanks to the careful balance between established and emerging interviewees, the film is rooted in creativity and passion for making beautiful things.  

“I truly enjoy telling stories and bringing other people’s stories to the world in a visual and picturesque way,” says Shirinian. Storytelling comes naturally to the director, who has always worked in visually driven industries. “When I was an actress – a long time ago – I worked on multiple sets,” she says, of one of many encounters with the film industry, including an occasion when she was offered advice by one particular Hollywood name. “The one moment that really stuck with me was when Steve Martin took the time to give me direction on the set of Shop Girl. I had the tiniest part, and he just took the time to come over and give me some advice. That stuck with me.”

The importance of nourishing young talent had a profound effect on Shirinian, who has followed Martin’s advice throughout her career. “To coach someone and really encourage their inner voice, and their talents to full potential – that has transcended not only with my creative agency at NES but with the filmmaking process as well. Since then, I knew I wanted to be a part of filmmaking in some way.”

What does the future hold for Shirninian now that she had broken new ground with her debut? “I’m currently in production on my next film,” she reveals. “It’s a personal narrative and I’m very excited about it!”

Scheduling and screening dates for Interior Motives can be found at The next screening is on August 11 at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. Head here for tickets.