Fashion brands leave their sartorial mark on Salone del Mobile 2018
There was a time when fashion brands would host cocktail parties at Salone del Mobile — create a window display, perhaps — and call it a day, but those days are long gone. ‘It feels like every fashion brand has finally woken up to the wonders of the home,’ says JJ Martin, Wallpaper* editor at large and La Double J founder, speaking of the volume and breadth of the fashion collaborations on view this year. Jonathan Anderson travelled the world to pull together Loewe’s celebration of craftsmanship; Marni too took to the road, looking to Colombia for its folkloric expo; and COS brought the American conceptual artist Phillip K. Smith III’s reflective sculptures into the confines of a 16th-century palazzo. Here Wallpaper* rounds up the finest Salone del Mobile exhibitions, installations and collaborations pieced together by the sartorial set.
Marni La Vereda: Colombian crafts have once again inspired Marni’s Salone del Mobile presence, which this year celebrates the sense of community, traditions and colours of the South American country, à la Marni. The woven baskets, for instance, pair the centuries-old tradition from Ibagué, with a bold injection of colour by adding bright plastic filaments to the process. Other borrowed traditions remain intact, like the papier-mâché and bead chicken ornaments which were hand made by a community of women from Villanueva, each taking four days to craft. The Viale Umbria display is as spirited and playful as we’ve come to expect.
Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades and Les Petits Nomades: The travel-inspired objects, designed by the usual roster of design heavyweights including Marcel Wanders, India Mahdavi and Raw Edges, are a Salone staple now. New to the line-up this year is Hong Kong-based architect and designer André Fu, his “Ribbon Dance Chair”, a sculptural seat for two spins around like a twirling ballerina in a darkened room at Palazzo Bocconi. Also making their debut this year are the Louis Vuitton Les Petits Nomades, a collection of decorative objects - vases, origami flowers, mirrors and the like - designed by Atelier Oï, Patricia Urquiola and the Campana brothers. They may be smaller in scale, but they retain the spirit of refined travel and sublime craftsmanship the storied trunk maker is known for.
Diesel Living: Last year Andrea Rosso’s furniture collection took inspiration from a road trip he and his team took from Phoenix to Palm Springs. This year, the monumental scale and brutalism of Mexico City plays muse to the denim brand’s Living team. At the Fiera, that translates into makeshift concrete walls against which Rosso’s colour palette of rusty reds, foliage greens and indigo blues play against. At the pop-up in Via Cesare Correnti, guests are invited to lounge about in the imaginary home.
Loewe: Jonathan Anderson ventured to the far corners of the world to discover and explore various artisanal textile production methods, which are celebrated in a series of rugs, tapestries and totes in a quiet courtyard off Via Montenapoleone. The crafts on display include the Indian tradition of ribbon hand-embroidery, the ancient Japanese method of boro and elaborate Senegalese patchwork, though it is perhaps the black and white portraits — printed like shadows on feathers — that are real standouts.
Dolce & Gabbana x SMEG’s Divina Cucina: Following on from their artisan Smeg fridges and small appliances —juicers, toasters, kettles, coffee machines etc — of previous years, the Italian powerhouses have teamed up yet again to complete the set. With Eurocucina returning to the Fiera, the Italian appliance brand has two new cookers (with matching extractor hood) and matching fridges (printed, rather than hand-painted) in two colourways. The prints are classic D&G: the more demure of the two is a ceramic-inspired pattern of ocean blue and pearl white, depicting Mount Etna and mythological scenes. The second, brighter version, is a vivid medley of Sicilian decorations — yellow lemons, pears and bright cherries — framed in geometric shapes and floral motifs.
Issey Miyake’s ’My First Me’: A year on from setting up shop in Milan, the Japanese brand is hosting Masahiko Sato, a professor at Tokyo University of the Arts, Graduate School of Film and New Media, and his work at the Via Bagutta boutique. Through four separate installations — three of which are interactive - ‘My First Me’ invites visitors to see themselves ‘like never before’. Technology plays an important role — film being Sato’s favourite medium, after all - but most poignant of all is his ‘Pool of Fingerprints’, where the prints of visitors gone before dance around a screen, like flocking birds or crawling insects, little calling cards of complete anonymity.
COS’ ’Open Sky’: Ever the crowd pleaser, COS is master of the interactive (and Instagram-friendly) installation come Milan Design Week. Last year, Studio Swine’s bubble-blowing tree drew popped up on everyone’s feed, Sou Fujimoto’s ’forest of light’ the year before that. This year, American conceptual artist Phillip K Smith III has created a faceted mirror sculpture in the courtyard which reflects the sky and splendour of the renaissance style architecture of the of 16th-century Palazzo Isimbardi in which it sits. ‘To do it as an architectural space that you can walk into and have this experience is rare,’ he told Wallpaper*.
Nina Chez Valentino: Valentino Montenapoleone outpost hosts an extensive installation masterminded by creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli and Nilufar Gallery’s Nina Yashar. What the pair call ‘a design dialogue’ translates into a play between Piccioli’s latest ready-to-wear collection and Yashar’s furniture pieces: Mario Bellini’s Le Bambole chair mirrors the craftsmanship behind the Intarsia Rockstud Spike bag, while Gio Ponti armchairs and Lindsey Adelman’s Cherry Bomb Pendant ceiling lamps pay tribute to the colour and line of dresses fresh off the runway.
Roberto Cavalli: The Cavalli signature prints — namely zebra, snake and giraffe motifs — are as ubiquitous in the brand’s interiors as its ready-to-wear. At the Via Montenapoleone boutique, a capsule collection of 10 crystal vases — creative director Paul Surridge’s first foray into interior design — takes centre stage. Wild animal patterns are interpreted into colour crystal fragments and spheres, hand-manufactured by Tuscan artisans of Arnolfo di Cambio. At the main fairground, a vibrant citron shade is the colour of the season, flamboyantly paired with sedate tones of beige and grey.
Stone Island: Italian outerwear specialists Stone Island created a multi-medium exhibition titled ‘Prototype Research_Series 03’, which marked the third drop of 100 limited edition garments. The presentation opened with an array of hand-finished garments, all created using innovative techniques that are not yet industrialised given to their complexity. Canvas-based fabrics were composed in multiple weights, compositions and shrinkages. Each garment had been shrunk by 25 per-cent, regenerating the traditional aesthetics of the brand. Set within a dark expanse, projections of the Stone Island compass logo were mapped throughout the room onto the brand’s latest designs, which hung in circular frames. LED screens displayed patterns and backgrounds to match the palette of it’s classic colour archives.
La DoubleJ: Building on last year’s success with La DoubleJ Housewives, JJ Martin has scored the ultimate hat-trick, teaming up with three historic Italian brands: the porcelain and ceramic experts at Ancap; the Murano glassmakers of Salvati; and furniture royalty, Kartell. ‘We are maximalist-minded, so everything centres around layers of print, pattern, and colour,’ explains Wallpaper* editor-at-large and La DoubleJ mastermind. ‘I want the table to feel as joyous as the clothes we make.’ And that it does. The ‘Libellula’ dinner set combines the illustration of a dragonfly circa 1985 with a botanical theme. (And there is also the mix-and-match, 18K gold-rimmed dessert plates too.) In the glass department, there is a series of stemless wine glasses in riotously vibrant hues, but the real showstoppers are the limited-edition murano glass goblets which breathe whimsical new life into historic designs dating back to the 19th century. The collaboration with Kartell rounds off the collection with a series of chairs, obviously dressed to the nines in La Double J’s signature vintage prints.
Ermenegildo Zegna: Ermenegildo Zegna’s line of luxury accessories, under the title of Zegna Toys, is becoming something of a Salone constant. Once again crafted from Pelle Tessuta — Zegna’s signature woven leather fabric, made from micro strips of nappa leather instead of fabric yarns - this year’s edition recreates a vintage herringbone pattern from 1968, recently rediscovered in the archive on the eve of the brand’s 50th anniversary in the ready-to-wear business. The categories of this year’s ‘toyz’ remain as before: Essentials, featuring small leather goods; Toys, for leisure and entertainment — think ping pong rackets and mahjong play sets; and Technology, in collaboration with Master & Dynamic.
Missoni: The American artist Rachel Hayes was responsible for the artwork that hung over the Missoni show last September, a series of billowing fabric panels created to celebrate Angela Missoni’s 20th year at the helm of the brand. Now the artist has been commissioned to create ‘Blowing in the Wind’, an installation at the Via Solferino showroom. Three column-like structures flood the space with specks of colour and diffused light, created by the fragments of transparent and translucent plastic-like acetate which cover each structure. The refractions of light are created by the gusts of wind and projections blowing and shining from within.
Paul Smith x Globe-Trotter: ‘I’ve respected [the design] and just added the Paul Smith touch,’ says the British fashion designer of his latest collaboration, this time with British trunk maker Globe-Trotter. And he’s not being modest, either. Smith has taken a ‘less is more’ approach, adding his signature colours to the 20 inch carry-on case, which he calls ‘essential’ for all his own travels. The corners of the case are brightened, each in either navy blue, ochre, yellow or midnight black, while the webbing strips within and top handle feature Smith’s synonymous Artist Stripe. The bulk of carry-on remains navy blue, making it equal parts sophisticated and fun.
Hermès: The French maison has made a fine art of architectural proportions for its exhibition spaces. This year’s set, imagined by Charlotte Macaux Perelman, joint deputy artistic director for Hermès, and Alexis Farby, was a riot of colour. Structures of varying shapes and sizes, clad in handmade Moroccan zellige tiles created smaller spaces within the vast hall of the Museo della Permanente. Each pavillion houses different elements of the new homeware collection, ranging from vases to trays, rugs and seats. Among the most charming pieces of all though, are a scarf box inspired by old sewing boxes, created by Studio Hermès in collaboration with Guillaume Delvigne and Damian O’Sullivan, and a brand new dinner service (‘A Walk In The Garden’) designed by artist Nigel Peake.
Woolrich: Paying tribute to the celebrated Italian architect, designer and photographer Carlo Mollino, Woolrich’s Corso Venezia is hosting an exclusive photo exhibition, side-by-side with three of his most popular designs, now distributed by Zanotta, including the Arabesco and Reale tables, and Cavour writing desk. The photographs vary from architectural images to chairs against a white background and images of his everyday life, an extract from the retrospective currently on show at Turin’s Camera: Centro Italiano per la Fotografia until May 13.
Bottega Veneta: Tomas Maier wanted to ‘show something very different’ from the last home collection he debuted in Milan two years ago. Showcased within the brand’s Borgospesso apartmento, the contemporary furniture collection is perfectly at home within the confines of the 18th century Palazzo Gallarati Scotti, despite its coffered ceilings and frescoed walls. The furniture itself is far more functional than before: the dinner table has no legs (‘I hate them, you always sit down and hit your knee,’ explains Maier) and the BV Tre brings modular seating into the fold. Though the colour palette is brighter, it remains muted — think fresh whites, dusty pinks and washed greens. The collaboration with the Italian lighting designer Osanna Visconti di Modrone continues with three cylindrical lighting pieces — including the large-scale chandelier debuted earlier this year at the brand’s Maison store in New York.
Fendi: In a double bill for the Italian fashion house, Fendi Casa and Fendi Cucina celebrate new collaborations at the main fairground and in the heart of Milan. At Eurocucina, teaming up with Scic to launch Fendi Cucine, architect Marco Costanzi’s vision plays out in stainless steel for a very professional, near industrial kitchen. There is a rather more relaxed — but still refined — marble and metal version, too. Fendi Casa’s new collection meanwhile, designed by Thierry Lemaire, plays with proportion and luxurious materials — including leather, velvet, marble, metals and wood - in a series of made-to-order furnishings.
Santoni: The family-run leather specialist of Santoni is celebrating Patricia Urquiola’s latest collection for CC-Tapis at the Via Montenapoleone boutique. Dressing the shopfront and the floor within, Urquiola’s latest floorcoverings focus on colour, playing with repeating and overlapping shapes to create a nuanced three-dimensional effect. The Himalayan wool and pure silk rug on show in the window is particularly mesmerising, fanning out from white and cream, to dusky pink and burnt orange. To celebrate the collection, Santoni is also launching a special edition version of their double monk strap shoes, looking to the Slinkie rugs’ muted palettes for inspiration.
Salvatore Ferragamo: Ferragamo has enlisted another Italian great, Molteni&C, to put together a double exhibition at both the womenswear and menswear boutiques on Via Montenapoleone. Titled ‘Outside/Inside’, the installation displays furniture designs by Molteni&C and Alan Chan in what the Italian brands call ‘a cultural dialogue between the East and West.’ Ron Gilad’s storage unit, Gio Ponti’s armchairs and Yashuhiko Itoh’s bookcase sit harmoniously by Chan’s Silkroad Collection, the dark walnut wood of the latter and midcentury or minimalist edge of the former resulting in a rather tranquil atmosphere.
Brunello Cucinelli: It is no surprise that Brunello Cucinelli’s lifestyle arm is as luxurious as they come. It is, after all, known as ‘the king of cashmere’. The contemporary traveller and the Umbrian sun fuel the Via Montenapoleone boutique’s vibe. Naturally, that translates into pure cashmere cushions, throws and dressing gowns, as well as luxurious candles and poolside-ready towels, all in creamy shades of white and sandblasted greys.
Tod’s: Cappellini and Tod’s have a long history of Salone collaborations. Giulio Cappellini has curated the luxury loafer’s Via della Spiga storefronts for years, and in 2016 he called on nine emerging designers to put their own spin on the iconic Gommino shoes, too. This year, ’Unexpected Icons’ casts the classic shoe in new light, or rather, material. Crafted from denim, the Gommino Jeans share the spotlight with Capellini’s seats — Tom Dixon’s ’S’ chair and Max Lipsey’s Acciaio Lounge seat — set on and against surfboards, with a Malibu-inspired background, evoking the laidback vibe the new denim style is clearly channeling.