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Fashion brands enliven the home at Milan Design Week

By Ricky Toledo and Chito Vijandre, The Philippine STAR Published May 06, 2023 5:00 am

Salone de Mobile, as part of Milan Design Week, is a big event even for the fashion industry because it’s a forum for the cross-pollination of ideas that inform the art of living. Fashion aficionados look forward to it because their favorite brands bring out objects of desire for the home in collaboration with some of the most talented artists and designers. There are also numerous exhibits that explore relevant themes, especially after the past life-altering three years that continue to influence art, design and lifestyle today.

Craft and Heritage are key themes that the grand maisons always showcase. Hermès, for one, delivered its signature quiet luxury in interiors, highlighting artisanal craftsmanship and fine materials that are also hallmarks of its fashion collections. They espoused a pared-down aesthetic at the La Pelota Sports Center in the Brera district through a radically industrial rebar and concrete structure to showcase midcentury-inspired furniture pieces matched with hand-blown table lamps by Harri Koskinen, hand-embroidered carpets with graphic patterns and upholstered wooden chairs with a 1930s vibe.

Hermès’ porcelain tableware displays its equestrian heritage. @hermes

Charlotte Macaux Perelman and Alexis Fabry, the house’s artistic directors, cleverly combined different materials to devise an organic look elevating bronze, wood, leather and glass in their minimalist pieces. The house’s equestrian roots appear in motifs that enliven new porcelain service sets as well as rugs and blankets with cheerful lines.

Louis Vuitton is always a highlight of the week with its Objets Nomades exhibit and this year it had a spectacular bulbous structure by Marc Fornes, rising from the courtyard of the Palazzo Serbelloni like a living organism that continues to morph. There were installations of unusual home accessories and lighting, like the sumptuously designed room by Marcel Wanders with blooming Capeline lamps above.

Raw Edges’ Binda seating and Zanellato/Bortotto’s woven leather table with lava stone top for Louis Vuitton @louisvuitton

Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay of Raw Edges believe that “play is the human instinct that allows us to discover unexpected ideas.” True enough, they astonish with the Binda armchair and sofa, which have sharply honed lines subtly accentuated by the streamlined leather-covered back. While it’s visually striking, it’s also comfortably enveloping with the soft velvet of the welcoming seat.

If nature was a theme that became stronger after the pandemic, glitz, fantasy and indulgence may have been just as urgent, as seen at Dolce & Gabbana.

The beauty of simplicity is exemplified in Atelier Oï’s origami bowl composed of a single piece of leather carefully folded and slotted together to create a striking conical form. Their Piva lamp follows the same aesthetic with multiple frosted-glass “bracelets” interspersed with a series of large and beautifully arranged leather “petals” carefully shaped with a different color on each side to give the illusion of shifting hues and moods. They go even more colorful with Quetzal, a mobile recreating in leather the bright multicolored plumage of the South American bird as it unfolds its wings and takes flight.

The Ancelle d’Hermès armchair in wood and leather @hermes

Atelier Biagetti, on the other hand, goes spare in its Flower Tower lamp, a shimmering transparent column of flower-shaped bubbles in hand-blown Italian glass inspired by Louis Vuitton’s iconic Monogram flower. The flowers appear like haloes of light floating magically.

Marc Newson’s Cabinet of Curiosities using the classic Louis Vuitton trunk @louisvuitton

Australian designer Marc Newson reworked the house’s monogram trunk into a cabinet of curiosities that has 19 metal cubes covered in leather, eight of which feature secret compartments. The cubes can be rearranged into more than 1,000 combinations for further customization.

Fernando and Humberto Campana decided to celebrate the first decade of the Nomades series by recreating their playful Bamboca Sofa as a special artwork in an extremely limited edition of eight. Called the Mirror Bamboca, it’s a witty spin on the original design that’s inspired by Brazilian Candy, transforming it into a show-stopping sculpture of shiny silver clouds. Their Cocoon, with perforated shell and cushions, is also turned into a limited-edition art piece called Disco Cocoon, a dazzling mosaic assemblage of 10,000 hand-positioned tiles.

Disco Cocoon by Fernando and Humberto Campana for Louis Vuitton @louisvuitton

At Loewe, Jonathan Anderson glamorized the well-known but unsung Welsh stick chair using different materials and artisanal crafts sourced from his global network of craftsmen to embellish 30 of these wooden chairs, which were designed in the 10th century. He celebrates its functionality and aesthetic economy while giving it new life with many surprising incarnations.

Some of Jonathan Anderson’s incarnations of the Welsh stick chair for Loewe @loewe

Diesel collaborated with Moroso, fusing clean Scandinavian lines with the brand’s signature twist in a collection of wooden chairs and tables. For contrast and comfort, their High Cloud sofa looks like it’s constructed from fluffy bed pillows.

Diesel’s collab collection with Moroso @diesel

Another jeans label, G-star RAW, teamed up with Maarten Baas for a denim-wrapped plane and cabinetry. The designer wanted to comment on the contradictions made by those in power and their stances on the environment: “Each year in Davos there’s a discussion about 1,500 private jets flying there to talk about sustainability… that’s a great joke which I emphasize by making this jet out of recycled waste materials.”

A private jet wrapped in recycled denim by Maarten Baas for G-Star RAW @gstarraw

Going green also resonated at Loro Piana, which went to the Andean mountains, inspired by “apacheta,” the rock pile trail markers and ritualistic offerings to Mother Earth, with large towers covered in repurposed fabrics. In collab with Argentinian artist Cristián Mohaded, they presented a collection of furniture recalling the landscape of sky, earth and stone.

Mirror Bamboca by Fernando and Humberto Campana for Louis Vuitton @louisvuitton

For Bottega Veneta, a grotto was recreated by Gaetano Pesce in fabric so that guests could go spelunking for their bag of choice, one of them being Pesce’s limited-edition, mountain-inspired bag.

If nature was a theme that became stronger after the pandemic, glitz, fantasy and indulgence may have been just as urgent, as seen at Dolce & Gabbana, who champion more is more with an all-gold furniture collection.

Versace also sticks to their aesthetic, paying homage to their iconic codes through pieces like the Zensational sofa, a geometric modular seat with the brand’s swirled hallmarks, the Discovery sofa in herringbone with “V” accents, and the Galaxy chandelier with the tantalizing Medusa adornments.