MILAN, Italy — Aspiring to be more relevant for the times, fashion houses presented new home collections during Milan Design Week, setting out to prove that the art of living is something that never goes out of fashion, just as finely crafted pieces will always be desirable.
To live life fully, we have learned to slow down and appreciate the things that matter. Slow Design is valued more than ever, with the realization that quality pieces take time and care to create, from conceptualization and design to the actual crafting and finishing, not to mention being mindful of ethical and environmental practices.
Slow Design is actually much like the Slow Food movement and just as it takes time to cook delicious dishes, we also should set aside quality time to appreciate them with loved ones. These precious moments together are enhanced even more with beautiful tableware, as well as furniture pieces that look good and on which we can sit comfortably to enjoy a meal.
This is something the duo of Dolce & Gabbana know only too well, saying, “A lunch is an opportunity to share without haste” to explain their obsession with chairs, which for them symbolize hospitality. With their furniture and homeware, the focus is on the Italian fatto a mano: “the small stitch, the woven straw, the mosaics, the hand-painted ceramics, as well as the lacquering, the basis of almost all the furniture, and the brass processing — incredible skills linked to a knowhow.”
Just like their clothes, their home collections are nothing short of exuberant, with sunny colors and lively prints, from the Blue Mediterraneo collection of sea motifs to Caretto’s Sicilian aesthetics and Maiolica-like patterns.
Roberto Cavalli, a house also known for its prints, released the Queen of Cavalli chair in 20 limited-edition pieces designed by creative director Fausto Puglisi. Combining classic rigor with pop irreverence, it has a neoclassical frame of carved black wood upholstered in animal prints and florals that explode with bright shades of yellow, red, purple, and emerald green.
Versace, another brand known for bold designs, used shades of red and lush fabrics like silk, leather and jacquards in its latest La Medusa collection, which included sofas, beds, and a Trono armchair in vinyl covering. Their Secret Garden space debuted the Stiletto outdoor series with vivid shades of lime green, Klein blue, and fuchsia.
Dior asked Philippe Starck to put his spin on its signature Louis XVI Medallion Chair. With his characteristic sexy minimalism, he created Miss Dior, “a homage to a certain type of femininity,” refining the original silhouette to its purest extreme that is further accentuated by the lightness of aluminum.
Lightness was actually the theme of Hermès for its most awaited annual presentation. Four large structures modeled on water towers and covered in translucent colored paper were mounted to house the products.
“We took inspiration from the house’s theme for 2022 — lighthearted,” says artistic director Charlotte Perelman. “It’s reflected in the materials we used, as well as the simplicity of shapes and the colors, which bring a lighthearted spirit.”
Home textiles in cashmere explored various craft techniques: Plaids were made from strips combined in a patchwork motif by the artist Carson Converse; panels were joined through relinking, a technique borrowed from couture; and the finest woven cashmere was used as a canvas for fine stitching expressive tactile geometrics.
For the Pli’H table centerpieces, patterns were hand-painted on delicately folded leather. Furniture also employed artisanal work: The Oria chair by Rafael Moneo had curved oak, canework and leather detailing, while Alvaro Siza’s Karumi stool has a leather seat on a cane frame. Tomas Alonso’s Coulisse lamp in bamboo and parachute fabric exemplifies lightness itself.
Louis Vuitton celebrated its 10 years of Objets Nomades furniture and objects with new and continuing commissions created by 14 international designers that include Patrica Urquiola, India Mahdavi and Tokujin Yoshioka.
Three new chairs by Swiss design studio Atelier Oï feature seats made of strips of leather held together by brass buckles inspired by the house’s bags. Bamboca, a modular sofa by the Campana brothers, is inspired by cloud shapes, while the Cosmic table by Raw Edges is composed of a carbon-fiber base and upholstered with LV’s signature leather treated for indoor and outdoor use. A reimagining of the essential sprit of the Maison’s 160-year-old “Art of Travel,” the pieces show an attention to inventive design, functionality, fine craftsmanship and unparalleled savoir-fare — values that matter most in the living sector today.
The importance given to craft is also bolstered by the need for sustainability and environmental consciousness. Loewe presented “Weave, Restore, Renew” to highlight manual labor and the art of breathing new life into discarded objects by using the ancient Galician woven-straw technique of coroza. On display were sculptural raincoats alongside 240 baskets sent to artisans around the world to be repaired using leather strings.
Stella McCartney, Cole & Sons and B&B Italia collaborated on a mushroom-inspired collection that included McCartney’s bags made of mycelium (the root system of fungi), the Le Bambole B&B Chair made with conscious materials and rendered in McCartney’s hand-drawn Fungi Forest print, and sustainable wallpaper by Cole & Sons with the same print. The presentation drove home the point that fashion has to be responsible and should not be produced at the planet’s expense.