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This year’s Milan Design Week, the international showcase that takes over the Italian fashion capital once a year, saw a huge crossover from fashion labels into home and design space. As interest in the category has soared recently, luxury brands are eager to showcase their expertise in craft. There’s so much heritage to tap into (and so many boldfaced names looking to flex their design chops in unexpected ways), and we say the more, the merrier! Here are a few of our favorite fashionable launches.
Ralph Lauren’s Via della Spiga flagship façade was overtaken by a patchwork quilt of Ralph Lauren Home’s signature fabrics, including watercolor-style florals, block prints and classic ticking stripes, in an ode to American style. Guests enjoyed custom cocktails including the RL, a lavender-infused gin sour, under a canopy of fabrics covering The Bar at Ralph Lauren courtyard—even the club chairs and banquettes bore cushions featuring the brand’s stripes and block prints, bringing the best of American style to the heart of Italy’s design capital. —Sean Santiago
Dolce & Gabbana Casa
At Dolce & Gabbana’s Milan headquarters, the brand’s Casa home collection was on full vavoom display—from gold-drenched rooms to leopard and logo-ed everything. But there was also a surprise: GenD—Generation Designers, an exhibition of one-offs created for Milan Design Week by 10 of the world’s buzziest designers. Organized by design curator Marta Sala, the exhibit paired Bradley Bowers, Lucia Massari, Rio Kobayashi, Chris Wolston, and more with Italian companies that supplied materials and know-how. Every object was spectacular, but the showstopper was Antonio Arico’s Limonaia a Milano, a lemon-yellow folly of cherubs, urns and vines installed on Dolce & Gabbana’s terrace. —Ingrid Abramovitch
Gaetano Pesce for Bottega Veneta
Bottega Veneta presented their new artist-edition Gaetano Pesce handbags in a grotto of Pesce’s own design at their Montenapoleone boutique. Dubbed ‘Vieni a Vedere’ (Come and See), the immersive installation, made using resin and fabric, was actually the store-spanning outline of a figure shooting for a basket. “He represents almost a victory,” Pesce explained in a statement. “In this case, the victory is discovery, the discovery of the language of representation. It is about opening new ways for design.” —S.S.
For Milan Design Week, Giorgio Armani opened up the reserved area of the famed Armani Palazzo to showcase his latest collection of furniture and accessories. As usual with Armani/Casa, materiality was key, with unusual choices such as wicker and mother-of-pearl making cameos. The furnishings were properly shown on a mirrored platform giving viewers the option to see the craftsmanship more clearly in the grand interiors setting. One big surprise this year was Armani’s new outdoor furniture, which looked spectacular against the greenery of the palazzo’s secluded garden. —Parker Larson
Fendi Casa showcased its new collections in its Milan boutique, located at Piazza della Scala. Under the creative direction of Silvia Venturini Fendi, the collaborations on view tapped into the core concepts of family, craft and vibrancy, featuring seating from Cristina Celestino (pictured), Piero Lissoni’s modular Taiko sofa system, and Peekasit, designed by Controvento Studio under Gabriele Chiave and inspired by the house’s bag of the same name. —S.S.
Tod’s and Tim Walker
A full-sized rocket stood at the entrance to one of Milan Design Week’s sleeper hits: an exhibition of photography by fashion lensman Tim Walker for the Italian shoe and accessories brand, Tod’s. Held in a former horse stable on the grounds of the city’s science museum, the exhibit, The Art of Craftsmanship, was a zany celebration of the craft that goes into the making of Tod’s beautiful leather driving moccasins and handbags. At the packed opening party, the scale-defying photos were paired with the gargantuan props—from a shoe brush to a giant leather scissors—that Walker used for his images. There were also live demonstrations by Tod’s artisans paired with stylized videos of leather sewing and cutting. The exhibition is scheduled to travel internationally, with dates to be confirmed soon. –I.A.
Marni x Serax
Marni unveiled its first tableware collection with Belgian brand Serax with a dinner at the brand’s headquarters. Titled Midnight Flowers, the 120-piece botanical-inspired porcelain set is easy (and fun) to mix-and-match, in large part due to the incorporation of whimsical floral motifs inspired by the brand’s runway collections. A palette of mauve, teal and rose, with pops of lime, should make this your new go-t0 for al fresco entertaining. —S.S.
Argentian designer, Cristián Mohaded, transformed Loro Piana‘s Milanese headquarters, Cortile della Seta, into a serene, ethereal space. Inspired by the South American tradition of marking Andes trails with stone towers called apachetas, the new furniture collection is a homage to nature and sustainability. The sofas, stools, benches, and tables are meant to mimic stones, but combined with the Loro Piana’s soft fabrics, hand-carved wood, and ceramic details, this collection was anything but rugged. —P.L.
Italian fashion brand Missoni launched a new line of poufs during Salone del Mobile. The brand’s signature zigzag prints and bold, geometric patterns can now be found on a series of doughnut and—wait for it—panettone shaped poufs. Also on display: a crystal covered swivel stool in collaboration with Swarovski. —Bebe Howorth
Loretta Caponi and Nilufar
Milan’s Nilufar Gallery is known for its cutting-edge furniture debuts, contemporary art, and collectible vintage furnishings and lighting. But a design week dinner in the gallery’s depot celebrated an unusual, very made-in-Italy collaboration. Loretta Caponi, the Florentine company known for its hand embroideries, created a capsule colletion of linens inspired by the work of one of Nilufar’s artists, Federica Perazzoli. Tablecloths and napkins were embroidered with palm forests in Loretta Caponi’s signature hand-stitch technique. At the dinner, guests dressed in the brand’s romantic pin-tucked florals explored Nilufar’s exhibit of works by Objects of Common Interest and Audrey Large, then settled down to a Florentine dinner at tables dressed with the limited-edition linens. — I.A.
Dior By Starck
Lines snaked to get into Milan’s 18th-century Palazzo Citterio for one of the hottest shows in town: Dior Maison’s sound-and-light extravaganza by Soundwalk Collective to celebrate their continued collaboration with designer Philippe Starck. The video and music installation—in which scores of last year’s model, the Miss Dior chair, were suspended on wires in front of a massive video screen—culminated in the big reveal of Starck’s expanded collection of chairs and tables for the couture house. A standout: the new Monsieur Dior armchair, a modern variation on the classic medallion design. Starck’s model comes in a range of colors and materials, including a fluorescent orange toile de Jouy. —I.A.
LOEWE, meanwhile, decided to focus on the “stick chair” using different weaving techniques to embellish the traditionally simple silhouette. 30 chairs were redesigned (22 of which are antique and eight newly built by a British atelier) using materials as diverse as leather to raffia. —P.L.
G-Star RAW and Maarten Baas
Dutch designer Maarten Baas made an outsized statement when he rolled a full-sized airplane clad in recycled denim into the 17th-century Milanese church of Sao Paolo Converso. The exhibit, More or Less, also displayed functional cabinets that were also dressed in denim—specifically in textile boards created from recycled G-Star jeans that were developed by Danish textile innovators Really/Kvadrat. The jeans were collected from G-Star stores across Europe in a program that lets customers return their old denim for recycling. “Every year in Milan I witness the tragicomic dialogue between green design and mass consumption,” Baas said of his tongue-in-cheek jet-set gesture. “When G-Star approached me to collaborate, it was the perfect opportunity to focus on this relevant duality.” —I.A.
La Double J
Fashion designer JJ Martin took the bright pattens that define her clothing line, La Double J, and moved them onto a new tabletop collection. The Napoli collection includes everything from striped linen placemats and napkins to intricately patterned plates and ceramics, all inspired by Neapolitan palazzos and summer nights on the Mediterranean. Also debuted in Milan was the new Mamma Milano collection which will be available for purchase this fall. The tabletop line is inspired by Gio Ponti and Piero Portaluppi, two Italian architects whose work lives behind Milan’s famous palazzo doors. —B.H.
Known for celebrating artisanship, Hermès worked with top craftsmen and designers for their latest introductions. Shown here are hand embroidered cotton cord rugs by Pierre Charpin and solid oak and leather chairs by Jasper Morrison. —P.L.
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