fashion brands steal the show at milan design week 2021

Sep 10, 2021

this year’s milan design week was one like no other. following the cancellation of 2020’s edition, and the postponement of the 2021 event, we instead gathered in the city after the summer — from september 5-10 — while the sun was still hot enough to complain about. salone del mobile was ‘supersalone’ and alongside the usual foray of designers, there were also a number of fashion brands that stole the show.

as we walked our 20th kilometer of the day in typical design week style, we couldn’t help but wonder, are fashion brands taking over milan design week 2021?

Hermès presented its new home collections inside la pelota jai alai, an indoor sports center in the heart of brera. transformed into a ‘village’ of monolithic chambers, the space immersed visitors in the french brand‘s universe and latest creations. the five architectural volumes were each wrapped in unique, colorful graphic patterns, while they all rested on a bed of terracotta-hued sand.

oscillating between tradition and innovation in an installation designed by charlotte macaux perelman, the collections on view demonstrated unique know-how — a fundamental part in the creative process — developed by working with leather, textiles, metals and stone. the new collections embraced the simplicity of an elegance that gives way to refinement and comfort.

read more on designboom here.

dior maison invited seventeen artists to reinterpret one of its iconic emblems — the medallion chair. the chair, which is a symbol of louis XVI style, was first embraced by dior himself in 1947 who used it to seat guests at his fashion shows. in his memories, he described it as ‘sober, simple, and above all classic and parisian.’

sam baron, nacho carbonell, pierre charpin, dimorestudio, khaled el mays, martino gamper, constance guisset, india mahdavi, nendo, joy de rohan chabot, linde freya tangelder, atang tshikare, seungjin yang, ma yansong, jinyeong yeon, tokujin yoshioka and pierre yovanovitch offered their visions and artistic and cultural sensibilities and reimagined this object of desire with boundless creativity.

read more on designboom here.

‘metamorphosis is the most revolutionary and profound accomplishment in the life of a person, a society or the world at large, and art and design are its main interpreters.’ with this in mind, bulgari asked four international artists to represent their own ideas of metamorphosis at galleria d’arte moderna (GAM). azuma makoto, daan roosegaarde, ann veronica janssens and vincent van duysen offered their interpretations of metamorphosis through the poetics of their specific languages, resulting in a series of unique and diverse site-specific installations.

the first installation visitors encountered as they enter the space was ‘the garden of eden’ by azuma makoto. for the japanese flower artist, ‘metamorphosis’ is the word that encapsulates and expresses the notion of ‘life’ in all its precarious fragility. the installation featured a huge brass tree sprouting real fruits and flowers. being living creatures, the flowers change in form, color and fragrance over time. the goal is to transmit to the visitors a metamorphic sense of ‘time’ through the contrast between the artificial materials and the vitality of the fruits and flowers.

read more on designboom here.

gucci opened a temporary store in via manzoni 19 were it presented a cabinet of curiosities filled with fantasy. dubbed gucci cartoleria, the space was enriched with unexpected surprises, suspended in an atmosphere of wonder. flying notebooks, chess sets that play themselves, haunted items and endless bookcases, the space immersed visitors in the magical world of gucci’s creative director alessandro michele.

inspired by the traditional italian stationery store and featuring the newly launched gucci lifestyle collection of games, notebooks and leisure accessories, the space was defined by the house’s motifs. ‘when I was a child, going to the stationery store and finding pencils, pens, notebooks, games, meant bringing a dream into my daily routine,’ said michele. ‘they were fine, well-made objects that spoke of craftsmanship and that, though part of my everyday life, were able to give off a magical, mysterious and wonderful aura.’

over the years, rick owens has developed a number of signature materials, shapes, and visual archetypes and has influenced an entire generation of artists and sculptural designers. his brutalist pieces of furniture vary in finishes and textures, they can be black, golden or nitrate, but they all combine a stark modernist look with a contemporary minimalistic line.

curated by galerie philia, and set within spazio CB32, the exhibition focused on rick owens design works aesthetically questioned by contemporary italian sculptural design artists. the unique event weaved a dialog between a curated selection of emerging italian designers and rick owens’ impactful design artworks.

‘my furniture is my couture,’ said rick owens. ‘I’m using rare materials and artisans with specialized skills to create unique, one-of-a-kind objects.’

tom dixon parteners with valextra, the iconic italian luxury leather goods brand. titled ‘black light’, the exhibition was inspired by the archives of the milanese masters gio ponti, ettore sottsass and achille castiglioni. a striking display of 10 monumental LED light forms by tom dixon and austrian lighting specialists prolicht, sat alongside valextra’s new chiaroscuro handbag capsule collection at via manzoni, 3.

‘these sculptures are the result of two years of intense research with our austrian professional lighting partner prolight into rethinking track lighting,’ said tom dixon. ‘we have decided to show the potential of this new system by making these 10 lighting sculptures that are a really unusual way of using the latest in warm light emitting diodes. on the largest sculpture there are as many as 10,000 individual points, which make these objects the very incarnation of luminosity, however the quality of light is still surprisingly soft and flattering and fills a space with an ethereal glow unlike any lamp we have seen before.’

off-white c / o virgil abloh ™ presents a new limited home collaboration with ginori 1735, the first drop of a long partnership scheduled for 2022. ginori 1735 has been a global reference point in the luxury and lifestyle sector for almost three centuries encompassing an expression of italian excellence in pure porcelain and in the highest quality design. associated with great figures in fashion, art, design, architecture, cinema and furniture, in this collaboration the two brands unveiled a surprising combination of tradition and modern innovation, creating a collection that combined elements of high-end design with the off-white ™ codes of youth culture and contemporary conversation.

at its showroom in via savona 54, stone island presented the prototype research series 5. showcasing native limited editions, numbered project garments, made with fabrics and/or treatments resulting from research and experimentation, the series 5, which is not yet at an industrial scale, applies copper nanotechnology on raso. the result is a trench coat made in the iconic stone island cotton raso bonded externally with a light non-woven fabric on which a nanometric copper layer has been deposited through the pvd (physical vapor deposition) technique.

stone island’s purpose for this project is to investigate the natural oxidation characteristics of copper in the atmospheric environment, borrowing this technique from industrial uses. the speed and intensity of the process will depend on the environmental conditions to which the garment will be exposed, mainly the degree of humidity and the percentage of carbon dioxide.

ISSEY MIYAKE presented a project in which he collaborated with designers, artists and creatives to celebrate creativity, inspiring a sense of joy and wonder that is universal for people of all cultures. called ‘in the making’, the project was presented in the milanese store, where it confronted creatives with the creation of garments that reflect the lifestyle of the wearer, developing original materials and revisiting the creative process itself step by step.

‘in the making’ also showcased the latest proposals by IM MEN and A-POC ABLE ISSEY MIYAKE with an original display, alongside the other ISSEY MIYAKE lines which were also presented within the same concept.

versace home presented a new collection of furniture and home accessories in via durini. the project, which saw a collaboration between donatella versace and ludovica and roberto palomba, took the fashion brand’s stylistic codes and infused them in pieces that combined silk, metals, marble, solid jewel tones and versace’s patterns and motifs.

‘I am a very curious person and I always embrace every occasion to learn something new,’ said donatella versace. ‘when I started brainstorming with ludovica and poberto, I was captured by their incredible knowledge of design and by the ideas they already had for versace home.’

missoni’s unmistakable colorful style and signature patterns were part of the brand’s home collection presented during milan design week at the brand’s store on via sant’andrea and at two other locations around the city. a new range of chairs carved from solid, curved wood were shown, boasting five different degrade hues like plum, turquoise and yellow. a new 1960s-inspired armchair joined the presentation, upholstered in missoni’s famed zig-zag patterns.