Fashion rocks Milan for Furniture Fair week
Milan’s Furniture Fair has morphed into a giant sounding board for the fashion industry. This year like never before, countless luxury labels flocked to Italy’s design capital with all kinds of initiatives for what is known as Fuorisalone, the off-calendar programme of events staged city-wide during the Furniture Fair. Indeed, fashion events are among the most popular occasions during Milan's design week, judging from the crowds gathering before each do, and the same goes for the more exclusive initiatives reserved to a select few, making Milan the absolute place to be this week.
Every evening, the streets of Milan overflow with hordes of design aficionados and architects, and also scores of tourists keen to enjoy this immersive experience, and let themselves be swept away by a bonanza of surprising, spectacular installations. For the whole week, the city pulsates with a party atmosphere, offering plenty of unexpected twists.
On Wednesday for example, a handful of lucky guests was able to peek into the wunderkammer dreamed up by designer Massimiliano Giornetti, who notably worked at Salvatore Ferragamo for 17 years. It featured a furniture capsule collection created in collaboration with Florentine specialist Artecornicidesign, displayed for one day only in the magnificent frescoed rooms of the Tommaso Calabro art gallery, recently opened inside a XVIIth century palazzo in the heart of Milan.
“It’s a luxury furniture collection with something of a haute couture spirit, consisting only of artisanal pieces, telling the story of an oneiric journey through the world of interior decoration. I wanted to return to a typically Italian taste for décor, inspired also by my fascination with the East,” said the designer, who recently stepped down as creative director of Shanghai Tang and is working on his own personal projects. The line consists of lacquer boxes, wooden folding screens inlaid with pictures and lavishly decorated furniture, and will be available at a limited number of select stores.
The evening before, on Tuesday April 9, it was Christian Dior’s turn to make the headlines at renowned Milanese fashion store Antonia. On this exclusive evening’s menu were music, champagne and a ballet performance, while Dior took over Antonia’s shop windows and a large area within the store with selected items from its summer 2019 collection.
“I have known Antonia for a long time. This is a truly special initiative, since usually Christian Dior is not sold at multibrand stores,” Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri told FashionNetwork.com. “I was keen to come to Milan to support ‘The Unexpected Subject’, the exhibition which recently opened at Frigoriferi Milanesi also thanks to the backing of Dior, one of the exhibition's leading sponsors. ‘The Unexpected Subject’ focuses on the relationship between the visual arts and the feminist movement, a theme dear to my heart,” said Chiuri.
Close by, Milan’s central Brera district was filled to the brim with parties. Hermès presented its latest home decoration collection at the ample La Pelota venue, accompanied by musicians and nibbles. Etro entertained guests at the via Pontaccio store, showcasing its home décor line. Across the street, Philosophy by Alberta Ferretti took over multibrand fashion store Clan with a pop-up area with a nomadic theme. One street over, designer Angela Missoni unveiled a highly colourful installation by artist Alessandra Roveda in her showroom.
Many labels launched their design week initiatives on Monday 8, keen to garner visibility ahead of the Furniture Fair, which officially kicked off on Tuesday April 9 and is scheduled to run until Sunday 14. Vogue Italia threw open the doors of its offices, entirely refurbished for the occasion by designers like Jonathan Anderson, who devised a relaxed, spiritual office environment, and illustrator and decorator Pierre Marie, who frequently collaborates with Hermès and designed the poetic wallpaper motifs for the corridors and Vogue’s talent room.
For the first time, Tod’s presented a project entirely dedicated to the Furniture Fair. It is called ‘No_Code Shelter: Stories of Contemporary Life’, and it occupies a large exhibition area within Milan’s Leonardo Da Vinci Science and Technology Museum. The idea is to explore the different ways in which the reality of contemporary life is understood, through eight interviews with renowned artists, designers and stylists of different age and provenance. The interviews are broadcast on screens set up inside several different huts/cabins conceived by architect Andrea Caputo, who designed the installation.
Cos, the H&M group’s more upmarket label, sponsored an original installation designed by French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani, who made 700 3D printed cone-shaped baskets in wood and bio-plastic, building with them an airy, transparent arch-like structure installed in the courtyard and gardens of the historic Palazzo Isimbardi.
On the same evening, Giorgio Armani took over first the Tortona district, the birthplace of Fuorisalone, and then the whole of Milan to promote the inauguration of ‘The challenge-Tadao Ando’, an exhibition celebrating the famous Japanese architect staged at the Armani/Silos museum.
The exhibition is an opportunity to explore the work of Ando, who has collaborated with some of the leading names in fashion, like Giorgio Armani, for whom he built the Armani/Teatro, François Pinault, for whom Ando is currently working on the renovation and extension of the Paris Commercial Exchange, and Luciano Benetton, for whom Ando created the Fabrica centre. The Benetton group’s founder was present at the exhibition’s inauguration, alongside a string of celebrities.
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