All The Best Things That Happened At Salone del Mobile

On a warm and windy evening in April, crowds are gathering in Milan. On one side of the street there are queues for Loewe; on the opposite block, the lines winds around the corner to get into Armani; and a little further up the cobbled road a huge gaggle is assembling at Hermès. Exclusive fashion flash sales I hear you ask? Not at all. It’s Salone del Mobile time again! And the design capital’s Brera district is buzzing.

If anyone was still under the allusion that it’s fashion week that brings Milan to a standstill, then dropping a pin anywhere around the city during the seven days of Salone del Mobile would dispel that theory. During design week each April, Milan turns into a city-wide celebration of skill and style and the energy is palpable. 

This year, the growing fashion contingency on the schedule made its presence felt alongside the established interior design greats including Kartell, Cassina, and Flos, and emerging modern masters like DimoreStudio, Lasvit and Alcova; the eclectic combination of myriad mediums making it a design showcase like no other.

Where else would you find Mr Armani making an impromptu appearance greeting guests like old friends in Palazzo Orsini in the morning as he unveiled his ode to decades of travel and inspiration with his presentation ‘Echoes From The World’? Or be able to take in a literary lecture by Prada in the afternoon as a part of its Prada Frames collaboration with FormaFantasma and learn about the history of plants in our homes and our co-dependent relationship with them? Or walk a Hermès catwalk crafted from 16 different types of earth, stone, wood, and reclaimed Italian bricks that took four full weeks to install?

courtesy of Gucci (left) and Loewe (right)

That and more was on the schedule at the 63rd instalment of the showcase last week and 10 Magazine was part fly on the wall, part busy bee getting the lowdown on all. The big takeaway? It turns out that fashion’s penchant for a trend isn’t limited to the runway. The majority of the fashion houses in Milan affiliated themselves with the archives of design greats this year.

At Saint Laurent’s candlelit presentation in the cloisters of Chiostri di San Simpliciano, the plates commissioned by Gio Ponti for the house he designed for Anala and Armando Planchart in Caracas and recommissioned by Anthony Vaccarello were displayed in futuristic tubes. At Gucci’s Design Ancora (the latest string to Sabato de Sarno’s Ancora series-bow), five iconic objects by Mario Bellini, Piero Portaluppi, Nanda Vogi, Tobia Scarpa, Gae Alenti and Piero Castiglione, were reimagined in the brand’s new signature deep cherry red. At Loro Piana, Francesco Pergamo paid tribute to the architect Cina Boeri on what would have been her 100th birthday by re-upholstering her most famous pieces of furniture in the house’s luxe textiles. And Versace held its furniture presentation, ‘If These Walls Could Talk’, at the Palazzo Gesu – home to Gianni and birthplace of the Supermodel from that 1991 fashion show.

Elsewhere, the spirit of invention was on show. Fendi Casa and Dolce & Gabbana both introduced new family members to its furniture collections. Miu Miu held its first literary club celebrating the writings of pioneering female authors Sibilla Aleramo and Alba De Céspedes. And Loewe invited 24 artists it has previously worked with either on the craft prize or its fashion shows to each create a lighting structure for the first time (the results widely agreed to be the highlight of the week across fashion and design).

And the best part? No guestlist. Everyone’s invited at Salone, hence the crowds, the packed bars and the city-wide sense of carnival conviviality that is increasingly well worth dropping a pin for.

Top image courtesy of Thom Browne. 


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