Between fashion weeks we like to spend some time in the design world – and the biggest event of the year (as we reported last week) is undoubtedly Salone del Mobile. The multi-location main fair, as well as the countless satellite fairs around the city, exhibits work by some of the most talented designers working today, many in partnership with heavyweight names from the worlds of luxury fashion and interior design. Should you have missed the cultural festivities, here are some of the strongest presentations from the week.
Really – Circular by Design
Europe’s leading contemporary textile producer Kvadrat was established in Denmark in 1968, and has deep roots in Scandinavia’s design tradition. For decades, they’ve worked with architects and designers across the world, cherished for their high-quality innovations. For the second year, Kvadrat has partnered with Really, a design studio founded in 2013 by Wickie Meier Engström, Klaus Samsøe and Ole Smedegaard that responding to the urgent global issue of waste by up-cycling end-of-life textiles and giving them a new life as design objects. Together, they have invented new materials and invited design thinkers and makers to interpret them in new, exciting ways. In Milan, Really showcased projects by Benjamin Hubert | LAYER, Christien Meindertsma, Claesson Koivisto Rune, Front, Jo Nagasaka, Jonathan Olivares and Raw-Edges Design Studio, all integrating textile boards and felts in furniture and interior objects. Collectively, these practices explore the changing narrative of textile resources, re-thinking them to exist in a circular economy of production.
COS x PKS3
Another returning player at Salone del Mobile is the Scandinavian high street chain COS, who each year team up with design thinkers and artists to produce immersive architectural installations. For 2018, they have invited the PKS3 to produce a new spatial installation in the gardens of the historic Palazzo Isimbardi. The glass and mirror work is alluring in that it changes its appearance throughout the day, reflecting its surrounding landscape in relation to the viewer’s position. A meditation on space, materiality, and place, PKS3 explores the modern-day monument through changing lights and colors.
Hermes @ Milan Furniture Fair
The French luxury house Hermès is not only a cherished name in fashion, but boasts an impressive design and interior range for the contemporary consumer très chic. Their pavilion at Milan Furniture Fair invites the audience into an opulent world of alluring commodities, from decorative bowls and textiles to refined wooden furniture, ceramics, and of course a whole range of ridiculously attractive leather goods. Keeping their presentation quintessentially atmosphereic, the brand simply framed their presentation through a series of sensoral prompters: burnt umber, acid lave, cobalt clue, ivory, grey cinnabar, red limestone…. Could we make just this the moodboard of our life more generally?
Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades
Not unlike Hermès, the French luxury house Louis Vuitton has its roots in design objects, specifically travel merchandise. Since 1854, bourgeois travelers have been drooling over their suitcases and bags, and since 2012, LV has extended this heritage into the world of furniture design through their line Objets Nomades. In Milan, they present 10 new additions to their series of “nomadic objects” which already includes hammocks, foldable stools, and exquisite bottle holders (yes, you need one). Working with creative designers from around the world like Atelier Oï, Maarten Baas, and Nendo, each project is an opportunity for designers and Louis Vuitton’s creative artisans to combine their savoir-faire to interpret the idea of travel in their own imaginative ways. For 2018, they’re adding two new names in the mix: India Mahdavi and Tokujin Yoshioka.
For more information, see Salone del Mobile
Buzzling vibes from the anticipating crowd. A few celebrity spotted front row. An empty catwalk. Lights dim. Music on! 99% of all fashion shows start like this. The modern-day spectacle of the fashion show – a format that have only come of age in the last 50 years and continues to develop by each season – is profoundly shaped by its musical backdrop, with the auditory used as a subtle way to massage the subliminal senses of celebs, buyers, and critics, and enchant them with the uniqueness of your brand. The runway soundtrack became an increasingly wide-spread phenomenon with the mega-shows of the 1980s, championed by the likes of Thierry Mugler in particular, whose 150+ look shows needed quite the musical landscape to keep critics on their tiptoes (and stay awake). In the 1990s, designers like Margiela and Helmut Lang featured tight minimalist soundtracks in their shows, enmeshing fashion more firmly in the club and music scene, and eventually giving rise to the runway DJ, who is commissioned to produced original soundtracks to the 10-minute affair. Today, names like Frédéric Sanchez and Michel Gaubert have made fashion’s hall of fame for their ongoing collaboration with French luxury houses like Louis Vuitton and Chanel, but a younger set of names like NYC figure Honey Dijon have been keeping the fashion world on the dancefloor for several years. Behold some of our favorite soundtracks and soundscapes of the last 10 years, which also, incidentally, also works wonderfully as background music for your office drinks, your showroom, or your morning shower routine.
The press have received New York’s ‘New Guard’ with an unconditionally warm embrace, or so the stream of glib praise that has been flowing unstemmed from around the middle of the decade would have you think. Show write-ups have heralded the arrival of a long-awaited revolution, lead by an army of emerging designers and their refreshingly diverse entourages. They are not wrong, the contribution made by this new generation to the on-going shift in fashion’s status is not to be downplayed. A closer listen, however, reveals old habits murmuring beneath the platitude-heavy hubbub, colouring their whoops and cheers with doubt.
Danish-American photographer Charlie Rubin takes photographic image-making into an expanded field of motifs, processes, and psychic feel. Working across classical portraiture, publishing, and painterly post-production, his work creatively reflects upon the changing notion of photography after its digital revolution, and asks how it relates to our contemporary social spirit. He recipient of the Foam Talent award from the Foam Museum in Amsterdam in 2013, which enabled him to publish Strange Paradise in 2014, a book of photographs and collages that “explored American anxiety and lethargy.” Currently preparing for an upcoming show John Doe Gallery in New York, we sit down with Rubin to discuss photo manipulation, meditation, and entropy.
Ghetto fabulous at the Freemasons Hall. CSM alum Essie Buckman’s Fortie Label is evidently a sought-after fashion week rendez-vous. Guests kept on arriving. The PRs weren’t erratic at all and looked spectacular — we’re talking hair done, nails done, outfit on point. One of them said the show would start a little late. But it took 45 minutes for the lights to finally dim and for the conversations to turn into whispers and giggles. The show had started. What a start! It was worth the wait. Opening the show, a PIMP with pink hair and a gigantic fur coat walked towards the cluster of photographers flashing their lights incessantly at the end of the runway, throwing hundred dollar bills at the audience. The tone was set, it was going to look like a Sean Diddy Combs party, a Lil Waynemusic video or a night at ALive Atlanta (that’s the famous strip club where Drake once frittered away 2 million dollars).
Burberry didn’t reach its 4% growth predicted by Bloomberg News at the end of 2017. The company saw its revenue slip by 2% instead, over the holiday period. Christopher Bailey, president and chief creative officer of the storied British brand stepped down, having failed to bring back Burberry’s appeal. Of course, looking at the bigger picture, Bailey has provided the company with growth and creative success during his 17-year tenure. The collections he created for the then-Prorsum line were at the utmost of luxury and creativity. Unfortunately, the designer hasn’t been able to restructure the label in the past few years to subsequently drive strong sales.
“Scandi Minimalism” has been a trope in fashion for well over a decade, a label that has garnered previously unmatched attention to Scandinavian fashion, boosting the industry if not at times oppressing its aesthetic potentiality. It seems that while most designers across the world works to distill their artistic vision into one of sartorial simplicity, Nordic designers are faced with the opposite challenge: to differentiate from simplicity. For both loud and quiet fashion, pure style moves beyond questions of adornment. No one knows this more than Filippa Knutsson, the Swedish powerhouse designer who established the RTW label Filippa K almost 25 years ago.