Designers Show Home Collections at Salone del Mobile

Staying true to themselves was the mantra for Italian designers.

with contributions from Alessandra Turra
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MILAN — Staying true to themselves was the mantra for Italian designers displaying their new home collections during Milan’s design week.

To balance wobbly consumer spending in Europe and other regions, the design world, like the fashion one, is increasingly reaching out to emerging markets. And designers are taking notes: Those regions are hungry for the essence of the brands and the lifestyles they communicate.

It isn’t surprising then that Roberto Cavalli’s first home collection included zebra-print armchairs and the “Jaguar” spotted rug. Donatella Versace’s collection was a joyful trip through her colorful, iconic patterns, framed by the brand’s Greek frieze — all marking a strong return to her brother’s original Baroque sensibility.

Giorgio Armani’s Oriental touch and workmanship, such as a French technique from the Twenties and Thirties that employs straw, was entirely in line with the designer’s sensibility and aesthetics.

“The Oriental way of thinking is not characterized by one single logic but is the result of thousands of influences and overlappings that express themselves through different symbols and decorations,” said Armani. “I have re-elaborated them according to my taste for linearity and for the essence of things, trying to maintain the incredible richness of signs, which enchants me.”

A flurry of rose and mimosa patterns embellished Blumarine’s lilac and pink sofas, testimony to designer Anna Molinari’s passion for buds.

“There is a return to brand identity and products that are very recognizable,” said Versace, poured into a black and gold dress that blended with the pattern of the sofa she was sitting on. “There is too much uniformity around.”

“I don’t know if you can furnish the whole house with these pieces,” conceded Cavalli, “but I love it, I’m really happy. I take ideas from my fashion, and the home line complements that. I want it sexy. I love color not only in fashion but also in furniture. When I see those minimal, Japanese-style, very rigid designs, I don’t like them.”

The designer signed a slew of licensing agreements for the collection, including with Industrie Emiliana Parati for wallpaper and Caleffi Group for bedding.

Walter Ragazzi, chief executive of Idea SpA, which produces Blumarine furniture, said the line, now in its third season, has doubled sales over the second season. He attributed the gains to the fact that the collection is “very much personalized. One of its strengths is that it is recognizable, with the designs that characterize the Blumarine brand.” Ragazzi said that customers in China, Russia and the Middle East buy into the “general concept,” and customize their houses with a whole “project,” not necessarily single pieces.

Antonio Marras teamed up with Milan-based design retailer Rossana Orlandi to launch Milly, his first home collection. “I started from fabrics, for which I have a great affinity,” said Marras. “This collection represents a sort of ideal continuation of the last runway show. It’s a kind of patchwork of the fabrics I used for my fall collection.”

Spazio Rossana Orlandi ceo Aldo Cingolani said the collection particularly fits the requests coming from emerging markets, including Asia, Russia, Brazil and India. “They don’t buy single pieces, but they look for complete stylistic solutions, and they also look for established names that reassure clients,” he said.

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