Fashion Brands Step It Up at Milan Design Week

The home lines that showed at Salone del Mobile and around town mirrored the labels’ most luxurious — and extreme — runway looks.

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Roberto Cavalli’s offer was equally in sync with his fashion looks, and featured dining room tables covered in calfskin that was printed to look like alligator; sparkly leopard print or patchwork ponyskin wallpaper; fox fur throws and pillows, and shiny cabinets and bureaus with fat, round gold handles. The designer also staged an installation called “Gold, Excess and Love” at Milan’s Spazio Edit, showing gold versions of some of his main pieces. “I wanted to make them gold because they have to stand out, they have to be special,” said Cavalli, adding that he is negotiating with a Chinese entrepreneur to design two towers with a shopping mall, and a Roberto Cavalli Club and Café in Chengdu, China.

While not as flashy, Missoni went wild with prints — covering low sofas, giant globe lamps and rugs in an oversize sunflower print with muted, earthy colors such as cornflower blue, heather, mauve and dusty rose. There were also the brand’s signature zigzag prints — in a similar color palette.

Rosita Missoni, who helms the home division, characterized her efforts as “a melting pot, a flow of ideas,” as she believes the collections never start and end. “You pick up from the last.” One item Missoni was particularly proud of was a knitwear-covered chair — complete with patches on the elbow rests. “Ideally, I would love the concept of a white, Japanese-style tatami house…but probably just because it offers spaces I can quickly fill with colors,” she said with a smile.

A Missoni hotel on Mauritius is in the works, following previous openings in Edinburgh and Kuwait City, while a unit in Oman has been stalled, said the designer. Her brother, Alberto Jelmini, said Missoni Home has sales of around 20 million euros, or $26.2 million, accounting for 70 percent of revenues of T&J Vestor, which produces the line. Italy now accounts for 20 percent of sales, while it represented 60 percent five years ago.

Diesel — a brand that loves an ironic twist — showed off cabinets with doors and handles that looked just like the compartments where food and drinks are stored on an airplane, and a cabinet door covered in a photo of a rundown, high-rise apartment building. A sofa was covered in a jacquard fabric meant to look like wrinkled stripes, while beds were covered in duvets bearing photographic prints of fur.

Prada’s exhibition space on Milan’s Via Fogazzaro served as a backdrop to the futuristic, high-performance furniture collection Tools for Life made by OMA, cofounded in 1975 by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, for Knoll Inc., which marks its 75th anniversary this year. The pieces were previewed during Prada’s fall men’s show in January. “We surrounded the seating with the house, and the questions on how to inhabit it, while experimenting and keeping the energy in design [arose],” said Koolhaas. “We wanted to create a range of furniture that performs in a very precise way but also in completely unpredictable ways, furniture that not only contributes to the interior but also to the animation.”

The signature piece was the 04 Counter, a stack of three horizontal bars that the user can rotate and transform into a series of shelves and cantilevered benches, all in concrete, leather and patterned wood. Also of note were round tables in travertine or with an acrylic top and aluminum base powered by an electric motor that can be adjusted in height to accommodate seating or standing.

At its Via Montenapoleone boutique, Louis Vuitton presented Object Nomades, the line of transportable objects that was launched at the latest edition of Miami Art Basel. It includes pieces by Marteen Bass; Fernando and Humberto Campana, and Nendo.

At the historical Palazzo Liberty, Hermès presented Les Nécessaires d’Hermès, a collection of eight luxury yet functional furniture pieces conceived by French designer Philippe Nigro. “It was my first time working with Hermès, which gave me carte blanche,” said Nigro. One item was Groom, a multifunctional clothing track in exclusive Canaletto walnut wood.

Antonio Marras unveiled a line of carpets and wallpaper in the atmosphere of his picturesque Circolo Marras. Paying homage to his native Sardinia, Marras collaborated with Oristano-based Bentu Srl on a collection of hand-woven black and white carpets, featuring repeated and mirrored motifs. The designer let his imagination run free, as he presented wallpaper produced by Italian company Wall&Decò with giant flowers that seemed sketched on the ruled page of a vintage notebook.

A newcomer at Milan Design Week, jewelry designer Osanna Visconti unveiled her first home accessories line at Dimore Studio gallery in the heart of the arty Brera district.

“As I was shaping wax for my jewelry line, I had the idea of crafting objects I could place in my home,” she said. In collaboration with Fonderia Artistica Battaglia, Milan’s storied foundry that has over the years realized the art works of important artists such as Arnaldo Pomodoro and Giuseppe Penone, Visconti created one-of-a-kind vases, plates and candleholders in bronze, as well as a range of silver cutlery, all featuring flowerlike, organic shapes.

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