During this year’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile furniture fair in Milan, names like Bottega, Versace, and Armani got equal billing with Artek and Alessi, as fashion houses expanded their home furnishing lines into serious design territory. Donatella Versace moved beyond her signature oversize Medusa prints to collaborate with Berlin-based artist Tim Roeloffs on abstract graphic textiles that later appeared on a sofa, while Bottega Veneta’s Tomas Maier paired with Poltrona Frau to develop a high-back leather armchair. The Italian house Moschino unveiled a conceptual collection dubbed My Better Half, which includes a red alder lamp that exists only in, well, half (the other side is reflected in a mirror). And this is not a strictly Milanese phenomenon: Just a few months earlier at the Maison & Objet show in Paris, Loro Piana’s Interiors Collection featured tweed upholstery reinterpreted in cashmere and the ultimate luxury: a 100 percent cashmere carpet. Loro Piana plans to open an Interiors showroom in New York this fall.
And though designers may have focused more recently on crafting resort collections and It bags, fashion and furniture have a rich design history. In the seventies Pierre Cardin became known as much for his futuristic approach to home design as for his mod A-line shifts. And perhaps not content with the new guard getting all the glory, right on the heels of the Milan fair Cardin opened a furniture shop on the Rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré in Paris, where new items such as an oversize lamp in the shape of a bird of paradise appear alongside his vintage lacquered pieces.