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All the Fashion Highlights From Milan Design Week 2024

All the Fashion Highlights From Milan Design Week 2024

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As the Salone del Mobile design fair opens its doors in the suburb of Rho this week, it served as the smoke signal that Milan Design Week has officially begun. And just as compelling as the furniture displays presented in the convention halls of Fiera Milano are the various Fuori Salone projects springing up around the city—many of them coming courtesy of the world’s most esteemed fashion houses.

This year, fashion had arguably a greater presence than ever before. Long-time Salone stalwarts such as Hermès, Ralph Lauren, and Loewe all debuted their latest collections across the city, but there was a crop of notable newcomers too. Sabato De Sarno unveiled his first furniture collection for Gucci in his trademark glossy burgundy—or “Ancora red”—riffing on the work of a series of Italian design titans, while Thom Browne continued his forays into homewares with his first linen collection with Frette, showcased in his typically theatrical style at an 18th-century palazzina in the heart of the Parco Sempione.

Here, find all of the fashion highlights from this year’s Milan Design Week.

Hermès

It’s been 10 years since Charlotte Macaux Perelman and Alexis Fabry first took over Hermès Maison as creative directors—so it was only fitting that the presentation of their latest collection this week should artfully blur the lines between past and present. In the cavernous central space of their long-time Milan Design Week home, La Pelota Jai Alai, the floor was covered with a striking series of panels —raw earth, terracotta, bricks, rocks, adobe, and wood—with criss-crossing black walkways overlaid to create the effect of walking through an archaeological site.

Yet arguably the most delightful part was the corridor running along the back of the room, where 21 new objects and furniture pieces were displayed next to items from the Hermès archives. A graceful lamp with a braided leather stem was placed near a 1980s hunting whip with a deer antler hook, while a new collection of porcelain dinnerware featuring braided patterns around the edge was presented side by side with a 1950s rope strap. Elsewhere, a hand-painted bamboo light designed by Tomás Alonso communed with the geometric forms of a Loop necklace from 2003; and the rhythmic patterns of a blanket found an echo in the lacquered chevrons of a 1930s cigarette case. It was the perfect expression of the Hermès Maison studio’s ability to work with such a wide variety of designers and makers, and then gather them into a cohesive whole. —Liam Hess

Bottega Veneta

Photo: Courtesy of Bottega Veneta

Under creative director Matthieu Blazy, Bottega Veneta has doubled down on its commitment to craftsmanship, stepping into the fray last year with a charming exhibition in its Via Montenapoleone store created by the late design maestro Gaetano Pesce. This time around, Blazy looked to another titan: Le Corbusier. Working with Cassina, he created an homage to Le Corbusier’s LC14 Tabouret Cabanon stool, stacked elegantly in the central atrium of a building on Piazza San Fedele that is currently in the process of being refurbished to become the brand’s new headquarters.

Some of the pieces came in a scorched wood finish, using a technique inspired by centuries-old Japanese tradition (and one that may look a little familiar to Bottega-heads, given the stools were used as seating for the brand’s fall 2024 show back in February), while others were covered with the brand’s signature intrecciato woven leather technique, with jewel-like colors covered in a black wash to create a kind of glossy chiaroscuro. “As a house specializing in bags and leather goods, we have a design heritage that is deeply pragmatic, and at the same time gestures to imagination and adventure,” Blazy told Vogue’s Mark Holgate in a preview earlier this week—and there was plenty of imagination and adventure to be found here. —L.H.

Gucci

Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani

Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani

At his debut collection for Gucci last year, Sabato De Sarno unveiled his vision for the house primarily through one color: “Ancora red.” (A rich burgundy that was often presented with a kind of lacquered sheen, in case you were wondering.) It served as a neat running theme, then, for his first furniture collection at the house, which saw De Sarno take his cues from a pantheon of Italian design masters—Gae Aulenti, Mario Bellini, and Tobia Scarpa among them—and then reimagine five classic pieces of furniture in his signature shade. (A rug inspired by the patterns of Piero Portaluppi—here displayed as a wall hanging—and a bulbous leather sofa reissued from a 1972 design by Bellini for Tacchini were particular highlights.)

Just as striking, though, was their elegant presentation: upstairs at their Milan flagship on Via Montenapoleone, De Sarno, his co-curator Michela Pelizzari, and the Spanish architect Guillermo Santomà lavished the walls with the other stand-out hue from De Sarno’s debut collection, a blazing chartreuse green. It made for a pleasing exercise in contrasts, and a confident doubling-down on De Sarno’s already immediately identifiable house codes. —L.H.

Loewe

While there’s a head-spinningly long list of fashion brands popping up with projects around Salone del Mobile these days, Loewe has been a consistent presence since Jonathan Anderson first took the reins at the house over a decade ago. And it’s not hard to see why: From the get-go, Anderson’s vision for Loewe has put a firm emphasis on craft, with an array of prizes and exhibitions that honor makers and artisans of all stripes. This year, he worked with 24 international artists to stage his most ambitious outing yet: In the industrial concrete basement of the Palazzo Citterio, in the heart of the city, Anderson unveiled a dazzling array of lamps across the full spectrum of size, shape, and material, creating his own, thrilling festival of light.

Standout designs included a charming anthropomorphic bronze and onyx table lamp by Enrico David—titled “Sleepwalker,” it featured a swan-like curved neck over a clear resin light diffuser—as well as a delicate hanging lamp by the former Loewe Craft Prize winner Ernst Gamperl constructed from oak and leaves of Japanese shoji paper punctured through the middle. If the red dot stickers visible across the majority of the pieces on display were anything to go by, the exhibition was a commercial hit, too. —L.H.

Loro Piana

In the bright, four-story interior courtyard of Loro Piana’s global HQ, the brand dressed classic furniture pieces from the repertoire of Italian architect and designer Cini Boeri in luxuriant Loro Piana Interiors fabrics. (The elevated exhibition is open to the public through April 28.) Aptly entitled “A Tribute To Cini Boeri,” the installation incorporates Boeri’s award-winning modular Strips system from 1979, rounded Pecorelle sofas and armchairs, geometric Bobo and Boborelax armchairs and low-sitting Botolo chairs, as well as her process sketches and insightful quotations. Each was upholstered in Loro Piana material, from their silk and cashmere blend Cashfur to Tiepolo wool.

“On one side there’s a celebration of the past; on the other, a bridge to the future,” Francesco Pergamo, the director of Loro Piana Interiors, told Vogue. “This year, Cini Boeri turns 100. Loro Piana is also turning 100. We thought it would be great to celebrate someone with as long a history as us. At the same time, the iconic pieces that we are showcasing here could easily be associated with the pieces we have in our ready-to-wear collections today.” The exhibit, which allows visitors to sit upon many pieces (though not the ones exhibited on patches of grass), was arranged in collaboration with Archivio Cini Boeri (the designer’s archive) and arflex, an organization of Italian craftsmen. —David Graver

Prada

During Salone del Mobile, Prada has typically made a point of going a different route: instead of showcasing homewares in a more literal fashion, they’ve worked with the ambitious Milanese research-based design studio Formafantasma to host Prada Frames, a series of talks that explore notions of the domestic through Prada’s famously intellectually rigorous lens. This year, their venue was the breathtaking Museo Bagatti Valsecchi in the heart of the Montenapoleone shopping district, a hidden gem filled with Renaissance masterpieces. (And, for this week only, a neon sign reading “Prada Frames” hanging above a carved stone doorway.)

On the afternoon I visited, I listened to a talk from the rising architect and artist Jayden Ali about his agenda-setting London-based practice, followed by a conversation about the idea of the queer home between academic and author Jack Halberstam and architect Andrés Jaque. (The latter proved to be riotously funny, as Jaque touched upon his investigations into the relationship between Grindr and interior spaces—and whether today’s users of the app are judging people as much on their backdrops as they are their physiques.) It was smart, subversive, and a welcome respite to sit down for an hour and a half in the ravishingly beautiful surroundings of the Bagatti Valsecchi to hear these radical thinkers humorously put the world to rights. —L.H.

Thom Browne

Photo: Stefania M. D’Alessandro

Over the past few years, Thom Browne has been quietly making steps into the world of homewares, collaborating with the likes of Baccarat, Christofle, and Haviland. For his first outing during Milan Design Week with Frette, however, the designer decided to make a bolder statement, channeling the theatrical energy of his runway shows into one of the week’s most memorable presentations. Within the opulent central hall of the Palazzina Appiani, a Neoclassical building nestled in a leafy corner of the city’s Parco Sempione, viewers were greeted by a series of six mid-century cots decked out in his new line of bed linens in fine cotton sateen, detailed with Browne’s signature four-bar insignia.

As lullabies began to play over the speakers, a procession of models began circulating around the room as if sleepwalking, before being dressed by two mysterious attendants in a full Browne three-piece suit and tucking themselves into bed. The most delightful part? A last-minute addition of Thom Browne sleep masks. Expect those to become a fashion editor favorite while jetting across the Atlantic to the European shows next season. —L.H.

Miu Miu

Another brand making its Salone del Mobile debut this season was Miu Miu—and in a clever variation on the format employed by its big sister brand, Prada, they unveiled the Miu Miu Literary Club, a two-day program of panels and talks spotlighting the work of a pair of overlooked women authors. The venue couldn’t have been more Miu Miu if it tried: A few blocks over from the Duomo, the event took place in the Circolo Filologico Milanese, a 19th-century library and cultural club straight out of a Wes Anderson movie. At the talk I attended, curator and writer Lou Stoppard led a fascinating and genuinely moving panel with multiple-prize-winning authors Jhumpa Lahiri, Sheila Heti, and Claudia Durastanti, in which they discussed Alba De Céspedes’s pioneering neorealist novel Forbidden Notebook, which acquired a new audience after being republished for the first time in 70 years by Pushkin Press last year.

Across their wide-ranging conversation—which involved Lahiri proudly showcasing a dog-eared paperback copy of one of De Céspedes’s novels she discovered while taking her regular Sunday walks through her local Roman market of Porta Portese, complete with a delightfully cheesy retro cover—the trio discussed everything from keeping diaries, to motherhood, to the paradox of male writers from Dante to Proust putting their inner emotional worlds on the page and being celebrated for it, while women working in a similar mode are sidelined as “confessional” writers. The assembled group of listeners—which included Zawe Ashton, Poppy Delevingne, and Ella Richards, all decked out in head-to-toe Miu Miu—were captivated, and when it came time for the talk to end you could have heard a pin drop. (Until, that is, the room quickly erupted into applause.) Afterwards, guests chatted over canapés and spritzes in the charming book-lined lounge space, with many already beginning to thumb through their provided copies of Forbidden Notebook. It was a brilliantly executed new facet of Miu Miu’s tradition of championing women creatives—see their Women’s Tales film program as another example—and an unexpected highlight of Milan Design Week. —L.H.

Dolce & Gabbana

While Milan museumgoers are currently able to immerse themselves in Dolce & Gabbana’s most imaginative collections through the exhibition “From the Heart to the Hands” at Palazzo Reale, Milan Design Week attendees were invited into the luxury brand’s headquarters to see releases from their Casa homewares division. The airy, glass-walled, marble-clad space was an apt setting for the new, monochromatic Dreaming in Black and Dreaming in White sofas and armchairs, as well as the introduction of the Bialetti coffee maker in one of the maison’s expressive, signature patterns: Blu Mediterraneo.

Other floors came to life with homewares in zebra and leopard prints, and vibrant, multicolored stylings that reference Sicilian folk heritage. This year, Dolce & Gabbana also revealed Gen D Volume 2, an exhibition curated by Federica Sala that features collaborative pieces with a diverse roster of 11 designers under the age of 40—from South Africa’s Thabisa Mjo to China’s Mingyu Xu and Mexico’s Mestiz—who used artisanal techniques to create truly wondrous items. —D.G.

Ralph Lauren

If Milan Design Week hosted a competition for the most elegant venue, Ralph Lauren would likely take home the prize. Housed in a striking Rationalist palazzo on Via San Barnaba that Mr. Lauren first acquired 25 years ago—and promptly converted into his Milan HQ and primary base of operations in Europe—its outdoor courtyard was transformed into an outpost of Ralph’s, with smartly-dressed waiters serving Champagne and canapés for visitors whiling away a balmy spring afternoon.

On the upper floor, though, the brand’s latest homewares offering was revealed in a series of rooms whose walls had been, somewhat astonishingly, covered in mahogany paneling and charcoal wool coverings just for the occasion. It served as a suitably glamorous backdrop for a collection inspired by Lauren’s extensive collection of vintage cars, from a reimagining of his RL-CF1 chair (first introduced in 2003, it features 71 layers of tissue carbon as a nod to the high-tech fiber used in Formula 1 cars) to his popular Beckford table lamp recreated in a metal wire mesh that paid homage to the grilles of his 1929 Blower Bentley. Even the dinnerware came with an automotive element: a series of plates inspired by old-school speedometers served as an especially charming touch. Lauren may have been in the homewares game for decades, but it was full speed ahead. —L.H.

Moncler

Photo: Courtesy of Moncler

Forgoing immersive product presentations or the more common in-store activations of Salone del Mobile, Moncler took over the walls (and station gates) of Milano Centrale, the city’s architecturally significant central railway station. The brand’s exhibition, “An Invitation to Dream,” paired large-scale, black-and-white still images and slow-motion film portraiture by London-based photographer Jack Davidson, spotlighting artists Daniel Arsham and Laila Gohar, playwright Jeremy O. Harris, Dr. Deepak Chopra, musician Rina Sawayama, and more. Curator Jefferson Hack oversaw each detail, from the visionary talent featured to the use of digital billboards and even the inclusion of handprinted lithographic prints. About 300,000 people pass through Milano Centrale every day, and Moncler’s exhibition warmly welcomes them all. —D.G.

Saint Laurent

This year, Saint Laurent made its first foray into Milan Design Week with a stylish presentation of Gio Ponti plates, originally created by the legendary Italian designer as part of a residential commission in Venezuela. For the serene setting of a cloister at the Chiostri di San Simpliciano, creative director (and curator of the exhibition, as part of the house’s Saint Laurent Rive Droite cultural program) Anthony Vacarello commissioned a striking centerpiece of columns decorated with Ponti-inspired rhythmic patterns—and announced that the exhibition would be accompanied by a reissuing of the plates in partnership with Ginori 1735. Get your orders in quickly. —L.H.

Issey Miyake

Photo: Valentina Sommariva

There are few fashion gurus as revered by interior designers like Issey Miyake, meaning the appeal of their Milan Design Week outings extends far beyond the fashion crowd. That was certainly the case with this week’s offering at their Milan flagship, which drew an eclectic stream of visitors this week to view the brand’s collaboration with the Dutch collective We Make Carpets. Titled “Fold and Crease,” the astonishingly intricate star pieces at first appeared to be enormous, bristling blankets, but upon closer inspection, revealed themselves as having been painstakingly crafted from 60,000 bamboo skewers inserted into an undulating sheet of foam, while miniature versions were created with clothes pins embedded, hedgehog-like, into strips of foam woven through delicate wooden structures. These were impressive feats of craftmanship of which the brand’s founder—the late, great Issey-san—would certainly be proud. —L.H.

MCM

Set to flickering chandeliers and singular spotlights—or, at moments, an eerie red glow—within the ornately decorated rooms of the 17th-century Palazzo Cusani, German brand MCM’s debut Salone del Mobile installation, entitled “Wearable Casa,” was imagined by Milan-based architecture and design firm Atelier Biagetti and curated by Italian design scholar Maria Cristina Didero. In contrast to its historic surroundings, the furniture pieces presented by MCM—the bulbous, graffiti-inspired Chatty Sofa; the modular daybed Tatamu, composed of contrasting geometries; the shimmering, block-like Mind Teaser chair; and the floating, portable Clepsydra Lantern (as well as a personal organizer, called the Magic Gilet, and an adjustable pet backpack)—conveyed visions of the future of home. In the historic courtyard outside, MCM also utilized a transparent greenhouse as a flower shop, book store, and temporary boutique. —D.G.

Diesel

Photo: Alessandro Saletta

With two parallel exhibitions—“Red Takeover” and “Silver Dome”—Diesel Living unveiled a series of collaborations with Sassuolo, Italy-based Iris Ceramica, historic Italian furniture brand Moroso, Venetian lighting designer Lodes, and the Made in Italy modular kitchen company Scavolini. The first space, drenched in crimson, used carpeting and Iris Ceramica lacquered “Melt” tiles as the backdrop for several geometric collaborative lamps, including the future-forward hanging piece known as Modular and Megaphone, a gradient glass table lamp. The sprawling second room, with floors and walls dressed in cracked, crinkled layers of metallic silver foil, introduced furnishings produced with Moroso, like a duffle bag-inspired D-uffle Sofa in technical canvas, the comfy, curvaceous Puff-D chair, and the Camp Bed. —D.G.

Fendi

At the Fendi Casa store opposite Teatro alla Scala, the brand unveiled its latest homewares collection in grand style—yet when you looked a little closer, the furniture offered a window into creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi’s more playful side. A modular sofa reinterpreted the brand’s iconic, interlocking FF logo in three dimensions, with a puzzle-like structure that offered a delightful interplay of textures, while a collaboration with the young Belgian designer Jonas Van Put provided a fresh take on the brand’s Pequin stripes, here in the form of coffee tables crafted from strips of marble and wood. —L.H.

Balenciaga

Photo: Annik Wetter

Photo: Annik Wetter

Photo: Annik Wetter

To coincide with Salone del Mobile, Balenciaga unveiled the latest iteration of their Art in Stores series by commissioning the American artist Andrew J. Greene to create eight original pieces to hang in the windows of the brand’s Via Montenapoleone flagship—and it certainly turned heads. (Upon paying a visit earlier this week, there were a dozen or so passers-by snapping pictures of the pieces, which rotated like a retro retail display.) In typically subversive Balenciaga style, the sculptures served as cheeky riffs on classic Balenciaga iconography: a red rose, a logo-printed coffee cup, a pair of the brand’s Knife pumps. But the most Instagrammed pieces? Those would be the two bags of Balenciaga-branded potato chip bags—available in spicy chili or cheese and onion, in case you were wondering. —L.H.

Zegna

More than a century ago, in Northern Italy’s Biella Alps, Ermenegildo Zegna commenced a reforestation project around his wool mill, throughout an area known today as Oasi Zegna. Since the Zegna founder embarked on this vast undertaking, more than 500,000 trees have been planted and nurtured in an area that stretches some 100 square kilometers. In honor of this continued commitment—and the release of a book dedicated to land preservation, entitled Born in Oasi Zegna—the Italian fashion brand transformed its Via Savona headquarters into its own oasis, complete with a transportive tunnel, four-screen immersive film project and a pop-up bookstore laden with a forest’s worth of fallen leaves collected from Oasi Zegna. A second-floor terrace also allowed visitors to stroll around—and reflect upon—one tree at the heart of an open-air courtyard. In tandem with this, Zegna also took over custodianship (for the next three years) of the flowerbeds at Milan’s most recognizable architectural structure, Piazza Duomo, decorating the popular tourist destination with flora reminiscent of Oasi Zegna. —D.G.

Lanvin

Photo: Massimiliano Lupetti

Photo: Massimiliano Lupetti

In the two-level Milan boutique of French luxury fashion house Lanvin, an array of the brand’s colorful Ballerina shoes and one jewel-encrusted Concerto Bag has found a temporary home during Salone del Mobile—all sitting atop sculptural benches and chairs, including one crafted from aluminum by Rooms Studio. Founded in the nation of Georgia by Nata Janberidze and Keti Toloraia in 2007, the architecture and design studio coupled these pieces with tall, slender, rough-hewn lamps with upturned glass shades reminiscent of a closed flower. Lanvin selected the two women behind Rooms Studio as design partners to mirror the trailblazing path of founding designer Jeanne Lanvin. —D.G.

JW Anderson

Photo: Courtesy of JW Anderson

Jonathan Anderson may be a Salone veteran thanks to his long history of Loewe projects in the city, but with the opening of his JW Anderson store in Milan last summer, he decided it was finally time to enter the Design Week fray with his namesake brand, too. (The designer also began showing his JW Anderson men’s and pre-fall collections in Milan back in 2021.) To mark the occasion, Anderson invited the fast-rising artist Patrick Carroll—whose playful woven textile canvases blur the line between painting and clothes—to showcase 37 of his artworks around the store. The pieces dovetailed neatly with Anderson’s own winking sense of humor: Who could say no to a translucent knitted panel reading “fear of death” in baby blue? —L.H.

La DoubleJ

Only a handful of blocks from the flagship boutique of Milan-based fashion and homewares brand La DoubleJ, the 18th-century Milanese splendors of Palazzo Belgioioso hosted a kinetic, motorized sculpture by multidisciplinary artist Max Siedentopf named “Dancing Plates.” The energized work of art was a platform to unveil “Solar,” La DoubleJ’s patterned collection of porcelain plates with gold accents, colorful hand-blown Murano glassware, and vibrant linens printed in nearby Como. The sculpture itself nods to another sun-inspired creation, the whimsical “Solar Do-Nothing” machine created by famed furniture maker Eames in 1957.

“The title is very much inspired by the collection, which chose inspiration from the sun and the energy of the sun,” Siedentopf told Vogue. “For this installation, we wanted to play with energy and the energy of a dinner: the lively conversations, plates behind passed around, a clinking glass.” This is the first-ever, large-scale activation by the brand at Salone del Mobile, and, as founder J.J. Martin added, “We are all about joy. The artist, Max, got that. He conveyed the playful energy of our pieces.” —D.G.

Rimowa

Photo: Rui Wu

Photo: Rui Wu

For anyone seeking a stylish stopover (and a hit of caffeine) while doing the rounds, Caffe Rimowa was the first port of call. Conveniently situated next to Spazio Maiocchi, the buzzy cultural hub that serves as something of a hotspot during Milan Design Week, the luggage brand transformed a bijou space into a retro Milanese coffee bar, complete with glossy mahogany paneling and burnt red tiling. It was an appropriate backdrop for their latest product launch: a sleek aluminum espresso machine created in partnership with La Marzocco, blending the signature grooves of their suitcases with the Italian coffee powerhouse’s distinctive midcentury lettering and design motifs. A match made in highly caffeinated heaven. —L.H.

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