Who thought that an Italian girl from Rome who has visited Milan multiple times would still learn so much from a study trip to the Capital of Fashion? It took me only a few days to see Milan under a completely different light and to change my idea of the city. The people and the food set the scene as soon as we arrived but what really gave quality to this experience was seeing the energy surrounding it, an energy given by an innovative world of luxury and design.
This week was for us, FDLM students, the opportunity to touch and experience luxury under a different aspect. Looking at this industry from the inside-out was what we needed to better understand how important every single person or step is to finally have a product that is worth defining ‘luxury’.
As soon as we arrived, we were lucky enough to experience the last drops of the Design Week and the Fuorisalone. The city came alive thanks to the biggest fashion houses such as Trussardi, Gucci, Rimowa, Hermès joining forces with the world of design. Visiting two of the installations ‘Objets Nomades’ for Louis Vuitton and Tomás Saraceno’s exhibition for Bulgari gave us an idea of how innovative and vibrant the Design Week had been.
As showed on the photos, Louis Vuitton debuted its new collections in collaboration with Atelier Biagetti, Zanellato/Bortotto and other important designers at the Palazzo Serbelloni. The rooms of the palace were dimly lit, spotlights positioned on the furniture pieces to make the vibrant colours of the collection stand out.
On the other hand, as you can see from the photos the collaboration between Bulgari and the artist Tomás Saraceno for ‘Weaving the Cosmos’, was an installation where, as explained by Marianna Guernieri, “the macro-scale of the cosmos is related to real spider webs” (2019).
With the few exhibitions and installations that were still standing in the city, Milan looked as dynamic as ever and that gave me the chance to see why this particular city was where in Italy and in Europe fashion and luxury came alive.
Having those two experiences in the first few hours we arrived in Milan was reinvigorating and gave us all the energy and the curiosity we needed to face the busy week ahead.
What I probably underestimated before leaving for Italy was how much this study trip would help me get personal with the world I had been studying for months and if possible I was even more mesmerised by it.
Among the companies visited such as Living Divani, La Rinascente and the presentation by Loro Piana, Ratti in Como, the City of Silk, was, together with the Fuorisalone, one of the highlights of the trip. There, everyone could feel the importance of Italian heritage and savoir-faire within a family-owned business. Luckily, our guide was one of the oldest Ratti’s employees and he told us with passion and devotion how the company developed to become the giant it is today. A tour of the inventory and of the machinery room where the foulards and the scarves of the most important fashion houses are manufactured, made me even more aware of the fact that it takes a village and in this case also passion, dedication and skills to create something that can be defined ‘timeless’.
Back in Milan and in a tourist mode, we visited the Fondazione Prada. There, innovation, art, design all mix to create this temple dedicated to everything that brings something new to this creative world. This place of free expression includes various buildings of different styles as shown on the photos, going from a historic warehouse to a more modern, white construction, to a golden structure, and inside each of those, various artists show their vision of life such as Damien Hirst or Carsten Hôller.
Even though the Milan Design Week only happens once a year and many will not have the possibility to visit these extraordinary exhibitions and installations exclusively created for the Fuorisalone, the Fondazione Prada remains a shrine dedicated to the many interpretations of art thanks to Miuccia Prada. Such a place, with innovative and out-of-the-box expressions of art will highlight a new facet of Italy that goes hand in hand with its more traditional side, linked to the Italian savoir-faire seen in Ratti for example. It goes without saying that the liveliness of the city creates the perfect atmosphere to enjoy the double nature of the Bel Paese.
Author: Eleonora Iacuzzo
Guernieri, M. (2019) Best of Milan Design Week 2019. Domus [online] Available at: https://www.domusweb.it/en/events/salone-del-mobile/gallery/2019/best-of-milan-design-week-2019.html [Accessed 4 May 2019].
Marchese, K. (2019) Louis Vuitton presents new Objets Nomades pieces at Milan Design Week. DesignBoom [online] Available at: https://www.designboom.com/design/louis-vuitton-objets-nomades-milan-design-week-04-10-2019/ [Accessed 4 May 2019].