All the fashion highlights from Milan Design Week 2024

April 28, 2024

All the fashion highlights from Milan Design Week 2024


s 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.


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.

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 and there was plenty of imagination and adventure to be found.


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.


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.

Thom Browne

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.

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.

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.

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All the fashion highlights from Milan Design Week 2024