After being many cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Milan Design Week 2021 is finally on – and in full force. Running form Sunday to Friday, our favourite design picks are – obviously – from fashion brands Gucci and Valentino. Both have pimped out their retail spaces with art installations spanning the bizarre, the erotic and the old-fashioned.
To mark the Milanese design festival, Gucci have opened a temporary store in Via Manzoni 19 – a charming space where the lines between fantasy and reality are blurred. In keeping with creative director Alessandro Michele's 'cabinet of curiosities' approach to fashion, the store is Gucci's playful take on the traditional Italian stationery store. 'When I was a child, going to the stationery store and finding pencils, pens, notebooks, games, meant bringing a dream into my daily routine,' said Michele. 'They were fine, well-made objects that spoke of craftsmanship and that, though part of my everyday life, were able to give off a magical, mysterious and wonderful aura.' Visitors to the Gucci shop will encounter flying notebooks, stuffed bookshelves, magical chess sets and even a micro-apartment for mice with Gucci furnishings – in a refreshing take on retail, this space is more Harry Potter than high fashion.
Maison Valentino are also celebrating Milan's incredible design heritage by introducing an installation of their own at the Via Montenapoleone boutique. Drawing on the world of theatre and the Valentino A/W 21 'Act' collection, vintage theatre sets are displayed, red curtains are draped from the ceiling, and an LED wall echoes the feeling of the fashion show. The space has an erotic feel, with soft furnishings, red velvet and latex all used in the store.
Milan Design Week runs from 5-10 September 2021.