It only feels like a few months ago we were pounding the streets of Milan to launch Smeg and Dolce&Gabbana’s ‘Sicily is my Love’ collection (catch up on all the action from 2017 on our previous LRR blog) yet here we are again, back on UK soil after a whirlwind Italian getaway to unveil the fruits of the brands third partnership: Divina Cucina.
This year, our Salone veterans Vic and Izzy were joined by fellow Roosterette Emma alongside a bevvy of VIP’s from the worlds of design and fashion: Sam Rogers (Vogue), Lily Worcester (ES Magazine), James Day (technology editor-at-large of new interiors glossy Enki and Cloud, the uber-luxury title for members of the Air Charter Service), as well as leading influencers @iamchoquette and @littlebigbell.
The gang were greeted by sweltering Italian sunshine, with temperatures soaring to the mid-twenties. Upon arrival in the city, we were treated to a delicious al fresco lunch before an afternoon of relaxation courtesy of Little Red Rooster’s latest recruit, French beauty brand endermologie (check out our recent post for more info). Each of our guests enjoyed their own bespoke ‘Glow’ facial treatment, ensuring their skin was perfectly plump and polished before the evening’s festivities.
Before long, it was time to get our gladrags on and head to Milan’s famous Metropol for the ‘Divina Cucina’ launch. The Metropol is one of the city’s oldest theatres, and now plays host to Dolce&Gabbana’s catwalk shows. As always, the event proved a real showstopper. The latest collection, which comprises Smeg’s iconic Victoria range cooker and matching accessories in a selection of gorgeous prints inspired by Sicilian artwork, adorned the central runway while large, cinema-size screens documented the laborious journey each appliance undertakes, outlining the exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail which goes into each and every step of its production. Party-goers tucked into Dolce & Gabbana’s very own range of pasta (sold exclusively in Harrods), all washed down with plenty of prosecco – naturally.
After an evening mingling with Milan’s high society, the next day saw the group exploring its infamous design districts. As well as the traditional Salone fair – held on the outskirts of the city – the design districts house a series of pop ups and installations from both established and up-and coming brands. We particularly loved the inaugural textiles launch from Spanish fashion giant Loewe (the other Loewe in our lives), which saw cheeky prints infiltrated with spots and stripes in an array of dreamy technicolours; sumptuous outdoor beanbags from fabric brand Gloster; and the dainty glassware ranges from Swarovski, whose sophisticated, elegant designs perfectly complemented the palatial surroundings of Milan’s central Palazzo Serbelloni.
We also paid a visit to Wallpaper*’s infamous Handmade exhibition, which this year centered on a theme close to our own hearts – mindfulness and wellbeing. The star of the show had to be Marc Ange’s outdoor ‘Sunbrella’, which no doubt proved incredibly useful for escaping the blistering Italian heat.
Soon enough, it was party time again – on this occasion, however, to celebrate the unveiling of Bang & Olufsen’s latest portable speaker, the P6. Once again, Bang & Olufsen partnered with renowned Danish designer Cecilie Manz to craft another inimitable, stunning speaker to add to the brand’s roster. On display throughout Bang & Olufsen’s main Milan showroom, we found delicately styled velvet and different textures to offset the speakers sleek design.
In classic Bang & Olufsen fashion, guests were greeted with a deconstructed version of the speaker, showing of the intricate design of the model and acoustic capabilities both of which Bang & Olufsen is renowned for. Circling the party, we bumped into the 2 Lovely Gays, French for Pineapple, the team from ICON and Blueprint magazine who were also enjoying the evening’s festivities.
After the party, it was time to wind down for the remaining roosterettes, with a busy morning ahead exploring the other districts Salone de Mobile had to offer.
Our first stop was to another of our clients, Victoria + Albert Baths, which was exhibiting a whole range of new products at this year’s show. The stand showcased the British brand’s new washstand collection – the first of its kind in its repertoire – once again created in collaboration with Italian design duo Meneghello Paolelli Associati. V+A also hosted an exclusive cocktail reception on the Thursday evening, where it invited key customers, press and designers to its luxurious showroom for a closer look at the new designs.
Also on the agenda was the Ventura Centrale district, which once again opened up the beautiful abandoned warehouses underneath Milan’s Central Station and offered up a mixture of eclectic design from both emerging artists, such as Stephen Hürlemann, and David Rockwell, the established designer of Nobu’s restaurants and other ventures.
Visiting a series of installations across the warehouses, we were especially bowled over by a number of them. First of these was SPREAD, Haruna Yamada and Hirokazu Kobayashi for Haru stuck-on design – bursting with vibrant blocks of colour and significant iconic references to the likes of Robert Burns, Edvard Munch and Leonardo Da Vinci. The various displays embodied how colour embraces another element of interior design by having an impact on the ambience of a room and also our mood – for instance, yellow instantly projects happiness and kindness; “colours are the deeds of light”.
Next up, we experienced a visual ode to American Design to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Surface magazine, who teamed up with celebrated architect and designer David Rockwell to create “The Diner” which took us on a journey of retro-style fabrics and textures mixed with contemporary lighting scheme, to create a fully functional but intimate setting that offered a distinct twist on quintessentially American design.
A distinctly different experience was AGC Group’s Soundscape installation, which completely took our breath away! Its ground-breaking concept simultaneously breaks up the idea of single-functioning products and also represents sound as it is – an invisible element. Soundscape presented new possibilities for glass, using it as a speaker as opposed to a simple house fitting with ACG’s transformative technology to recompose audio that elegantly descends on its listener. Us roosters were most definitely floored by the Japanese brand’s display!
Salone definitely never disappoints us at Little Red Rooster, with our appetite for beautiful fashion, design and technology this year’s trip to the show was the perfect mix for us – we are already itching for our return visit in 2019!