Ettore Sottsass was a magic man. Architect, designer, writer: well I think he made everything.
He had a long and very exciting life, Ettore was the son of the eponymous Ettore Sottsass Senior and Antonia Peintner, he was born in Innsbruck in Austria on September 14th, 1917 and died in Milan on December 31st, 2007, just in time at the end of the year. Sculpture, painting, architecture, furniture, interior production, installations, graphic design, publications, industrial design, photography, ceramics, glass, jewelry: Ettore did everything. From the end of the Fifties, he collaborates with Olivetti, a collaboration that lasts more than thirty years, one of the most famous objects he made is the Valentine typewriter, winner of the Compasso D’Oro. Very active on paper, he collaborates and founds a lot of magazines about design and architecture, in the Seventies with the radical architects he was constantly on the magazine Casabella directed by Alessandro Mendini and became a member of Global Tools. The most productive phase of his life, if we have to choose one, was when he founded the Memphis group, in this period he created the Casablanca bookcase, the Tahiti table lamp, and many other iconic objects.
… And he designs lots of jewels, a bit forgot compared to the rest of his work. Here are some of his masterpieces.
2023 is an important year for Hip Hop, especially for its aesthetic definition, which ties in with a landmark collection for the entire movement: the adidasChile20. Born with the 1962 football World Cup, for which the first Chile20 collection was designed, now the German brand celebrates the 50th anniversary of the collection with a campaign that will feature FootLocker stores in Via del Corso in Rome and Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Milan.
adidas and Foot Locker thus celebrate what has been and still is a cultural phenomenon, but also a milestone in the birth of an artistic expression for the entire streetwear movement. The Chile20 collection over the years has paved the way for Hip Hop artists, letting them feel part of a subcultural movement that has expanded over the years, influencing culture on many levels.
The new campaign thus celebrates the past but looks to the future of the style, choosing a unisex approach in the colors of the two tracksuits, presented in the “Alumina” and “ChalkBrown” colorways. The importance of adidas’ legacy is highlighted by the oversized three stripes and trefoil placed prominently on the garments.
For the launch, adidas and Foot Locker chose to cement the importance of the community of fans and the connection between Chile20 and music. Buying a piece of the collection in the Milan and Rome stores from March 18th to 26th, the clients will receive a poster zine. Inside poster zines there will be 1x “goldenticket” per store, that will give you access to the drawing of a special sound box, microphone, headphones and everything you need to record new music on the road. The new Chile 20 collection starts from its roots and goes beyond its artistic history, able to embrace styles, trends, movements and figures that have defined part of pop culture for half a century.
Arguably the most famous video game character ever, created by Nintendo in 1981 and conceptualized by Japanese game author Shigeru Miyamoto, SuperMario is the fictional plumber who has accompanied generations of gamers and also became recognizable by his look, consisting of his red hat, blue dungarees, white gloves and big brown work shoes. The latter have recently become real, created by a collaboration between Nintendo and RedWing and unveiled last March 10 at Nintendo’s New York store on Mario Day.
The brand collaborated with the creative team of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, to be released in Italy on April 5, 2023. The model is designed as a real work shoe, and especially to be worn given the use of a non-slip sole and leather typical of Red Wing models, a brand recognized for the quality of its products. The shoes will be on display in the New York store starting April 10, and the design confirms a fashion trend to be inspired by cartoons, as was the case in recent weeks with MSCHF’s much-talked-about red boots inspired by the AstroBoy cartoon. A curious detail of the shoe is the inclusion of elements made from mushrooms, a central element in the video game saga that is combined with a rounded shape that almost creates a caricature of the classic leather shoe. The boots at the moment are not purchasable but made only in a limited edition, but if fashion continues to follow this cartooncore and the trend of creating collections that aim without hiding to become social memes as well, we can expect sooner or later that we will see Super Mario, Nintendo and Red Wing boots in some boutique.
Fashion Week, which recently ended in Milan and moved to Paris, brings with it great cultural and artistic ferment, especially with its catwalks, which are increasingly spectacular and artistic. Art, often the muse of the greatest fashion collections, increasingly boasts its presence even within the fashion shows, becoming necessary for the creation of art shows, brief but sensational. Set designs, lighting, installations and performances concur in creating magical settings in dialogue with the collection presented. Designers, set designers and creatives are involved in the design of these places, but the name of Bureau Betak stands out among them all. The Parisian studio today is a reference point for the most prestigious haute couture brands including Dior, Gucci, Fendi, Jacquemus and YSL. Founded in 1990 by Alexandre de Betak, the creative studio contributes to the revolution of the runway show space by inspiring and drawing on avant-garde theatrical, architectural and design settings, as well as including artwork and performance art. The fashion show becomes an experience to be lived in person, a true multi-sensory art show capable of astonishing and decisively communicating. Indeed, the purpose is not only to catch the eye, but also to support and accentuate the messages and intentions behind the new collections, which can be conveyed and explained more clearly with the help of art, a powerful communicative and expressive medium.
The most recent examples are the installations that the Bureau Betak studio created for Bottega Veneta and Gucci during the last Milan Fashion Week. Bottega Veneta’s installation was conceived and designed around the message that the Italian fashion house needed to convey with its new collection: the coexistence of classicism and the need for metamorphosis. The setting is enclosed in a somber, rural-looking place, with wooden seats populating the spotted “a stracciatella” flooring, a favorite taste of Matthieu Blazy (BV’s artistic director). The guests of honor, however, are the two 1st-century B.C.E. Herculaneum Runners and one of fourteen reproductions of Umberto Boccioni‘s futurist sculpture Unique Forms of the Continuity of Space, lent by their home museums (the MANN in Naples and the National Gallery in Cosenza, respectively). Bottega Veneta’s forward momentum is undoubtedly accentuated and underscored by the form and posture of the subjects, which point forward.
With a retro aura, on the other hand, was the set for Gucci’s fashion show, for which Bureau Betak creates an eco-sustainable set, just like the revolutionary new material Demetra, presented by the Italian fashion house. To create the set, the studio relies on entities specializing in the recovery of materials, including Milan’s Spazio Meta. The entire room is lined with soft pistachio green carpeting, contrasting with the dark seats that welcome viewers. Geometry dominates the space, outlining the dynamic progression of the show that passes through two amphitheater pools placed in the center. The setting makes one fully breathe in the atmosphere of the past that the new Gucci collection offers, drawing directly from the historical archives of its stylistic heritage.
Equally spectacular and artistic are some of the sets from past fashion shows, including the total white Gaudian-style setting created in Paris for Dior or, remaining in Italy, the one created for Ermenegildo Zegna among Anselm Kiefer‘s Seven Heavenly Palaces in Hangar Bicocca. Alexandre de Betak, referred to by the New York Times as “the Fellini of Fashion”, undoubtedly marks a turning point within the world of fashion shows, which become true works of art, on a par with museum displays or theater sets.
The relationship between fashion and art continues to strengthen during this Milan fashion week. An example of the strong connection that exists between these two forms of creative expression is very well represented by the dialogue undertaken between Marni and artist Flaminia Veronesi.
After the Spring/Summer 2023 collection of the brand directed by Francesco Risso last September – where Marni’s classic vivid and joyful colors were further highlighted and emphasized by draping and swirls inspired by the London-based artist’s works – Marni and Flaminia Veronesi continue to tighten their connection and deepen their relationship inside the flagship store of the maison founded by Consuelo Castiglioni in 1994 where the artist’s peculiar vision, characterized by an imagery that recalls fantastic and unique worlds populated by fluid, ethereal and sensual creatures, gives a new decoding of the spaces of Via Montenapoleone enveloping the patrons leaving free rein to their imagination.
The exhibit, titled “THE HERMITCRAB’S WUNDERSHELL”, brings together shapes and colors, sculptures and paintings, bodies, creatures and flowers that project visitors into an underwater, enchanted world. As Flaminia Veronesi herself explains, “The exhibition is conceived as the wunderkammer of a family of hermit crabs, collecting shells and mythological iconographies, hermit crab gods who look very much like us and who, with tender anthropomorphic features and striking looks are the protagonists of a monumental portrait gallery. A parade of fairy tale or cartoon characters, with hybrid bodies and iridescent complexions, flaunting provocative outfits. But can a dress be inhabited?”