The name Fornasetti is not new if you’re the kind who obsesses over homeware and lifestyle objects like candles. Founded in 1913 by Milanese designer, painter, sculptor and engraver Piero Fornasetti, the atelier was known in the 20th-century decorative art world circles for its black and white hand-drawn drawings. These took their influences from the classical and ancient Roman periods but given a fun whimsical wink (sometimes literally).
Fornasetti’s most celebrated work revolves around the famous visage of his muse: the Italian operatic soprano and actress Lina Cavalieri. So influential was Cavalieri to Fornasetti’s oeuvre that her face reportedly appeared on more than 11,000 designs.
Today, she continues to take pride of place on many of the brand’s products like plates, cushions and candles – often portrayed in playful scenarios like one of her donning a balaclava or another with her tongue sticking out. The Fornasetti brand is run by Piero’s son Barnaba today.
Fornsaetti’s rich archives came in handy for Nicolas Ghesquiere when he was working on Louis Vuitton’s Fall/Winter 2021 collection which was presented via a virtual runway show recently during Paris Fashion Week.
The womenswear collection which was staged in the Michaelangelo and Daru Galleries of the Louvre featured drawings of ancient and classical Greco-Roman statues and busts plastered on sculptural and party-worthy ready-to-wear pieces, bags and shoes.
Louis Vuitton’s Fall/Winter 2021 collection was shown in the Michaelangelo and Daru Galleries of the Louvre.
Pouring through the 13,000 works in the vault of the Italian house gave Ghesquiere the “excitement of an archaeological dig”. According to the designer, the juxtaposition of the past (cue Fornasetti’s artworks and the museums’ artefacts) and the present created a dialogue of time-travelling, that perfectly encapsulated the maison’s rich heritage of luxury travel.
As with most of Ghesquiere’s work, there was a degree of high-tech craftsmanship involved. Besides artisanal techniques like embroidery and jacquard-making, Louis Vuitton also relied on laser printing and thermal-camera imaging to bring Fornasetti’s drawings to life on the garments and bags.
Fornasetti and Louis Vuitton will follow up their runway collaboration with a capsule line in Fall which will feature the former’s other well-known motifs like buildings, portraits and locks.
Besides the runway collection, Fornasetti and Louis Vuitton will also be launching a bigger capsule collection in Fall/Winter that is said to feature other signature Fornaseti design motifs like buildings, locks and keys.
Somehow we get a sense that we’re about to see more of Lina Cavalieri when that collection comes around. In the meantime, here is a lowdown on some of the Fornasetti fashion moments captured on the runway.