April 29, 2024

Salone del Mobile 2024 : Thom Browne x Frette

Salone del Mobile. A household name within the design industry. It is a trade fair that is held each April in Milan, offering a platform of reflection on design and a space for experimentation, inviting international brands to explore new spheres. One of the brands that took the opportunity this year is Thom Browne. The American fashion brand, which is known for its reconceptualization of the classic suit, has collaborated with the luxury linen house Frette to further extend their homeware category. Having built a reputation of manufacturing highly luxurious bedding and home accessories since 1860, the Italian label’s products have been featured from the Orient Express to beds of hundreds of European royal families.

Through the collaboration of the two brands a new home collection called “… time to sleep …” has resulted, celebrating artisanal techniques visualized with the typical Thom Browne aesthetic with its four-bar detailing across products, with the craftsmanship and knowhow of Frette.

In order to present this rare collection, an installation was curated and presented during the Salone del Mobile at the Palazzina Appiani. A location that was originally built in the beginning of the 19th century as the entrance hall to the “Arena Civica” and was used as a gallery and guest residence for Napoleon’s family for public appearances in the city. Within the frame of showing the collection at Salone del Mobile, the two brands held the installation in the hall of honor, in which six simple mid-century cots with a coat stand next to each were positioned in the center. The cots are outfitted in bedding from the collaboration while the coat stands are equipped with a full Thom Browne outfit each. Using this space as a dormitory is rather unusual, considering its history and original function, and not really a place to take a nap in, especially not on mid-century cots held in grey colors.

However, playing with these contrasts seems like exactly what the brands intended to play with and create a modern collection that plays with breaking norms. This notion is further underlined by the staged performance. The story features six young adults, only dressed in undergarments, entering the hall one after the other in a rather slow pace. All actions are synchronized and describe how the models go to one of the coat stands, putting on a shirt, short suited pants and a blazer, to then be overseen by two “guardians” who make sure everything is in order who then bring the six young adults to bed by putting a sleeping mask on them, again in a synchronized matter. While the act of going to bed happens in a very unnatural way, even the nap itself is unnatural, as they are all laying stiff and fully dressed on the beds with their hands folded on their chest. The clock rings and the people sit up again, doing all the actions prior to the nap again in reverse, taking off their sleep masks, undressing themselves and leaving the hall. At the end the two guardians check that the bedding looks neat to then leave the installation as well. The lights go off.

As the brand stated, this is not a typical place to take a nap in, however, the performance puts the new collection in the center of attention, as everything plays around it. It is an creative way to introduce Thom Brown’s and Frette’s interpretation of their identities merged with contemporary design.