Initiated by Nicolas Ghesquiére, Artistic Director of Women’s collections at Louis Vuitton, the House’s new collaboration explores the creative wealth of the Fornasetti atelier. The multifaceted collection showcases Fornasetti’s iconic hand-drawn imagery that has enchanted art and design lovers since Piero founded his atelier in 1940.
The collaboration begins with Nicolas Ghesquiére’s Fall-Winter 2021 collection which integrates Fornasetti’s distinct visual universe into multiple designs. Unveiled in the spectacular setting of the Michelangelo and Daru Galleries in the Louvre, the collection with its Fornasetti images of antiquity builds a time-travelling aesthetic and creative dialogue with the ml-JseUm’S remarkable array of Greek, Etruscan and Roman sculpture.
The collaborative designs in the Fall-Winter collection feature specific Fornasetti themes and artworks, selected by Nicolas Ghesquiére in dialogue with Barnaba Fornasetti, the Artistic Director of the Fornasetti atelier, and their teams, from the 1 3,000-piece Fornasetti archive in Milan. These clothes and accessories use a rich combination of colours, textures and traditional, cutting-edge techniques including jacquard, embroidery and laser printing, intertwining Fornasetti’s exquisitely illustrated world with Nicolas Ghesquiöre’s strikingly contemporary design.
Highlights include velvet dresses, shiny printed jersey tops upon which Fornasetti drawings of ancient statues are overlaid on high-tech thermal-camera imagery, as well as fleece hooded jackets and tailoring pieces. Oversize outerwear pieces feature Fornasetti print both in a stamp inspired coloured version and, in a gold, coated version.
The show collection will be followed by a wider Louis Vuitton-Fornasetti capsule collection to be launched at a later date featuring a broader selection of Louis Vuitton products that draw on Fornasetti motifs, such as buildings, locks, keys and portraits. These include a captivating version of the Cannes bag in transformed leather, beautifully embellished with a Fornasetti black-and-white architectural drawing and reminiscent of the Renaissance-era Baptistery in Florence, and a reworked Petite Malle that seems to have been inflated and covered with a dome printed metallic leather, creating a striking optical illusion.
“With this collaboration, I wanted to use the pieces to evoke the continuing modernity of Fornasetti’s artistic world,” says Nicolas Ghesquiére. “Fornasetti’s enduring body of work is the realisation of a remarkable hand-drawn technique and magical take on the world, and I am particularly drawn to the way Fornasetti re-explored and reworked the heritage of classicism and ancient Rome, adding new references to historical imagery. As a designer who has always loved fashion’s ability to evoke the past, present and future simultaneously, I wanted to add new layers to this creative palimpsest. Exploring the Fornasetti archives had the excitement of an archaeological dig, searching for and finding drawings from the past to give them a new life for Louis Vuitton – for now and the future.
“My father was an innovator who believed in the handmade, just like Louis Vuitton,” says Barnaba Fornasetti, son of Piero Fornasetti, and the brand’s artistic director. “Our vision has always been to bring Fornasetti’s unique artistic imagination to people through beautifully crafted objects, and this rewarding collaboration represents a new opportunity to expand and explore its visual creativity.”
In all its facets, the Louis Vuitton-Fornasetti collaboration embodies the two Houses’ shared sense of experimental traditionalism: an effective blend of Louis Vuitton’s forward-looking creativity and craft and Fornasetti’s magical and visionary depiction of the world.