14 oct 2021

How is Louis Vuitton revisiting the legacy of the Italian painter Fornasetti?

On its autumn-winter collection, Louis Vuitton collaborated with the famous Italian design studio Fornasetti. Reworked in an innovative way by the great artistic director Nicolas Ghesquière, its patterns dialogue with the masterful know-how of the house.

Nice ways to pay tribute to the work of an inspiring artist, collaborations are multiplying among fashion designers. Nicolas Ghesquière’s with Fornasetti is no exception to the rule. By looking at the archives of the prestigious Italian atelier, the designer pursues a research that has always been his own, the reinvention or the assumed quotation of references from the past, which transforms contemporary clothing into a layered architecture, visibly crystallizing several temporal “layers”. 


With his passion for technology and science fiction, At Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière explores this almost paradoxical dimension of the house, both heir to a tradition and resolutely turned towards the future: “As a designer, I have always been fascinated by fashion’s ability to simultaneously evoke the past, present and future“, he explains. And since the house has been showing for several years at the Louvre, in the museum’s galleries, the temporal collisions that he loves can only arise even more acutely in his imagination. 


It was indeed a visit to the Louvre that inspired the house’s collaboration with Fornasetti for the fall-winter 2021-2022 season and the capsule of accessories that extends it. “I was thinking about the notion of travel, which is evident at Louis Vuitton. It was on her way to the Louvre that the revelation arose. We had access to the Michelangelo Gallery, which is wonderful, and where there are Etruscan, Greek and Roman sculptures. Through this motionless journey, we have taken a fantastic excursion back in time into antiquity and mythology, which feeds the imagination. Fornasetti also corresponded to these inspirations.” 


Eponymous founder of the workshop now famous throughout the world, Piero Fornasetti, born in 1913, specialized in printing and engraving techniques. In the 1930s, he produced books and lithographs for artists such as the painter Giorgio De Chirico. Himself a drawing enthusiast and a former art student, he developed, from the 40s onwards (collaborating in particular with the architect Gio Ponti), a wide variety of objects embellished with decorative motifs. His humour, inherited directly from surrealism, gave birth to chairs, plates and all kinds of everyday objects, enhanced by images inspired by sculpture and ancient architecture. 


For his collection, Nicolas Ghesquière has chosen motifs of cameos, old coins, mysterious keys, architecture and sculptures from the archives of the Fornasetti workshop, declined on the clothes and accessories. From jacquard to laser printing, from velvets to metallic leathers, the designer explores a wide variety of textures and techniques to dialogue with the spirit of Fornasetti. In a vision that is more pop than surrealist, antique iconography sometimes mixes with Louis Vuitton logos. The extraordinary pieces are a perfect extension of Fornasetti’s mission as stated by the studio’s current artistic director, Barnaba, Pietro’s own son: to offer an object that “enlivens everyday life and nourishes inspiration day after day.”