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Fendi, Missoni, Prada boost interior line awareness with Salone del Mobile events

April 9, 2014

Instagram image from Missoni Instagram image from Missoni


Home furnishing trade show Salone del Mobile kicked off April 8 in Milan, with luxury fashion brands using the event as a platform to showcase their interior collections.

Even if they are not showing in a booth at the show, brands have incorporated digital campaigns and charity initiatives to draw consumers interested in interior design to their stores. This provides an opportunity for brands that are not usually known for their home furnishings to remind consumers of the range of their merchandise.

"Home is the next area of focus for consumers and luxury brands," said Marie Driscoll, CEO and chief consultant of Driscoll Advisors, New York. "Too many handbags and not enough closets, so buy some furniture.

"The consumer moves from category to another as one becomes satiated," she said. "Part of the draw of home is the area has been neglected for a few years in terms of investment.

"It's time to buy a new couch, rug, et cetera. Another reason is many designers have launched lines in the category and there are exciting new designs. For example DVF added tabletop in the past few years."

Interior design

Salone Internazionale del Mobile was inaugurated in 1961. This year the show will run April 8-13.

The first days are trade-only, with the public able to view the exhibits April 12-13. In 2013, the event attracted a total of 285,000 attendees.

Many Italian brands, even if they are not showing at Salone del Mobile itself, are using the buzz around home furnishings to propel their lines.

Missoni looked to the heavily engaged audience on Intagram leading up to the show. The brand had graphic designer Federico Maccapani virtually cover, or “Missonize,” Milan with Missoni graphics and patterns.

Missoni Salone del Mobile 2

Instagram post from Missoni

The brand then posted the series of images to its Instagram using the hashtag #missoniwonderland. Each of Missoni’s posts received at least 900 likes as of press time.

Leading up to the event, Bottega Veneta released a video teaser to its display in-store during the design show. In the video, pieces from the house’s furniture line sit against a grey background, and the lighting position changes to rotate the shadows falling behind them.

Bottega Veneta Salone del Mobile

Video still from Bottega Veneta

At the end of the video the brand included April 9, the day the showcase begins.

Marni also used video to make consumers feel a part of the show. The house teamed up with a group of Colombian women on a limited edition line of furniture and animal sculptures, which the brand designed the frameworks for, according to the Telegraph.

Marni Salone del Mobile

Marni Animal House promotional image

To introduce the project, Marni posted a video that includes interviews with a number of the women from the workshop who talk about how difficult it is to find work in their town of Iza since an oil company left. This also includes footage of the women assembling the furniture pieces by hand.

Marni’s “Animal House” is on display at the brand’s store in Milan during the same timeframe as Salone del Mobile.

Prada looked back at its collaboration with Verner Panton on a set of curved Clover Leaf sofas. In addition to a special display in the brand’s Via Monte Napoleone store, Prada is reproducing the sofa in three new colors that will be available in some of its stores.

Prada Salone del Mobile

Prada Clover Leaf in-store display

Fendi is showing at Salone del Mobile, presenting a bespoke line designed by Thierry Lemaire. The brand hosted a cocktail reception with the designer on the first night of the trade show.

Fendi Salone del Mobile

Fendi Thierry Lemaire collection at Salone del Mobile

Even though they are not Italian brands, Jimmy Choo and Moncler got in on the action with store window displays featuring conceptual lighting.

Jimmy Choo enlisted light artist Leclettico to create mirrored sculptures lit with handcrafted neon tube lights. The exclusive designs are on display in the window of the brand’s store in Milan on Via Sant Andrea until April 13.

Jimmy Choo Salone del Mobile

Jimmy Choo windows for Salone del Mobile

The sculptures’ neon lights mimic the neon colors in the brand’s summer 2014 ad campaign.

In addition to the display, Jimmy Choo will be serving cocktails certain hours April 10-12.

Moncler also took a lightened approach, designing a window display showing a woman encircled by a fence of light.

Moncler Salone del Mobile

Moncler windows for Salone del Mobile

Fashion and design

Armani is also participating in Salone del Mobile with a social media event.

The label will hold its fourth live Tweet Talks event in Milan during home furnishing show Salone del Mobile.

Scheduled for April 10, the Tweet Talk will center on the topic “Fashion versus Design,” and will include expert panelists in fashion, architecture and home décor. This Twitter conversation is timed to coincide with the brand’s new Armani Casa Web site, and the traffic to the Tweet Talks microsite may help drive views for the home site (see story).

In the past, other fashion brands have looked to this trade show to boost awareness of their home furnishing collections.

Leather goods manufacturer Tod’s targeted affluent consumers with an exhibit at the 2011 Salone del Mobile that explored the craftsmanship and the collaboration between the brand and the annual furniture exposition.

As part of Milan’s famous annual furniture fair, Tod’s converted the window of its famous Via Della Spiga Boutique to showcase the piece of art. The Salone del Mobile furniture fair took place April 12-17 in Milan, Italy (see story).

For these brands, having ongoing events during the show could give them foot traffic and attention from an interested audience.

"Italians are the epitome of leading-edge design, from automobiles to footwear and the home," Ms. Driscoll said. "Brands potentially benefit by the adjacencies at the event, to be part of an artistic trade show.

"The intended audience could be the nearly 6,000 journalists and the visitors," she said. "With the use of social media and Instagram, [it is] the networked world.

"It's bound to be an event and participating could create a buzz for the brand for a minute."

Final Take
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York