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At 83, Gaetano Pesce is still a design maverick

Walking through the center of Milan last week, one of the first things you might notice is an unusual number of brightly colored shopping bags dangling from the arms of passers-by. For anyone with even the slightest interest in fashion, this unique light green is unmistakable – it certainly belongs to Bottega Veneta. But why why these bags are everywhere, remains a mystery. Did the whole city get rich overnight?

It turns out that the commentary is a little more down-to-earth than this. The bags contained posters for Bottega Veneta’s Milan Design Week project, which itself was accompanied by its own city street takeover, of sorts: that is, the bustling queue stretching from the middle of Via Montenapoleone to the The usually unobtrusive storefront of the Italian brand. Instead of the usual subdued window display, the bright green backdrop adorns the unmistakable bulbous scrawling of 83 year-old design maverick Gaetano Pesce, spelling Out “Vieni a Vedere,” or, “Come and see.”

Photo: Matteo Canestraro

In other words, this is an invitation to come in and witness Pesce’s latest Project Bottega Veneta: A tunnel-like structure occupies the entire store. The structure is made from the same rigid resin-impregnated fabric he used in his first collaboration with the brand’s creative director Matthieu Blazy, a series of chairs used as the runway seating 2023 collection for spring, then It went on sale earlier this year at Design Miami. “Matthieu, he’s delightful,” Pesce said at his hotel, sipping espresso and wearing a smart ruched tank top by Issey Miyake the day after the installation launched last week. “He’s a very smart guy, very open-minded.”

Blazy – He grew up in Paris, the son of an art expert father, a historian mother, and his grandparents Young people who spend part of their time hanging out at auction houses in Paris—longtime fans of Pesce’s work, which is characterized by the use of sticky, unconventional materials (polyurethane foam, silicone, and the aforementioned glue-like resin, only to name a few), the jaw-dropping colors and shapes are so outlandish it’s almost trippy. After contacting Pesce’s team early last year and arranging a tour of his studio at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the two quickly struck up a friendship and the idea of ​​their first collaboration -2023 The chairs that would line the resin-coated floor of last season’s show were born.

“I’ve been trying to do something innovative since I was 83 years old,” Pesce described said while making these chairs. At the same time, the individuality of the chairs—beneath its translucent, boiled-sugar surface, each contains its own unique combination of swirling, prismatic colors—illustrates Pesce’s broader ambitions as a designer, reflecting his Interest in celebrating individuals. “People who come to the show actually sit in chairs,” he said, noting that while it was still an invitation-only fashion show, at least that small Part of it feels egalitarian in a way. “It’s very important because what we’re trying to convey is that diversity is a quality of life. I’ve been trying to convey this idea for a long time, against certain political systems that say we’re all the same. It’s an important message “




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