Milan Design Week provides an eclectic environment for launches by fashion brands.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

With the interest in handicraft, design and premium furniture showing little sign of abating, it makes sense that fashion houses have been growing their presence at Milan Design Week – the biggest event on the global design and home furnishings calendar, with 350,000 visitors. Aside from using the April event to showcase their lesser-known furniture collections, fashion brands typically collaborate with design houses to create artistic installations.

This year, however, a couple of fashion brands are bringing the focus back to their core products. Bottega Veneta launched its Arco bag during Milan Design Week, creating a link between the design-centred event and the craftsmanship that goes into the making of the Arco. Available in four sizes in different natural leather colours, the design features a new, orthogonal – that is, at right angles – weave that has a looser, more modern feel.

Over at its Milan boutique, Ermenegildo Zegna launched its new five-piece Essenze fragrance collection while paying tribute to lighting fair Euroluce, a key event at Milan Design Week that marks its 30th anniversary this year. Using colour and light, the brand put a different spin on the typical fragrance launch by playing with the notion of visualising scents. Bright idea.

My Reading Room
Bottega Veneta’s new Arco bags have a much larger weave than its usual intrecciato designs.
My Reading Room
Ermenegildo Zegna’s latest perfume launch explores what different scents might look like.
My Reading Room


Backed by the expertise of local leather goods company Tocco Toscano, young entrepreneurs Joseph Lor and Ryan Choy started their own brand, Faire Leather Co, in 2017. Now, they’re taking things to the next level with Sondermade, a bespoke leather goods service. Working together with each client on steps such as conceptualisation and prototyping, Sondermade can help you realise that imaginary perfect bag or wallet – and its multitude of compartments, or not – that you’ve never been able to find in stores. E-mail sondermade@toscano-intl.com for more information.

My Reading Room


It’s not every day that a lighter inspires a fashion collection but, then again, Dunhill’s classic Aquarium lighter was not your average plastic Bic. Launched in 1949, the brand’s Aquarium lighters include four panels of Perspex, hand-carved and hand-painted on the inside. The nature-themed illustrations are now updated for camp shirts, reversible bombers, swim shorts, backpacks and other leather goods. Those lighters, by the way, are not going to remain as mere sources of inspiration: They will be reissued in a limited run of 15 pieces.
My Reading Room


One of the most iconic leading men of classic Hollywood, the late English-born American actor Cary Grant ,was known for his comedy films, as well as for starring in thrillers directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Now, for the first time, the Cary Grant estate has partnered a brand: Los Angeles-based premium eyewear-maker Oliver Peoples has created a collection of frames and sunglasses inspired by the actor. There are a variety of colours, and each pair includes a CG monogram based on the font used on Grant’s personal stationery.