Bottega Veneta’s spring 2023 fashion show, which took place in Milan on Saturday, doubled as an exhibition of furniture by Gaetano Pesce, the radical Italian designer who, after six decades of diligently creating conceptual work, is now finding even more mainstream appeal. The 82-year-old designer, known for resin chairs that look like molten stained glass, drippy silicone vessels, and a $60,000 lounger shaped like a giant foot, was given the commission to create “a world in a small room” by Bottega Veneta’s new creative director Matthieu Blazy. For the show, Pesce created a resin-coated floor that looks like a giant blue pool with a rainbow-sherbert gradient runway flowing through the middle, surrounded by 400 original, resin-coated chairs with a similar melty, gloopy aesthetic.
For Pesce, the installation was “a tribute to diversity,” as he told Dezeen. “People who say we are all the same — fuck them!” The uniqueness of each chair was a literal interpretation of the theme, and some showed the marks of Pesce’s own hand — including those adorned with slightly deranged smiley faces. Others had hand-drawn question marks, suns, and other illustrations; all of them feature a “Gaetano Pesce for Bottega Veneta” label on the back. The set complemented a fashion show that also celebrated individualistic looks. “The idea was to represent different characters and put them in the landscape of Gaetano,” Blazy told Vogue. The models — who wore brown leather dresses, moss-green jumpsuits, abstract-patterned suits with beaded fringe, and white slip dresses — were dressed just as uniquely as Pesce’s vibrant universe. The designer, after all these years, remains steadfast in his mission to bring “incoherence” into the world through handmade furniture and objects that are all one of a kind — a referendum against mass-produced, industrially made products and the consumerism they feed. Most fashion-show set designs are disposable and disappear faster than a fast-fashion cycle. But this one will live on: Each of the chairs will be sold at Design Miami this November.