By  on April 18, 2007

MILAN — The Salone del Mobile furniture fair officially kicks off today, but Giorgio Armani already stirred some controversy over fast fashion in presenting his new Casa collection on Tuesday.

Speaking about the possibility of launching a lower-priced furniture line in the future, Armani commented disparagingly about the collaborations of fashion designers or celebrities with fast-fashion brands such as H&M.

"H&M is fantastic, but this kind of strategy is depressing because it plays with people's sense of inadequacy, treating customers as schmucks because they need the endorsement of a high-profile person to feel worthy," said the designer.

Armani discussed the merits of Ikea, confessing half his yacht was furnished with the pieces from the Swedish giant. "Ikea is exceptional, and I sometimes imagine a category of products within my Casa line that will still give emotions but are less costly," said Armani, adding there were no concrete plans for the project.

The Casa collection Armani showed at his Tadao-Ando designed headquarters was anything but low-cost. Although prices were still unavailable, the pieces evidently target the uber-affluent. Cases in point: On the steel Adelchi desk for Him with a Thirties touch, metal plates with a satin finish are each applied by hand to the surface, creating a patchwork effect; a black metal structure has inserts in gilt lizard-skin on the Aida desk for Her. "In furniture, too, there is glamour and luxury that must be apparent, so that it differentiates itself — and justifies the price tag," said Armani, who underscored the relevance of the made-to-measure element of the Casa line, which reflects his focus on his Privé couture collection.

In a snail-like structure with winding and curved walls reproducing an actual home, Armani conceived rooms for Him and for Her, symbolic male and female residents, who live together, but maintain their own separate spaces.

The rounded structure displayed a chaise longue and the Antoinette dressing table, which, when closed, looks like a cylinder clad in a champagne-colored fabric. "I like the idea of fluidity, without barriers, walls or doors," said the designer, adding this was the concept developed for his first hotel in Dubai, due to open at the end of next year under an agreement with Emaar Properties. Nature and the East were still strong inspirations, in delicate patterns of bamboo or lacquered surfaces.

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