RAF’S AMERICAN SPIRIT: For the first Calvin Klein installation at Design Miami/Basel, Raf Simons has envisioned an upcycled American barn with an assortment of limited-edition Cassina Feltri armchairs.
Dreamed up by the Italian designer Gaetano Pesce in 1987, the Feltri armchair is an ironic take on the royal throne. But Calvin Klein’s chief creative officer selected upholstery for the patented Feltri, which has a soft backrest. Each of 100 numbered Feltri armchairs has a one-of-a-kind American heirloom quilt dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries, emblematic of American heritage and a homespun, handcrafted ethos of days gone by.
For an added Americana element, one of the barns built with reclaimed wood from the 19th century for the Calvin Klein 205W39NYC fall show will be reconstructed at the fair. As part of an ongoing alliance with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, there are billboard-size images papered on the interior of the barn. Attendees at Design Miami/Basel, which gets underway Tuesday, will have first dibs on the first 50 chairs. The other 50 will go up for grabs at a later date.
The Warhol Foundation’s director of licensing Michael Dayton Hermann said Monday, “The unique thing about this collaboration is that it is an ongoing story that goes across advertising, marketing, merchandising, art and of course the product itself.” (The nonprofit first joined forces with Simons for a project several years ago, during his Dior days.)
In addition to his art, Simons knows about the ins and outs of textiles design for home collections. In 2014, the designer teamed with Kvadrat to apply his sense of style to the home. Blending different colors and materials, Kvadrat/Raf Simons featured throws, cushions and upholstery.
As for the throne-like connotation of his Feltri collaboration, some might argue that Simons reigns over American fashion, having won his second consecutive Womenswear Designer of the Year award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America earlier this month.