At this year’s New York Design Week (16-18 May 2014), fashion meets furniture with the 50/50 Episode II capsule collection, the outcome of a rather unusual collaboration between Russian, Madrid-based fashion designer and pattern maker, Yulia Yadryshnikova (YY) and the Italian-Swedish Luca Nichetto Design Studio - and judging by the fresh and unique result of this collaboration and the ubiquitous nature of the design, it is a wonder that fashion and furniture don’t overlap more often.
Bridging the gap between the two worlds, YY has designed a garment that can be worn as a dress, but that can also be used to cover the Stanley sofa, comprising both Luca Nichetto Design Studio’s latest piece and star of the 50/50 Episode II capsule collection. The exposed solid timber frame of the Stanley sofa is the focal point, the style of which evidently recalls that of 1950s Danish architects. Whilst its taut upholstery gives it a crisp contemporary look, the back cushions provide plenty of comfort. Granted the sofa is available in various colours in either wool or velvet, but it is Yulia Yadryshnikova’s curious dress-cum-upholstery design that creates an unprecedented whimsical look.
YY’s collection works in two parts. The first comprises three dresses constructed from one base shape with added loose parts (although wearable, they can still ingeniously be used as a sofa cover for the Stanley). Bright block colours (yellow, pink, blue) are used for the garments, which are sliced in strategic places to create sleeves and collars. Static and stiff upon first glance, the unusually shaped garments hold a surprise whereby moving parts add a flowing movement and femininity to each dress revealing a grey underside to the fabric.
The designs are actually based on the designer’s childhood memories of a game she used to play. Every morning, Yulia would turn the pages of a loose-leaf calendar to turn over the ‘yesterday’ and welcome a new day. This personal memory adds a distinct creative touch to each leaf of her designs, which she has folded in different ways depending on her mood, transforming each day into a unique shape. As the collection release reads: ''This works as a metaphor for every human life: each day is unique but together they make up a lifetime.''
The second part of the collection consists of two coats, which are actually replicas from an earlier capsule collection now revisited and made using the same upholstery fabric as the Stanley sofa, thus giving them a more ''structural'' look where: ''The entire set of garments can serve as a kind of illustration of Yadryshnikova’s creative process: first the silhouettes come along with the initial vision while all the specific lines and details appear at later stages during the process of experimentation with pattern making and working with fabric.''
With last February, signifying the Luca Nichetto brand’s launching of the Elysia Lounge Chair, for Design Week the Stanley Sofa and Laurel coffee and side tables are openly welcomed merging geometric forms and contrasting materials all with intriguing effect (the brand’s furniture is produced to high standards by the Portuguese company De La Espada).
As a collaboration, meticulous detailing and expert craftsmanship are reflected in one another whilst above all else emphasizing the connection between the realms of fashion and furniture design.