fbpx
The Tawaraya Ring seating unit by Masanori Umeda.
Photo: Courtesy of Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent Pays Tribute to the Memphis Group in a Striking New Collection

As the iconic Italian design group celebrates its 40th anniversary, Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello brings the radical designs back to life

Memphis Milano Bel Air armchair by Peter Shire, 1982. Photo: Courtesy of Saint Laurent

Once described as “a shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher-Price,” Italy’s iconic Memphis Group has continued to influence designers around the the world ever since it was founded in the early 1980s. The latest homage comes from Anthony Vaccarello, Saint Laurent’s Belgian creative director, who has just launched a capsule collection for the brand’s Rive Droit line, a creative and cultural outpost for special collaborations with a focus on high design.

Vaccarello, who is deeply passionate about design, teamed up with Memphis Milano to create the Memphis Milano x Anthony Vaccerello Yves Saint Laurent Rive Droite collection, which comprises both apparel and homeware. The result is a masterful blend of the brand’s celebrated Parisian-chic streetwear and the unmistakable graphic style of Memphis.

An objet from the Memphis x Saint Laurent collection. Photo: Courtesy of Saint

An objet from the Memphis x Saint Laurent collection. Photo: Courtesy of Saint Laurent

It was in 1981 during Milan’s furniture fair Salone del Mobile that the trailblazing architect and designer Ettore Sottsass launched the first collection of 55 products under the Memphis Milano name. Characterized by a kitsch yet elegant mashup of geometric shapes, pastel and neon hues, terrazzo, and monochrome stripes and wiggly lines, the pieces were a radical departure from the sleek modernism popular at the time and instantly caused a stir. With a philosophy that design ought to be a means of communication and not an elitist art form, the Milan-based company Memphis Milano still produces the group’s designs from 1981 to 1988 in unlimited numbers.

Art  +  Culture

Explore the Genius of Design Legend Ettore Sottsass

The Saint Laurent capsule collection includes hoodies, multicolor sneakers, and garments in what Saint Laurent dubs Memphis Silk, in a vibrant hot pink colorway. The homeware items range from dazzling glass vases in an explosion of color to textile accessories, as well as rare books and posters documenting the trajectory of the movement. “These unique pieces combine classic models from Saint Laurent with the electric spirit of Memphis,” the brand said in a statement.

The Tawaraya Ring seating unit by Masanori Umeda. Photo: Courtesy of Saint Laurent

To celebrate Memphis Milano’s 40th anniversary, a special exhibition is also being hosted through June 23 at the Paris and Los Angeles store locations of Saint Laurent Rive Droite. Visitors will get the chance to not only take home a piece or two from the new collaboration but also get a sense of the wider context as original 1980s pieces such as the Tawaraya Ring seating unit by Masanori Umeda, the Carlton room divider by Ettore Sottsass, and Riviera chairs created by Michele De Lucchi transform the spaces.

See pieces from the collaboration below.

A shoe from the Saint Laurent Memphis collection. Photo: Courtesy of Saint Laurent

A colorblock hoodie by Saint Laurent. Photo: Courtesy of Saint Laurent

A colorblock hoodie by Saint Laurent. Photo: Courtesy of Saint Laurent

The Carlton room divider by Ettore Sottsass. Photo: Courtesy of Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent shirt. Photo: Courtesy of Saint Laurent

A book on Memphis, sold through Saint Laurent. Photo: Courtesy of Saint Laurent

Cover: The Tawaraya Ring seating unit by Masanori Umeda.
Photo: Courtesy of Saint Laurent

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the best in art, design, and culture from Galerie

Thank You
Your first newsletter will arrive shortly.