March 4, 2019 / Experience

Remixing Histories

Taking inspiration from lavish historical ancestry, the use of opulence remixes historical forms with rich materials and colour palettes to create new narratives. Full of heritage and culture, unexpected stories are told through combining or redefining traditional beauty.

Moncler has unveiled a collection of padded full-length evening dresses by Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli at Milan Fashion Week. A mix of ballgowns and puffer coats, the floor length gowns were photographed in a grand room, just outside of Milan in an unexpected nature. 

Connecting diversities is my idea of inclusive creativity.

Pierpaolo Piccioli

The melding of modern and traditional forms is a lucrative venture when executed well. Illuminating a romanticised notion of ancient apothecaries, Guy Morgens explore ancient medicines and potions with modern day touchpoints that include organic formulas. ARgENTUM also use this approach, with their silver infused creams, oils and soaps spotlighting a resurgence in apothecary-style products for the modern luxe consumer.

Non-luxe brand Starbucks are also tapping into the opulent remix approach – but rather than trying to engage with high end consumers, they are aiming to influence skeptical Italian consumers. Located in a historic Milanese building, the Reserve Roastery’s interiors pay homage to traditional Italian design. The marble countertops are sourced from the same quarry as the Duomo, which protrudes just a few streets over. A grand roasting machine centres the store with bronze accents giving the space a luxurious ambience.

Our recent work with Pat McGrath Labs also explores this. Wanting to give her cult following insight into the extravagant world of Pat McGrath in a traditional Bergdorf Goodman space, it features a pop up with lush carpets, golden structures and grandiose imagery mixed with ticker tape, makeup and a golden fly. 

Another take on the modern and traditional intertwining, we see historic buildings, museums and galleries being used for non-traditional causes. London’s National History Museum will feature unique yoga classes in the iconic Hintze Hall this summer. Similarly The New York Met is collaborating with podcast, Ear Hustle, to host an event blending traditional spirituals with new songs created by current inmates at San Quentin State Prison, ‘…offering a nuanced view of an exiled population, and the irrepressible human drive to create’.

Key Insights

  • The future of retail will be formed from both historical and modern points of view. Incorporating old and new structure into design will marry the forms, and ensure comfort and familiarity.
  • Localised history and design should inform brands to generate connection and understanding between consumers.
  • Using historic design can help consumers feel immersed in a brand and give a greater insight into what otherwise might be an inaccessible realm.

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