Fashion Plates

Italian artist and designer Piero Fornasetti was never one to play by the rules—as a boy, he was expelled from Milan’s Brera Art Academy for “insubordination,” and he later spent World War II exiled in Switzerland—so naturally, his birth centenary celebrations have been far from ordinary. Most recently, the exhibition “Il Piatto Forte,” meaning quite literally “the main plate,” showcases some of Fornasetti’s most notable and inventive plate settings. Intricately decorated with fish, florals, and figures, the plates beautifully illustrate Fornasetti’s vibrant and whimsical artistic spirit. After viewing the stunning displays of ceramic and porcelain, guests can vote on the set they wish to see reintroduced into production; a rare opportunity to resurrect a piece of design history.

In his lifetime, Fornasetti created over 11,000 items, each more imaginative than the last. He left an indelible mark in the realms of fashion and design by continuously questioning the norm and pushing boundaries through unexpected use of color and motifs. But what inspires this brand of genius? The female form, of course. In the words of Fornasetti himself, “When one knows how to draw the nude body, one can also design a building, or the motor of a car. Anything. But if one doesn’t know how to draw the nude, it’s a real problem.”