It’s become increasingly common for the worlds of design and architecture to overlap with fashion and its ongoing quest to stay on the cutting edge of culture. In recent years, the industry’s biggest names have pushed themselves to imagine what it means for fashion to exist in a world far away from the typical runway.

400 handcrafted chairs by Gaetano Pesce on display at the Bottega Veneta SS23 fashion show at Milan Design Week.

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This concept was recently brought to new life with the collaboration between Italian architect and designer Gaetano Pesce and the uber-luxe Italian fashion house Bottega Veneta during their SS23 collection showcase at this year’s Milan Fashion Week. Pesce and his team hand-crafted a whopping 400 technicolor chairs specifically for the event.

The chairs’ aesthetics are as unique as Faberge eggs, each one a rainbow-colored dream of swirling colors. While some of the seats evoke stoic marble and mountains of multicolored candy, others are decorated with hand-drawn designs depicting Bottega Veneta accessories — all one-of-a-kind objet d’art meant not only to be admired, but to be an integral part of the fashion show.

The back of one of the colorful Come Stai? chairs reads

Entitled “Come Stai?,” the collection served as actual seating for the show’s attendees, themselves an active contrast to the swirling shades of the floor beneath. And like fashion itself, the chairs serve a multi-layered purpose. Meant to highlight the underlying theme of diversity in fashion, Pesce’s colorful handmade chairs make a powerful statement on mass production, and how devastating carbon-copy furniture reproductions can be to a piece’s individuality.

Musician Erykah Badu wears a bold fur outfit to the Bottega Veneta show, providing sharp contrast to Pesce's colorful chair designs.

As Pesce explained during an on-set conversation, “We are all originals, and this is one of the themes to my design.” He also emphasized the importance of flow and change in design as opposed to the stagnation that can result from commercial reproduction, adding, “as a designer, I make originals, not standardized series.”

A closer look at the colorful backs of Gaetano Pesce's

“Form, function, and thought are necessary for design and art,” Pesce said before unveiling the first of the 400 “Come Stai?” chairs. The collection will go on to find new life in an exhibition at Design Miami 2022, and the individual chairs will eventually be made available for purchase.