Editor’s Note: This selection was edited by the CNN Style team.
Dare to dream? Wish lists should be over the top, expensive and rare. This holiday season, we’ve rounded up some of the year’s most indulgent design items – from luxury collections and exclusive fashion collaborations to simply exquisite objects.
Moncler x Pierpaolo Piccioli coat gowns
Throughout 2018, Italian skiwear brand Moncler has been dropping one-off collaborations with high caliber designers as part of its Genius project, first presented at Milan Fashion Week in March. The most noteworthy to date is probably the one with Maison Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, which debuted in October.
For the capsule collection, Piccioli presented a series of rather voluminous outerwear inspired by the Renaissance, reinventing Moncler’s classic lightweight duvets into structured couture pieces that are hybrids between a coat and a gown. All in bright, vivid colors, the garments are pretty dramatic – and make a definite statement coat.
Rick Owens’ anti-cozy furniture
Looking at any item of furniture by Rick Owens, “cozy” is possibly the last word one would use. Angular, monumental and sometimes tomb-like, the pieces the American designer has been creating since 2007 feature stark materials like Carrara marble and slabs of alabaster. Sometimes, moose antlers make an appearance.
The overall aesthetic – which Owens has said in interviews is also the contribution of his wife and creative partner Michele Lamy – is miles away from comfort, but captivating because of that. It defies the classic rules of what makes ‘good’ furniture.
Porky Hefer’s over-sized cuddly lounge chairs
Oversized bean bags and hanging chairs in the shape of endangered animal species are the latest from South African artist Porky Hefer – and the cuddliest intersection of art and environmental sustainability we’ve seen in a while. The tactile, larger-than-life sculptures (and seating pods) are made of eco-friendly, recycled materials, and are handcrafted by artisans in Cape Town.
They are celebrity-endorsed, too: the giant animals were presented at Design Miami/Basel in June as part of an exhibition commissioned by art consultancy SFA Advisory to benefit the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF), the actor’s environmental non-profit, with 25% of their sales proceeds going towards the promotion of LDF wildlife conservation programs.
Stella McCartney’s Loop sneakers
British designer Stella McCartney has long been at the forefront of sustainable, even vegan fashion. These Loop sneakers, which launched in August and took 18 months to design, are made from non-leather materials and have been stitched without the use of any glue, so that, if pulled apart, each component can be fully recycled.
Vivienne Westwood x Burberry
Vivienne Westwood x Burberry’s limited-edition collection, released in early December, is one of the most British collabs in years – and already iconic among fans of the brands. Aiming to create a “union of punk and tradition,” it features some of Westwood’s best-known pieces – berets, high-waisted pants, chunky oversized coats – in a vintage variation of the Burberry check.
The ad campaign accompanying the launch was shot by photographer David Sims, and shows a decidedly 1990s aesthetic, with candid portraits of Kate Moss and Sistren (a sister-friends trio telling stories relevant to queer black women) that could be straight out of Clueless. Westwood and Riccardo Tisci (Burberry’s new chief creative officer) also decided to use the collection to support nonprofit organization Cool Earth.
MatchesFashion x Nick Vinson
Earlier this year, global e-commerce platform MatchesFashion.com tapped creative director and interiors expert Nick Vinson to put together an impeccably curated homeware collection. Spanning soft furnishings and cutlery, tabletop accessories and glassware, the 12-item line launched in November, and features collectibles from British and European designers.
Among them are vases by Linck Ceramics redecorated by Roksanda Ilinčić, a special silver teapot designed by John Pawson for Belgian distributor When Objects Work, and cushions by Tomas Maier for Bottega Veneta. Accompanying each object is a personal story from Vinson, keeping in line with MatchesFashion.com’s ethos of bespoke design.
Annie Leibotvitz’s “Sumo” book
“Annie Leibovitz, Sumo” is a hardcover, signed, limited-edition (there are only 9,000 copies available) tome, that takes the concept of ‘coffee table book’ to new heights. Part of publishing house Taschen’s “Sumo” book series, it comes with a tripod bookstand by designer Marc Newson, four different cover photos and a supplementary essay compendium.
The volume compiles some of Leibovitz’s most iconic photos, legendary images of some of the most famed actors, musicians, artists, writers, athletes and businesspeople of our time.
Super Veloce’s Royale 01 espresso machine
Super Veloce has been making F1-inspired espresso machines for a few years, but their latest model, the Royale 01, might be their most opulent yet. Like other espresso makers from the South-African company, it is designed to resemble a car engine – a V12, to be exact, which is used to power up Aston Martins, Ferraris and Lamborghinis – and made with the same materials: aerospace-grade aluminum, stainless steel and titanium.
What further sets it apart is its finishing: 18 carat white gold, diamonds, a thermostat in gold-lead carbon fiber and even a tank cap topped with an amethyst gemstone.
Pro-Ject’s 2Xperience SB turntable – The Beatles White Album edition
Is this the best Beatles collectible ever? To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The White Album – the ninth studio album by the English rock band – audio system company Pro-Ject teamed up with Universal Music Group to release a limited-edition, all-white turntable, subtly decorated with Beatles markings. It’s possibly the best way to pay respects to the 1968 LP as it’s being re-released in a deluxe format.
Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades
For the last six years, Louis Vuitton’s homeware collection Objets Nomades has been delivering beautiful and functional furnishings in collaboration with some of the most renowned designers out there, from the Campana Brothers and Patricia Urquiola to Tokujin Yoshioka.
Among the highlights of this year’s collection, presented at the Salone del Mobile in Milan in April, are a Ribbon Dance sofa by Andre Fu and a Diamond Mirror by Marcel Wanders. The first features two cushioned seats connected by a sweeping Mobius strip of an arch, inviting its occupants to engage with each other, while the latter shows a central octagonal mirror ringed with 24 smaller triangular mirrors, to dazzling visual effect.
Leica’s M Monochrom ‘Stealth Edition’ camera
Creative Director and CEO of American fashion brand Rag & Bone Marcus Wainwright teamed up with legendary photography company Leica to design a limited-edition camera this year, the M Monochrom special “Stealth Edition.”
Launched in March – in a limited series of 125 and priced at $15,750 – it features a blacked-out body and lens, with glow-in-the-dark accents rendered with fluorescent paint, chosen especially for low-light usage.
Dior x KAWS
When a revered 72-year-old French couture house partners up with one of the most playful American pop artists, things are bound to get interesting. Indeed, Dior’s commissioned project with KAWS for the brand’s Spring/Summer 2019 men’s collection at Paris Fashion Week in June was one for the books.
KAWS reinterpreted the house’s signature bee symbol in his own typographic style, replacing it across the brand’s entire accessory line – from backpacks to totes, key rings to wallets. Dior’s name was also given a pop update in shades of pink and blue. The collaboration was a light, exuberant take on the luxury label, and the first for Kim Jones since he took over as new Dior Homme artistic director.
Tiffany & Co’s sterling silver greenhouse
Part of Tiffany & Co’s Everyday Objects series – a collection of, you guessed it, everyday items like pencil sharpeners and tin cans reinvented in luxurious materials, with hefty (sometimes absurd) price tags to match – this miniature greenhouse is only 20 inches wide, 26.75 inches long and 17.75 inches high, and made with sterling silver, copper and glass.
Priced at $275,000, it was hand-assembled by four craftsmen over the course of nine months in the brand’s hollowware workshop. To be used as a centerpiece, possibly – plants are unlikely to fit in it, given its dimensions.
NOWlab’s 3D-printed motorbike
Hailed as a world’s first and designed by NOWlab, the innovation arm of German manufacturing company BigRep, this 3-D printed motorbike sets a new benchmark for the future of the automotive industry. Called Nera, it features exclusively 3-D printed components (except for its electric parts, of course), including the frame, tires, rims, seats and LED lights reflectors. Not yet for sale, it was unveiled in November.
Supreme’s pinball machine
In May, after branded kayaks, axes and suitcases, streetwear label Supreme launched a new item with its iconic red and white logo all over it: a pinball machine. Created with Stern (one of the world’s last pinball machines factories), the full size arcade accessory plays on 1980s and 1990s nostalgia, and gives a hypebeast, logoed look to the classic game, usually characterized by gaudy designs. On eBay, it’s currently selling for $36,999.
FormaFantasma’s Ore Streams furniture collection
A series of office furnishings from the Amsterdam-based design duo Studio Formafantasma, the Ore Streams collection is compelling because of its slightly dystopian aesthetic. Each object – from the desk to the low chair to the lamp – is made from electronic waste and recycled materials and aims to explore the role design plays in transforming natural resources and discarded digital means into desired products. First created in 2015, the series made its US debut this past November, at the Park Avenue Armory in New York.
This selection was edited by the CNN Style team.