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When two historic Italian icons get together, the result can be magic. Such is the alchemy between furniture brand Poltrona Frau and decor legend Fornasetti: The design houses recently collaborated on a reissue of the Vanity Fair XC chair with an illustration of a sun and moon “rising over swirling clouds.” The upholstery recalls the style of imagery that adorns the prodigious output of Fornasetti, which has 13,000 works to its name (many featuring the visage of opera singer Lina Cavalieri), while the chair itself is a classic, dating back to Renzo Frau’s 1930 original.

Officially called “model 904,” the armchair is an indelible presence in Italian design history, one that has been continuously reinvented while remaining true to its essence. In 2020, the piece’s 90th anniversary, designer Roberto Lazzeroni subtly adapted it with more generous proportions for a more comfortable sit. 

The new collaboration with Fornasetti signals the launch of Poltrona Frau’s Imagine Collection, slated for release during April’s Salone del Mobile. The surrealist pattern was created by founder Piero Fornasetti’s son, Barnaba, who now helms the brand. He based it on an old print that hung in his bedroom, one that was also used on wallpaper and other products. “The sun, with its face and stylized rays, is one of the themes my father interpreted obsessively, to the point that it became a Fornasetti icon. When I sat on the Vanity Fair armchair, I felt like I was on a cloud and began to daydream.” By chance, he met with Poltrona Frau and a fruitful friendship took shape.

Their collaboration might be born of a simpatico history, but the means of its production is quite advanced. Barnaba’s dreamy celestial design is digitally printed on the furniture company’s Pelle Frau Impact Less leather using a silkscreen technique, similar to the method the fashion industry uses to craft leather accessories, that marks a first for the brand. As Poltrona Frau states, “It allows for the reproduction of Fornasetti’s intricate hand-drawn patterns on leather with the utmost detail.” 

Fifty numbered editions of the Vanity Fair XC Imagine Reality Edition have already been made available for pre-order from the Poltrona Frau e-shop across select European markets; and beginning on April 10th, to coincide with the official showroom launch during Salone del Mobile, it will be available to order in a select number of monobrand and flagship Poltrona Frau stores. Each edition will be delivered with an exclusive leather clutch, a signed certificate of authenticity and special edition Vanity Fair XC leather key-chain. 

Vanity Fair Redux: Poltrona Frau and Fornasetti Join Forces

The two iconic Italian design houses come together to reimagine the Vanity Fair XC armchair with a swoon-worthy upholstery that would make Piero Fornasetti proud.

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