Armarium’s Giorgia Gabriele Teams with Artist Martin Laforêt on Footwear Launch

More from Footwear News

Armarium, Giorgia Gabriele’s brainchild, is growing its product offer and teaming with French artist Martin Laforêt on a communication campaign, focusing on a new footwear collection.

“I have always admired him, and I felt the need to create something special to present the new shoes, juxtaposing their structure to real sculptures,” said Gabriele of Laforêt, in an interview the brand’s Milan showroom. Looking around the space, Gabriele’s point of view is sharp and focused, as her ready-to-wear collection seamlessly fits with the furniture she designs and Armarium’s lifestyle image, which in turn is in sync with  the style of Laforêt. “I’ve seen him work and it’s incredible, how he gives shape and color hues to concrete, how he manages weights and volumes,” she mused.

The Latin translation of the word “closet,” Armarium nods to the label’s offering of wardrobe-building staples, from cashmere knits to trenches. Gabriele started the project imagining what an Armarium store would look like and from that envisioned the brand as lifestyle. She personally sketched the showroom furniture and all the design pieces are available on a made-to-order basis. They include travertine marble and resin tables, sophisticated stools and classic steel and walnut wood closets.

Gabriele is especially proud of the fact that Laforêt responded to her request to work together as this is the first time he pairs with a fashion brand.

Armarium was founded in Milan in 2022 by Gabriele, a former buyer and fashion director. She is the wife of Andrea Grilli, New Guards Group cofounder and former Off-White CEO, who stepped down from his role in June last year. “It’s been a family business since Day One, and Andrea is a great supporter,” she said. The couple have a lamp created by Laforêt. “We like his style and Andrea facilitated the meeting with Martin, I was unsure that he would accept to work with us but Andrea is a visionary, he thinks anything is possible, and Martin was immediately responsive.”

Trained at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, from which he graduated in 2015, Laforêt said the experience was “easy and organic, the best I could imagine,” adding that he surprised himself by accepting, as he “never thought of working with fashion” before. “But it’s nice to experiment with new experiences,” he added. “I was curious about matching our aesthetics and I was given carte blanche.”

The photos by Guglielmo Profeti and lensed in Paris juxtapose the artist’s walls and pedestals with Armarium’s ballerinas and boots and will be unveiled on Armarium’s and Laforêt’s social media channels.

Armarium, footwear, shoes, Giorgia Gabriele, Martin Laforêt, heels
An image from the Armarium campaign.

The collaboration is dubbed “Le Minimalisme Materiel,” and Laforêt has created two unique concrete objects that will be featured in the photoshoot for the launch of Armarium’s footwear, reinforcing the rigor of the brand’s architecture.

The ballerina has a hidden mini wedge insole that follows the anatomy of the foot aided also by padding placed on the arch of the foot.Materials include soft napa, denim and wool and these contrast with the toe box in calfskin.

The slingback has a 1990’s feel with an elongated square shape.

Armarium, footwear, shoes, Giorgia Gabriele, Martin Laforêt, heels
An image from the Armarium campaign.

Reflecting the craftsmanship of the artisans, the sole is made of natural pumiced leather, while  the arch support has the sole covered in the same leather as the upper with double central stitching.

The ankle boot, made of napa guanterie lined with a more structured leather, is also detailed by a leather bound heel, island sole in natural pumiced leather, and plantar arch covered like the upper.

The below-the-knee boot, made of vegetable-tanned calfskin with a buttery feel with semi-gloss  lacquered heel. A slightly loose tube boot, cambricated at the instep with a cut-out at ankle -height is detailed by double stitching in coarse thread.

Armarium, footwear, shoes, Giorgia Gabriele, Martin Laforêt, heels
An image from the Armarium campaign.

The brand, which is made in Italy, has been expanding, entering Asia through Lane Crawford with the spring 2024 collection.

Gabriele, who has a following of 1.8 million on Instagram, has built a strong relationship with her customers and is gearing up to kick off  “Armarium At Your Place,” setting up dedicated events in different locations around the world, whether “in an art gallery, an apartment or a hotel suite, to create more intimate, exclusive and customized moments,” she said, adding that the first will be in Milan.

Armarium, footwear, shoes, Giorgia Gabriele, Martin Laforêt, heels
Martin Laforêt and Giorgia Gabriele.

The brand is available at main department stores, from Saks and Bergdorf Goodman to Neiman Marcus and Galeries Lafayette in Paris, is distributed by Al Tayer in the Middle East, and is carried at Antonia in Milan, among others.

Laforêt’s work is part of the aesthetic of Arte Povera and is inspired by artisanal know-how, giving new nobility to industrial construction materials, creating sculptures mixing bronze with concrete and oak. He has staged exhibitions in New York, Dubai, at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery in Paris and Los Angeles and at Salone del Mobile, Design Miami/ Basel and Dutch Design Week.

Armarium, footwear, shoes, Giorgia Gabriele, Martin Laforêt, heels
An image from the Armarium campaign.

Best of Footwear News

Sign up for FN's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.