Sunnei and cc-tapis Just Dropped the Ultimate Fashion x Design Collab, Where Carpets Become Clothing and Vice Versa

I love fashion, but not to the degree that I spend hours scrolling runway reports and slideshows after every fashion week in New York, Paris, or Milan. Two weeks ago, however, I made a notable exception: A headline caught my eye on The Cut’s Instagram — Cathy Horyn proclaiming that “one of Milan’s most original fashion brands is a relatively small one” — and when I realized she was referring to Sunnei, I sought out photos of the label’s FW24 show, being both curious and a longtime fan. Partly because in addition to their playfully chic sartorial offerings, Sunnei has been on our radar for years thanks to their periodic overlaps with the design world, from a thoughtful ongoing object collection to the collaboration they presented during Salone in 2022 with our friends at Bloc Studios. And yet I was still surprised and delighted when, after I emailed the brand’s PR team asking for a press kit for the aforementioned show, it turned out the striking striped knitwear pieces that I’d immediately been drawn to were actually a collaboration with one of our other favorite Milanese brands, rug-maker cc-tapis.

In retrospect, the fact that the models were walking down a gigantic carpet in the show photos — as well as the fact that some of the garments they wore were edged in rug-like knotted fringe — might have suggested as much. If a brand like Sunnei were going to make a rug with anyone, it would certainly be cc-tapis. The collaboration was actually years in the making, the culmination of a friendship between two neighbors that have both managed to meld a high-design pedigree and respect for craftsmanship with an embrace of color and humor. To realize the project, Sunnei first envisioned five garments that would be constructed from a flatweave-like textile produced by cc-tapis, with each one being held together by snaps rather than seams, so that they could (conceptually, at least) be opened up and laid out like rugs in their own right. Then, the two-dimensional silhouettes of those unfolded garments — which the brand has likened to fantastical versions of koalas, frogs, stars, butterflies, and hippos — were incorporated into the massive 750-square-foot rug that lined the runway they were presented on.

In her Milan fashion week piece, Horyn posed Sunnei’s creativity as second, in Milan, only to Prada’s, which is why a project like this feels like a point of pride for the contemporary design industry; 15 years ago we felt barely acknowledged by popular culture, let alone embraced by its highest echelons. Let there be more to come.