Fendi RTW Autumn/Winter 2021 Milan Fashion Week
An Englishman in Rome: Fendi’s Kim Jones Makes his Mark on a Family Business with a History as Long and Complex as that of Rome.
Image and Video Credit: Fendi
When in Rome it’s almost impossible not to trip over an archeological site with its architectural ruins and artefacts – it’s just that kind of city. The analogy with the Italian capitol may be the obvious one when considering the stage design for Kim Jones’ debut womenswear collection for Fall 2021 (having just replaced Karl Lagerfeld as creative director), but I suspect the metaphor doesn’t end there: Like the maze of boxed-in monument fragments that his models meandered through, Kim Jones presumably had to pick his way through decades of Fendi history, piles of fashion archives and no doubt endless family intrigue, to find a foundation on which to build his own version of this iconic Italian House. And allegedly that’s exactly where he started: at domestic level, by looking to the five legendary Fendi sisters’ personal wardrobes for inspiration and orientation.
When in doubt it’s often best to play it safe, and that may indeed the strategy Kim Jones opted for in his womenswear debut, and to remarkable effect. The colour palette for this elegant collection was predictably opulent albeit in an understated way, and deliberately restrained to only include the earthy tones of camel, creamy white, boudoir blush, capuccino, bitter chocolate and black – a staple in every respectably fashionable Italian woman’s wardrobe – in the mix. The classic colours that epitomize Italian elegance in a capsule! (At this point it’s hard not to let visions of timeless, ageless la Dolce Vita-style belle donne lunching at the Fontana di Trevi or Piazza Navona spring to mind…)
And, if it’s possible to add another accolade to the sheer luxury of this collection: fur, leather, suede, shearling, cashmere, silk and jersey all got the royal treatment in that they were laser-cut, embroidered, logo-ed, embossed and constructed by the hugely experienced Fendi Atelier team. Cosy wool-fringed scarves, draped skirts and dresses, double cashmere coats and gabardine trench coats shared the stage with uber glam midriff-baring cropped tops and off-the-shoulder dresses – all delectably covetable to (errr mmmm…) a certain customer.
The classic, ageless and elegant long leather boots that accompanied most of the outfits were a standout feature in this collection, and indeed a breath of fresh air after so many over-elaborate, clumpy platforms boots spotted in other designers’ shows.
Perhaps hyper-elegance may be the best way to describe this collection that kept delivering piece after piece of desirable clothing. Kim Jones wanted to design this collection to celebrate ‘a powerful dynasty’ – the Fendi sisters, who undoubtedly and fundamentally are the quintessential Fendi woman.
This is a collection that oozed sensual quality – chic, simple, slick and outrageously luxurious in every delicious detail. In the designer’s own words, ‘Fun isn’t always about bright colours.
It can be about really luxurious self-indulgence, which pleases the person wearing it more than anyone else.’
Fendi-nistas everywhere – a little like those belonging to the Rolex club – will understand the language Kim Jones is speaking.