Fashion is complex, but it doesn’t have to be complicated: Mirroring the collection it produced, Silvia Fendi’s intention for her namesake house’s fall collection was relaxed and playful. As she said in a hastily-grabbed cusp-of-show moment: “I was thinking about having a good time—feeling great with fashion during the day but also during the night.” The execution of that intention, however, was deeply sophisticated.

This was a collection that you could inhabit as a cocooning, swaddling, comforting hug that also allowed you to inhabit the Fendi-fashioned characteristics of a 1970s creature of the night, with varying degrees of balance on the conventional masculine/feminine scale. The second aspect—the night moves—came via Fendi’s hankering to recall her days of disco (she said she used to throw her shapes at Jackie O’ in Rome and New York’s Studio 54).

The shimmering facets of a disco ball and the one-shouldered mid-length shape of an archetypal ’70s disco dress were the two chief ingredients imposed to create a jolt of surprise in an otherwise comforting—but not always exactly what it seemed—landscape of clothing. The one-shoulder chorus was visible across the collection and occasionally we saw its equivalent hem too, most often in the closing-section gray suiting sometimes hung with little F-shaped and circular baubles. One look combined a one-shouldered rib knit under a two-piece suit in a look whose respective ribs and pinstripes sheared off in multiple directions to mimic beams of light above a dancefloor.

Other cashmere knits, both-shouldered this time, came with disguisable in-built collars to afford formality without the trouble of slipping on all the garments usually required. More trompe l’oeil touches included pale shearlings sprayed with dark paint to resemble long-worn and loved leathers. There was a lovely lavender sideline in leathers layered over felted and fringed cashmeres. Two highlight bags, in shearling, came crafted to look like baguettes (the baked good rather than the existing Fendi handbag). One of these was carried at the elbow and meant for toting a real baguette within it. The other was slung across the shoulder and contained an umbrella. “This is very much for the French market,” observed Fendi, dryly. She did not specify for how much dough they would go.

There was another new piece of hardware in a cascading and connected cluster of Fs—there were five of them—used on earrings and chains and meant to symbolize house founder Eduardo’s quintet of dynamic daughters: Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla and Adda. This was designed by Silvia’s daughter, Delfina Delettrez Fendi. This house has a long history of collaborative partnerships, but its DNA runs deep and true; this was another satisfying chapter in its story.


January 14, 2023