“It’s pure, simple, but complex,” observed Silvia Fendi of this Kim Jones-authored Fendi collection. Jones had popped momentarily away from our pre-show chat to scoop up a new-fabrication many-pocketed Baguette and another, entirely new bag, the Multi—that folds from day tote to evening back in one fast folding move—that were amongst the accessories on the runway this afternoon. Amongst the show’s audience was Donatella Versace, who with none of her own in Milan to tend to—although LA is coming up—had stepped in to Via Solari to see the latest offerings from her former Fendace colleagues.
Silvia’s summation was as deftly succinct and effective as that bag’s flick-of-the fingers, no-fuss transformational operation. Today Jones worked to combine four finely-observed elements in order to fashion a collection that felt both inherently Fendi and simultaneously fresh. The first stemmed from his own instinct to incorporate menswear fabrics and shapes into the vocabulary of sophisticatedly feminine dressing. This translated into bias-cut pants “always very flattering on a woman,” and backless waistcoats with added, open-shoulder sleeves, mac-shaped jackets, and double collared jacketing.
Sprinkled across and within this was the second element, drawn from Jones’s desire to create a conversation between this collection and his couture output for the house. Thus two menswear-style mackintoshes came lined with pale yellow sequins, a detail whose fabrication was adapted from the atelier. Other couture-origin details included the pressed lingerie applied to cotton shirting or worn as a midlayer. The closing capes on draped satin dresses were another haute note.
The third ingredient was the baseline: Jones said he had been closely observing Delfina Delettrez Fendi’s personal style within the broader quest for the fundamentally Fendi. “She wears this really interesting combination of brown and pale blue,” he observed. Her daughter was not at the chat, but Silvia suggested that Delfina’s Jones-observed code was linked to her Roman school uniform. This was also echoed in the multi-length pleated kilts worn over those menswear fabric pants and in black satin suiting. The wickedly high, sometimes two-piece, clear heeled boots, were also apparently Delfina-derived.
One last key protagonist in the Fendi story also made a subtle cameo. The triple-yarned, ribbed knits that impressed graphic blocks of color on a clinging, popper-secured silhouette were drawn from Karl Lagerfeld’s fall 1996 collection for the house. Said Jones: “It’s about real dressing: that Italian sophisticated woman who you know, that becomes global.”
BY LUKE LEITCH
February 22, 2023