Resort 2020 is the first Fendi collection designed without the late Karl Lagerfeld’s guidance. Such a huge, irreplaceable loss was obviously deeply felt, yet the transition has been seamlessly secured by Silvia Venturini Fendi, who has worked alongside Lagerfeld all her life. Her clever drive was already perceptible in the creative input she gave for the season, treating the design teams to a private viewing of John Cassavetes’s ’80s thriller Gloria, starring his then-wife Gena Rowlands. The collection’s rather intriguing starting point was Rowlands’s fearless, sexy character, a former call girl and mobster’s lover who redeems herself by helping a kid escape death at the hands of the mafia.

In the movie, Rowlands’s wardrobe was designed by the French couturier Emanuel Ungaro, who gave Gloria a stylish yet provocative look, classy but seductive. The same vibe was highlighted in a daywear offer where the experimental bent inherent to Fendi’s repertoire was smoothed in favor of a softer and more fluid approach, without detracting from the eccentric play between masculine and feminine, and construction and looser shapes, which are other recurring Fendi themes.

What could’ve resulted in a passing reference to the bourgeois look in favor today was given a jolt of edgy discipline and a haute sensuality. This was expressed in a series of soft tailored suits with sharp-cut blazers paired with matching trapeze midi skirts that were deceitfully demure, the sexy high slits on the sides revealing bare legs and high-heeled leather boots. As an homage to Rowlands’s seductive style, a black suit with a fitted blazer and a pleated midi skirt in silk jacquard was named “Gloria”: It was the template for a few variations on the theme, the most glamorous being a version in warm brown shaved mink with handmade pierced geometric motifs.

Stamped patent leather in flame red added a frisson of audacity to a classic trenchcoat, and the sensuality of soft black leather was in evidence on an elongated midi dress with a feminine bow at the back. Leather was also the fabric of choice for ’80s-inspired high-waisted, wide-legs trousers, worn with chic silk blouses or with a sporty mink blouson tucked in.

The logo was played subtly but consistently throughout the collection: the famous Karligraphy theme, together with the double FF and the Pequin (the signature black-and-brown stripes), were printed in discreet, micro versions on fluid silk-twill pajama suits, or rendered as piping along slit skirts or else as colorful intarsia work on a luxurious mink wrap coat.