Kim Jones‘ first collection for Fendi, which was a haute couture line-up starring the designer’s friends like Demi Moore, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, polarised the audience. Surprisingly, his ready-to-wear debut wasn’t such noteworthy event – no big names among the models, and instead of some sort of Insta-extravaganza, we’ve seen a very classic, proper Fendi collection. Wisely, Jones neither committed himself to reflecting every aspect of the Fendi story, nor contained himself to narrowly defined elements of it. Instead he allowed the collection to unfold for the watcher as the city unfolds for the visitor, a multitude that coalesces towards the impression of a whole. The looks were all in neutral shades, both to reflect the mineral colors of the city and the organic shades that have dominated in Fendi’s history. Spaghetti-fringed furs in contrasting herringbone, striped silk shirting, and the opening loose-sleeved suede bonded mink evoked the period of Fendi’s first great flowering under the stewardship of the founders’ five daughters Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla, and Alda. It was they who recruited Karl Lagerfeld in 1965, and his great influence was stamped most clearly in a soft tote whose F-framed handle evoked his famous ‘Fun Fur’ of that period. Significantly, many pieces were punctuated with the 1981 ‘Karligraphy’ monogram. The biggest innovation here was the way the topic of fur was handled. The grandest fur on show was a long-haired fox whose raw material had been upcycled from previous pieces. Jones said of upcycled fur “that it is probably more challenging to work with for the artisans, but they enjoy being challenged.” He also pointed to the abundance of by-product shearling and added that his approach in this regard is to balance two questions: “What does the customer want and what can we do ethically?” Maybe this collection wasn’t overly charismatic or loud, but I bet it will do well in the stores next autumn.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.