For his third Fendi haute couture collection, Kim Jones clashed the past with the future. This season, Jones continued his evening-centric approach, proposing a series of gowns he said illustrated the craftsmanship and techniques he can’t show in his ready-to-wear for Fendi. Like previous collections, Rome played muse: “It has so many layers to it. It’s such an ancient city,” he said. “We’re always thinking of the past, present, and future of it. The idea of different times and that very spiritual side of Rome, which becomes almost celestial; almost spacey.” Space, astrology, and heaven have been themes in this season’s couture and men’s collections. No doubt mildly inspired by last year’s billionaire space race, they mainly represent the great escape. The pandemic’s part in that scenario is pocket psychology. Jones, who said he had been re-reading Dune and a book on Star Wars by George Lucas, approached the theme with a Hollywood zest that recalled a number of sci-fi films centered around the age-old conversation between the ancient and the futuristic. Mirroring that dialogue in the time-transcendence embodied by Rome, Jones mixed the city’s structures with futuristic imagery and applied it to eveningwear. Renditions of the statues outside Fendi’s monumental Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana headquarters hand-painted on velvet dresses and a sheared mink cape looked like the statues in Prometheus or the landscapes in the scenes in The Planet of the Apes. Elsewhere, he applied the contours of a Roman fountain to a white dress and “filled it with mink,” while the radiant opening and closing dresses seemed to morph the lines of the peplos – the oldest dress in history – with a sci-fi structure. The collection was Jones’s first haute couture show for Fendi with a live audience. As a showcase of the skill of the house’s Roman atelier and a theater of ballroom fashion, it was a proper ending to a marvelous couture season.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.