Finally, a Fendi collection by Kim Jones I genuinely love. Fendi’s best asset, as Jones knows, is the Fendi women themselves, mother and daughter Silvia Venturini and Delfina Delettrez. In Delfina and her younger sister Leonetta, Jones has ideal muses. “What they wear is what Silvia wore when she was younger, and she’s very cool and they’re very cool; seeing how it’s generational is very inspiring. They’re obsessed by clothes and details, having those women around you when you’re working is a real joy.” Backstage of the autumn-winter 2022 fashion show, Jones explained that the genesis of his new offering was seeing Delfina in the Rome office wearing a blouse of Silvia’s from a 1986 Fendi collection by Karl Lagerfeld, when he was in his Memphis phase. “I took it off her back and put it on the research rail,” he said. Jones recolored the print and collapsed the more obviously 1980s proportions of that show’s tailoring into separates, some in menswear fabrics, others in denim. Then, because he was after lightness, he combined those references with a callback to another Lagerfeld-designed Fendi collection for spring 2000, one with a delicacy in direct opposition to the blousy proportions of the 1986 show. Naturally, Jones updated these looks too, starting by layering them over matching flutter-edged underpinnings. Jones is in many ways like Lagerfeld, an enthusiastic collector with a capacious mind for references, and he’s bringing all that to bear on Fendi. The job before him is at least in part to woo a new generation to the label; Lagerfeld, though he never lost touch with the young, was in his position for 54 years. Nominating that spring 2000 collection for a re-see couldn’t be a coincidence, what with that era being newly relevant to people who didn’t experience it the first time. But Jones has done it with finesse, avoiding any of the retro allusions seen on so many other runways.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.