Identity. Fendi SS23

With Kim JonesFendi, there are ups and downs. The resort 2023 fashion show, which opened New York Fashion Week and celebrated Baguette’s anniversary, was a high. The spring-summer 2023 collection which opened Milan Fashion Week wasn’t entirely bad, but it was… mediocre. One might easily mistake it with a brand like Max Mara or Sportmax. And Fendi isn’t really a brand that fits this profile, lifestyle-wise. The collection’s shots of color, in green and blue and fiery red, were, as Jones said, purposefully projected across a clothes-scape of the neutrals that are key to the Fendi identity in order to generate new freshness to the jolt of recognition. The double-F logo first drafted by Karl Lagerfeld in 2000 was used all over the line-up. Its graphic geometric severity contrasted with the silhouetted botanical relief that Jones said had featured in a ’96-vintage Lagerfeld outing for the house. This featured on pieces including a laser-sliced leather vest and sheer, organza, Fendi-brown racerback dresses and tops. Obi-belt detailing and the inverted masculine tailoring were respectively nods back to the most recent Jones for Fendi Couture collection, and then autumn before that. Explaining this, Jones unpacked part of the process that will allow him to produce 11 collections this year (he thinks) and probably 12 collections next year. He said: “I program it so that if you put fall and then Couture and then this in a row the brand makes sense. And then there will be another to build upon it after this.” Noting that Jones also does four collections a year at Dior Man (plus all the creative direction), this entire statement sounds, well, terrifying.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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New York. Fendi Resort 2023

Fendi got the New York Fashion Week rolling with a bang. For over a month, the Italian brand has been communicating that it’s planning to hit the Big Apple for a big occasion: the Baguette’s 25th birthday. And what made the eternal it-bag so in-demand for the last two decades? Of course, Sex & The City, the most New York show of all the New York shows. “It was almost like a character,” Kim Jones said. “So I thought let’s do the show here, and let’s add in a few curveballs as we always do.” Sarah Jessica Parker, who sat front row with Kate Moss, Kim Kardashian and Lily Allen, approved the project as the IRL Carrie Bradshaw. She was definitely making a mind-list of her favourite looks for the second season of And Just Like That. That Jones is a prodigious collaborator has been well documented, but the match-ups he orchestrated for the celebratory resort 2023 collection were particularly inspired. Tiffany & Co. was brought in to provide the baguettes – as in diamond baguettes. The double-F logo on the Tiffany blue croc Baguette carried by Bella Hadid was pavéd in the precious stones, and the electric colour of her silk jumpsuit was 100% Tiffany blue.

Another quintessential New York addition: the Marc Jacobs collaboration. Jacobs’s section riffed on his recent collections with block letter intarsias spelling out FendiRoma rather than his own logo on everything from tracksuits and trucker jackets and matching jeans to an oversize terry robe. The faux fur XXL hats, which we’ve seen the last time on his autumn-winter 2012 runway, wowed the audience just like they did a decade ago. “I called Marc up and asked him if he wanted to design a collection for Fendi. I haven’t been involved at all,” Jones explained the collab. “We worked side by side during fittings. We were doing ours, he was doing his. I’m looking very much at 1997, and I think Marc’s is fresh and now.” Jones was after more of a feeling. “I was thinking about when I was first coming to New York and we would go out clubbing,” he said. Hence the irreverent, high/low mix of sequins and utility jackets, or a shearling sherpa and a mini. He meant what he said about utility. Even beanies and gaiters came with built-in Baguettes, as did many of the garments, those shearling sherpas most temptingly. Surprisingly, it all felt very early Sex & The City and Patricia Field style. For the kicker, Linda Evangelista, who is the current face of Fendi, glided out, resplendent in an opera cape, with a sterling silver Baguette bag in the crook of her arm. Jacobs, who joined Jones and Venturini Fendi for a bow, encouraged everyone to stand up – not that the crowd needed any convincing.

Collages by Edward Kanarecki.
Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!

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