Romantic Melancholy. Fendi Couture SS21

Kim Jones‘ big debut at Fendi‘s womenswear hit off with a haute couture show. You might know that I wasn’t his fan at men’s Louis Vuitton, and I’m not overly obsessed with his current Dior menswear venture. So I didn’t expect much from his arrival at Fendi. The spring-summer 2021 couture show is an example of a fashion spectacle, where everything wows the viewer except the actual clothes. First, the literary and artistic sources that shaped Kim’s Fendi line-up started in Charleston Farmhouse, the 16th-century Sussex retreat of the Bloomsbury set located not far from the village of Rodmell, where the designer was partly raised and owns a house. Young Jones would spend school trips exploring the house and learning about Bloomsbury’s bohemian members. Those dreamy stories stayed with him. Second, his Fendi collection showed a demonstration of how Jones expresses himself in form and decoration in womenswear.  Of carving out that silhouette, Jones said he observed “the reality of what women around me are wearing. I have friends that just buy couture clothes, and they don’t buy big ball gowns. They buy real clothes, things that fit their bodies.” Above all, he wants to create work “reactive to the time we’re living in.” And three, enter ‘Orlando’, Virginia Woolf’s time-traveling tale of androgyny and fashion’s favorite lexicon for the study of genderlessness. “’Orlando’ was published in 1928, and Fendi was founded in 1925,” he pointed out. The “journey from Bloomsbury to Borghese” interpreted Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s frescoes of Charleston in hand-beaded prints and the marbles of the Galleria Borghese in painted tailoring, meanwhile dresses evoked the wet drapery of its Bernini sculptures. It all sounds delightful and thorougly considered, but the effect was overcharged, heavy and most of the time, simply unflattering. In the prerecorded show, Jones echoed ‘Orlando’’s themes in a coed cast featuring many of his high-profile friendships: Demi Moore, Kate and Lila Moss, Christy and James Turlington, Adwoa and Kesewa Aboah. The family constellations celebrated Fendi’s values as a matriarchal fashion dynasty, whose class-act custodian, Silvia Venturini Fendi, still serves as artistic director of accessories and menswear. Joining the cast were her daughters, Leonetta Fendi and jewelry designer Delfina Delettrez, whom Jones has now named as creative director of the brand’s jewelry. Delettrez’s supersized murano glass chandelier earrings accompanied each look, and must have been heavily inspired by Romeo Gigli (if this name doesn’t ring a bell, you better Google him!). Tailoring felt more rigidly structured for male anatomy, framed by floor-sweeping capes. At times, forms grew shapeless, like a pink look of highly textured layers topped off with a lace coat webbed from roses or a mound of marbled garments draped over Naomi Campbell (I love Naomi. But this look didn’t serve her at all – she drowned in it!). Jones’s juxtapositions culminated in split-personality dresses hybridized from half an evening gown and half a blazer or shirt. The inspiration was found in the sketches of his predecessor, Karl Lagerfeld, who left 54 years’ worth of archives behind him when he died two years ago. Lagerfeld’s Fendi was epitomized by Roman modernism, a handsome glamour that often found time for quirk. Jones’s approach was romantic (and suffocating) melancholy in contrast. Of course, most ‘major’ debuts go wrong. It’s the beginning of a new chapter at Fendi, and I’m looking forward to see what Jones will bring next to the table.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Off To Paris!

Off to Paris for a week! The reviews for the last shows of PFW will come a bit delayed. But coming back with lots of coverage! In the meantime, please check out my Instagram page – if you still haven’t done that – for some Parisian stories… see you there!

Kate Moss by Inez & Vinoodh for Yves Saint Laurent by Stefano Pilati, spring-summer 2008.

The MET was Heaven.

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Maria Carla Boscono by Juergen Teller.

I very rarely write about such mainstream events as the MET Gala, but this year was awkwardly… good. A heaven’s gift, even. Noting this year’s Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination theme, the guests had to give a thought to their appearance. Actually, it could have gone all wrong. But, surprisingly, some of the looks will become somewhat iconic! And that’s something to cherish. It’s truly pleasing to know that there are actors, musicians and celebrities that want to break the norms and dare to stand out on the red carpet – especially at MET, where boredom should leave right away.

I know I might look really late with this fellow ranking of the best looks, comparing to all the others in the industry (well, my final exams are in progress, so please do excuse me!). But still, posting this feels like a right thing to do.

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How I love Frances McDormand in this Valentino haute couture ensemble. She looks so non-chalant, yet chilled out. And she smoked a cigarette, while wearing that magnificent headwear. Thanks God for Pierpaolo Piccioli, who really nailed it with that collection, and thanks God for Frances, a woman to adore and admire.

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Well, Rihanna in John Galliano‘s major Maison Margiela pope fashion. No explanation needed I guess.

 

Anthony Vaccarello‘s Saint Laurent gang of dark angels that featured Zoë Kravitz, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Anja Rubik, Kate Moss, Mica Arganaraz and Charlotte Casiraghi. Hell yes.

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Solange in Iris Van Herpen is somewhere between an alien dominatrix and a Goddess. Can be two at a time, why not.

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Possibly, Greta Gerwig wanted to look elegantly invisible. Well, that dramatic The Row dress was the MET Gala’s most serene fashion moment, but in the best possible way. A nun goes to the ball! Love.

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Susie Cave‘s velvet Gucci gown is pure romance, as if taken straight from a romantic era ballad.

I’m picky, I know. But those were my ultimate favourites. Amen.

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Perry Ellis Era

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The 90’s. Aah. The free spirit. And grunge. These are the keywords that really make me think about this amazing era of creativity, defiance and a kind of “I don’t give a F word” attitude. Perry Ellis from 1994 is the perfect example. It was the collection that got Marc Jacobs fired from this American fashion house, which is currently slowly dying and becoming a forgotten brand. It was the show, idea, that made his career. With Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love in the newspapers and their music dominating both the radio and MTV, a 29-year-old Jacobs sent flannel shirts, printed granny dresses, Dr. Martens and knitted beanies down the runway. “Grunge is ghastly,” Suzy Menkes declared later in her fashion show report, and Jacobs indeed lost his job, but this was one show that the critics and the Perry Ellis company definitely got wrong. In other words, to those who think Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent is innovative – as you, he is not.

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Baby Naomi.

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Baby Kristen.

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Baby Kate.

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