The collection referenced Fendi’s SS00 collection
Since joining Fendi a year ago, Kim Jones has been exploring the codes of Fendi and what they could mean to a new generation of shoppers. Because this house was built around fur and handbags, that’s no easy task. While everybody knows the Fendi logo designed by Karl Lagerfeld, “the Fendi look” is perhaps more elusive. “I’m still working them out, but I’m looking at points in time which are relevant for now,” he said backstage, referring to those codes. “Particularly, the spring/summer 2000 show was something I really always looked at, even when I was at college.” That collection epitomized what Lagerfeld, with typical loaded elegance, would refer to as “the unbearable lightness of being”: lightweight, diaphanous, buoyant garments, which he’d sometimes layer to create filtrage effects that looked like modern art.
It also referenced Fendi’s SS86 collection
Jones fused his memories of SS00 with reinterpretations of the prints Lagerfeld used in his spring/summer 1986 collection for Fendi, an ode to the geometric language of the Memphis movement. “I’m not a fan of nostalgia, but when something is really good and it feels right to look at, I do it. I’ve been looking at lots of the codes of the house, and, you know, he was there for 54 years so it’s hard to ignore,” Jones said, referring to Lagerfeld. The fusion between the two memories made for a Fendi collection that sometimes evoked the late designer’s spirit, but through a lens adjusted to the sexier, more sensual, more erotic female image that currently surrounds us on social media.
It was soft vs hard
“There’s something quite lingerie about Fendi,” Jones said, referring to the transparent slip dresses, bustiers, and pyjama-like shirts and trousers that embodied the soft side of the collection. In contrast, tailoring – also informed by the SS86 collection – was sharp, tight, and layered with tonal panels that had an industrial quality to them. That sensibility was heightened by the tunnel-like concrete runway Jones had erected within Fendi’s in-house show space, adding a certain chilliness to looks otherwise often tactile in spirit. “Concrete and chiffon and how that can be put together. Women are hard and soft,” Jones pointed out.
Delfina Delettrez inspired the Memphis idea
At Fendi, Jones’s methodology is family-focused. Working side-by-side with Silvia Venturini Fendi and her daughter Delfina Delettrez, he observes the way the Fendi women dress, shop and borrow from one another. It was, in fact, Delettrez who inspired the re-introduction of the Memphis collection. “Delfina came in, in one of the Memphis blouses, and I loved it so much that I took it off her back and put it on the research rail. That was how that started,” he said, referring to a print blouse Delettrez had nicked from her mother’s wardrobe. Both women are excellent muses – Venturini’s handsome, tailored elegance could definitely play inspiration to a future Fendi collection as depicted by Jones.
There were more bags than ever
Any collection that seeks to explore and define the codes of Fendi would have to be bag-centric. Jones and Venturini – the brand’s head of accessories – went all out, embellishing almost every look with a bag, and sometimes several, like the miniature bags attached to the clothes. New bags included additions to Fendi’s Hand-in-Hand project, which commissions artisans from around Italy to interpret the Baguette, as well as three Baguette revivals: one in cashmere, one in shearling-lined leather, and one in intarsia mink. “That was the thing for me when I first came to Fendi: I knew the handbags much better than the clothes,” Jones said. “Silvia does an amazing job, and I like to celebrate that because I love Silvia.”
Originally published in Vogue.co.uk