In the eternal city of Rome, Fendi paid homage to the eternal memory of Karl Lagerfeld with its stunning couture fall/winter 2019-2020 show.
Celebrating one of the most prolific contributors in the fashion world, Fendi’s couture show, named the Dawn of Romanity, showcased 54 looks, each dedicated to the number of years of Lagerfeld’s tenure at the maison – which, is the longest in history for any brand.
The show took place at Palatine Hill, Rome, where the legendary foundation of the city is located. Celebrity guests including Catherine Zeta Jones, Lisa Bonet, Susan Saradon, Winnie Harlow, Cindy Bruna, and fellow designer Maria Grazia Chiuri filled the front row, all emotionally applauding the perfect dedication to a man who was a formidable force not only for Fendi, but fashion. While Lagerfeld worked briefly on the collection with Silvia Venturini Fendi, his spirit was definitely felt.
The couture line, of which 21 of the pieces were non-fur, celebrated the cinematic allure of a Roman woman. Inspired by Raniero Gnoli’s Marmore Romana, and archive sketches by the Kaiser, the pieces explore the metamorphic splendor of marble, which is noticeable in the geometric patterns and mosaic-style effects whether through laser cut treatment, beading work or fur detail. The silhouettes included sweeping lines of tailoring, ample drape of empress dresses, tucked shoulders and a graphic décolleté. In terms of accessories, the Baguette bag got a supersize treatment as well as a weaving technique, which was also applied to the rattan footwear.
Perhaps a nod to Lagerfeld’s heritage, the catwalk show was accompanied with a live performance by Berlin-based Italian composer Caterina Barbieri. After the show, guests passed beneath the Arch of Titus at the Summa Sacra Via, where a banquet was hosted amidst the tranquil Barberini vineyards, a stone’s throw from the Temple of Heliogabalus and the olives, pomegranates, figs, roses and lemon trees of the Palatine hill.
It was a poignant decision to showcase in Fendi’s home city of Rome, where the company works tirelessly to help fund preservations of its national treasures, including the Trevi Fountain. Restoration work on the fountain was completed in 2015, and a year later Fendi used the landmark as the backdrop for its milestone 90th birthday celebration. The maison also paid €2.5 million towards the restoration and protection of the Temple of Venus, which was part of the jaw-dropping background scenery for this couture show – a show-stopper that Karl Lagerfeld would’ve been proud of.
“Bringing our couture to Rome is the best way to celebrate Karl Lagerfeld, Fendi and its city. It is a unique opportunity to express our roots, a daring creativity and the greatest know-how, which has always been part of our DNA. Palatine Hill is a magical place, perfectly representing Fendi’s values, tradition and history. I am very proud of the restoration of the Temple of Venus and Rome, continuing to support the cultural heritage not only of Rome and Italy, but also around the world,” said Serge Brunschwig, president and CEO of Fendi, about their ongoing commitment to preserve the city.
Fendi is proud of its heritage, and that includes Karl Lagerfled, who joined the company in 1965. While he may have passed, the creative director is in no danger of becoming a myth in the Italian house. If the couture show confirmed anything it was that Mr Lagerfeld is a legend, and Fendi will always preserve that just like its home.