House illustrates is the most iconic party with its mirrored catwalk, white trousers suits and kaftans
Milan “looks lively again, people are out for dinner and enjoying themselves”, reports British fashion designer Kim Jones, whose Fendi show fired the starting pistol as the Milan catwalks return to full speed. “Or at the very least, that’s what it looks like from the view I have through the car window as I drive back to my hotel after work. Although I am happy that fashion Week is back, I feel pretty isolated. Although I have been twice vaccinated, I cannot risk getting a positive result that would make it impossible to work.”
His Fendi show, however, was staged like a Studio 54 night in miniature with a masked audience. Models sporting slicked-back hair and bronzed cheekbones walked the mirrored catwalk. Spotlights followed them like a disco ball’s roving eye. Bianca Jagger could have worn white trouser suits and kaftans, but Jones was inspired by Antonio Lopez, a cult fashion photographer who was briefly engaged to Jerry Hall. Lopez was a close friend of Fendi and was a collaborator with Karl Lagerfeld (Jones’s predecessor at Fendi).
For decades, traditional fashion illustrations with their raised chins, angular froideur and straight lines imposed a conservative style on fashion. This was until the 1970s, when Lopez’s soft, sensuous drawings helped usher in a new age of freedom. Lopez was also a champion for model diversity and supported the careers of models of color, including Carol LaBrie Lopez’s sketches, which were featured on the coats and handbags of this collection, are iconic and evoke the best of parties. Fendi is also committed to modern values of inclusivity and diversity. Jones is a sought-after designer in the industry.
Jones believes that his career as a designer for men, which he still is at Dior’s artistic director for menswear, has given him a good foundation for today’s fashion mood, where women are seeking practical, everyday clothes. “Years ago, when I was at Dunhill I would watch men take their laptops out and in to bags. It was a fascinating experience that helped me understand why bags worked for me. Functionality has been a key component of menswear for a long time, and it is becoming increasingly important in womenswear.
He relies on the feedback of “a group of female friends, all different ages and with incredible taste” when designing women’swear. “They tell me what they want and I listen.” Fendi customers want “a luxurious, realistic fashion with a touch of optimism”. “We all want to be able to return to normal life as quickly and safely as possible.”
Fendi’s catwalk reflected several new trends for next season. A strong showing was made by the out-of-office trouser suit, which is used as eveningwear. It featured trousers double-pleated at waistband, midriff-baring bras, and fringed cocktail dresses. Milan’s show format is back to mostly physical this week with Gucci as the only brand absent.
Watch the full show below.