Roman empress Fendi by Kim Jones
Kim Jones appreciates a powerful woman; like the Fendi sisters or the latter-day empresses of style that starred in his first women’s ready-to-wear collection for the fashion house.
Unveiled Wednesday, the opening day of Milan Fashion Week, Jones' first ready-to-wear collection for the Roman house was the biggest debut of the Italian season.
Like in his Fendi couture debut last month in Paris, which finished with a gang of veteran models, and their occasional offspring, perched inside giant glass boxes, Jones furnished his ready-to-wear video with large containers again. Though this time, they contained the ruins of ancient Rome - emperors' and empresses' heads, classical ionic columns, gravestones, fountains and plinths.
Through this maze marched his cast - opening with a splendid ribbed mink coat, followed by beauties in oodles of beige – simple silk sheathes worn with boots, alpaca trenches or blazers; shaggy sheepskin coats and cleverly cut pinstripe dresses. The mood was clean and cool and crisp, and echoed the taste of the five Fendi sisters who made up the second generation of the founding family.
“The Fendi family are women of intellect who work hard – and that’s what I wanted to celebrate. A powerful dynasty,” said Jones in his program notes.
Jones was certainly not afraid to flaunt the house’s fur heritage – showing hipster grand-dame herringbone shaved-mink cocktails and coats finished on one side with long paw frills. Or pairing mink jerkins trimmed in snakeskin with elongated jodhpurs.
Though staged without a live audience, this was very much a runway show and not a video lookbook. Infinitely classy and very Roman, there was also a movie star glamour to the whole display, even if the tight camera angles made it hard to see the clothes.
Jones’ Minerva from the Monterey Hills smouldered in a white fur dress and matching backpack; his Agrippina from Angelino Heights in a mannish ecru mink double-breasted coat that reeked rich; while his Los Feliz Livia Drusilla emoted in a utilitarian flight jacket – an old favorite look of Silvia Fendi - over jodhpurs.
Jones also developed some great new cable-stitched bags with selleria detailing and a new mini baguette; and embraced the famed double-'F' logo first designed by Karl Lagerfeld – seen on silk pyjama pants, tights and copper-hued silk cocktails.
Practically every look enhanced by gold chain-linked necklaces or pendants, some wax sealed and stamped with the house’s familiar Karligraphy. Plenty of flesh on display in a largely obscure, yet astutely edited cast, with uber runway stars absent from Milan due to the pandemic. In the show, another formidable female - Delfina Delettrez Fendi - introduces a new jewellery range, Fendi O’Lock, completed with padlocks one can only open by dialling in Fendi.
All told, a stylish and commercial collection right in synch with a current yearning for plausible clothes that feel and look opulent and hyper-luxurious.
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