Silvia Fendi’s flower power youth-quake “debut”
All eyes in Milan, at least in the fashion world, were focused on Thursday morning on Fendi, where Silvia Fendi made her debut as the sole creator of the house’s ready-to-wear collection.
By any standards quite a challenge, as she laid out her philosophy for the future of Fendi, following the death of the house’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld in February.
Staged inside Fendi’s south Milan show space, the show turned out to be something of a triumph; a far more youthful collection, kickier attitude and bubbly flower-power theme.
Silvia took plenty of risks; sending out a series of padded, floral jackets – ladylike blazers for a weekend in the country; sexy boleros, ideal for a rock-n-roll backstage date; or a pink bomber paired with a padded floor-length skirt – just right for an art gallery opening head-turner.
Above there was plenty of range for day, work, cocktail hour and after-party. Silvia also didn’t forget that the Fendi brand was born as a furrier; her shaven chestnut mink cabans were sure-fire hits; and a checkerboard mink coat in peppermint and brown cut like a dressing gown was sensational.
In a word, la Silvia knocked a decade off the target audience – with lots of short skirts; cargo shorts and some fantastic wedges with art deco heels. Add in some great new peekaboo bags in raffia and one could hear the cash registers turning over.
Not quite everything worked, but then again when a designer is courageous enough to take plenty of risks, that often happens. This was certainly not a creator playing safe.
Finally, the whole thing looked so Italian – one could almost smell the cappuccino being served in Capri; or hear Sophia Loren’s deep tones in Divorce Italian Style. That idea was evident from the wonderful mood board – a mash-up of '60s seaside on the peninsula; soul singers; African prints and Neapolitan intellectuals. Roman Borghese meets haute glam international bohemian.
All backed up by the perfect soundtrack – Aquarius and Let the Sunshine from the ultimate counter culture musical Hair. Hence when she took her bow, under a golden dawn of an arch, Silvia Fendi was showered in enormous applause.
It might seem odd to say this of a fifty-something designer, but this collection and show made her seem like a debutante finally winning her place in the sun. Deservedly so.
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