Vintage, street, eclectic. Vintage, street, eclectic. Vintage, stre ... The fashion mantra that’s currently on heavy play and repeat doesn’t hold much sway with Silvia Venturini Fendi or Karl Lagerfeld, as evidenced by their fall Fendi collection. That’s not to say they look at it negatively: Fendi’s too much of an optimistic house to get mired in all that. Instead, fall was intended as a positive exploration of what you can do with the precision of geometry (the line meeting the circle) and a purposefully new approach to volumes (the flat meeting the inflated).
It was only after Karl Lagerfeld had designed the latest Fendi collection, featuring a new kind of construction based on panels of leather, that it occurred to him he'd been once again inspired by the architecture of the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, the masterpiece of Fascist architecture that is Fendi's new headquarters in Rome. The same style of building surrounds the empty, eerie piazzas in the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico. He got a name-check, too.
The panels were strange appurtenances, molding the legs of the models like an abstract apron (actress and erstwhile farm girl Noomi Rapace was reminded of a blacksmith), but Lagerfeld was very taken with them as a way to communicate a longer, more linear proposal. He wanted to move well away from the tendency toward girlie-ness that he'd been bothered by in Fendi's Spring offering. There was no sign of soft, romantic orchids. Instead, every model's bag spouted a hard, beaky bird-of-paradise flower. "Pleasant aggressivity," said Lagerfeld with a smile.
If all this sounds a bit cold and clinical, it wasn’t. What all of their experimentation with striving to attain something that isn’t historicist, nor self consciously “futuristic,” really means is this: a strong showing of fantastic and inventive coats. They either traced a silhouette that swung with fullness double-breasted and fastened with large, statement buttons, regardless if it was one of two cool cabans (one camel, one black) or an ankle-grazing greatcoat in ivory-colored calf leather or red mohair or offered chicly lean columnar shapes, in the likes of a black compact wool, and sometimes layered with flat planes of glossy leather. For those really willing to go the distance, down comforter outerwear pieces (and dresses) took volume to a whole new level. Or should that be width? Whatever, they were majorly puffed up.
The collection came accessorized with graphic, geometric, furry renderings of the 2Jours and By the way bags, which, with a nod to the house’s love of organic, natural materials, had an exotically hued bird of paradise flower peeping out of each bag. (No, this isn’t the new playful purse add-on from Fendi: If you want that, it’s a monogrammed fox pom pom.) And there was an extravagant new high-wedge bootee, wild and shaggy and colorful, resting on a clear Perspex partial heel that will no doubt sorry Karl, apologies Silvia have the street style documentarians going crazy snapping them come the next round of shows.
Enjoy the FENDI Fall/Winter 2015/16 fashion show at the end of this post! LoL, Andrea
Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories
Photo Credit/Source: The House of FENDI
Photos: Kevin Tachman (backstage) / Yannis Vlamos, Indigitalimages (runway)
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