Does Fendi really need Kim Jones to take creative lead as artistic director of its womenswear division? After yesterday's runway showing of Fendi's first co-ed spring/summer 2021 collection during Milan Fashion Week, that sentiment is now a tad murky. Silvia Venturini Fendi, in her final solo hurrah, proved that she can take on both with Fendi's most seamless collection yet.
The spring/summer collection was rooted in the idea of family and traditions. It was apparent in the airy staging—white curtains flowing freely as vignettes of windows depicting summery outdoors projected in the background—and in the diverse cast of models that walked the show. The latter not only included a wide age range; some of them are actually related by blood. And in a surprise appearance, model Ashley Graham took to the runway towards the end in her first show as a new mother. It's a fitting move given the overarching theme of the collection, but also just one of the many size-inclusive examples throughout the show that seemed like Fendi's way of addressing the recent sample-sizing furore of which another LVMH-owned fashion house was a target of.
Silvia demonstrated that her standing as the Fendi family's creative force is crucial to the business. With this entirely cohesive collection, it'll be interesting to see how this may (or may not) continue once Jones—who was seen in the audience—officially steps in to design womenswear and attempt to draw on Fendi's familial traditions.
Look and feel: It's no doubt a different Fendi than we're used to. There's a softness and sensuality to the collection brought on by the use of table linens as a starting point of reference—something that's passed on from one generation to the next. One hardly thinks of sexy when it comes to Fendi too, but there's a sexiness that's not brash or vulgar that's inherent in the collection. And it's not only because there's a heavy use of sheer construction and cutouts thanks to latticework and fagoting. The delicate fabrics juxtaposed with graphic knits, wondrous draping of generously cut trousers, as well as the monochromatic styling, all work together to create a Fendi man that's comfortable in his own skin, no matter at which point in his life he's at. As cliché as it may seem, nothing is quite as sexy as unbridled yet subtle confidence.
Favourite looks: If you're going to be working on what's hopefully a pandemic-lite summer body, the collection's boxer-esque shorts (as seen on looks 11 and 32) make a strong case for thigh-grazing shorts next season. They're crafted from linen and detailed with fagoting right at the hem and seams—delicate but also totally appropriate when paired together with the collections proposal of light summer suiting.
The monochromatic looks as a whole, are the standouts of the entire collection. Take a gander at the bold red hues, especially look 55's boho layering consisting of a finely knitted top worn under a blazer with slightly deconstructed lapels and paired with coordinated wide-cut berms, all topped off with latticework socks, super-fine knit gloves, and a knit beanie-bucket hat hybrid. It's almost Dior Men by way of Kim Jones in its approach—a masterful combination of tailoring with hints of streetwear sensibilities—but we're all for it.
Favourite accessories: The bags for the season have been shrunken (but not ridiculously so) with the collection's biggest totes could quite comfortably fit a decent-sized laptop at the most. Silvia interpreted the Baguette as a beautifully crafted combination of leather, canvas and wicker (look 26); it's essentially a mini basket bag for the boys. And what could probably be the most structured iteration of the Baguette yet, was look 29's marbled version that was carried as a clutch. For a roomier option, Fendi's Peekaboo in look 50 took on a cornflower blue exterior and outlined with contrasting lacing throughout the front for a less serious appearance.