Fendi's fall/winter 2018 is an exercise in strengthening the core codes of the house, seen through their creative director, Silvia Fendi. Who better to define the codes, then Silvia Fendi, who witness firsthand the entire history of the italian luxury house, who started as a leather goods store in Rome, selling pieces of luggage, hats and umbrellas.
Esquire Singapore heads backstage to speak to Silvia Fendi on her inspiration behind the collection, the return of the double Fs monogram, as well as guest artist, Hey Reilly.
ESQ: What was the inspiration behind creating the baggage claim as part of the runway set?
Silvia Fendi: It's about the idea of going through new experiences when you're in an airport. It's exciting.
ESQ: Could we ask about the umbrella hats, how did you come up with that?
Silvia Fendi: (pointing to the picture of the first Fendi Store in Rome, on the mood board) This is the first store that my grandparents opened in 1925, and here it says ‘umbrellas’. The store used to sell luggage, hats and umbrellas. For this collection, I wanted to work on the Fendi identity and codes. The starting point was the oldest image I had in the archives and it's this photograph of the store. That's why I thought of working with an umbrella and started looking at images of umbrellas. That led to thinking about all the umbrellas I lost in my life, that would have been so beautiful today, so I wanted to work on an umbrella that you won't lose. That's why I created a small umbrella that you can hang on your bag, so you would not lose it, and that idea evolved into an umbrella hat. It's tiny, foldable and practical.
ESQ: What about the prints that appeared throughout the collection?
Silvia Fendi: The prints came from the collaboration with the guest artist, Hey Reilly. I collaborate with a different guest artist for every collection, and he decided to remix all the codes, like the Fendi yellow, the logos, the stamps and the stripes, even the banana print from last year. He worked on all these different elements, adding wordings that are very close to our Fendi vocabulary. For example, Family, which is not only the Fendi family, but it's the family that you belong to, people who share your vision of creativity. For instance, he is now a part of the Fendi family. Fabulous is another word from our Fendi vocabulary—travel can be fabulous, or what you wear can be fabulous. Faithful and fancy, which are two other words that are important to Fendi. We also share this sense of humour and irony, which is helpful in life. That's it basically.
ESQ: There are a lot of bags, from fanny packs to small sling bags. Do you think men are ready for small bags?
Silvia Fendi: I think things are becoming so compact these days. It's all thinner and smaller than before. You don't go around carrying huge computers anymore. Everything becomes more compact, so the bags have to be practical to match the growing compactness.
ESQ: We see a lot of sneakers in this collection, is that the direction that Fendi is taking, footwear-wise?
Silvia Fendi: Yes, but also there are loafers that we made in rubber. Because I think that comfort is another keyword, especially when you travel, but also in everyday life. Nobody would go back to the old kind of hard shoes. Also, the classic loafer is half leather in back and rubber in the front, made in a similar process as we do our sneakers.
ESQ: Could you walk us through the images on your mood board?
Silvia Fendi: What you see is the visual representation of the Fendi vocabulary. Tourists in Rome because the DNA of Fendi is Rome. You can also see my mother and her sisters, my house where I live. It's the Family. You will also see a trolley that we made in the '80s. This is the cape that I really love, which was made by Karl Lagerfeld in the '70s. It was the first unlined fur at Fendi. From there I got the diagonal stripes that you see in the collection. This is a technique that we use, where we create the canvas pattern, aligning the stripes before adding the fur on it.
This is the first image I saw from Hey Reilly, which made me fall in love with his work. I started to follow him on Instagram and reached out to him to work together. This is the airport and the Fendi plane. I like these images very much, where you see the cleaners in full body plastic suits who would clean the planes after each flight. That’s where I got the inspiration for the hoods and plastic pieces in the collection.
ESQ: Is humour a big part of your design codes?
Silvia Fendi: Yes! It's a big part of my life I would say.