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Sunday, Oct 01, 2023

At Fendi, Kim Jones Breathes New Life Into the Baguette

At Fendi, Kim Jones Breathes New Life Into the Baguette

The artistic director dove into the Fendi archives for his fall 2022 inspiration, reinterpreting some of the house's most storied classics.

Kim Jones had Rome on his mind when designing the fall 2022 Fendi collection. Specifically: the imagery of Delfina Delettrez walking into the label’s Roman headquarters donning a printed top she plucked directly from her mother ​​Silvia Venturini Fendi’s wardrobe. Given Jones’s history with taking influence from Fendi’s home city, this source of inspiration wasn’t too surprising. But the subtle influence of the brand’s archives—plus a really great take on geometric prints that felt at once soft and strong—still made a major impression.

Jones looked to the glitzy Fendi archives for more, diving deep into the Italian fashion house’s spring 1986 and fall 2000 lines specifically. The latter collection, designed by Jones’s predecessor Karl Lagerfeld, provided ample inspiration when it came to prints. There were gossamer-sheer pants paired with matching tops and gloves with an inherently Italian Memphis-like print, for instance. That same print was rendered on tops that fell ever-so-slightly off the shoulder.

“It brings me directly to the history of my family,” Silvia Venturini Fendi said of the inspiration behind the prints. “I saw these prints on myself; Kim saw them on Delfina. What interests me the most about fashion is when it isn’t something just for the moment—and with Fendi, that is always the case, because it is never banal. There is always a story behind each piece, something a little different.”

The collection was marked by a pointed focus on all things utilitarian. Gray tweed dresses and cognac-hued leather blazers were updated with softness and lightness: a detachable tailored gilet here, a pocketed belt that you could slide your phone into there. Shirting material turned into feminine corsets by way of tailoring, and The O’Lock print from the fall 2022 men’s collection took flight on the thin, silky slipdresses that closed the show.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Fendi show without a focus on the bags. The classic baguette style has been enjoying a bit of a cultural revival as Gen Z discovers it for the first time on popular resale shopping apps—plus, the purse played a starring role on the Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That in late 2021 (it also happens to be the bag’s 25th anniversary). So in turn, the brand delivered on its promise of giving us new versions to covet: three re-editions in cashmere, shearling-lined leather, and intarsia mink.

There’s something to say about the brand reclaiming Rome as a fashion capital, too. Sure, most people consider Milan as the center of Italian fashion—after all, the shows are hosted at Milan Fashion Week—but each time Jones presents a new version of his take on the ancient city, we can more clearly see its aesthetic power. It’s refined and a little more subdued than Milanese style, but it certainly doesn’t lack strength or severity. These pieces are made for real life; and when taken away from the runway styling, could be imagined as everyday life-wear—whether that manifests in the elegant wool coat or precision-tailored blazer.


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