This season, Kim Jones and the craftspeople of the FENDI ateliers continue to make couture traditions both human and approachable, light with a sense of volume, fluidity, drapery and ease for the wearer. Eschewing ‘costume’ and embracing a softer, more yielding feeling of agency for the woman in the clothing, a suppleness is sought and expressed both in terms of flexibility in how clothing is worn – seen particularly in the outer corset motif – and actuality in how it feels.
There is an idea of simplicity with hidden intricacies in the collection; much is about volume, drape and sculptural shape achieved through complex and rigorous pattern cutting, with garments often realised with only a single seam. This is a bravura achievement whispered instead of shouted in second-skin silks, alongside single-piece intricate knits and draped, neoprene tailored furs and FENDI chevron feathered shearlings, where ultimately, it is not only about the spectacle of looking but the reality of wearing.
Precision and emotion, the real and the refined are also found in Delfina Delettrez Fendi’s approach to high jewellery that exists symbiotically with the collection. In this debut proposition of one-off pieces, the idea of the couture ensemble is extended to that of jewellery. At once timeless and saying something of today, in a FENDI colour palette of exceptional white and yellow diamonds together with green, orange and pink Padparadscha sapphires and spinels. The collection of pink spinels alone, that feature in the ‘Undarum’ set, took forty years to gather together and will probably never be replicated in nature again.
The discreetly multifaceted nature of this couture collection reaches a crescendo in embroidery techniques that unite the clothing and jewellery worlds. While clutching their jewel box minaudière, the mood builds with models scattered with jewel-like embellishments or layered with a stratification of intricate stacked tonal paillettes and stones at the closing of the show. To achieve the glittering rose glow of the final look, it took 1200 hours of handwork.
The soundtrack to the show is Klaus Nomi’s ‘The Cold Song.’ Based on Henry Purcell’s English Baroque original from the seventeenth century, it too reflects the emotion and precision of the collection and of the couture itself, where the past becomes the basis for a New Wave present and future.