“This season, I wanted to concentrate on the techniques and craft of couture, with the lightness, fluidity and attitude of today,” says Kim Jones, FENDI Artistic Director of Couture and Womenswear. “It’s a celebration of the ateliers and the craftspeople who realise these garments, the intense work and emotional commitment to each piece that exists for both maker and wearer, and how the intimate traditions of the couture are both living and breathing. The collection is an inner world made into an external one – both figuratively and literally – with a sense of underwear becoming eveningwear.”
This season, Kim Jones and the craftspeople of the FENDI ateliers continue to approach the couture collection as an inner-world palimpsest, where iterations, transparencies and techniques of the past go to make up the present and move subtly into the future.
Couture traditions are made both human and approachable, light with a sense of luminosity, lucidity and ease for the wearer. Eschewing ‘costume’ and embracing a softer, more yielding feeling of agency for the woman in the clothing, a mutability is sought and expressed. The flou is concentrated on and in the form of the dress, yet an idea of the ensemble is also revived in a new sense, with a notion of purposeful flux and flexibility replacing impenetrability. Winged sleeves are often detachable; lingerie is designed as part of a look, often in the same intensely embroidered and unexpected fabrications, even when invisible; coats mirror the intense embroidery of their matching dresses on the inside yet can be reversed; ‘apron’ wrap skirts can also be worn as stoles.
An artful ‘sprezzatura’ of done and undone permeates all: a nonchalance and purposeful imperfection to achieve more human perfection. This is clothing that is not just about being looked at but about being lived in.
Draping and tying on the body, the exploration of lace and its placement, the hand-pleating motifs, together with an elevation of exceptional knit, give a sense of the sculptural and organic while at the same time displaying virtuoso ‘sprezzatura’. Even utilitarian climbing carabiners are remade as luxury sculptural objects, to tether materials nonchalantly.
An idea of done and undone, a machine world versus an organic one, making hard soft and vice versa comes together with the supreme skills of the FENDI ateliers in the motif of the metallic leather-lace. At times appearing like chainmail – particularly in the recurring gloves – exceptionally soft and malleable leather is handcrafted with both lace-like cut-outs and inset with lace intarsias for a passage of dresses with their matching ensemble underwear. In a similar vein, yarn in the form of the extraordinarily delicate Japanese mohair, Fuuga – the finest gauge to be found in the world – is worked on a frame and becomes the apotheosis of crochet in gossamer lightness more akin to lace in cascading gowns.