Fall 2021 Ready to Wear
Pictures by Fendi
A Trip Down Memory Lane
Kim Jones Draws on the Past to Influence the Present
Kim Jones presented his second collection for Fendi during Milan Fashion Week, having made his debut with the house one month ago during Couture Week, this time presenting his first ready-to-wear collection for the brand’s womenswear division. For the past two years, since Karl Lagerfeld’s death, Silvia Venturini Fendi had been filling in before Jones’ appointment, setting the bar incredibly high and breathing new life, femininity, and inclusion into the Italian label founded by her ancestors. Hopes have been high that Jones would continue the trends she started while bringing a fresh and unique perspective to the brand.
Jones drew inspiration by delving deep into the archives to absorb the history and tradition that is rich within Fendi, examining the style and influence of the first five Fendi daughters throughout time, and to the present day utilitarian wardrobe of Silvia Venturini Fendi herself, manifesting a separates heavy collection full of soft, touchable textiles and a warm, neutral Fall color palette of rich browns, decadent mauve and pristine white and black. This was the start of a new wardrobe built for a new era for Fendi, full of cropped sweaters, knee-length skirts, and winter shorts. Fur was abundant, a trade that has defined the brand for decades and clearly shows no sign of stopping, shown in cascading plumes down dresses and coats, with dangling fox tail appendages, also recently seen on the Bottega Veneta runway. It is worth noting that several pieces were made from up-cycled fur, as well as by-product shearling in an effort toward sustainability. Glossy satin was made into high-waisted pants with matching cropped tops in white and baby pink, creating an interesting take on day to boudoir dressing. Fuzzy, soft sweaters were sliced into calf-length skirts, paired with off-the-shoulder bralette tops with long sleeves. Evening wear was versatile, there were no obvious red carpet gowns or celebrity aimed head-to-toe logo ensembles, instead, Jones opted for subtle black dresses with an attached cape or a plunging V-neckline and tailored suit jackets.
The hype surrounding Jones’s debut at couture last month was palpable, as fans of Fendi were eager to see what the former Dior Homme designer would do with womenswear high fashion. While the collection was pretty and full of interesting techniques, it is safe to say that his all-star cast of friends walking the runway stole most of the press coverage, leaving the collection as a second thought in the minds of many. Needless to say, there was an intense focus on what he would do with ready to wear, and the result was….safe, with many pieces leaving us wondering where we had seen that look before. It is understandable that Jones would pay homage to the history of Fendi for his first show, however, the problem is just that, his collection felt like a step back for Fendi. In just two short years, Venturini Fendi gave us runways that championed models of all ages and sizes, a welcome sight for an Italian luxury brand. She gave us femininity that was strong and powerful one season, soft and effervescent the next. We wanted more and hoped that Jones was up to the task. Instead, we were reverted to sample size models drowning in fur. This brings us to the next topic. With so many brands leaning heavily on ethics and sustainability, at what point does a house like Fendi decide to change its tone and ditch traditional fur?
Stepping into a role at Fendi is no doubt daunting, especially for a young Englishman with a menswear background. The Fendi family appointed Jones with confidence, much like they did with a young Karl Lagerfeld so many years ago, and so in them, we must trust. Jones amassed a huge fanbase from his work at Dior, earning accolades that were well deserved. We maintain hope that he will learn to diversify his runway, and therefore his market and customer base, and find his voice among the looming influences that form Fendi.
Written by Elizabeth Kramsky