Silvia Venturini Fendi, with her uniform of shirt jackets, pants and heirloom jewelry, is the picture of “functional utility alongside femininity.”
Those four words sum up how Kim Jones characterizes his exploration at Fendi, and the core of the spring collection, his youngest and sprightliest effort yet for the Roman house, full of zesty colors, sexy shapes and a keen sense of fun.
The British designer has always said the women in his inner circle are his touchstones and sounding boards at Fendi, headlined by Venturini Fendi and her daughter Defina Delettrez Fendi, also his chief creative accomplices. And the initial feedback suggests the cargo pants are a hit.
Done up in satin and with the same double-F hardware found on the Baguette bag, whose 25th anniversary Jones just marked at a blowout show in New York with Marc Jacobs as his co-conspirator, these pants are likely to be seen on many off-duty models next season. Ditto the rubber platform shoes in quirky colors like mint — and the Rolls-Royce of jeans jackets, in closely cropped shearling and irresistible in camel.
The late Karl Lagerfeld, who designed Fendi’s fur and ready-to-wear for more than 50 years, is another guiding light for Jones, who homed in on the German designer’s collections from 1996 to 2002. He reprised a floral print and a logo from those years, and its overall spirit of “minimalist ease and pop-infused eclecticism,” according to the press notes.
“We go back and we look at everything — and then I pull out the things that I think are relevant,” Jones explained backstage before the show, explaining that he added in the vivid pinks, blues and greens afterwards to spice up the house’s base palette of neutrals.
While the shapes were pared down, the materials were not. Cue tabard-simple tops and dresses made of intricately woven leather, and T-shirt dresses and tops knitted from recycled mink.
Jones also had a strong feeling for satin this season, employed for sinuous dresses, skirts and apron-like appendages, but also as the lining for nip-waisted jackets and pencil skirts so meticulously finished they can be worn inside-out.
Obi-style belts threaded through the notched waists of coats and jackets looked a bit tricky, but signaled that Jones is starting to introduce elements from Fendi’s couture runway.
The designer also reached back to 1994 and brought back a leather version of a paper Fendi shopping bag, adding a chunky chain to give it a 2023 touch.
Most of the other bags were small, including a more rigid, architectural version of the Peekaboo and a minuscule version of the Fendi First, Jones’ first “It” bag, slung on a necklace and able to hold perhaps a few Tic Tacs.