Ath-leisure on the runway. “Ugh,” you say? Oh, ye of little imagination. You haven’t considered the Fendi way with a rugby stripe. Said Karl Lagerfeld: “Italian Trianon.” That’s right, he and Silvia Venturini Fendi took as their spring muse Marie Antoinette, in her carefree country days, before those un-fun revolutionaries ruined everything. As for the “ath” part of the Queen’s leisure, she romped about meadow and vale; she needed something to wear.
It speaks to the specific dynamic of this design duo — who made fairy-tale magic the stuff of haute at the Trevi Fountain in July — that such an inspiration could result in clothes that not only radiated beauty and charm, but did so sans a drop of retro. Nor were they “modern” per se, but rather, the joyful, timeless renderings of a nonlinear thought process that romanticized sportiness even as it grounded rococo. The results: oddball perfection.
Much of the collection derived from the Queen’s “famous apron, but light, almost flying,” Lagerfeld said. What from the front looked like lovely, fluid dresses and skirts were open in back and tied at the waist, sometimes over practical underpinnings and sometimes over bloomers shrunken to naughty proportions. Lingerie layered with striped sweaters, sheer scalloped-trimmed shirts and tailored pieces; lavish brocades and gold-painted canvas, with silk stripes, French garden prints and all sorts of filmy fare. Rendered mostly in pastels with a healthy dose of metallic shimmer, it projected an ethereal romance that practically disguised the reality: the wealth of functional clothes — alluring dresses and skirts as well as great jackets and coats, their tailoring girlied up with flowered and beribboned extras. There were even 18th-century pantalons, reimagined as big-pocketed utility pants.
As for the accessories, intensely decorated handbags turned studs gentle in ribbon motifs and flashed the latest iterations of those famous Fendi fur charms, now in fanciful flowers. The models wore pyramid studs in their hair and snazzy striped athletic sock-booties with curved heels, because Her Majesty was chic from head to toe. Well, until those un-fun revolutionaries…