Futurism — fashion bait and sometimes albatross, as coherent expressions of that aesthetic can prove elusive and often ponderous.
Not so for Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi. Backstage before the start of their Fendi show on Thursday, she described their spring collection as a fusion of Italian Futurism and carefree Caribbean style; he mentioned the artist Giacomo Balla and a play of “geometrical shapes in new proportions, but not stiff geometric things. We’re not doing Schlemmer Ballet Triadique. On the body, they have to be soft and floating.”
To those not privy to a preview (and to at least one who was), the lineup drew straight lines to neither art movement nor island romp. In that way it was typical of the designers’ recent creative m.o., as they tend to invoke their inspirations lightly — but not their fashion. And cheers to that. The result for spring was a collection both interesting and summer-breezy chic.
And one plenty diverse in terms of silhouette. The lineup was unified by an inventive graphicism rendered via cut (cutouts and demonstrative collars that created a shoulder focus) and pattern. Bold chevrons modernized shapely, full-skirted looks that once upon a time would have been called fit-and-flare; layerings of multiple patterns — plaids, stripes and more stripes — often finished off with sheer nylon organza that delivered a top layer of pattern sans heaviness. Creating the ease: a range of beautiful, airy fabrics. Many of the looks had athletic airs, especially the faux-geeky bowling shirts over skinny knits, or city-smart anoraks.
The pattern play carried through to variations more delicate (little-nothing dress covered in see-through sequins in tonal peachy stripes over plaid stocking boots; romantic draped blouse in the palest blue with skinny striped waist ribbon over green skirt) and bolder (giant floral patterned leather coat with matching bag). And yes, there were lightweight furs, both geometric intarsias and printed logos.
About the bags: an audacious new tote in mesh with rattan handles should prove a triple threat at retail — fabulous, fun, functional. That’s a take on fashion futurism that’s bright indeed.