At Fendi, Kim Jones Sculpts a Quiet Salute to Lagerfeld

This Fashion Month might as well be spelled F-E-N-D-I. First, there was Fendi’s huge crossover event with Marc Jacobs at New York Fashion Week, as the house celebrated the anniversary of its baguette bag, and now there’s another star-studded runway show held during Milan Fashion Week.

The difference is that Fendi’s NYFW presentation was more of a celebration and the Roman label’s presentation in Milan is a proper showcase of its Spring/Summer 2023 womenswear collection.

As always, artistic director Kim Jones is looking towards the past to drive the present.

“It’s about continuity,” Jones said in a statement. “I am interested in looking at things that Karl [Lagerfeld] has done, and seeing how we can develop them – both visually and technically.”

This process is exemplified quite literally by the repurposed archival designs that pepper Jones SS23 Fendi offering, including a heritage floral print used for this season’s dresses and a logo borrowed from one of Lagerfeld’s presentations in 2000.

Jones also has Lagerfeld’s knack for crafting immediately covetable items that’re showstoppers in and of themselves: witness the Grinchy green furry handbag wrapped with Fendi logo like a permanent present.

Only Fendi die-hards would likely notice these self-referential moments, which are subtle enough to escape widespread notice. Surely that’s by design, as Jones is merely saluting Lagerfeld, rather than attempting to repurpose his name for marketing purposes.

There’s also a whiff of Lagerfeld in the joyfully indulgent set dressing.

Though show itself was presented on a fairly sparse runway, there were water battles laden with Fendi logos just in case any well-heeled guests fancied an on-brand drink.

About those guests: their ranks included House of the Dragon star Emily Carey, model Jourdan Dunn, singer Lily Allen, Fendi family member Nina Pons Fendi, and a host of the luxury label’s ambassadors, like Dami Kim, Louise Wong, and Sasha Meneghel.

But perhaps the best bits from the runway show were the shoes (what else?).

Yes the sculptural, shapely gowns that’re classic Jones are impressive enough, conjuring up the image of a Grecian elite on vacation, but those tall boots and shapely sandals provide the beefy, shapely soles necessary to properly anchor the wistful drapiness above.

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