Fendi couture: Kim Jones gets it right
It may have taken him three collections to get there, but Kim Jones fall/winter 2021 couture show for Fendi showed that the British designer has taken the Roman brand in hand with a succinctly refined display of clothes and good taste.
His opening look was simply splendid: a surgically cut redingote, worn with collar up in a chalk, ecru and white jacquard worn on a smiling beauty with a chignon, seen through an arch.
Using brand power, Jones staged the video inside a mock-up of Fendi’s world headquarters, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, a pure iconic expression of Rationalist architecture.
The model spots a handsome lothario through a narrow archive, the Latin love attired in a chalk floral Nehru jacket. The same fabric used in a rouched gown in the next passage.
Max Richter’s spiritual choral 'Arbenita' playing on the soundtrack, elevating the mood. The cast marching before backdrops of metaphysical paintings. A multinational, inclusive cast; bearing oodles of natty accessories - from the mock marble-inlay clutches to the amphorae earrings with double-'F' logo.
At times, it all got a little to sheer and risqué, before suddenly righting itself. One composition featuring four models in guipure so dense and artfully paneled to look like fantasy Renaissance armor was particularly beautiful.
As in his couture debut which starred several mature models and their daughters, Jones sent out veteran catwalk stars - Christy Turlington in a refined lace column, Amber Valletta in marbleized grand gown with train.
Before the camera focused in on old buddy Kate Moss, beginning a cutaway shot of all the cast, statuesque Roman empresses, a De Chirico-like modern Eternal City behind them.
Ironically, despite the fact that Fendi only rents the Roman palazzo, the brand has made multi-arch structure a key part of its global image. Kim even employed the arches as support in great wedges.
Though Jones' remit is womenswear there were multiple menswear ideas in this show. Which felt like a response to all the praise the house’s menswear designer Silvia Fendi had received for her men’s collection in June. Silvia’s video was shot by her son-in-law in the actual palazzo.
In a word, after two shows – couture, and then ready-to-wear – where Kim did not exactly pull up trees, he pulled off a rather special moment this week. Unveiled in Paris couture, but imagined in Rome. Not quite a home run, but definitely an impressive outing.
On this evidence Jones, who is a huge hit as menswear designer of Dior, has the range to master women’s couture.
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