Fendi Roma: Eternal City panache at a Rationalist masterpiece
Fendi’s invitation to its Spring/Summer 2022 collection, unveiled Saturday, classily telegraphed its designer’s message: a sophisticated ode to the Eternal City and its fashionable dolce far niente sense of style.
Artistic Director of Accessories and Menswear Silvia Fendi staged her show video at Fendi’s world headquarters in Rome, the famed Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, a marvelous multi-arched expression of Rationalist architecture.
Or rather on top of the palazzo, seeing as the cast marched all the way up to the roof, and strolled around with sunset skies in the background, touring the circumference in polished patrician tailoring and abbreviated jackets, behind them the Alban Hills and Castel Gandolfo, the summer residence of the pope.
Silvia’s invitation was as subtle as the clothes – a hand-drawn map of the Eternal City in some great pistachio, mauve and putty shades, featuring the river Tiber and the Fendi headquarters – the same print seen billowing in silk pants and cool shorts during the show.
In another clever trompe-l’oeil she morphed silk shorts into mock centurion skirts with lots of mini pockets. Not that this was a remotely literal show or collection, since some of its best looks were Appaloosa-print denim jackets.
"Our singular point of view in this period has modified our perception of the world – and mine has become so linked to what I see from the arches and the rooftops of our building. It is almost like a bird’s eye view of Rome... The colors and the perspective are always changing – the soft palette of the Roman sky across the day is so beautiful and I wanted it to be the focal point of this collection," explained Silvia.
As dusk fell, 15 youths perched on the marble roof’s edge; before darkness descended and the clothes became more tailored, and enveloping. From great translucent raincoats to camouflage cabans, the collection had enormous pizzazz, making for an impressive ode from Silvia to her hometown. Finally, she showed languid, softly tailored suits in dusty pastels, accessorizing looks with swimming goggles and caps.
And given her history of creating hit bags – La Silvia developed the immensely successful Fendi Baguette – it should come as no surprise that she dreamed up some great new totes, finished with a natty take on the reverse F logo of the brand, and even a micro Baguette on a thin waist chain.
Along with some great burnished leather briefcases, one boasting an exterior ping pong bat pocket, courtesy of a link-up with sportswear label Arena. One dude even held up a surf board, despite the fact that the famed Il Buco beach favored by young Roman hipsters has the tiniest of waves.
Silvia’s rooftop lotharios clearly loved the clothes – and the hats: several sported giant floppy wide brims. A number of chaps even wore micro tuxedos or blazers cut off at the chest, the better to display their flat-as-panache abs.
For Fendi’s two previous shows this year, only the house’s creative director for women’s fashion, Kim Jones, took a solo bow – both for haute couture in Paris and for women’s ready-to-wear in Milan, albeit in video formats.
At the finale this weekend, only Silvia Fendi took a bow. For many years, she and Karl Lagerfeld had taken a joint bow at the end of every Fendi ready-to-wear show, a tradition ended since Jones arrival.
A brief appearance by Signora Fendi, but a proud one. Before we witnessed yet another splendid optical illusion. The exact hues of the collection projected onto the multiple high arches of the soaring palazzo, each arch containing a single model.
In a word, Fendi’s strongest menswear statement in many seasons, and a triumph for Silvia Fendi, granddaughter of the label’s founders.
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