Fendi’s spring 2021 haute couture show represented a coming together of worlds. Italian opulence danced with British romance; nineties nostalgia met the next generation; and the lines between masculinity and femininity blurred.
The hotly anticipated show marked the debut for artistic director Kim Jones, also creative director of Dior Men. Lauded in the industry but little known outside sartorial circles, the 41-year-old British designer cemented his status by calling on some of his very fashionable friends to grace the catwalk.
Demi Moore opened the show in a silky black trouser suit; Kate Moss caught the light in gleaming graphite; Christy Turlington came out of runway retirement in translucent metallics; and Naomi Campbell closed the show draped in regal marbled layers. As well as the original Supers, bright young things like Cara Delevingne, Bella Hadid and Adwoa Aboah took their place in the line-up, a melding of past, present and future.
Inspiration for the collection stemmed from the Virginia Woolf novel, Orlando, and the Bloomsbury set – a coterie of early 20th-century English writers and intellectuals. As such, the gowns were rich and embellished, and the tailoring sleek and androgynous. Meanwhile, woven jacquards, marble and intricate hand-beading spoke of the house’s Roman roots.
The show – which took place at the Palais Brongniart in Paris with no audience – was not just an ode to feminist literary icons, but also an homage to family – no surprise given the Fendi matriarchy. Jones invited the models’ nearest and dearest to join them on the runway, including Moss’s 18-year-old daughter Lila (also a model), Turlington’s nephew and Aboah’s sister.
“Fendi represents artisanal quality of the highest order, and it is all about family,” Jones said in the show notes. “[The house] is in its third generation with a Fendi at its helm, and I am guest-starring while bringing in the fourth. Here, I am surrounded by strong, powerful women who I love and respect, and want to bring their energy into what I do.”