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Fendi Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear: British Eccentricity Meets Italian Chic

Kim Jones took cues from the Fendi archives circa 1984, when New Romantic style reverberated out of London. He expressed it via tony Italian chic.

Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at Milan Fashion Week GIOVANNI GIANNONI/WWD

Fendi’s fall show was all about 1984: Not the dystopian George Orwell novel, but the Roman house’s archives from that year, and a fecund period in London, when Leigh Bowery was king of the club scene, Princess Julia was first lady of the decks, and Amanda Harlech would bundle sweaters over whatever she was wearing when she exited the dance floor at Taboo and conked out in John Galliano’s studio.

Kim Jones etched the period lightly, snatching some of its fashion signifiers — workwear, Blitz kids, Japanese style — that Karl Lagerfeld had also absorbed and expressed when he was leading the Roman house.

“They really reminded me of a lot of the New Romantic clothes,” Jones enthused about his archival discovery in a backstage interview.

Here they were done up in the tony, stealth-luxury way of Fendi today, yielding a smooth and confident collection, notable for its sophisticated and sober colors; sleek, waist-conscious tailoring — and tall, tubular boots that looked like a surefire hit.

Jones broke up Fendi’s extra-long runway theater into a series of intimate rooms separated by curtains, which hid the efforts of a couple of PETA protesters from most of the audience, and which seemed to heighten the quiet drama of the sumptuous, but lightweight shearlings.

Jones noted that most models today won’t wear fur, so he let Fendi’s fur specialists run riot over shearlings and leather, yielding unique textures — glossy and crackled here; needle-punched and supple there. He sneaked in one mink car coat, but it had been shaved to resemble fine corduroy.

The designer softened the hard edges that sometimes creep into Fendi collections, and his fragments of sweaters, often just a turtleneck and sleeves, looked cozy over crisp white shirts or shapely pantsuits.

Silvia Venturini Fendi, artistic director of accessories and menswear, contributed squishy versions of the house’s Peekaboo bag, and introduced a soft satchel dubbed Simply Fendi.

A British designer who is perennially dazzled by the utilitarian style of Venturini Fendi and her daughter Delfina Delettrez Fendi, whom he calls “the chicest woman in Rome,” Jones seemed on terra firma blending London eccentricity with Italian sophistication.

For example, he abstracted the heroic feeling of the New Romantic clothes and expressed it in a Fendi way: Printing or embroidering Roman statues that the brand had helped restore on some of his gossamer finale dresses.

There was even a bag charm to get TikTokers in a lather: a Chupa Chups lollipop holder done up in Selleria leather. The price is still TBD.


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