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Fendi’s 1920s-inspired collaboration with guest designer Stefano Pilati has arrived

Kim Jones and Silvia Venturini Fendi have chosen Stefano Pilati – best known for his tenure as creative director at Saint Laurent in the 2000s – as the first ‘Friend of Fendi’, a series of collections ‘curated’ by figures outside the house

Friends of Fendi: Stefano Pilati Winter 2023-2024

(Image credit: Photography by Collier Schorr, courtesy of Fendi)

‘Stefano is one of the designers I admire the most,’ says Fendi’s Kim Jones of Stefano Pilati, the Milanese fashion designer who is best known for his tenure as creative director at Saint Laurent which began in 2004. ‘I was always in love with his work and he is someone I look up to – he has been an inspiration for what I do.‘

It made Pilati, who currently works on his own 2017-founded label Random Identities, the perfect partner for a new project inaugurated by Jones and Silvia Venturini Fendi which will see the house ’cross party lines’ to invite people outside of Fendi to reinterpret its hallmarks in their own distinct style. Random Identities, which draws inspiration from the dancefloors of Pilati’s adopted home city of Berlin, rejects gendered categories for liberated clothing infused with a mood of after-dark sensuality.

Friends of Fendi: a new collaboration with Stefano Pilati

(Image credit: Photography by Collier Schorr, courtesy of Fendi)

’Stefano epitomises [the project] – he is a friend, a designer for modern times, always looking to the future, asking questions and proffering solutions,’ Jones continues.

For the inaugural Friends of Fendi (which launches today, 25 October 2023), Pilati has curated a collection which looks towards the 1920s figure of ’the flapper’ – then a symbol of freedom from strict Victorian mores – reinterpreting the archetype for the present-day. Like Random Identities, the curation centres on a blurring of the boundaries between genders which he calls ‘hybridisation’; a men’s blazer might be worn with a silk camisole, for example, while womenswear tailoring is worn in the campaign by both sexes.

(Image credit: Photography by Collier Schorr, courtesy of Fendi)

A sense of duality also emerges in an opposition between Milan, where Pilati was born and continues to spend much of his time, and Rome, the birthplace of Fendi. This figures in the garments as a melding of Milanese bourgeois restraint with the more outré stylings of Rome: in Fendi’s words, ‘bourgeois prim perversity is played upon together with an aristocratic insouciance’.

Milano versus Roma: I am from Milan but there is a freedom to Roman style that Milan does not have,’ says Pilati. ‘This is a coming together of two worlds and I am so touched by the opportunity that Kim, Silvia and Fendi have given me to be so much of myself.’

(Image credit: Photography by Collier Schorr, courtesy of Fendi)

An array of accessories conceived with Venturini Fendi – who is creative director for menswear and accessories – complete the collection, spanning a ’greatest hits’ of the house’s bags, from Baguette to the Peekaboo. The former is reinterpreted as the ’Baguette Twist’, whereby a double-F logo clasp is placed on the sides of the bag, rather than at the fastening, while other classic bags are reinvented in new textural compositions.

Footwear, meanwhile, reflects the theme of duality which runs throughout, like a classic men’s loafer, here transformed with a delicate kitten heel.


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