Fendi -- SPRING 2022 MENSWEAR
"In a moment where our freedom has seemed to have limits, I think it’s also the moment to push it… so I really wanted to give a sense of freedom to this man. I think it’s the time to break boundaries.” So said Silvia Venturini Fendi over Zoom from her office high in the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, the beautiful neoclassical (and less beautifully, Fascist-era) building that has been home to her family-founded brand since 2015.
From her elevated office, Fendi enjoys a dawn-til-dusk panorama of Rome’s famous seven hills that’s framed by the bulging Apennine mountains to the northeast and the flatness of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west. As Fendi described it: “When you are on top of this roof, you feel that life is beautiful, and that the world is beautiful. I feel optimistic. It’s like an observatory: you see everything, but so small, and you can reconsider things and you put them in the right proportion.” Framed by the perspective of the last 18 months, this collection mapped out some new contours in the shifted topography of Fendi’s menswear thinking.
The clearest signposts to Fendi’s refreshed perspective included the sunrise pastels expressed most vividly in a technically superb intarsia shearling T-shirt, and shorts whose cargo pockets functioned both as storage and expandable frill. “You know I’m an accessory addict,” she said. “I like to use garments by also treating them as accessories, and this little short gives me that.” The boldest piece on Fendi’s fresh horizon was a chic, vaguely retro, double-skirted tennis (ish) dress in white linen with striped, shrunken shirts-sleeves and a silk collar, worn with a cute bucket hat/bucket bag. Said Fendi: “The back is very nice because it is very grounded: it gives you this sense of freedom.”
The metier of the house was mapped out in bombers fashioned from loom-spun knitted shearling cut into asymmetrical panels to reflect an aerial view of land or inky nighttime contours. More conventionally, linen short suiting starred landmark tailored jackets built with special pockets for cell phones and AirPods. An opaque nylon duster in coral tones of lime and aquamarine shimmered against the knitwear below.
The accessory addict in Fendi received its fix most potently via shrunken Baguette bags worn by the belly with (detachable-skirted) crop top suit jackets, and a fantastic “ping pong peekaboo” featuring a specially cut pocket for your table tennis bat—surely a smash. The inspiration for all of it, said Fendi, came from considering the view from her office window and allowing herself to relax in order to create. “The last 18 months, I have reconnected a lot with my more intimate feelings,” she said. “I was always a very introspective person, and I was fighting against that before. This year has been almost liberating because I am no longer feeling any guilt about being myself and not needing to go somewhere to find inspiration."