There were great expectations for Kim Jones’s Fendi debut. Named Fendi’s artistic director of Haute Couture, ready-to-wear and fur collections for women last September, succeeding Silvia Venturini Fendi, Kim Jones, brand new to women’s fashion, plunged right into his very first couture show for the Spring/Summer 2021 season.
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Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Charleston Farmhouse, the 16th-century Sussex retreat of the Bloomsbury set located not far from the village of Rodmell, where Jones was partly raised and owns a house, the British designer paid homage to Woolf’s love of family, books, and Vita Sackville-West.
‘’I like how this family of people – and particularly these two pioneering sisters – moved things forward’’, Jones explained. ‘’I admire the way that they lived their lives, the freedom that they created for themselves and the art that they left behind for the world’’.
‘’Fendi was founded in 1925. ‘Orlando’ was published in 1928. So they come from the same point in history, literally. And I thought it was quite interesting how they’re both still very modern and relevant’’, Jones mused.
Jones’ collection presented a mystical series of pieces that meshed Bridgerton-esque aesthetics with the glitz and glam of the Roaring ’20s. Only 19 looks were presented, paraded through a stunning glass maze erected in the form of Fendi’s famous double-F logo – another Lagerfeld invention – to a bespoke soundtrack by Max Richter.
The ensembles felt welcome at both a Regency-era ball or a backroom speakeasy mid-Prohibition; coversative necklines were paired with opulent materials and lavish jewels. Jones’s juxtapositions culminated in split-personality dresses hybridized from half an evening gown and half a blazer or shirt. They had an air of upholstery about them, perhaps a nod to Charleston. The inspiration was found in the sketches of his predecessor, Karl Lagerfeld, who left 54 years’ worth of archives behind him when he died two years ago. Lagerfeld’s Fendi was epitomized by Roman modernism, a handsome glamour that often found time for quirk. Jones’s approach was melancholy in contrast – ‘’romantic’’, as he said – which perhaps defines a more British approach to the theater of haute couture.
Jones still has a knack for making social-media moments by involving his famous friends – like supermodels Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Bella Hadid, Cara Delevingne, and Adwoa Aboah. Plus, Kate Moss and her daughter, Lila Grace Moss, modeled together for the first time ever. And Demi Moore casually made her runway debut, opening the show.
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