As the sun set in Bagno a Ripoli, a quaint Tuscan hamlet, Fendi unveiled its latest menswear offerings for the Fendi Men’s Spring/Summer 2024 season. The showcase was a dual affair, introducing not only the new collection but also the brand’s newly-minted €50 million leather goods factory, an architectural marvel that perfectly captures the harmony between nature and craftsmanship.
In stark contrast to a typical fashion show, guests found themselves in a living, breathing factory, experiencing the heart of Fendi’s operations firsthand. The aroma of richly dyed calf hide filled the air, as artisans continued their work amidst the captivated audience, the rhythm of their precise, methodical handiwork creating a unique soundscape.
Silvia Venturini Fendi, the third generation of Fendi’s founding family, warmly articulated her vision, “This is where our craftsmanship meets our familial ethos. In fashion, we often hear about the designer or the brand, but it is equally crucial to acknowledge the artisans who bring these designs to life. Today, we aim to reveal that very process”.
Echoing back to the early days of Fendi, Silvia reminisced about her grandmother Adele, who founded the company a century ago in a small Roman shop. The lines blurred between the professional and personal lives of those who worked at Fendi. Adele, often found lingering in the atelier after hours, had fostered a familial culture that continues to thrive today. The legacy of this tradition was palpable in the passionate dedication of Fendi’s modern artisans, each one a custodian of the brand’s rich history.
However, don’t mistake this dedication to tradition for antiquated methods. A fusion of ancient craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology characterizes Fendi‘s Spring/Summer 2024 collection. As Silvia aptly noted, the factory floor felt akin to a “Silicon Valley lab“, illustrating how technology seamlessly intertwines with skilled artisanship.
The collection itself was an exquisite embodiment of this balance between heritage and innovation. It celebrated the very essence of the artisans’ labor, with work aprons, tool belts, and workwear reimagined in luxurious leather and heavy drill. The color palette, derived from natural dyes like nettle, mirrored the factory’s integration into the Tuscan landscape. Even more, the clothes bore prints of schematic diagrams, highlighting the technical precision behind Fendi’s famed bags.
What stood out was the conscious use of paper blend fabrics, reminiscent of the sailcloth-like paper used for prototyping new bag designs. Shoes and sneakers blended clog-like slingbacks with modern, molded soles, while raised jacquard renderings of surrounding flowers provided an organic touch to tailoring pieces. The collection’s close had an emotional resonance, with a stitching pattern inspired by Adele’s earliest Selleria line, paying homage to Fendi’s genesis.
The Fendi Men’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection was not just a showcase of the latest fashion trends. It was an invitation into Fendi’s universe, a testimony to the brand’s commitment to transparency and an ode to the unwavering dedication of its artisans. As Silvia led the final walk, the pride on the faces of the craftsmen and women said it all. Fendi is not just about haute couture, it’s about a community and a legacy that transcends fashion.