As guests arrived for the Fendi Autumn/Winter 2013 presentation they were greeted by a selection of snacks and canapés that looked as if they could have been foraged from a nearby wood. Plain peanuts and hunks of cheese were served up on wooden slabs complete with straw. Silvia Fendi was clearly in an earthy mood.
'The big chill' and 'the great outdoors' were cited as inspirations behind the collection, which explored 'heroic human needs for life in extreme conditions.’ The items on show gave the impression of shielding the body, so giant coats turned men into yetis, while fur and leather boots suggested dangerous tracks ahead. In true Fendi style, this was survival clothing the luxury way - think less North Face and more lavish knits, accessories and suits crafted with coatings, double prints and fabric mixing to create a sense of density. To keep things varied, alongside the shag and shearling came slim line tailoring and beautiful tartan shirting crafted with needle-felting -in keeping with the theme, the bold check hinted at cosy camping blankets.
Fendi's ode to the Ice Age could be read as a comment on both the strength and the weakness of us humans. On one hand, we were being told that life is precarious and difficult - a running theme this season, see Bottega Veneta's 'hard times ahead' showcase - but on the other this was commenting of the sheer power and resilience of humans against the elements. The repetitive, endless catwalk, which saw models walk round and round in an endless cycle, suggested some kind of Olympic display of human strength and stamina, while an accompanying beat crafted from the sound of this marching by composer Matthew Herbert suggested an approaching army. It was a strikingly smooth display and one that ensured that it was the mite of Fendi, rather than the beautifully dressed explorers, which was most striking.