The runway at Fendi's A/W 14 menswear showing - a catwalk show, rather than a presentation as usual; a symbol of the real sense of excitement surrounding the brand at present - was made entirely of thick black goat fur. It was a detail that impressed and shocked attendees in equal measure. An excessive gesture such as this, such a unsubtle display of luxury and wealth, felt so at odds with the fashion spirit that we like to identify in designers of today - minimalism, understudied elegance, label-less luxury. But then are things changing? We're all talking about the return of logomania and peacocking - see all those statement sweaters, techie trainers and clashing bold colours.
Fendi is a fur house. We expect a lot of skins and pelts. But this season the prevalence and placing of fluff and fuzz felt a little overbearing. Previous season's have felt decidedly modern - remember those brilliant reversible jackets and cool clear bags? But this was old school showy - reminiscent of the more-is-more attitude of the nineties. Those heavy fur collared tailored overcoats and panelled knit sweaters were luxurious, and beautiful in cut and finish, but felt almost oppressively opulent, especially given how modern the collections on show at neighbouring fur houses were this season.
The best pieces were those that felt OTT but nodded to the modern, mischievous intelligence that has underpinned the recent success of Fendi's mens and womens collections. Those monster-embellished shearling jackets and cartoon hats and mittens suggested that Silvia Venturini Fendi was have a bit of fun with this collection. Indeed, maybe the whole thing should be read as a little bit ironic. But Fendi is a smart designer, who knows how to make a sassy, intelligent statement, this season it was hard to see who was in on the joke, if there even was one.