This season the Fendi show took place at a new venue, the Fondazione Pomodoro on Via Solari. As eager spectators queued outside rumours began spreading that we were set to see the longest runway in all of Milan – an apt claim for a brand such as Fendi. The longer the runway the more time to dazzle the crowd. And dazzle us they did. Aptly titled ‘Fendi’s explosive summer’ the collection, which opened with a large balloon pop, was filled to the brim with smash hits, in particular – as you’ve probably already heard on Twitter – the shoes. What showstoppers. The best were comprised of a range of two or three fantastical crayon colours – mustard yellow, pastel blue, poppy red and peachy pink – and featured a chunky block metallic heel. Some pairs even allow the wearers to customise the palette themselves by adding in their own colour selections like building blocks – what could be more appealing to the modern fast-fashion shopper than a chameleon shoe?
Accessorise aside, the clothing on show had a lighter, more playful, vibe than the warrior-woman aesthetic of A/W 2012, but the intrinsic confidence remained. Shapes were architectural but somehow fluid thanks to a focus on multiple lengths, overlays and rounded, caped shoulders. While the silhouettes looked easy the workmanship was clearly complex. Hours upon hours of energy had been spent on intricate techniques, such as joining fabric by electrical welding rather than traditional sewn seams. Making heavy, oppressively luxurious items like fur, crocodile nappa, sequin embroidery or even neoprene and leather look effortless and easy is no mean feat, but Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi managed it well, offering up a vision that was opulent yet strangely accessible (in vibe, not price – naturally).
Perhaps the reason that this collection felt so great was its amalgamation of all the best elements of various other fashion top trumpers. As each look came down the runway I kept getting flash backs – Stella McCartney (note the first look)! Balenciaga! Celine! Balenciaga again! I wouldn’t call this plagiarism, but I would call it savvy commercial pragmatism. The duo had clearly studied other recent smash hits and then deliberately decided to work within those boundaries, hence why their signatures, such as the iconic Baguette bag, were stripped of all buckles and rework into modern, minimal Philo-friendly forms. There was nothing mind blowing on that runway, but there were some truly fabulous products, and that, after all, is what keeps the Fendi fashionista content.