Friday 9th July

| BY Claudia Croft

Fendi: Couture AW21

Kim Jones is getting used to calling himself a couturier – the fashion equivalent of being a chess grand master or a tenth Dan Karate black belt. “I’ve earned my stripes,” he says. That he has. His second couture collection for the brand wowed with the breath-taking sumptuousness of its fabrication that paid tribute to age-old couture craftsmanship and its tradition of grand dressing.

Inspired by Rome’s ancient statues, the legendary Fendi atelier created sophisticated surfaces that mimicked the vein, colouration and patina of marble. One remarkable jacket was made from tiny mosaics of fabric, a dress was fashioned from leather draped to mimic the folds of a goddess’ robe and the lace was so light and had the qualities fragrance rather than fabric.

If Fendi’s ready-to-wear customers like to mix and match, the couture clients want a total look. Even the jewellery, designed by Delfina Delettrez Fendi, was hewn from marble whilst the models walked in heels that echoed the arches of Fendi’s white marble Roman HQ. Ballgowns with huge sweeping skirts were built for life’s big moments, yet Jones never lost sight of the delicacy of his craft. The complexity and precision of the lace and applique work was awe-inspiring. It was shown in close-up detail in Jones collection film, directed by Luca Guadagnino of Call Me by Your Name fame.

Looking back but projecting forward – that’s always been the Fendi spirit, mirroring the city of Rome where ancient and modern live side by side. Kim Jones sees things that way too. He’s fascinated by the legendary figure of Italian cinema, Pier Paolo Pasolini, who has become something of a spirit guide to him as he gets under the skin of the city. “Pasolini observed Rome become modern – and that is what is interesting to me: connecting eras, the old with the new, the past with the present,” said the designer. “At the time, it was the centre of the world. I wanted to include all of the people who would have inhabited it then, as well as now.”

His multi-generational cast included the gorgeously gamine Lila Moss, her mother Kate, and legendary supers Christy Turlington and Amber Valetta. Jones is obviously relishing his role as a couturier. He hasn’t yet had the opportunity to do fittings with real life couture clients because of Covid restrictions, but he can’t wait for the moment. “I love meeting our customers in every single company I’ve worked for.”

Photography courtesy of Fendi.