Wednesday 23rd September

| BY Claudia Croft

Fendi: Ready-to-Wear SS21

As Milan Fashion Week emerges from lockdown, with a slew of live shows, Fendi provided a poignant and powerful moment. The precious time spent with her family during the long Covid months, inspired Silvia Venturini Fendi, to produce a heartfelt co-ed collection that was an ode to Italian craft and the Italian sense of family.

As well as having families of models on the catwalk (Edie and Olympia Campbell, Cecilia and Lucas Chancellor) the collection itself took on the idea of the traditional trousseau – the precious furs, silks, bedding and table linens traditionally handed down to new brides by their mothers. From the quilted eiderdown coats, to intricately embroidered house-coats, open-work jackets and apron dresses in embroidered tulle and gazar; the domestic was transformed into the divine by the highly crafted nature of the collection.

“Fendi workmanship applied under surreal circumstances,” said the designer of her strong desire to celebrate Italy’s hand-made heritage after Covid. As well as challenging Fendi’s in-house ateliers with lattice-work furs and jour d’echelle ladder-work, she reached out to the country’s craft community for the Hand in Hand Baguette project, which sees Fendi collaborate with local artisans across Italy. Close-up shots on the live catwalk feed, showed just how stunning the results are. Handcrafted in Abruzzo, a sheer Baguette was constructed in tombolo aquilano sugar-coated lace, a technique refined by Benedictine nuns since the 15th century. From the Marche region, came a structured Baguette woven in strands of natural willow, inspired by the baskets of local fishermen. Both are collector’s items and instant heirlooms.

Perhaps the most surprising (and wantable) things in the collection were the market baskets made from recycled PVC. The socially distanced audience sat on curving banquettes as curtains of muslin gently wafted and projections of open windows suggested a domestic scene. This collection, full of forever pieces, was a tender love letter to Italian tradition and craft. It also marked the end of something. Venturini Fendi will continue with Fendi menswear – as she always has – but next season, Kim Jones (the most talented designer of his generation), will take charge of the womenswear. An exciting new era beckons for Fendi’s incredible artisans, and us.

Photography courtesy of Fendi.