Friday 22nd February

| BY Claudia Croft

Fendi: Ready-To-Wear AW19

It was a fitting tribute. As the last model, wearing Karl Lagerfeld’s final designs for Fendi, left the catwalk, Silvia Venturini Fendi took a brief, but emotional solo bow. Then a large screen flickered to life and there was Karl Lagerfeld, pen in hand, sketching what he wore on his very first day at Fendi in 1965: A Cerrutti hat, dark glasses, brightly coloured English tweed suit, printed tie, boots and a handbag. His photographic memory noted every detail. His pen glided across the page without pause or doubt. He made it look easy but the speed, precision and confidence of the line suggested a master at work. Sketching was the root of everything Karl did. He hated computerised design programmes believing hand drawn silhouettes conveyed feeling and emotion.

There was plenty of that at this final show. The designer worked on the collection right up to his death. His last instruction, given to Silvia Venturini Fendi the day before he died, was: “I want the bow,” at the neck of the opening look. Did he know this would be his last show? He certainly packed it full of beautiful looks. There was a lightness to this winter collection, with asymmetric pleated skirts and shirt dresses coming in fluid semi transparencies. Structure came in the shape of pagoda shouldered jacket and dresses and the sporty element that Karl brought to the fore at a Fendi was represented by laser cut leather “lattice” jackets, skirts and dresses. The craftwork at Fendi is always awe inspiring.

There were Heritage moments too – the curling FF type face used on everything from silk dresses to socks was also embossed into the carpeted catwalk. It came from a calligraphy designed by Lagerfeld in 1981. This was logomania taken to a very chic conclusion. From Lagerfeld, we would expect nothing less.

Photographs by Jason-Lloyd Evans.