Five thoughts on Kim Jones' Fendi autumn/winter 2021 womenswear debut
Undoubtedly, Kim Jones' appointment as Fendi's artistic director of haute couture, ready-to-wear, and fur collections for women (yeah, it's a mouthful) comes with heavy expectations. There's the fact that Jones is now handling a role that was essentially part of the late Karl Lagerfeld's repertoire. And we haven't really seen a full womenswear collection by the British designer, at least not one that's even close to Fendi's scale.
In some ways, the autumn/winter 2021 womenswear collection was a triumphant ready-to-wear debut. It was contemporary enough, with nods and references to Fendi's heritage. But perhaps one that also left us wanting just a bit more.
It was nothing like the haute couture spring/summer 2021 collection
And thankfully so. Jones' very first Fendi debut earlier this year was hardly a win. The haute couture spring/summer 2021 collection seemed disjointed with none of the fashion-forward vision that Jones is known and highly regarded for.
His ready-to-wear debut was a complete turnaround — a deft balancing act of Italian elegance with contemporary nuances. It's the kind of sensuality that wasn't brought about through the showing of skin (although those were peppered throughout the collection but always tastefully done) but rather, through the use of luxurious fabrications and a confident embrace of a woman's body. The former took the form of multiple renditions of Fendi's furs, slinky silk, and double cashmere, while the latter was in the way every piece was cut to suit almost every body type.
That soundtrack is one we'd want to stomp the streets to
Key to every fashion runway is the soundtrack that models would have to walk to. Beyond the clothes, it sets the tone of the collection and further emphasises its message. For Fendi's autumn/winter 2021 collection, it was clear that it was the start of a new era in the house's womenswear division, one that quite assuredly will be marching to its own beat.
The soundtrack was a trio of songs and beats mixed into one rather seamless track. It started off with Carl Abrahamsson & Genesis Breyer P-Orridge's spoken word refrain 'S/He Is Her/E', followed by Cold Cave's thumping 'The Trees Grew Emotions And Died', with Swiss Beatz adding additional soul-stirring beats to connect the two together.
We really do need this up on Spotify now.
Longer sleeves are almost always better
One of the collection's defining features was the extended cuffs on long-sleeved blouses. Though they may perhaps have grown to be part of the streetwear design lexicon, they provided some casual relief to the collection. Appearing like undone french cuffs, they were key in making the collection feel a bit less serious, especially with the use of a monochromatic palette throughout.
Jones has a knack for collaborations
This is a given with how he's often worked with other creatives to create a collection, as evident from his time at Dior Men. While he didn't seek the help of some of his constant collaborators or the works of contemporary artists (maybe not just yet), the bags and jewellery of the collection were designed by Fendi's very own Silvia Venturini Fendi and Delfina Delettrez Fendi respectively.
Familiar bag styles such as the Peekaboo and Baguette were rendered in new proportions and techniques. Newer silhouettes included a clutch that's accessed by the top where the frame was fashioned after a tilted 'F', and — one of our personal favourites — a leather shoulder bag with a gusseted construction that's all kinds of chic.
In the jewellery front, nothing was dainty. The Fendi logo was transformed into the Fendi O'Lock: chunky, carabineer-shaped links that displayed the double Fs to full effect.
Karl Lagerfeld was still very much present
As an homage to Lagerfeld's influence in steering the direction of the Fendi house, Jones employed the use of the Karligraphy monogram. They appeared like tattoos on the collection's sheer tights, subtly embroidered on wool pieces, contrastingly lined on coats, and as tonal applications on silk.
Jones' approach at the houses that he's worked for so far has always been to marry his contemporary vision with the house's heritage. It's an approach that has worked rather successfully but perhaps, one that now seems a tad predictable. But this being his first ready-to-wear effort at Fendi, we're looking forward to see what more he'll be bringing to the table, especially in ways that could be as exciting as his previous collaborative efforts.