What did Silvia Venturini see through the windows of her Roman house during a lockdown? The blue sky, as well as trees with their new leaves moving in the wind. What did she rediscover during the long days spent with her family at home?
The pleasure of small things and traditions and the meaning embedded in common household objects, such as a grandmother’s tablecloth or the trousseau passed from one generation to the other.
With her coed spring runway show, which featured only 130 guests — 10 per cent of the attendance at a typical Fendi show — Venturini Fendi wanted to celebrate familiarity, proximity and authenticity.
“In such a dramatic moment, I think that talking about fashion only in terms of clothes is not appropriate,” she said before the show. “I believe it’s more relevant to talk about values connected to fashion and in my case, being raised in my family, fashion is something absolutely meaningful.”
The rigor of the Italian craftsmanship combined with a feminine, romantic sensibility added up to a powerful and charming spring effort, where the domestic was elevated to ethereal.
Linen, cotton and silk fabrics were treated with a light hand for dresses punctuated with delicate embroideries and eyelet motifs. There were also pristine apron dresses, alluring in their warmed-up minimalism; sheer tunics with exquisite floral applications; men’s and women’s embossed knits with a soft appeal, as well as deconstructed, relaxed tailoring.
In a reiteration of Fendi’s signature illusion effects, shaved mink made for an incredible pair of lace-like Bermuda shorts and for a cardigan that mimicked the texture of cable knitwear. Sheer dresses, caftans, shirts and pants were printed with shadowy images of window views in blues and browns.
Narrow dresses with flared sleeves felt like great interpretations of classics, to keep in the wardrobe forever and to transmit to the next generations. The finale padded styles — including a blanket-like cape layered over a black embroidered tulle top and a skirt with a cascade of feathers — exuded a sense of comfort, intimacy and protection.
The accessories highlighted the domestic inspiration of the collection. Along with the iconic Peekaboo and Baguette, styles were recycled plastic buckets, picnic baskets, canvas logo totes, as well as grandmother’s crochet pouches — all ordinary objects that in the Fendi world received an immediate va-va-voom.
From the set of billowing white curtains to the music to the charming accessories — including Baguettes made from natural willow or sugar-coated lace — everything felt considered, meaningful and special. But what guests will remember forever is the emotion in the eyes of Silvia Venturini Fendi taking her last bow as creative director of the Fendi women’s line.
Kim Jones will take the reins of the women’s division soon, while she will continue to design accessories and men’s wear. Proudly looking at her mother from the front row, her daughter Leonetta Luciano couldn’t hold back her tears. At Fendi, family always comes first.