Fendi wasn’t the first fashion show out the gate this morning, but it was certainly the most popular, starting off a day that sees some of Milan’s biggest labels take to the runway. As collections go, this one is a bit larger than normal with over 50 looks. At times, it can seem as though there was a deliberate effort to see how many permutations of the same silhouette Karl Lagerfeld could manage to squeeze in before Silvia Fendi called a halt. There is a lot here to see, but at the same time only a handful of things really stand out.
What one is likely to notice first is the glitter lips. In a season where we’ve not seen a tremendous amount of attention paid to exotic makeup looks, these really pop and were especially popular among Korean buyers in the audience. While the look certainly is interesting, though, I’m afraid it’s not very practical to actually wear outside, oh, a runway or possibly a photo shoot. The glitter comes off onto everything from coffee cups and wine glasses to the clothing of anyone one happens to be near. Cute, but apply cautiously.
The first big fashion element one sees is stripes. These aren’t unlike the striped patterns we saw yesterday at Gucci except that this time, though here they’re black more often than not. How well they work tends to depend on the fabric. On silk, they come off as pajama wear. On heavy twill, it looked more like prison garb. When worked in leather pants with huge cargo pockets around the knees, thoughts of a court jester came to mind. The more narrow stripes were easier to handle without potentially negative inferences.
Fendi has a new style of cropped sweater on the runway this season. Taking just a paragraph or two from the deconstructionist, the main bodice crops right at the very bottom of the breast, leaving below it a single band secured at the back. The look is stunning and sexy, though one will need to be quite careful in the laundering of these sweaters.
Babydoll looks are scattered throughout this collection, often in very light pastels and frequently with sheer fabrics. Again, these tend to be more popular with the Asian markets than Europe or the US, which shows the dominance of that market when it comes to influencing design. There are several other silhouettes that also tend to run extremely short. One word of caution here as you’re looking through pictures: not all of the fronts of those dresses are skirts. Several are aprons and there is NOTHING in back to make up for the loss of fabric. Color-coordinated undies are a must.
I’m guessing Ms. Fendi is behind the excessive use of sheer this season. Karl doesn’t normally go in for large amounts of exposure. This echoes the trend in New York, even though the look was largely ignored in London. Floral prints on the material and laser-cut lace help keep some of the looks more modest, but there is plenty of opportunity to be daring if one so chooses.
Everything else is standard Fendi. Leather is everywhere. Handbags come with very broad straps this season, which looks rather odd when attached to a very small clutch. Colors skew more toward the pastels though there are a few darker looks tossed in as well.
All in all, this was a rather pleasant Fendi collection. There’s nothing truly absurd in the mix and enough creativity to keep things fresh. This isn’t the collection for anyone sensitive about the use of animal products, but then, not many Italian houses are. Those who shop selectively, though, are certain to find things here they’ll enjoy.