Forgive me, please, but it is going to take a lot of effort to keep this review from being totally negative. Bad enough that I’ve not liked Karl Lagerfeld since meeting him in 1991, but now someone at Fendi was convinced that putting a camera on a remote controlled drone would be a good idea. Perhaps from a PR standpoint, it was, but the reality was far from the hype.
Let’s start with that stupid drone and get it out of the way. Why Fendi felt they needed any extra hype to their show is a mystery. Their shows are always well attended, always very well covered in the press, and always very well received by buyers. Adding hype on top of this might draw attention to the brand, but not from anyone who is going to actually purchase the clothes. The drone camera did manage to survive the show without crashing, which is a good thing. However, the camera was extremely low quality, the pictures it sent out were often blurred, out of focus, or totally over exposed. The feed itself was a jumpy as a wild pack of Japanese rabbits. Topping that was the fact that, more often than not, the drone was taking pictures of the wall rather than the runway. Applied technologies will require a substantial amount of improvement before this can ever be considered a real alternative.
As for the fashion itself … at least Karl’s sketches should fetch a good price once the old man kicks the bucket. Seriously. This collection looks absolutely stunning … on paper. As with most Lagerfeld creations, though, the reality stands far apart from the dream. Too many of the clothes are not wearable, not desirable, and not the least bit practical in the form they were shown this afternoon.
Now, let’s get real. This is a huge collection; Fendi always is. What ultimately hits stores this fall will be dramatically pared down and totally re-worked. So, in some manner, it is a waste of time to go through all the looks complaining about what it wrong. By the time the final choices hit stores in September, most issues will have been eliminated and the total number of pieces dramatically reduced. Therefore, let’s consider what really did work.
The boots. Whether ankle high are riding all the way up to mid-thigh, the footwear in this collection is an instant hit. There may be a few issues with the number of straps and buckles on some pieces, but most of these can go straight into production unaltered.
The handbags, of course. Fendi bags always rank up there with the best and this season is no different. There is a wide selection and while I’m not sure the fur-covered items are all that attractive or practical, there are plenty of other choices to keep folks happy.
Parkas. Cara Delevigne sports one in the initial look and there are several others throughout the collection, varying in length and color. Some are too heavily embellished for production, though, so expect to see considerable design changes before they actually hit stores.
The orchid brooch. Large yet delicate, these are beautifully designed pieces that accent coats and dresses wonderfully. Even if one cannot afford a Fendi coat, these brooches make any outfit look more refined.
Most ridiculous part of the show (as if the drone cam wasn’t enough)? Ms. Delevigne starts the show carrying a Karl Lagerfeld doll. Now, that the doll was included in the show is just another exercise in Lagerfeld’s severe narcissism. What created laughter was the way she was carrying it, well away from her body, delicately held between the thumb and forefinger as though she were holding a dead rat, which the doll and Lagerfeld do both somewhat resemble. Cara looked very much as though she were searching for a refuse bin into which she might deposit the horrible thing. Then, as if it were not bad enough that such a sight started the show, she ends the show with the same damn thing!
All I can do is sigh. There’s no accounting for bad taste when it comes to Lagerfeld. He is going to do what King Karl wants to do and he really doesn’t care about anyone else’s opinion. When the Fendi collection hits stores this fall, the pieces that survive will sell just well enough to create yet another spectacle next year. Be happy you have other choices.