Image Credit: Casper Wackerhausen-Sejersen
Kim Jones’ debut collection for Fendi couture was a series of firsts. It was the designer’s first womenswear collection, Fendi’s first spring-summer couture collection and the first time for the brand to exclude fur in its collection. The looks also celebrate the idea of gender-nonconformity through its fluid looks presented on both male and female models.
The collection itself was a celebration of the past and was influenced by two longtime inspirations of the British Designer; Virginia Woolf’s novel “Orlando”, and the ‘Bloomsbury Group’ – who lived decadent lifestyles and loved freely. Including déshabillé draped dresses hand-embroidered with wildflowers and cascading robes, it all felt like a modern take on the novel. ‘Orlando’ as a concept has been interpreted many times before, yet Jones was able to connect it with the heritage of the Fendi house. It showcased Jones’ ability to alter his creative vision to any house he directs.
Haute Couture collections are created through bespoke garments which tell a story. It can therefore make a look deeply personal to the potential wearer. Before the unveiling, Jones emphasised this when speaking to Vogue UK, saying “each look is about the personality who will be in it,”. He added “that’s the luxury of couture, it’s designed specifically for the person.” It is apt then that Jones continued his tradition of tapping into his list of close friends and celebrities for his show. Among the models were Kate Moss and daughter Lila Moss, Naomi Campbell, Cara Delevingne, Bella Hadid and Demi Moore, just to name a few. Speaking before the show, Jones said: “Fendi is all about family … I am surrounded by strong, powerful women who I love and respect, and want to bring their energy into what I do”. While some may find it divisive, and even distracting to have so many recognisable faces, it’s clear Jones knows how to work a digital audience.
The couture offering also showcased menswear for the first time. Male models were seen in classic tailoring. Styled by Alister Mackie and makeup by Peter Philips, the looks represented the idea of fluidity. While the female models had more subdued, monochromatic makeup, the male models wore heavy eye makeup with bright red lipstick. It’s interesting to see a potential market for menswear couture. While many men with that sort of capital would often go for made-to-measure Savile Row, Jones’ collection is perhaps aimed at his celebrity friends, who often wear his looks on the red carpet.
With months of build-up to the presentation, the show was always going to be subject to criticism and calls of being overhyped. Many found that the clothing, although well designed, did very little from an inventive standpoint. The inspirations of Orlando and Bloomsbury group were present, but they weren’t used to their full potential. Having iconic faces walk the show only added to the divisiveness of the show.
Through CULTED Instagram polls, it is clear that although the collection was on everyone’s lips, it didn’t have the positive impact that we, Kim Jones admirers, were hoping for. Many of the looks received negative reviews, with Kate Moss’ look seeing a 74% thumbs down reaction from our audience.
Jones’ work in the menswear realm is iconic. He has been able to fuse streetwear influences with the world of luxury seamlessly, and equally, he has succeeded at making haute couture elements look effortless at Dior Menswear. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how Kim Jones settles in and matures at Fendi.
Watch the full show below.