Runway Report | FENDI spring 2013 rtw | MILAN By Tim Blanks The Fendi show today began and ended with a big bang: the first a huge balloon popping to allow the models onto the catwalk; the last an explosive print that dissolved into an infinity of starlike sparkles.
In between came a meditation on modernism courtesy of Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi, who never stop putting futuristic spins on the 87-year-old house’s traditions. Here, for instance, the duo were “doing modern our way, with our techniques” according to Fendi. “There are no machines; it’s all by hand.” This rare feat was obvious in coats composed of a marquetry of fur or fabric. Almost as impressive, though not as showy, was the fact that the collection was seamless, using saldatura, or some kind of electrical welding, instead of stitching. It guaranteed that the leathers and fantastic crocodile napas looked feather-light. The iconic Baguette had also been transformed, somehow stripped of all its metal parts and turned into a testament, said Fendi, “to the power of perfect proportion.”
The designer mentioned the perspective of the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel as a reference point for the way that dresses were multiple lengths—or shorts had pannierlike pockets— so that your eye was drawn into them. Same effect with the black and colored borders that “framed” the clothes. The idea was apparently three-dimensionality. That’s why the referencing of Anish Kapoor made a little more sense, given that there was something more sculptural than painterly about the silhouettes. And if all of that sounds a bit much for a fashion show on a Saturday morning in Milan, you should also know that the clothes in this particular Fendi show were a lot of fun. Lagerfeld’s crepe silk Big Bang shift was Milan’s best cocktail dress; the leather coat with the upside-down F for Fendi was the cleverest piece of Russian Constructivist branding we’ll see all season; and the bags and shoes should keep kids entertained for hours. One pair, for instance, arrives with a set of uppers that will allow you to compose your footwear at will, Lego-like. And by hand, of course.