Capturing an unpredictable new normal, Silvia Venturini Fendi recorded a dance song for her autumn/winter 2021 men’s show and collaborated on motifs with Noel Fielding.
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The show featured an original song by Silvia Venturini Fendi
“Hello, it’s Silvia. I just wanted to tell you about normality. What is normal today?” Thus opened the dance-pop soundtrack to the Fendi show, co-written by Not Waving and Silvia Venturini Fendi herself. She had recorded her spoken vocals over Christmas, adding another qualification to an already multi-faceted CV, which includes bag inventor, couturier, film producer, and grandmother par excellence. “In these times you have to be very flexible and change your habits,” she quipped on a video call from Milan before the virtual pre-filmed runway show. “So, I told Michel, let’s produce a piece of music,” she smiled, referring to Gaubert, her sound designer. And so, lockdown turned Silvia Venturini Fendi into a niche techno sensation. Welcome to the new normal.
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The collection looked to a new normal
Our transforming view of what normal means and looks like was the premise for the collection. “I wanted to have clothes for this moment in time, informed by this moment in time,” Venturini said. “I don’t think you can talk about fashion right now with inspiration from anywhere else but our near future.” She approached it in a study of our conventional understanding of “normal” clothes—wardrobe classics, sober colours—observed through the modifying lens of lockdown reality. The show opened with a coat that was really just the lining of a coat, because “currently you don’t need a coat”, as Venturini noted. It sparked a series of slightly surreal contraptions: sleeves knitted into the necks of jumpers like scarves, pyjama shirts magnified into outerwear, and diagonally quilted puffer coats that looked like naked duvets.
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These were clothes for re-entering the real world
Much has been said about the expected impact of lockdown on fashion: comfort-wear, Zoom outfits, and dressing to #WFH. But rather than exploring our newfound sense of practicality and ease—which already feels tired—Venturini used her Fendi quirk in a literal interpretation of what it might look like when we emerge from our office bedrooms and domestic habits, and re-enter the real world. It had to make you smile. “I wanted to have real clothes for real people. It’s a moment where you don’t want to look like a fashionista. You need beautiful clothes in beautiful fabrics that make you feel good,” she explained.
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It dealt with how 2020 changed us
The shock of colour and mega-volumes that hit the last part of the show was meant as an illustration of our future return to dressing up: a state of mind that has to be slowly re-activated. “Next year, hopefully we’ll be walking down the street again, wanting to use colour, to be in action again,” Venturini said. If our reunion with the real world eventually makes us forget all about comfort-wear, our understanding of normality will no doubt still have changed. The events and movements of 2020 called for a revision of “normality” far beyond the pandemic’s impact on our lifestyles. It taught us to second-guess our presumptions and changed our collective gaze. The Fendi collection was light-hearted, but it still reflected those ideas.
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It featured a collaboration with Noel Fielding
“Now, I think we find ourselves more open to everything, even if we are confined. We had to change our habits so much, and we’ve demonstrated how flexible we are, and how open we are to what is happening. To me, Noel Fielding represents this,” Venturini said. In a move that almost (almost) outshone her popstar debut, the British artist had created abstract logo prints for the collection. “He’s a multi-faceted man: an actor, a comedian, but also an artist, a musician, a writer. Today, you have to be a multi-tasker, someone who escapes definition.” Does Silvia Venturini Fendi watch The Great British Bake-Off? “Yes, yes, a little! I like his sense of irony, a fantasy man. Surreal. The way he dresses is so free,” she said. “And I think, in the future, when we come out of this, we’ll all want to be more individualistic in our way of dressing. He is already that: an art installation.”
This article was originally published on British Vogue.