There was a serenely silvery flow of Fendi haute couture for spring. “I want to do lightness because for me, couture always seems quite staid and heavy,” Kim Jones had said earlier. “I wanted a floatiness. Elegant but youthful.”
It’s his fifth season of establishing an identity for the Roman house, and it felt as if he’s into the flow of it now. Let it be said: when you’re out to create loyalty and cement relationships, there’s a virtue to not chopping and changing styles and themes with every season. Jones said this collection was “a continuation” of his fall couture, and a response to Fendi clients’ requests for evening dresses.
What he offered was a discreetly modernised redefinition of statuesque goddess-dressing: slim silhouettes, in pale evanescent colours, somehow reworked through the sensibility of the ’90 slip-dress.
Couture distinguishes itself from ready-to-wear when the specialisms of ateliers create textures and fabrics that are not at all what they seem. At Fendi, the heritage and know-how descends from its roots as an Italian leather and fur house. The passage of time obviously means that showing furs on a runway is out of the question. Jones gave a non-fur nod to the past in a couple of embroidered cross-body stoles; the rest of the trompe l’oeil expertise was concentrated on finessing leather to look and drape like fabric. Not that you’d ever know it, unless you were wearing it.
You could barely tell—if at all—that some of the silvered dresses which had overlaid printed lace-patterns, a bit like tablecloths, were leather, decorated with scanned-in prints. Or the glinting “chain-mail” gloves. “I wanted to really work with the couture techniques,” Jones said. “What they can do now is so advanced.”
The concept of the swoops and drapery lightly referenced an archival Karl Lagerfeld for Fendi silk dress that Jones had studied; a glancing echo of the classical staturary of Rome, of course. Jones layered it over delicate constructs of lace-edged silk bras and slips.
Something of the 1930s has been emerging from the couture shows this season. Jones nailed the essence of the genre in the hammered-silk folds of a draped dress worn by Julia Nobis. A subtle and beautiful thing, carried off with casual elegance. For a woman who has the funds to afford Fendi, that would be quite a way to walk into a room.
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This story was originally published on Vogue.com.