For the Fendi Spring 2022 Couture collection Artistic Director Kim Jones created a Rome-inspired, extraterrestrial universe filled with regal garments fit for goddesses.
Jones, a self-professed sci-fi enthusiast, drew inspiration from Frank Herbert’s Dune and watching the major motion picture over the holidays. He also paid tribute to Rome, where the Italian fashion house was founded in 1925, brilliantly layering antiquity, history and novelty. This was presented in the form of intricately beaded gowns, gorgeous embellishments and heelless platforms.
“It has so many layers to it. It’s such an ancient city,” Jones said in a preview. “We’re always thinking of the past, present, and future of it. The idea of different times and that very spiritual side of Rome, which becomes almost celestial; almost spacey.”
In a dimly lit room, the audience was greeted with an outline of Fendi’s Palazzo della Civilta Italiana — the brand’s headquarters and a historical monument — deconstructed and suspended above. Towards the far end was a tall, narrow column with smoke swirling in the air. As percussive electronic music filled the space, a medley of lights revealed a hanging globe with the Fendi logo etched below and three glowing strips stretching through the runway. The central lane lit up and a black, fluid-like dress opened the show.
Models emerged through the hazy entrance and made their way down the runway, in sync with the music. The show went on and for every transcendent look that was unveiled, it felt as though the models were empresses from an unworldly planet, gracing Earth with their grandeur. With a spellbinding range of glistening long gowns, floor-sweeping trains and capes, flowing toga-like dresses, warrior-esque framings and Victorian high-necks, the couture collection was a spectacle to behold.
Jones intended for the collection to be the perfect blend of past and present — using time-honoured techniques with modern and lavish craftsmanship. This manifested in the opulent fabrics: statues outside of Fendi’s headquarters were hand-painted onto velvet and sheared mink; ghostly shadows printed on duchesse silk and organza, and further elevated with traditional beading.
In a Vogue interview with Jones, he expressed that although couture is finding its footing, with everything happening in the world now, it still appears a fantasy. To him, it haute couture was all about “showing craftsmanship and techniques” that were not found in ready-to-wear, as well as analysing specific techniques that originated from Fendi and applying them.
Aside from the stunning dresses, the accessories and jewellery from Fendi deserved a mention as well. These were designed and hand-crafted by artisans under the creative direction of mother-daughter duo: Silvia Venturini Fendi and Delfina Delettrez Fendi. The results were a range of crystal ear cuffs, statement geode pieces and beaded bags embellished with hematites. Seemingly a marvel to admire, these accompaniments, which resembled ancient relics and heirlooms of an undiscovered Rome, added to the romantic yet cool aesthetics.
The crystal makeup was notable as well, with sparkling jewels dotted around and adorning the models’ faces — celestial-looking and contemporary as well.
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Jones is many things, but above all, he is a man with a vision. The designer noted that his direction for the fashion house is really all about “celebrating the power of women”. Being at the helm of Dior Men as well, the multi-award-winning designer is one of the most celebrated talents of his generation.
Rome was not built in a day. Ultimately, Fendi’s dramatic performance was truly and purely couture. A well-deserved standing ovation to the production, direction and artistic teams for delivering an absolute journey into a mysterious galaxy of Fendi. We are here for the sci-fi dream and cannot wait for the fashion house’s next steps.
Feast your eyes on the full fashion show below.
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