Sick, although in quite a good way. That’s the only possible response to the coral leather mini-bloomer playsuit that proceeded fourth in the Fendi collection today. Coral. Leather. Bloomer. Playsuit. Such a thing could no doubt cause ridicule, offense, or even pity if viewed on the everyday street. Yet when seen with our fashion glasses on, we can instantly perceive that this garment has precisely the right number of attractive-repulsive features to qualify it as ideally avant-garde. It has the puff-shoulder sleeves, the ’80s-yet-not yoke, the gathering into a high-neck nearly-but-not-Victorian collar. While below, it provides exactly the correct amount of photographer-attractor leg exposure to satisfy girls who congregate at and outside fashion shows.
Fendi is a serious Roman fur and leather house of long standing, but recently Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi have been having some fun with it all. “There are no references,” remarked Lagerfeld as he moved through the roiling postshow throng. “Retro is over, no?”
Still, even when he’s supposedly designing against the mainstream, Lagerfeld’s antennae can’t help transmitting a sense of the fashion news that is running through Spring. It was there in the silhouettes—the big-sleeved, high-neck, high-waisted, and pleated midi thing that’s currently going on. In Fendi’s case, they provide the backdrop for ultra-luxurious house materials and skills: summer furs in a rattan-basketwork open-weave technique, cropped jackets in whipstitched patchwork python and braiding and smocking effects. Fendi x Karl Lagerfeld may be 50 years old as a collaboration, but in some ways it’s still ridiculously, friskily young. Again, in a good way. Written by Sarah Mower for Vogue.com