Timeless Tones and Roman Roots – a look at Kim Jones’ ready-to-wear debut for Fendi
Words by - Ashleigh Allerton
Since his haute couture debut for Fendi back in January, Kim Jones’ first ready-to-wear collection for the fashion house was arguably one of the most anticipated runways in Milan Fashion Week 2021. Named Fendi’s new artistic director of womenswear, Jones’ collection was rooted in Roman influences and took inspirations from the very women that have shaped the brands’ style over the years.
“I’m taking the amazing, strong women who I both know and work with, and listening to their needs,” Jones said in a press release. “The Fendi family are women of intellect who work hard – and that’s what I wanted to celebrate.”
The British designer is known for a sleek style that made way for streetwear trends in the luxury realm, be it via bringing street style to Louis Vuitton with the 2017 Supreme collaboration or by reviving the suit as creative director for Dior Men. With that same contemporary drive, Jones delivered what was a show of sophisticated, wearable designs, individualised by personal touches while also paying homage to the brands’ Italian heritage.
The first look to hit the marble runway – weaving through replica sculptures of ancient Roman ruins encased by glass cubicles – was a head-to-toe caramel ensemble, featuring a suede trench coat lined with fur panels, knee-high leather boots, and topped off with a chunky clasp bag and gold earrings in the classic FF shape.
The first look set the precedent of the collections’ story – where the next generation of RTW runway womenswear sees functionality meet luxury, suiting the demands of the modern-day woman. Complemented by the earthy palette of the set itself, the collection was meticulous in its exploration of shades; from tans and caramels to beiges and ivories, before making a seamless transition to deep chocolate tones and finishing with a selection of entirely black, classic looks. Effortlessly tying in with these fall colours were snakeskin features and subtle prints that drew in the eyes.
While Jones’ makes some nods to his predecessor Karl Lagerfeld – perhaps most notably through the extravagant fur coats – his personalisation of the collection was impossible to miss. It is worth mentioning here that the most lavish of coats, as seen in Look 18, was made of upcycled fur from previous pieces, suggesting something of a progression in Fendi’s production choices going forward. On top of his practical approach to tailoring – which saw references to the suiting in his previous menswear collections make an appearance in the runway looks – Jones showed off his eye for detail with sheer tights and silky slip dresses monogrammed with the FF logo. By his side in the process was Silvia Venturini Fendi, who – having served as creative director of womenswear at Fendi since 2019 – has continued working closely with Jones to guide him through the fashion houses’ archives while leaving room for his own artistic vision to materialise.
There was something almost liberating about the practicality of the collection, with no sacrifice of glamour in the process. With this have-it-all approach, it seems that Fendi fans can expect more of the brands’ beloved aesthetic, only with modern edge and wearable ease.