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Kim Jones unveils Fendi Haute Couture debut

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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British fashion designer Kim Jones, who was appointed artistic director of Fendi in September 2020, has unveiled his debut haute couture collection for the Italian fashion house.

Drawing from seemingly diverse inspirations, from the visual language of Bernini's marbles to Virginia Woolf's time-travelling, gender-blurring novel ‘Orlando’, the show navigates through a maze-like structure of glass boxes offering a “unique journey from the British Bloomsbury to Rome's Galleria Borghese,” explained the fashion house.

This was certainly the most anticipated show of the haute couture season, not just because of it being Jones’ debut collection for the Italian brand, but also to see which of his famous model friends would take to the catwalk.

He didn’t disappoint with Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Kate Moss all marked their return to the catwalk, alongside appearances from Kate’s daughter Lila Moss, Bella Hadid, Cara Delevingne, Adwoa Aboah, and actress Demi Moore, who opened the show.

Supermodels Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Kate Moss return to the catwalk for Fendi couture

Inspired by ‘Orlando’ and the Bloomsbury set of strong, intellectual women, Jones’ debut couture collection, offered both looks for women and men. It was filled with decadent, regal and structured silhouettes in metallic brocade, luxe translucent silk fabrics, woven jacquards, and hand-beaded tailoring.

A love letter written by Virginia Woolf to Vita Sackville-West in 1928, only three years after Fendi was founded, Orlando’s literary conceits are directly interspersed throughout the collection, in form of metal-bound book clutches, as well as the text itself being inscribed onto Mother of Pearl minaudières and leather boots.

Another key detailing is in the embroidered embellishments on the gowns inspired by painted murals from Charleston, home of the Bloomsbury Group in Sussex, located only a short distance from where Jones spent much of his childhood.

“I like how this family of people – and particularly these two pioneering sisters – moved things forward,” says Jones in the show notes.“I admire the way that they lived their lives, the freedom that they created for themselves and the art that they left behind for the world.”

Highlights from the show included a pearl-encrusted chiffon gown worn over a cream bodysuit, a metallic brocade suit, a grey maxi embroidered maxi dress with capelet sleeves, numerous beaded and sheer layered gowns, and off-the-shoulder two-pieces.

For red carpet events in the future, celebrity stylists were probably adding the gorgeous capes to their wishlist. Worn by men and women, the capes were seen over tailored trouser suits as well as draped over slinky gowns in gold, navy and silver marble-effect prints, inspired by the hand-printed, marble-bound books published by Virginia and Leonard Woolf for Hogarth Press.

There was also a small homage to Karl Lagerfeld with Karligraphy monograms taken from Lagerfeld’s final collection beaded onto boots.

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Images: courtesy of Fendi

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